Dispatches from the Creation Wars

Luskin’s Breathtaking Hypocrisy

Some of you may recall the exchange I had with Casey Luskin in early 2005 about ID advocates comparing evolution advocates of being Nazis, and vice versa. It started when he wrote an essay for the IDEA club website (this was before he went to work for the DI) screaming bloody murder about folks on our side comparing ID advocates to holocaust deniers. I pointed out that Luskin was barking up the wrong tree, throwing a fit about us comparing them to holocaust deniers while the ID advocates he admires and, now, works for have long been comparing us to actual Nazis, not to mention Stalinists, the Taliban or Pol Pot.

I listed numerous examples of such comparisons being made by prominent ID advocates like Jonathan Wells, William Dembski, John Calvert, Mark Hartwig and Phillip Johnson. What I listed was only a small sample. I also pointed out that it is far better to be compared to holocaust deniers than to those who perpetrated the holocaust. And I pointed out that when we accuse them of being like holocaust deniers, we are comparing the types of arguments used. Both ID advocates and holocaust deniers tend to use very similar arguments (claiming that their tiny minority of believers has the Real Truth, that their work is ignored or worse by the “orthodoxy” of mainstream scholars, that there’s a conspiracy to keep their views out of the schools, that virtually every scholar on the subject is wrong except them, etc), and it’s hardly unreasonable to point that out.

Shortly after that, I got an email from Casey. He claimed to be totally unaware that any ID advocates had ever compared us to Nazis or Stalinists, which frankly strained credulity a bit but I gave him the benefit of the doubt. He went back and edited his essay and added an addendum saying that he condemned those instances as well, and he said he was totally sincere in wanting both sides to stop such comparisons. He even waxed eloquent about his ancestors in Poland during Hitler’s time and interviewed a holocaust survivor to sum up how shameful it was to make such comparisons.

Well what a different 15 months makes. Now Luskin works for the DI and his latest piece of propaganda is this essay engaging in the age-old practice of poisoning the well. And lo and behold, it’s about none other than Larry Darby, the vile halfwit I’ve been bashing for months on my blog. Darby is a holocaust denier. He’s also the founder of the Atheist Law Center and he apparently testified against a pro-ID bill in the Alabama state legislature. And despite Luskin’s almost tearful pleading for civility a year ago, now as a paid flak for the DI he’s suddenly found that it’s quite convenient to tie one’s opponents to holocaust deniers:

Although the Alabama Academic Freedom Bill does not mandate or call for the teaching of the theory of intelligent design, Mr. Darby has been a staunch critic of ID all along. He has been a featured speaker and participant at events sponsored by the “Atheist Alliance” that included emphatic denunciations of ID. Most interesting is Mr. Darby’s appearance at the Alabama “Rally for Reason,” alongside Jeffrey Selman. The rally was sponsored by the Atheist Law Center, of which Mr. Darby is apparently past-president. Mr. Selman is the ACLU’s plaintiff in the textbook sticker case against Cobb County School District near Atlanta, GA.

Jeff Selman is also Jewish himself. Do you really want to try and tie a Jewish man to holocaust deniers, Casey? The fact is that Darby’s repulsive and ignorant views on this question have only recently come to light. The further fact is that our side has been blasting that moron with both barrels from the first moment they did. The fact that he is opposed to ID and so are we is totally irrelevant and Casey damn well knows it. But he has a job to do now, and ethics be damned.

Who cares if he has in the past gotten weepy eyed about how tragic it is when those in this dispute exploit the holocaust to score political points. And to make things worse, he actually has the chutzpah to link to his article complaining about such comparisons with this line:

Unfortunately many leading Darwinists have also compared skepticism of evolution to Holocaust denial.

Yeah, and many leading ID advocates have compared opposition to ID to those who carried out the holocaust, as well as Stalin’s starvation of millions and the butchery of Pol Pot. Casey admits that in the article he links to, but he doesn’t say a word about that here. Why? Because it would be inconvenient, so he did what all paid flaks do – he conveniently ignored what he previously admits to and condemns. And frankly, I don’t think this is a game Casey really wants to play. He works for an organization that includes at least two AIDS deniers and one follower of Rev. Moon, a lunatic fascist who has helped fund the brutal dictator of North Korea. And if we want to broaden it out, as Luskin has, to those who are just anti-evolution, that list contains all sorts of unsavory characters. This is a game he will lose, and I think he knows it.

Casey, I have something to say to you and you’re probably not gonna like it. Over the years, you’ve corresponded with many of us on the other side of the evolution/ID dispute. You’ve even met some of us and most came away thinking that you were merely sincere but misguided. I gave you the benefit of the doubt last year over this exact issue and I publicly applauded your willingness to edit your original essay, admit that your side has done even worse, and condemn both sides equally. But now you’ve proven that such benefit of the doubt was unwarranted. I don’t know whether you were ever sincere in the first place or not, but it doesn’t matter. What you are now, clearly, is a professional liar and fraud.

So the next time you feel the need to email one of us with pleas of sincerity and civility and talk nobly about how we can all be friends despite our disagreements, save your breath. You just ripped off your mask and revealed your blatant hypocrisy and your willingness to do anything you can to score points for those who sign your checks. And I think I can speak for everyone on our side when I say that we are just done with you.

P.S. Let me also note that Luskin also has his facts wrong. He writes:

Mr. Darby’s vehement opposition to the Alabama Academic Freedom Bill was on full display at a House Education hearing back on April 29, 2004. According to reports I have received, committee chair, Rep. Yvonne Kennedy (D), did not allow citizens to testify for the bill. But for some reason she let Mr. Darby alone provide special commentary on it.

It should be noted that Yvonne Kennedy, chair of the House education committee at the time, was a supporter of the bill in question and voted for it at the April 29, 2004 hearing. Why on earth would she only grant the right to testify to one person from the other side? We also know that when the bill came back up the next year before the committee, there were 5 people who testified against the bill, 2 in favor and 3 opposed (Darby among them). And in fact, at the Senate Education Committee that year, only those in favor of the bill were allowed to testify.

Comments

  1. #1 plunge
    May 22, 2006

    Ed, as a total side-note it’s worth noting that there is, or at least was, at least one prominent Jewish holocaust denier, so the idea is not totally unthinkable. Of course, it’s also worth noting that he seems to have basically recanted his positions, which is actually sort of interesting in itself (you don’t often see ideologues recant and reject their own past like this): http://www.jdl.org/action/action/cole_letter.shtml

  2. #2 steve s
    May 22, 2006

    The funniest thing I have to say about Casey Luskin is this. One day a couple of years ago I was savaging some idiotic thing he’d said, in the comment sections of Panda’s Thumb. He emails me to ask how on god’s green earth I got the mistaken impression that ID had anything to do with religion. Now, at the time he emailed me this, his IDEA club required officers to be christians.

  3. #3 PaulC
    May 22, 2006

    I don’t mean to nitpick (and I think this is not nitpicking) but this pair of sentences needs a rewrite:

    He’s also the founder of the Atheist Law Center and he apparently testified against a pro-ID bill in the Alabama state legislature. And despite his almost tearful pleading for civility a year ago, now as a paid flak for the DI he’s suddenly found that it’s quite convenient to tie one’s opponents to holocaust deniers:

    If understand right, the first “he” is Darby and the second “he” is Luskin. Darby is not a paid flak for the DI and did not write the quoted text that follows. Luskin did. I honestly was not sure until I verified that Luskin had written that text, although I was really puzzled about how Darby could have switched sides on ID so easily.

    I spent more time trying to understand this than I spent reading the rest of the article.

  4. #4 Ed Brayton
    May 22, 2006

    Yes, you’re right, the “he” in the first sentence is Darby, while the “he” in the second sentence is Luskin. Too many pronouns without antecedents = bad writing. My apologies, I’ll fix it momentarily.

  5. #5 Pieter B
    May 22, 2006

    [nitpick] “Flak” is anti-aircraft fire and by extension, strong criticism, e.g. Tom Wolfe’s clasic essay “Mau-Mauing the Flak Catchers.”

    A PR type who will say or do anything for money is a “flack.” [/nitpick]

  6. #6 Reed A. Cartwright
    May 22, 2006

    It is my understanding that Darby only became a holocaust denier when he decided to run for office in Alabama. I guess he knew that he couldn’t win on religion so he’s trying to win on racism. This was of course after he campaigned against the Alabama creationism bills.

    As a member of Alabama Citizens for Science pointed out to me, the creationism bill would have allowed holocaust denial to be taught in Alabama schools. Darby would probably support the bill under his current politics.

  7. #7 Heathen Dan
    May 22, 2006

    AFAIK, Darby’s already hinting at holocaust denial when his Atheist Law Center mailing list turned anti-semitic about a year or so ago.

  8. #8 The Constructivist
    May 23, 2006

    Nice essay, wondering if you have any thoughts on today’s racial realists like Steve Sailer or the folks over at Gene Expression who argue that leftists are engaged in “race denial,” the left equivalent of ID? In case you’re wondering, I’m not making this up: check out the comments on the two race v. racialization debates over at Objectivist v. Constructivist for verification.

  9. #9 sdanielmorgan
    May 23, 2006

    Poor Casey. I hope he has some salve to put on his ass after that spanking.

  10. #10 Larry Caldwell
    May 24, 2006

    Ed:

    If you’re going to call Casey Luskin a “professional liar” and a “fraud”, I certainly hope you have some facts to back up those accusations. If not, I hope you will have the decency to withdraw the accusations.

    Larry Caldwell

    P.S.: For an interesting scholarly treatment of the documented link between Darwinism and the Nazis, you may wish to check our Richard Weickart’s latest article on the subject, titled “Does Darwinism Devalue Human Life,” at http://www.csustan.edu/History/Faculty/Weikart/DarDevalue.htm

  11. #11 Ed Brayton
    May 24, 2006

    Oh joy, the ever-litigious Larry Caldwell has discovered my little corner of the web. The backup for my accusations are found within the text of the post, as well as in numerous other posts on Luskin’s writings over the last couple years. What are you gonna do, Larry, sue me too?

  12. #12 pimothy
    May 25, 2006

    I understand that Caldwell’s lawsuit against Berkeley was dismissed?
    Another Caldwell Nuisance Suit Dismissed

    Christopher Patti, the UC counsel who argued this case, was kind enough to send me a copy of the judge’s order granting the motion to dismiss. I have uploaded the order in PDF format here. The dismissal was primarily on the grounds of standing, not on the substantive issues in the case.

  13. #13 Larry Caldwell
    May 25, 2006

    I’m glad to see the continuing interest in my wife’s lawsuit against UC Berkeley and the National Science Foundation over the religious statements on the “Understanding Evolution” website, but your news is a bit out of date.

    Ironically for the fans of your side of the debate, if the trial court’s ruling stands, it will mean that a local school district, like Dover, for example, could post the entire book of Genesis on their school district website along with a statement that Genesis states a factual account of the origins of life, and no one would have standing to challenge it. So if anyone thinks our loss in this case on the grounds of standing was a win for your side, you might want to think a little harder.

    We have appealed the trial court’s dismissal to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, where we are confident of prevailing. For a good discussion of many of the reasons why the trial court’s ruling was incorrect, please look at Casey Luskin’s excellent post here: http://www.evolutionnews.org/2006/03/

    Once we file our opening appellate brief, I’ll be happy to forward it for posting, if there is interest.

  14. #14 Raging Bee
    May 25, 2006

    Yeah, sure, Larry: so-called “Christians” drone on about how we’re all sinners and scumbags, totally worthless without Christ’s salvation no matter what good deeds we’ve done; your Old Testament is full of indiscriminate killings ordered by Yahweh; and so-called “Muslims” openly call for the killing or enslavement of everyone who doesn’t share their belief; but it’s “Darwinism” that devalues human life? Mohammed Atta could have flown a plane through that blind-spot of yours en route to the WTC. Would you have even noticed?

  15. #15 Ed Brayton
    May 25, 2006

    Larry Caldwell wrote:

    Ironically for the fans of your side of the debate, if the trial court’s ruling stands, it will mean that a local school district, like Dover, for example, could post the entire book of Genesis on their school district website along with a statement that Genesis states a factual account of the origins of life, and no one would have standing to challenge it. So if anyone thinks our loss in this case on the grounds of standing was a win for your side, you might want to think a little harder.

    Ah, good ol’ Larry and his self-confirming prism. This is absolutely false, as tehre is no comparison between the Understanding Evolution website and your hypothetical. The Berkeley website does not endorse the positions of the religious groups it describes, it merely describes them. In your hypothetical, the school endorses the Genesis account. That would not stand up in court.

  16. #16 Dave S.
    May 25, 2006

    Larry Caldwell says:

    I’m glad to see the continuing interest in my wife’s lawsuit against UC Berkeley and the National Science Foundation over the religious statements on the “Understanding Evolution” website, but your news is a bit out of date.

    Well there are a lot of other things to keep up with, but thanks for any updates.

    Ironically for the fans of your side of the debate, if the trial court’s ruling stands, it will mean that a local school district, like Dover, for example, could post the entire book of Genesis on their school district website along with a statement that Genesis states a factual account of the origins of life, and no one would have standing to challenge it.

    I seriously doubt that’s what it means at all. Let them try it though and we’ll see what happens.

    So if anyone thinks our loss in this case on the grounds of standing was a win for your side, you might want to think a little harder.

    One then has to wonder why appeal the ruling if this loss is really a win.

    We have appealed the trial court’s dismissal to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, where we are confident of prevailing.

    Of course you are. Has a lawyer ever said anything different about an appeal?

    For a good discussion of many of the reasons why the trial court’s ruling was incorrect, please look at Casey Luskin’s excellent post (link deleted)

    Such arguments always look much nicer sitting in a friendly website than when actually uncorked in a courtroom. But we look forward to seeing how they will fare there.

    Once we file our opening appellate brief, I’ll be happy to forward it for posting, if there is interest.

    Thanks.

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