Pharyngula

It really sucks to be Casey Luskin

This is just sad. Lately, Casey Luskin has been quaveringly protesting that poor Michael Behe got a bad shake in the Dover trial, and that Ken Miller misrepresented him in his testimony. Alas, this little mouse didn’t just get caught in a mousetrap — he got blown away by an elephant gun. Ken Miller has a guest post at The Loom in which he demolishes Luskin. I almost feel sorry for him.

Comments

  1. #1 Kobra
    January 2, 2009

    Almost being the key word in that sentence, right?

    Luskin deserves it.

  2. #2 Screechy Monkey
    January 2, 2009

    That’s going to leave a mark.

    And it’s only the first of a promised three parts.

  3. #3 Kel
    January 2, 2009

    Again, if Casey Luskin would stop saying stupid things he wouldn’t keep putting himself in the firing line.

  4. #4 MikeG
    January 2, 2009

    OK, I’ll post it (lightly re-arranged) on a fresh thread. Random Chimp mentioned he liked anagrams, so I had a little fun. Enjoy:

    Casey Luskin,
    A cuss ye link.
    Nails ye suck?
    Ask nicely us.

    Snakey clue is
    Auk’s icy lens.
    Kin says “clue”!

    Casey Luskin:
    “Clues Sink, ya!”
    Nay, lies suck,
    Ye slick anus!

  5. #5 Sioux Laris
    January 2, 2009

    “There is no [insult] in Elvish, Entish, or the Tongues of Men” that properly expresses my casual derision and utter lack of respect for such a Twainian ‘human being’ like C.L.
    Even to declare him a “puddle of useless, lying snake shit” or something similar both overstates my passion and implies Casey to be better than he is. And then there are those who PAY him and others that FOLLOW him!

    It apparently really does takes all kinds to make a world. And yet we wonder why life in that world is so often, and unnecessarily, crappy.

  6. #6 S.Scott
    January 2, 2009

    I love that Miller has to explain to Luskin what Behe stated:
    ” Unlike Mr. Luskin, I read Behe’s whole book — including the parts before and after page 86, and I took Michael Behe at his word, as you will see. …[snip]…
    ‘”Since each step necessarily requires several parts, not only is the entire blood-clotting system irreducibly complex, but so is each step in the pathway.” [DBB, p. 87]

  7. #7 Nerd of Redhead
    January 2, 2009

    Almost as good as slap down as Andrew Schlafly go from Lenski. Reminds of the old adage of digging holes. When you are in deeper than your head, stop digging. Casey keeps digging even after he can no longer see the top of the hole. I have no sympathy or respect for Casey.

  8. #8 Colin J
    January 2, 2009

    But will they actually read it, and understand it, and then realize that they’ve been smoked? Again.

  9. #9 Qwerty
    January 2, 2009

    Maybe Casey Luskin is trying to reargue Kitzmiller v. Dover before a sterner judge – his creator. Oops… I mean… his intelligent designer.

  10. #10 clinteas
    January 2, 2009

    Read Miller’s article.
    Of course Luskin lied and misrepresented,no surprise here.

    Question to the biology types here tho: Wouldnt you expect to find archaic,simpler forms of the clotting system in more ancient creatures than just some chordate and a lamprey? What about crocodiles,platypus etc?

  11. #11 slang
    January 2, 2009

    Ye slick anus!

    MikeG, you owe me a mouthfull of decent blended scotch.

  12. #12 Tony Popple
    January 2, 2009

    It is sad that the Intelligent Design crowd is still trying to fight the Dover battle, but it is typical of their approach to things. They were are not able to produce anything to counter the last sixty years of biological research, so they dug up Darwin and tried to re-open a lost debate. In the process, they tried to smear modern scientists with the failed ideas of the past.

    Now, they are trying the same tactic with the Dover case. If the best they can do is engage in these petty arguments, the Intelligent Design movement has “jumped the shark”.

  13. #13 Rev. BigDUmbChimp
    January 2, 2009

    squuuuuuuuuueeeeeek

  14. #14 Sigmund
    January 2, 2009

    I somehow doubt that we are the target audience for Casey’s messages. Unfortunately I also doubt there is anything Ken Miller could say that would get through to that particular target audience.

  15. #15 MikeG
    January 2, 2009

    Slang,
    Sorry ’bout that. Here you go. I hope this is your blend.

    And I hope your sinuses recover.

  16. #17 Jadehawk
    January 2, 2009

    you know… the term “clockwork operated plush toy” seems more accurate by the day. wind him up and watch him run around in circles… :-p

  17. #18 RFall
    January 2, 2009

    But will they actually read it, and understand it, and then realize that they’ve been smoked? Again.

    The question, as phrased, is meaningless.

    It doesn’t matter if Casey, and the DI folks, understand the argument–they’ve shown that time and time again.

    Their intellectual deceit knows no bounds, it would appear. Whether they realize that a given argument has been shot down or not, they will always remain fixated on the idea that “God done it!” If the facts can be spun to line up with that idea, great. If not, ignore, misinterpret or lie about the facts to your public, and move on to the next topic.

    I’m cynical that this will ever change. All we can hope for, I think, is to continue to press the issue with the gatekeepers of education in this country, counterattacking when the DI’s of the world attempt their next strategy, until we reap a crop of scientifically literate John Q’s who won’t fall for this crap.

  18. #19 Jeremy
    January 2, 2009

    clinteas:

    I wrote a response to your question that included a few links, and it got held in moderation queue.

    The gist was clotting is similar across all vertebrates, suggesting the basics developed early in vertebrate evolution. Lack of vast changes through vertebrate history suggests the basics work well enough, and there’s only limited pressure to adapt.

    Invertebrate clotting isn’t as well understood, but seems quite different.

    From one journal article: “In some species of invertebrates, coagulation of blood fluid has some analogy to blood clotting in vertebrates, but involving totally different proteins”

    The really different coagulation systems seem to predate the rise of vertebrates, and are probably where the “archaic, simpler” systems are to be found.

    Then again I’m only an undergrad, so my understanding is subject to correction by the more educated.

  19. #20 Dr P
    January 2, 2009

    Poor Luskin, he needs an “obey my brain” Squid http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?ref=fp_feat_2&listing_id=19078972

  20. #21 clinteas
    January 2, 2009

    Jeremy @ 18,

    thanks for the reply!

    So answering my question posed @ 10 for myself took about 10 minutes of googling:

    Serine proteases are ancient enzymes,actually already found in unicellular eukaryotes,some of the other clotting factors were created by duplication from other proteins,and clotting factors such as factor 13 are used in vertebrates for all sorts of jobs,e.g.wound healing and tissue remodelling.

    Link here:http://pandasthumb.org/archives/2007/02/behe-vs-sea-squ.html#more

  21. #22 spam spam bacon spam
    January 2, 2009

    meh.

    I read the article and it read like “weuyr
    sdfh jhsejd jsauwu wueyi” to me.

    I understand the premise but don’t follow the science.

    What I don’t understand is:

    WHY having an irreducible “thing” automatically makes the case for ID. (Can it just prove we don’t know enough yet about what we’re looking at?)

    I know there’s probably 4 bazillion places on teh toobs to find out the reasons, but maybe someone can ‘splain?

  22. #23 Longtime Lurker
    January 2, 2009

    Funny thing about the DI is that their argument is not irreducably complex, they keep losing talking points, but they still keep on pushing the woo.

  23. #24 Nerd of Redhead
    January 2, 2009

    SSBS, the defendants in Dover, Behe in particular, made a big of point of the clotting system being so complex it required a designer. This was refuted by scientists of course.

    At one point in Dover Behe went so far as to say no books had been written on the immune system and evolution to his knowledge. The lawyers who were cross examining him then piled about a dozen text books in front of him with titles like Evolution and the Immune System. Needless to say, this tended to make the judge look at Behe like he was something to be scraped off one’s shoes before entering a house. The Nova program Judgement Day, has a beautiful scene with this happening.

  24. #25 Ryan F Stello
    January 2, 2009

    spam spam bacon spam (#22) asked,

    WHY having an irreducible “thing” automatically makes the case for ID. (Can it just prove we don’t know enough yet about what we’re looking at?)

    I think what you might be asking is, “why treat the question of ID seriously since its conclusion is disputable?”

    If so, the answer is pretty simple: Miller is showing that the premise of the argument is deeply flawed, meaning that whatever conclusion someone draws is moot. One doesn’t necessarily have to agree with any conclusion in that case.

  25. #26 Dr Benway
    January 2, 2009

    Hi spam,

    An arch is irreducibly complex. Yet we see natural arch formations.

    So you are correct.

  26. #27 commissarjs
    January 2, 2009

    The Nova program can be found here:

    http://www.youtube.com/profile_videos?user=astev52

    Well, worth the time to watch.

  27. #28 spam spam bacon spam
    January 2, 2009

    I think what you might be asking is, “why treat the question of ID seriously since its conclusion is disputable?”

    No. What I am asking is…”why is it, that if we wake up and see snow on the ground, but didn’t see it snowing… what makes the appearance of snow without our having witnessed the process, an automatic case for ID?”

    That’s like…. crazy.

    It’s like saying in the absence of “x”, then “y”. (But when in reality, “x” is there but we can’t see it yet…)

  28. #29 Michael X
    January 2, 2009

    What struck me most was when right at the beginning Miller points out that Behe still hasn’t produced anything in the way of scientific research to back his claims.

    Thus, Behe’s argument is still no more than assertion that “without a particular component a system will fail.” That ends the “should it be taught” argument right there.

    But then when Miller brings up the fact that every point Behe raises (and Luskin regurgitates) is already refuted by work that ID’s critics have already done, well, I just had to sit back and say: DAMN.

    Not a good day to be a lying/stupid sack of shit. (And I don’t often use such titles)

  29. #30 jeffreyw
    January 2, 2009

    Way OT, but i was wonderin if you’ve seen this:

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/brookelynn23/sets/72157594255560457/

    (via boing boing)

    apologies if not apropos to the core theme :)

  30. #31 Longtime Lurker
    January 2, 2009

    Yo, jeffreyw, how about a tag on that link? Maybe NSFW?

    WHY having an irreducible “thing” automatically makes the case for ID. (Can it just prove we don’t know enough yet about what we’re looking at?)

    The whole point of “irreducible complexity” is to stifle inquiry. “Blood-clotting systems are irreducibly complex, no need to study how they came to be… now open up to the Book of Genesis, chapter…”

  31. #32 Doc Bill
    January 2, 2009

    I used to think that Luskin was smart like an “idiot savant” without the savant part, and maybe he had a plan, very devious.

    But, after years of reading Luskin, I’ve come to the conclusion that the poor boy is just stupid.

    Alas.

  32. #33 Frank Lovell
    January 2, 2009

    I (for one) am so grateful that the Discovery Institute has a spokesman of Casey Luskin’s caliber; here’s hoping he keeps getting good performance reviews there, I’d hate to see him replaced (no kidding!).

  33. #34 tresmal
    January 2, 2009

    My advice to Luskin: Stay down!

  34. #35 spondee
    January 2, 2009

    MikeG

    I can only resort to utter profanity in any attempt to describe how hard I am laughing.

    Robert Englunds exclamation from Zombie Strippers springs to mind.

    It starts with jesusf and ends with eepshit while uckingsh occupies the middle.

  35. #36 NP
    January 3, 2009

    If Lacie keeps backtracking, I wonder when we’ll get to the irreducible core of his arguments, i.e. goddidit.

  36. #37 Owlmirror
    January 3, 2009

    No. What I am asking is…”why is it, that if we wake up and see snow on the ground, but didn’t see it snowing… what makes the appearance of snow without our having witnessed the process, an automatic case for ID?”

    That’s like…. crazy.

    It’s like saying in the absence of “x”, then “y”. (But when in reality, “x” is there but we can’t see it yet…)

    If you’re asking, “Is “ID” just one big argument from ignorance?”, then the answer is “Absolutely yes!”.

  37. #38 ggab
    January 3, 2009

    SPAM SPAM ETC.
    The proper answer to your question is because they say so.
    Thats how they roll.

  38. #39 Ryan F Stello
    January 3, 2009

    No. What I am asking is…”why is it, that if we wake up and see snow on the ground, but didn’t see it snowing… what makes the appearance of snow without our having witnessed the process, an automatic case for ID?”

    That’s like…. crazy.

    Sorry, it sounded like you were faulting Miller in your first question, since that was your lead-in. You weren’t criticizing the people who actually make that kind of argument.

    Try this: you could also ask the inverse, “what makes the appearance of snow…an automatic case for naturalism?”, and the main difference between the two conclusions becomes obvious: we understand the process of how snow is created in nature, even if we don’t see it occurring in that one instance.

    Proving a premise’s validity in one instance strengthens the likelihood of it’s validity in a similar case.

    So, yeah, immediately leaping to the ID conclusion is crazy because the leap includes unfounded assumptions AND is missing the necessary prerequisite of proving its sufficiency.

  39. #40 10ch.org
    January 3, 2009

    It does not matter how much they fail. You just can’t reason with the unreasonable. There are not interested in truth, but pushing their un-truth.

  40. #41 BlueIndependent
    January 3, 2009

    They make it hard enough on themselves when they don’t read the available scientific literature. But then they feel they haven’t dumbed down enough, and consequently fail to have read even the works of their own apologists. Why is it sane people have to put up with idiots like this again?

  41. #42 Chris P
    January 3, 2009

    Thanks commissarjs for the link to the youtube series.

    Having now watched the whole thing I can only come to one conclusion – everybody on the ID side was totally daft.

    It’s really sad when people know so little about science. Hopefully biology can be taught to more people than it is.

  42. #43 JHS
    January 3, 2009

    This is purely rhetorical of course, but really, how fucking long will it take for people (most especially Americans) to wake up to and embrace this deceptively simple idea: science class is for science. Church, synagogue, mosque, temple, sacred closet, holy breakfast nook, etc, etc, et al, are for religion. When a student walks into a biology or earth science class, religion has nothing to do with anything because there is nothing scientific about “goddidit.” They can walk in, perhaps learn a bit, perhaps not, walk out and say, “that’s BS, my pastor(/imam/holy roller) said otherwise, with the magic, and the holiness, and the godly whatnot.” And that’s fine. (Not really, but work with me…). But they should be able to walk in to *science* class, and get science. They’re free to scamper off to their preferred House of Woo and have reason summarily crushed by whatever pretty stories they’d like, but anyone who objects to using pure science in the, er, SCIENCE classroom either 1) has a Christianist agenda or 2) has a touch of the latter tempered by a bit of wavering credulity. Can’t say which is worse. It all leads to hot, boiling, noxious stupid.

  43. #44 Dingus
    January 3, 2009

    #27 you are my hero

  44. #45 geru
    January 3, 2009

    Poor Casey. It’s hard to make a solid point when you’re argumenting against reality.

    Or making the points is actually easy when you’re just making it up as you go along, but then you’re in trouble if someone actually bothers to reply to your made up facts, as was demonstrated in Ken Millers post.

    Ken, keep on being awesome! :)

  45. #46 Emmet Caulfield, OM
    January 3, 2009

    The NOVA documentary Judgment Day: Intelligent Design on Trial is available internationally via the PBS website: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/id/program.html

  46. #47 Emmet Caulfield, OM
    January 3, 2009

    The whole shebang (not in bitty pieces) is on Google video too: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-404729062613200911

  47. #48 'Tis Himself
    January 3, 2009

    Even though SSBS was not asking this question, I’m going to answer it:

    I think what you might be asking is, “why treat the question of ID seriously since its conclusion is disputable?”

    The scientific method involves looking at a collection of data and making a conclusion from the data. Creationism/ID has a conclusion and then attempts to muster the data to support that conclusion. So Creationism/ID is not considered scientific by people familiar with the scientific method.

    Creationism/ID is a political question. For ideological reasons, a political faction called the Religious Right has decided that Creationism/ID is necessary for their political agenda. Most of the Religious Right are not arguing that Creationism/ID is scientifically correct, but rather that it is politically correct. The Religious Right doesn’t claim that quantum theory or the germ theory of disease is wrong because these two theories don’t obviously conflict with the Religious Right’s ideology.¹

    For the Religious Right, ideology über alles in der Welt (und in Himmel)² It literally does not matter if creationism/ID is scientifically correct. For them it is ideologically correct and that’s all that matters.

    ¹Both theories do disagree with the Religious Right’s political agenda, but subtly. Religious Rightists aren’t familiar enough with the quantum or germ theories to recognize the conflicts.

    ²The first line of the first verse of the German national anthem, the Deutschlandlied, goes Deutschland, Deutschland über alles, über alles in der Welt. This is usually translated into English as “Germany, Germany above everything, above everything in the world.” The German phrase und in Himmel means “and in heaven” and is not found in the Deutschlandlied. Incidentally, only the third verse of the Deutschlandlied is now sung Federal Republic of Germany’s national anthem. This verse is about Einigkeit und Recht und Freiheit (unity and justice and freedom).

  48. #49 catta
    January 3, 2009

    [nitpick]

    The German phrase und in Himmel means “and in heaven” (…)

    Technically, the German phrase “und im Himmel” means “and in heaven”. Fun fact: No German native speaker has ever said the phrase Mein Gott in Himmel, because it’s grammatically wrong.

    [/nitpick]

    Apologies. It’s just one of those things that are about as grating as Engrish. Schnell! Schnell! ;)

  49. #50 'Tis Himself
    January 3, 2009

    catta,

    Ich sprechen eine kleine high school Deutsch. And it was a good number of years ago that I was in high school.

  50. #51 druidbros
    January 3, 2009

    Can we stop all the sturm and drang?

  51. #52 druidbros
    January 3, 2009

    Oh and part 2 of the takedown is up now.

  52. #53 samson
    January 3, 2009

    I didn’t see a comment section for PZ’s poll crash so i’m posting here.Can someone let him know that there’s another poll(click on more polls)that needs to be fixed.It’s the old “should a gay marriage ban be created?” type of poll.The ‘ban’ is winning.This is on his most recent poll on the inauguration ceremony.

  53. #54 Dave Wisker
    January 3, 2009

    It is sad that the Intelligent Design crowd is still trying to fight the Dover battle, but it is typical of their approach to things.

    They are beginning to resemble Civil War reenactors. The only difference is, reenactors understand they can’t actually change history.

  54. #55 Naked Bunny with a Whip
    January 3, 2009

    Maybe NSFW?

    Agreed, and I’ve reported that Flickr account. Some of those photos need to be reclassified.

  55. #56 mayhempix
    January 3, 2009

    As long as we are on the subject of idiots and humor:

    http://www.bay-of-fundie.com/archives/601/something-we-all-can-agree-on

  56. #57 blf
    January 3, 2009

    Maybe NSFW?
    Agreed …

    Neither Casey Luskin nor ID is NSFTB (Not Safe For The Brain).

    (And yes, I realise N.B. van Whip seems to have posted his reply to the wrong thread.)

  57. #58 geru
    January 3, 2009

    Speaking of the NOVA documentary, I just love the lecture Ken Miller gave on the trial, I guess it was called “The collapse of intelligent design” or something. I watch it every now and then when I happen to have a few hours to kill. :)

    It is also available on Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JVRsWAjvQSg and it’s about 1h 57min long. (I’m guessing this is the video I’m thinking of, but I’m not sure.)

    Eugenie Scott also had a great lecture on the subject.

  58. #60 geru
    January 3, 2009

    After watching those two lectures, you can only wonder at how there can still be somewhat intelligent people on planet who are stupid enough to call themselves ID proponents. :)

    R.I.P Intelligent Design 1987-2005 ^^

  59. #61 Patricia, OM
    January 3, 2009

    Eugenie Scott did a post trial talk, at TED I think, that was hilarious. The gawdists show just how stupid they are if they want another trouncing like Dover.

  60. #62 OctoberMermaid
    January 3, 2009

    Casey Thinskin is probably gonna cry himself to sleep over this or blog about it on his Live Journal or whatever he does for every individual insult he gets.

    I can kind of see why it’s so hard for the Discovery Institute to get any research done. It’s so hard to work on stuff when you’re so busy having your feewings hurt. :(

    I’m not sure what Bill Dembski or Stephen C. Meyer do all day, speaking of which.

    I imagine Dembski just likes to stand on college campuses, doing nothing, just basking in the knowledge that he’s THERE, damn it.

    And Meyer, well, he probably googles ways to shrink his head even smaller. Sure, he looks like a goomba from the Super Mario Brothers movie now, but if he keeps at it, by god, he might resemble the final scene from Beetlejuice.

  61. #63 Emmet Caulfield, OM
    January 3, 2009

    Eugenie Scott did a post trial talk, at TED I think

    You’re probably thinking of her talk at AAI 2007. It’s very funny when she has the audience saying “fish with fins and scales; birds with feathers, beaks, and wings etc.” It’s on YouTube (~28 mins): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U3PnKswZtPI