More on Casey Luskin’s Brilliant Article

It’s worse than we thought. Yesterday we posted Discovery Institute — Casey Luskin News, in which we talked about a new article by Casey Luskin, our favorite creationist. It was published in the law review of Trinity Law School, which some might regard as, well, not the most prestigious or rigorously edited legal journal. Casey’s central thesis was that:

[C]ourts have struck down the teaching of alternatives to evolution because of their historical associations with religion. At the same time, he notes that courts typically ignore anti-religious historical associations with Darwinism. … The result is a double standard, as courts hold alternatives to evolution unconstitutional to teach, but evolution constitutional. … [H]e argues that religious associations of scientific views on origins science should not be constitutionally fatal, but rather should be considered an “incidental effect.”

Today at the Discoveroids’ creationist blog there’s a follow-up article on the same topic: Law Review Article Documents the Role of Anti-Religious Activism in Evolution Advocacy. Like the last one, it’s by Sarah Chaffee, whom we call “Savvy Sarah.” Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us.

Would an objective individual, familiar with the history of evolutionary theory, perceive the idea as religiously neutral? As I discussed [in yesterday’s blog post], this is a question that courts have not asked — even though they evaluate the religious associations of alternative scientific theories.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! The courts haven’t asked that question because it’s absurd. Science is a totally different enterprise from religion. It’s based on: (1) a constantly growing body of knowledge acquired by verifiable observations of reality, much of which wasn’t available when religions originated; and (2) testable explanations thereof. Religion is based on the declarations of those who claim to have received revelations. The world’s various religions have each had different accounts of the world they saw, based on unobserved and untestable supernatural causes.

It’s not surprising, therefore, that science provides a view of the world that often differs from the conflicting teachings of various religions. Additionally, science is the one worldview that is truly global in its acceptance, at least among those who understand its methods. The reason for this concurrence is that science is completely independent of religious dogma. It is science, not religion, that provides the benefits of technology we all enjoy today. Let’s read on:

In the [law review article we discussed yesterday], Casey Luskin examines the way courts have struck down the teaching of alternatives to evolution in public schools because of their historical associations with religion.

Yes, that’s because the only alternatives (creationism and its love-child, intelligent design) are entirely rooted in religion and therefore have no place in science classes. But they can be — and are — freely taught in churches or in classes on world religions. Savvy Sarah continues:

In a section that spans an impressive 76 pages with 380+ footnotes, Luskin documents numerous historical associations between anti-religious thought and activism, on one hand, and evolution on the other.

[*Begin Drool Mode*] Ooooooooooooh! [*End Drool Mode*] Casey has produced a truly massive compilation! It’s true that the theory of evolution is contrary to the declarations of various religious about the supernatural creation of life and humanity. So what? As we’ve pointed out before, science also disagrees with other religious dogmas — see The Earth Is Flat! and also The Earth Does Not Move!, and also How Old Is The Creationists’ Universe?. According to Casey’s argument, courts should be suspicious of not just evolution, but of every science that conflicts with the teachings of religion. Here’s more:

From the beginning of the idea’s history, evolution has been linked to atheism: [big quote from Casey’s article]. … Luskin writes, “innumerable other examples could be given of scientists and academics who similarly use evolution to oppose religion.”

Gasp! If Casey’s scholarship is accurate, that means the courts should be hostile to virtually all of science — especially astronomy. Atheists often mention Galileo’s conflict with the Church over the solar system, and they giggle at the idea that the universe was created 6,000 years ago.

Moving along, Savvy Sarah gives us an ark-load of quotes from Casey’s article, which we’ll skip. Then she says:

Douglas Futuyma notes in his college textbook Evolutionary Biology, “By coupling undirected, purposeless variation to the blind, uncaring process of natural selection, Darwin made theological or spiritual explanations of life superfluous.” Luskin notes that one of Kenneth Miller’s textbooks leaves readers “with a starkly anti-theistic passage on the implications of evolution”: [alleged quote from Miller]. Furthermore, atheistic organizations openly advocate for evolution.

That certainly casts doubt on evolution! Another excerpt:

Popular media repeats these anti-religious associations with evolution — from the well-known Inherit the Wind to the TV series Cosmos, whose first edition featured Carl Sagan, and second Neil deGrasse Tyson. Millions of people watched these series, which promoted the public perception that an evolutionary viewpoint opposes religion.

Why have the courts refused to acknowledge this? Casey’s research has really uncovered something! On with the article:

Luskin goes into much more depth in his article, documenting links between evolution and atheistic advocacy. Since the inception of the theory, many have coupled evolution with anti-religious rhetoric. Yet courts ignore these connections — while at the same time declaring alternative theories are unconstitutional to teach because of their religious associations.

It’s so unfair! And now we come to the end:

In the next post, I will address how Luskin recommends courts respond to connections between atheism and evolution advocacy: not by declaring evolution unconstitutional to teach in public schools, but by reevaluating tests that examine the religious or anti-religious associations of origins science theories.

Keep ’em coming, Savvy Sarah! This is great stuff!

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15 responses to “More on Casey Luskin’s Brilliant Article

  1. michaelfugate

    Would ID be any better off, if its inclusion in public school curricula were dependent on its scientific merit?

  2. waldteufel

    Supercilious Sarah presents us with the eternal question: How does one argue with stupidity layered upon ignorance?

  3. Eric Lipps

    Mr. Luskin takes a, let’s say, creative approach by arguing in effect that opposition to religion is itself a “religious association” and therefore teaching evolution, which he insists springs form such opposition, is unconstitutional.

    It’s hard to believe that he doesn’t know what the First Amendment says and how courts have interpreted it for the past 200 years: specifically, that he doesn’t know that courts have “struck down the teaching of alternatives to evolution in public schools” because such “alternatives” are associated with specific religious doctrines, which under the establishment clause cannot be taught at taxpayer expense.

    Therefore, what he’s saying isn’t merely an expression of ignorance; it’s an attempt at intellectual fraud.

  4. docbill1351

    “Intellectual fraud” is the Attack Gerbil’s middle name. He’s been engaged in a systematic failure of scholarship for a decade. I suspect if the Gerb ever inadvertently tells the truth it gives him a migraine. One notes that Gerb has never worked as a lawyer even though he passed what was obviously a very low bar. I doubt the Gerb has the thinnest shred of moral character to even be a bad lawyer. Why a person would want to ruin their life like that and not be named Klinkleklankle is beyond me.

  5. I must complain.
    You and many of your correspondents continue to give the evolution-deniers a pass on “alternatives to evolution”.
    No one has offered an alternative to evolution.
    It is pointless to argue about the alternatives, the evidence, how they relate to religion, whether they should be taught in K-12, whatever … When there aren’t any alternatives.

  6. docbill1351 says: “One notes that Gerb has never worked as a lawyer”

    If he did, he would know that law review articles aren’t even mentioned in court cases. I’m told that only judicial decisions are cited as authority. The one exception is the Right to privacy, which was first described in a Harvard Law Review article, and one of the authors was Louis Brandeis. An article by Casey in the Trinity Law Review doesn’t mean anything. It may inspire some desperate creationist lawyer to try Casey’s argument in court, but that would be laughable.

  7. Derek Freyberg

    Curmudgeon, law review articles are mentioned in court cases, but very rarely. Laws control, unless they are challenged, in which case the constitution may be invoked to determine the constitutionality of the law; cases (precedent) guide application of the law to the case being decided, at least in common law jurisdictions like the US. Books and law reviews are far less frequently cited, since they are not controlling: if they are cited, it’s because they are believed to be a compilation of best current thinking in the field, or possibly lead in an area in which the law is as yet undecided or in which thinking is changing. So they tend to be cited in fields of constitutional implication – privacy would be a good example. You’re unlikely to see a law review article cited in a burglary case, but you might in a murder case where there’s a possible death sentence. And you might see a law review article cited in a First Amendment case, but I don’t think Casey’s is likely to be cited or prove convincing if it were.

  8. The practical issue is that if this ever came to a trial, the science side would produce any number of scientists of various faiths to testify that science is, in fact, neutral with respect to religion. Casey can write whatever he likes in a religious school’s journal, but he can’t change the facts.

    Of course, ID has never been about facts. It’s always been about legislatures, courtrooms, and changing culture. I’ve never counted, but I am quite sure that DI has more lawyers and bloggers – by a great margin – than it has anyone engaged in research. Come to think of it, has any outsider ever actually been inside their purported research facility? Is there any objective description of it online? (that’s a real question – I don’t know the answer)

  9. I find it strange that they use Kenneth Millar as an example when he one of the few top tier biologists that is still a Christian.

  10. @Flakey
    I don’t know, but I would make a guess that there are a quite a few “top tier” biologists who don’t care to make public their views on religion. Or on politics, literature, music, sports, …

  11. Charles Deetz ;)

    @TomS Yep, “alternatives to evolution” is a pretty empty thing. I am continually stunned by how obvious IDers are about opposing evolution, yet I can’t see how ID would work without evolution. To me, at some point ID needs evolution as a mechanism. This frustrates me, or I just don’t get how much ‘poof’ is in ID theory.

  12. Ed is right. The Scopes trial defence even had *theologians* prepared to testify on the compatibility of evolution and religion.

    But I fear you have all missed the point. Casey is completely correctin. Schools should not be teaching that outer space is a near vacuum that cannot support life. This atheistic dogma is clearly incompatible with the religious belief that individuals, from Enoch and Elijah to Jesus and (some say) Mary, were physically taken up alive into heaven

  13. docbill1351

    Sadly, I know a biologist who is a Dallas Cowboys fan.

    I know, right? Makes me want to go out to the back yard, look up at the night sky, into the infinity and shout, “WHYYYYY??????”

  14. A slow wit like me can’t keep up with you, Curmudgeon. Not to repeat word-for-word my comment on your last post, I’ll say that this looks like work that Luskin did in preparation for COPE et al. v. Kansas State Board of Education (2013).

    The federal district court ruled that none among COPE et al. had standing, and dismissed the case without addressing its merits. The appeals court did the same, but included a nifty footnote:

    Although we do not reach the merits, we note that COPE asks the court to implement a requirement identical to the one imposed by the statute in Edwards. COPE frames the materialism of evolutionary theory as a religious belief competing with COPE’s own teleological religion, and demands that if evolution is taught, teleological origins theories must also be taught. The Edwards Court expressly held such a requirement unconstitutional.

  15. Excellent, Tom English. I didn’t see the connection until you pointed it out.