Casey: Critics of Meyer’s Book Are Helping It

This is about a very strange entry at the Discovery Institute’s creationist blog. It’s another in a huge series attempting to promote Darwin’s Doubt, the new book by Stephen Meyer. We haven’t read the book and we never will. That’s why we haven’t critiqued it.

However, we know who the Discoveroids are. We know what they do and why they do it — see What is the “Wedge Document”? Because we monitor the postings at their blog, it’s obvious that they think Meyer’s book is one of their biggest accomplishments for the year. Therefore, we don’t need to read the book in order to be certain that it’s pure creationist trash — albeit old-Earth creationism with specific references to Yahweh carefully redacted.

As we’ve mentioned before, the book hasn’t been praised by scientists. All its favorable reviews have been from creationist sources, and there have been some confused academics (who weren’t scientists) who thought it had merit. But now the Discoveroids are attempting to take the overwhelmingly negative reaction and turn it into a positive feature. In effect, they’re saying “Keep criticizing the book, you’re helping us!”

Their latest post is Unintended Consequences: How Hostile Responses to Darwin’s Doubt Turned a Thoughtful Reader Against Darwinian Evolution . It’s by Casey Luskin, our favorite creationist. We’re still proud of our announcement from three years ago: Casey Luskin Is Named a Curmudgeon Fellow. Casey says, with bold font added by us:

Any strategy that focuses too much on attacking people, and not enough on making reasoned arguments, is doomed to fail in winning hearts and minds.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! That explains why the Discoveroids have polluted the blogosphere with ceaseless smears about Darwin, evolution and science in general. We don’t need to give you any examples — all right, but just one. See Discovery Institute: Hitler, Hitler, Hitler, Part VI. Then Casey says:

For an illustration, take a look at a post by Reverend James Miller, of Glenkirk Church in Glendora, CA. He recently explained that he became a Darwin skeptic not just after reading Darwin’s Doubt, but also after considering responses from critics of the book.

Here’s a link to the rev’s post: Changing My Mind on Darwin. We haven’t bothered to read it all. Casey provides enough quotes. But we did look for a link to his church’s website. This is it: Glenkirk Church.

We’re supposed to believe that the rev was a committed “Darwinist” before he read Meyer’s book and all the criticism it received. Right, we believe it — especially because the rev’s blog post starts out telling us:

I’ve never invested much study in evolution because I was neither threatened by it theologically nor enchanted by it philosophically. The biology teachers taught it to me. I can explain it. As a follower of Jesus, I can see a viable explanation for how God could do it that way. I’m also not overly confident that science is fueled by objective curiosity rather than passionate self-interest and ideology, money and power. Science is motivated reasoning on its best days.

Clearly, the rev was a hard-core Darwinist. Let’s read some more from Casey’s post:

Pastor Miller explains that when he enters a complex debate, he seeks to read arguments from different views. He looks at the evidence and the arguments, but he also tries to determine who is sincere and credible.

Great method! The rev looks into their hearts. Casey then quotes this from the rev:

See, this is how I know who to trust in academic communities. The charlatans have no character. You read the grad student’s defenses [he’s referring to Nick Matzke] of his review (and they sound a little panicked), and you realize that he has been following Christians around and arguing with them for years with an inquisitor’s zeal. There’s a personal agenda here, and his approach to new information on the subject is anything but scientific.

Superb analytical technique! Casey continues:

In any case, you might expect that if your own incivility was the cause of someone’s turning away from a viewpoint you want to advance, then you’d try to win them back by being civil and making a respectful, strictly fact-based appeal. If so, then you’re not Nick Matzke. That’s not how Darwin-defenders think. When confronted with the reality that their style of argument is actually turning people off, Darwin lobbyists often double-down on the nasty rhetoric, evidently thinking the problem was that they weren’t harsh enough to begin with. Thus Matzke wrote in response to Miller: [we’ll skip that].

After quoting Matzke’s exasperated response (which we haven’t checked for accuracy), Casey says:

Nick Matzke must think that the best way to bring people over to your side is by demonizing and bullying them — the more, the better.

Yes, those Darwinists are such bullies. The Discoveroids are always complaining about it — see David Klinghoffer: “Darwinists Are Uncivil!”, and also Discovery Institute’s Uncivil Critics. Casey wraps it up with this:

This recalls the old saying, “When the facts are on your side, pound the facts. When the facts aren’t on your side, pound the table.” People know this intuitively. Pastor Miller was discerning enough to see how Nick Matzke’s disrespect and table-pounding showed that Matzke’s viewpoint has a problem with the facts.

So there you are. The more we complain about the pseudo-science and sleazy tactics of the Discoveroids, the more we help them. It would appear that the Discoveroids are literally inviting more ridicule. No problem. We’ll be happy to oblige.

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

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13 responses to “Casey: Critics of Meyer’s Book Are Helping It

  1. Reblogged this on Hardwired and commented:
    Nothing like finding a new fan….

  2. “we don’t need to read the book ”
    Don’t worry – if anyone still has some doubts there are others who have read and criticized the book. That’s what internet is for – people do things so that others don’t have to. Like reading creacrap.
    Our upper IDiot from Seattle provides an excellent example. Thanks to the quotes I don’t have to read James Miller’s manure. Thanks to you I don’t have to read Casey’s manure either.

  3. Charles Deetz ;)

    I’ll side with the Pastor here, and not just because he actually showed his presence (hi Rev!). I too look at the attitude of the source in a case like this, as it reflects their agenda and their honesty. I think Nick’s arrogance comes from having the facts on his side, he thinks that is enough to win … hammering away, as it was said. There is a huge frustration in having the facts on your side, but not getting the respect for them. The IDiots have a ‘words are rubber’ smugness that I’d like to call them on. Their posting about the Pastor doesn’t change the facts and position of either side, in that way no one is ‘winning’.

  4. Thanks for dropping by, Pastor James Miller. For whatever it’s worth, I regard you as an innocent in this matter. No one expects you to render a scientific opinion about Meyer’s book. As for the behavior of the people involved, bear in mind that this is an old struggle. It goes way back, and for those with science on their side, the persistence of the anti-science movement can be very frustrating.

  5. Alex Shuffell

    If James Miller judges science by how he feels about the scientists’ character or how it relates to his theology or philosophy he will never be able to understand what science is trying to teach. Scientists, philosophy and theology do not make a difference to the facts. In Miller’s words he sounds like he does not care what people have to say, he looks at their logic, qualifications (philosophy of science does not qualify as a scientific qualification, only a philosophical one), their character and their opinions. None of this should to someone trying to understand science, there are plenty of great scientists who are complete twats personally, rude and cynical towards everything outside their field, especially physicists (I’m a physics student so maybe I notice them more often. e.g. in my second hand copy of ‘Inward Bound’ by Abraham Pais Pais says that he will spend little time discussing the sociological context. This passage is underlined in pencil and the previous owner had written “Good!” next to it), and few care for philosophy.

    If he has never invested much time into studying evolutionary biology then it would only be arrogance (Dunning-Kruger effect) that says he can explain it. This arrogance comes through a bit too strong when he assumes he knows how Berkeley teaches all of its students “Berkeley is, in fact, one of my fields of expertise, and I know exactly how Berkeley grad students go about their “work.””. He may be able to repeat what his biology teacher told him. I would like to see him try to explain it. He would be the first creationist I am aware of to understand it.

    The way he describes science shows me he does not understand the basics of that. It is not motivated reasoning, I can’t even see what the motive would be. Maybe in blogs and opinion pieces it may come across as motivated away from religion and other supernatural explanations, from this one post of his that is all he has shown to know of science. If he were to read what I have just written I imagine he would care more that I called him arrogant and stop listening to what I had to say. You provided good evidence to suggest arrogance on these two subjects, science and Berkeley students.

    If you want to understand the science Wikipedia would be so much more helpful then antagonistic reviews or blogs. If you want to know more about the fossil record then I can recommend ‘Written In Stone’ by Brian Switek or ‘Your Inner Fish’ by Neil Shubin. Both easy to read, I could follow them. Or just ‘Cambrian Period’ on Wikipedia, it’s not an explosion, it took 60 million years.

  6. So a reverend (I should be allright assuming a biased position here) reads the IDiot book Darwin’s Doubt…and the criticisms, then claims to be swayed against ToE because of them? Sounds like some puffed up fluffery to me. So he didn’t care for the way the facts were presented. Big deal. What about the facts themselves? Did they have any sway in his opinion? Yeah, lets ignore the facts and harp on the presentation.

    Then the professional IDiots claim some kind of victory? How asinine can you get? Talk about disconnect on a galactic scale. Can they hear what they are saying?

  7. “Can they hear what they are saying?”

    Possibly; but remember, this post was by the inimitable Casey Luskin, likely the dumbest of the DI flacks. If Casey could chew gum and walk at the same time, I’d be very surprised.

  8. Bizarre. I concluded some time ago that the pastor was one who could be quite safely ignored. He doesn’t have much of interest to say even in his area of focus. I guess it’s fitting in a way. There’d be no good reason to pay attention to the DI if they didn’t have money and an agenda.

  9. You all can huff and puff, but that does not change the fact that NOBODY has dealt squarely with the main points of Meyer’s book. Address his points squarely, clearly, without insults, and draw people away from Intelligent Design. I read his book and have been looking high and low for cogent critical responses. The only cogent responses I’ve found affirm Meyer’s central points. Thoughtful people are taking note.

  10. Despite Luskin’s prevarications, the DI would much rather read positive reviews of their books. They long for acceptance in the scientific community. Their wedge document sets as a goal the acceptance of ID as science, as a first step toward the social change which they hope to engineer. They yearn to produce at least one book which is plausible enough to drive that wedge into the scientific community and open the door just a crack. Any positive review from an acknowledged expert would be reported in 20pt font on every one of their web pages and blogs – they would issue press releases and hang banners on the outside of their Seattle walk-up.

    All they get is rejection however. So, this is what happens – they are reduced to writing tripe like this, pretending that the detailed critical reviews (which must be painful) are actually helping their cause. Responding like grade school children, desperate to be popular.

  11. Buho needs a dose of reality, something not likely to be found among the DI drivel peddlers like Meyer. Our new pal Buho has obviously not read any of the rather substantive reviews written by numerous real scientists. Actually, based on Buho’s comments, I doubt that he/she has enough knowledge of biology/paleontology/stratigraphy/geochronology to understand the points raised by Meyers’ numerous critics. Typical of ID creationist apologists . . . no knowledge, but lots of empty rhetoric.

  12. I know it will hurt but shouldn’t Casey refer to Dr. Matzke rather than to “the grad student”?

  13. @Buho: Pray tell, whose “responses” have you reviewed? And why do you think that those that took the book to task were not cogent?