Casey Summarizes Discoveroid “Science”

The latest post at the Discovery Institute’s creationist blog is long, tedious, boring, and amazingly worthless. But if you’ve been looking for a one-stop, all-inclusive arkload of their “science” in a single place, this is it.

The thing is titled A Tale of Two Mountains: Introducing Intelligent Design. It was written by Casey Luskin, our favorite creationist. His latest Discoveroid job description is “Research Coordinator” — whatever that might mean at a creationist organization. For some reason, they’ve never named Casey a Discoveroid “fellow.” To compensate for that void in his life, a few years ago we wrote Casey Luskin Is Named a Curmudgeon Fellow.

As we look at Casey’s latest, he’s dumped all of the Discoveroids’ Oogity Boogity into one gigantic lump. We won’t go through it paragraph by paragraph because that would be too much work, and we’ve discussed all of it before in numerous different posts, so we’ll give you only a few excerpts. Casey says, with bold font added by us:

Intelligent design — often called “ID” — is a scientific theory that holds that the emergence of some features of the universe and living things is best explained by an intelligent cause rather than an undirected process such as natural selection. ID theorists argue that design can be inferred by studying the informational properties of natural objects to determine if they bear the type of information that, in our experience, arises from an intelligent cause.

Yup — that’s the definition of their “theory.” Its terms are undefined, its claims are untestable, and it leads nowhere. Then we’re told:

Proponents of neo-Darwinian evolution contend that the information in life arose via purposeless, blind, and unguided processes. ID proponents argue that this information arose via purposeful, intelligently guided processes. Both claims are scientifically testable using the standard methods of science. But ID theorists say that when we use the scientific method to explore nature, the evidence points away from unguided material causes, and reveals intelligent design.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! Casey says intelligent design is “testable using the standard methods of science.” Yeah, right! Let’s read on:

ID is in the business of trying to discriminate between strictly naturally/materially caused objects on the one hand, and intelligently caused objects on the other. A variety of scientific fields already use ID reasoning. For example, when archaeologists find an object, they need to determine whether it arrived at its shape through natural processes, meaning it’s just another rock (let’s say), or whether it was carved for a purpose by an intelligent agent.

Yes, it’s possible to distinguish a rock from a stone implement shaped by a human. But — contrary to Casey’s implication — there’s no possible way to determine that the universe or anything within it was made by a supernatural cause. He continues:

Here is how ID works. Scientists interested in detecting design start by observing how intelligent agents act when they design things. What we know about human agents provides a large dataset for this. One of the things we find is that when intelligent agents act, they generate a great deal of information.

[…]

Thus ID seeks to find in nature reliable indications of the prior action of intelligence — specifically it seeks to find the types of information that are known to be produced by intelligent agents. Yet not all “information” is the same. What kind of information is known to be produced by intelligence? The type of information that indicates design is generally called “specified complexity” or “complex and specified information,” “CSI” for short. I will briefly explain what these terms mean.

We’ve been through all that before. See Casey Defines “Complex and Specified Information”. It’s meaningless blather. And you may want to look at Curmudgeon Computes Specified Complexity.

Then Casey talks about the “two mountains” in his title. One is a normal mountain, and the other is Mount Rushmore. Here’s where the genius of intelligent design “theory” comes in. Casey announces:

With Mount Rushmore, you don’t just observe complexity; you also find specification. Thus, you would infer that its shape was designed.

Brilliant! We couldn’t have figured that out by ourselves. We’ve posted about that splendid example of Discoveroid reasoning before — see Mt. Rushmore Is Designed, Therefore ….

Okay, we’re not even half-way into Casey’s essay, but this is where we’re going to quit. It contains nothing new, and nothing of any scientific value. But as we said at the beginning it’s, a one-stop, all-inclusive arkload of Discoveroid “science.” After reading it, you’ll understand why the “theory” of intelligent design isn’t now and never will be of any use to anyone.

Copyright © 2015. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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29 responses to “Casey Summarizes Discoveroid “Science”

  1. “The Universe?” So they combined biology with astrophysics?

  2. Were they always this obvious that they were Yahweh apologists? I seem to remember them trying to say that it COULD have just been aliens who created life on Earth.

  3. …when archaeologists find an object, they need to determine whether it arrived at its shape through natural processes, meaning it’s just another rock (let’s say), or whether it was carved for a purpose by an intelligent agent.

    When we archaeologists look at an object we apply the scientific method and let the data lead to the conclusion.

    When IDists apply their “scientific” method they already have the conclusions firmly in hand, and only need to manipulate, misrepresent, ignore, distort, twist, stretch, falsify, exaggerate, or mutilate the data, or outright lie, to make everything come out the way they believe it has to be.

    Bah!

  4. Coyote says: “When IDists apply their “scientific” method they already have the conclusions firmly in hand, and only need to manipulate, misrepresent, ignore, distort, twist, stretch, falsify, exaggerate, or mutilate the data, or outright lie”

    So, ah, may I assume that you’re not impressed?

  5. michaelfugate

    Notice how his first sentence is a what he would like the Wikipedia entry to say – it uses “pseudoscientific view” and he substitutes ” scientific theory”. ID is neither scientific nor a theory by any stretch of the imagination.

  6. Even as a lowly 1L, I am embarrassed that the law school system let this imbecile through. There are glaring integrity issues with Casey.

  7. Curmy you are correct. I’m not impressed.

    Those of us who follow the scientific method are not impressed by those who do exactly the opposite, all the while using the good name of science in a (failed) attempt to steal our hard-won prestige and to bolster their anti-science methods and beliefs.

    And I firmly believe they’d outlaw the fields of science with which they disagree if given the opportunity. Their efforts with school boards and the Wedge document demonstrate this.

  8. Wow. Luskin just royally screwed himself when he writes that “ID reasoning” is used by archaeologists to sort rocks from intentionally carved tools. Too funny, because that’s admitting his stance that rocks were created by intelligent agents is 100% unsupportable by evidence.

  9. Pete Moulton

    Once again, little Casey hath strained mightily, and brought forth a gnat. I could’vd summed up the entirety of IDC ‘science’ in three words, “There isn’t any.”

  10. “Casey says intelligent design is ‘testable using the standard methods of science.’ “

    Ok, then, Casey, we’ll play your game. Design an experiment that would falsify intelligent design. We’ll wait. It’s easy enough for you to say intelligent design is testable; it’s quite a different matter to show how.

    michaelfugate correctly states that intelligent design is neither scientific nor a theory. Hell, it’s not even a hypothesis! It’s nothing more than a religious belief. The whole world knows “Intelligent Design” is nothing more than a camouflage phrase designed to sneak creationism into public school classrooms around a US Supreme Court ruling. Well, US District Court Judge John E. Jones III (a Republican appointee, I’m proud to say) would have none of it, and ruled that Intelligent Design = Creationism in Kitzmiller v. Dover School Board, and that was that.

    We shouldn’t even be having this conversation today, but some very rich people insist on paying Casey Luskin, David Klinghoffer, Anne Gauger, et al. obscene amounts of money (even $1 would be obscene) to try to fool the public into thinking that Intelligent Design is weally, weally, twuely science. It’s RELIGION, Luskin — not science, not theory, not hypothesis, not testable, not falsifiable — just old-fashioned creationism.

  11. Interestingly enough, the idiot ID crowd catastrophically fail to understand that Mt. Rushmore was more complex before the carving was done, not less. To see this imagine having to record the type and location of every single molecule in the mountain. After the carving was done there is less information, not more. They truly are IDiots.

  12. Even as a lowly 1L, I am embarrassed that the law school system let this imbecile through. There are glaring integrity issues with Casey.

    Luskin has no integrity. In fact, “no integrity” is a hallmark if not a qualification to work at the Disco Tute. Luskin is a propagandist, albeit not a very good one, but he makes his bread being paid to lie. That he does consistently. You can bet money that anything that comes out of Luskin is a lie. Why he does what he does I’m sure would be the subject of a PhD thesis in psychology, Abbie Normal psychology, that is.

    That said, thank you, Attack Gerbil, may your pine shavings be always fresh, for providing another mountain of nothing for us to laugh at, oh, and laugh we do!

  13. Derek Freyberg

    Something is complex if it is unlikely. But complexity or unlikelihood alone is not enough to infer design. To see why, imagine that you are dealt a five-card hand of poker. Whatever hand you receive is going to be a very unlikely set of cards. Even if you get a good hand, like a straight or a royal flush, you’re not necessarily going to say, “Aha, the deck was stacked.” Why? Because unlikely things happen all the time. We don’t infer design simply because of something’s being unlikely. We need more: specification. Something is specified if it matches an independent pattern.

    But Casey, doesn’t a straight or a royal flush match an independent pattern?

  14. Eddie Janssen

    It would be nice to hear the Intelligent Design explanation for Tiktaalik rosae.

  15. I like to think about the concept of probabilities involved with explaining my being dealt A-K-Q-J-10 of spades.

    I would wonder about why the dealer would “intelligently design” that hand. Unless I could think of some reason why the dealer would want me to have a unbeatable poker hand, I would think of better explanations.

    For example, that the dealer had did a poor job of shuffling the cards after the last hand.

    Or that we are not playing poker, but euchre. Euchre is played with a deck with only A, K, Q, J, 10 and 9, so a “royal flush” is not particularly rare, and, moreover, it is not particularly a good hand. If I were dealt such a hand in euchre, I’d just notice it as just an odditiy, and nothing else worth explaining.

    On the other hand, I would certainly not think of explaining being dealt a royal flush in poker by postulating a dealer who was capable of dealing much more possibilities. It would be preprosperous to say that the deck was laced with a bunch of Uno cards. That would be the analog of going beyond confines of nature, of a supernatural agent who could do more things: a dealer who is not bound by the standard 52-card deck is less likely to deal a royal flush. Just saying that the agent is capable of doing more things is not going to explain anything. What we want is to restrict the number of outcomes.

  16. Christine Janis

    “It would be nice to hear the Intelligent Design explanation for Tiktaalik rosae”
    They merely claim that it’s been debunked by the “Polish footprints”.

  17. “As we look at Casey’s latest, he’s dumped all of the Discoveroids’ Oogity Boogity into one gigantic lump.”
    This pretty much summarizes the job of a creationist Research Coordinator, don’t you think?

    “when archaeologists find an object”
    they don’t use any variation of Paley’s Watchmaker Fallacy.

    “how intelligent agents act when they design things”
    Exactly! What means do they use? Which procedures do they follow? To design a watch, for instance? That’s what we want to observe – and what archeologists eagerly want to know when they find an artefact.
    Now what do IDiots never do? Observing how their Intelligent Designer (blessed be He/She/It) does those things.
    Like Docbill writes:

    “oh, and laugh we do”
    for instance when creacrap “arguments” show exactly the opposite of what they want to argue!

  18. When ID shows that someting is intelligently designed, let us say when an archeologist determines that something is the product of human activity …
    Let’s say that they use the ID concept of being intelligently designed …
    Then they are saying that the artifact is like a living (or once living) thing.

    If I am wondering about the likenesses on Mount Rushmore, and am told that they are just as intelligently designed as are the plants and animals on Mount Rushmore …

  19. Hypothesis (Prediction): Natural structures will be found that contain many parts arranged in intricate patterns that perform a specific function — indicating high levels of CSI, including irreducible complexity.

    Perhaps one of the scientists on this blog can correct my misunderstanding, but this looks like an observation to me, not a hypothesis. Scientists have already observed “Natural structures will be found that contain many parts arranged in intricate patterns that perform a specific function”.

    Arranged in the proper order, the existence of complex biological structures becomes the observation, and the hypothesis (not the conclusion) is that they are designed. Design is what needs to be tested.

    No test comes to mind.

    It is even difficult to make predictions from a design hypothesis since all things are possible. However, we can characterize the designer to some degree, based on what we know about the age of the earth and the history of life on it. (oddly, the DI seems to accept science in this regard)

    (1) The ID designer worked more or less continuously over billions of years making incremental changes to life, including well over two billion years on single cell life.
    (2) The ID designer created diverse and magnificent creatures such as dinosaurs and evolved updated them continuously over 165 millions years before destroying them – while spending only a comparatively insignificant amount of time on humans.
    (3) The ID designer, whether by accident or intent, creates obviously weak, unnecessary, counter productive and vestigial structures in organisms of all sorts, including humans.
    (4) The ID designer creates numerous dangerous organisms along with the benign and useful ones. These organisms regularly kill humans.
    (5) The ID designer, as a rule, extinguishes all that he/she/it creates. Well over 90% of life that has existed on the planet is gone. Extinctions are underway currently, and there is no reason to believe humans are immune from these processes.

    In other than the genocidal tendencies, the DI’s designer differs greatly from most peoples’ concept of God. Hamm, to his credit, see this clearly. It is amazing that the DI gains any traction at all in the churches in which they primarily market their “science.”

  20. @Ed
    Just a thought on your point (4).
    Our conclusion of design depends upon our correct understanding of the function of structures of predators being to enhance predation. We understand the purpose of excellent vision in hawks, their ability to fly, their grasp of talons, the tearing of beak, are to make them hunters, killers and eaters of prey animals. If we are mistaken in understanding that purpose, then we don’t have a reason for thinking that they are designed. If a hawk is not designed to be a killer, then we are mistaken in the design inference.

  21. “ID is in the business of…” Again unintentional honesty breaks through, they are in the business of selling a claim that defies fundamental scientific principles.

    “Scientists interested in detecting design start by observing how intelligent agents act when they design things.”

    Is it not held to be pretentious to imagine that anyone can comprehend the mind or decision making process of ones chosen deity? How many times have questions been answered with “You cannot know the mind of God”?

    Complete drivel

  22. ID theorists argue that design can be inferred by studying the informational properties of natural objects to determine if they bear the type of information that, in our experience, arises from an intelligent cause.

    “Trust us, we’ll know it when we see it,” or so goes their asinine claim.

  23. As I’ve said before, “intelligent design” is not a theory but rather a legal maneuver designed to get around court decisions which have gone against he Bible-bangers.

    If they had their way, those decisions, all the way back to Epperson vs. Arkansas (which in 1968 declared laws forbidding outright the teaching of evolution) would be overturned. Then the book bonfires would be lit.

  24. @Eric Lipps
    And creationism, in all of its forms, is not a theory but an advertising campaign for a social/political movement. “Intelligent Design” is an advertising concept in that campaign. Like all good advertising concepts, it is without substance. This concept is supposed to take account of the legal difficulties that the primitive form of the campaign took.

  25. Eric and Tom: I suppose it’s necessary to kick in some open doors now and then …..

  26. Tom S:
    “Euchre is played with a deck with only A, K, Q, J, 10 and 9, so a “royal flush” is not particularly rare, and, moreover, it is not particularly a good hand.”

    Totally off-topic, but I have to argue with you here. If you can get the bid, a royal flush would be an exceptionally good euchre hand. Only the left bower (for non-euchre players, that’s the second-highest trump card [the other Jack of the same color]) and 9 of trump would be out against you, so with any luck you would get all five tricks, but certainly 4. So if you got the bid, you would always play it alone to get the four points.

    Of course, if someone else gets the bid, then yeah — not so hot.

    At any rate, Tom, thanks for bringing fond memories of many, many euchre games played in the past.

  27. But but but, it is designed. Complex specified information. All over the place, There and there and maybe just maybe there. Oh, never mind.

  28. If I sat down to a poker game and were dealt a royal flush, what would I think?
    To think that the dealer had intentionally done this, I would first have to think of a reason why.
    If I couldn’t think of a reason, I would think that the most likely explanation is that the dealer was incompetent and didn’t shuffle the cards correctly.
    It would make me very nervous in a game when there were not good friends. I would consider just laying down the cards face up before the betting started. Is there some seasoned poker player who would make a suggestion that isn’t likely to result in problems for me?

  29. @Tom S: You would have reason to worry if you were the dealer, or were known by the other, less friendly players to be a good friend of the dealer. Otherwise, play the cards as dealt and explain to the others afterwards that it was God’s will. “You were blessed.” (I’ve been hearing that phrase a lot lately. How about you?)