Pharyngula

Casey Luskin, smirking liar

The smug and rather imbecilic face in this video belongs to Casey Luskin of the Discovery Institute, who was interviewed on a conservative talk show, Fox & Friends. Watch it at your peril. Like the recent Matthews/Tancredo incident, it’s two people who know nothing about science babbling at each other.

At the beginning, the host says,

Your main problem with science books is that they take a one-sided look at evolution.

No one seems to notice that this is a show that claims to be examining a “white-hot controversy” with one guest discussing only the Discovery Institute’s position. Hmmm.

Luskin parrots a couple of Discovery Institute talking points, and he lies, lies, lies. He claims all the biology textbooks are completely wrong, and that all they want is for good science to be taught. His evidence? The first thing he talks about is Haeckel’s embryos, and repeats the oft-told canard that Haeckel’s embryos are presented uncritically — that they are fraudulent, the biologists know it, and they still use them.

Oh, dog. Not again. I have been all over the Haeckel story so many times. It’s not true: relatively few textbooks use the Haeckel/Romanes diagram, and when they do, they present it in a historical context. And the Discovery Institute doesn’t object to the obsolete figure itself, since they also castigate textbooks that use photos of embryos. Vertebrate embryos at the phylotypic or pharyngula stage do show substantial similarities to one another that are evidence of common descent. That’s simply a fact. The creationists are just frantic to suppress that piece of information, I guess.

The second piece of ‘evidence’ Luskin throws out is another one that pisses me off: he cites the New Scientist article that claims Darwin was wrong! I told you all that we were going to be seeing a lot of quote mining of that blatantly misleading cover — as I also told you, they ignore the content that says the opposite, and they ignore the strongly worded rebuttals that scientists have published. New Scientist has a lot to answer for; these creationists are desperately mendacious and will be flaunting that rag at us for years to come, claiming that New Scientist has shown that Darwin’s tree of life is all wrong, yet we still keep teaching it.

Luskin’s new twist is that “when you look at one gene, it gives you one version of the tree of life, and when you look at a different gene, it gives you an entirely different tree of life”. Of course, if you actually read the NS article, it’s about horizontal gene flow in bacteria making the root of the tree of life more syncytial, saying nothing about the variation you get when you look at single genes. Luskin’s argument is completely bogus. It’s like saying that when we look at the history of the English language and pluck out one word, it may have a different etymology and rate of change than another, therefore English could not have evolved.

Luskin has had this stuff explained to him repeatedly, and it never sinks in…or more likely, as a dishonest propagandist, he chooses to disregard all the demonstrations of the problems with his claims. How he can accuse scientists of peddling fraudulent evidence when he sits there and lies nonstop is beyond me.

Comments

  1. #1 Slaughter
    May 8, 2009

    You know he’s disregarding all of that. I’m sure he’s read the New Scientist article, too — if only to counter it if questioned about it.

  2. #2 Stefan
    May 8, 2009

    Arrrrgh! Luskin should go on the Colbert Report so he can get torn apart by a real journalist…oh…wait…

  3. #3 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    May 8, 2009

    Just another squeaky liar for the DI. He seems to have a problem distinguishing physical evidence from nonsense.

  4. #4 Brownian, OM
    May 8, 2009

    How come these idiots keep getting air-time when the anti-Christian liberal media led by the Evil Atheist Conspiracy (made possible by a generous grant by the Freemasons and the Illuminati) is under our God-hating, homosexual-loving thumbs?

    I thought I gave you strict orders to never, ever, ever, criticise Islam but hassle the good, God-fearing, family-values promoting Christians into the Dark Ages (which were, of course, actually good.)

    Someone’s got hell to pay for this!

  5. #5 Richard Harris
    May 8, 2009

    … one-sided look at evolution.

    Would that be the rational look or the magical look? Feckin’ edjits.

  6. #6 siflrock
    May 8, 2009

    His face is rather imbecilic, but ultimately who cares what this turd had to say on fox and friends? The entire network has no genuine appeal to other than the most jingoistic rednecks, and any thinking person who may have been watching was doing so only for a goof. I’d say we got our money’s worth with Luskin.

  7. #7 bunnycatch3r
    May 8, 2009

    He’s gotta being doing this to stay on the payroll. I just don’t see him as the type that lies for jebus.

  8. #8 kamaka
    May 8, 2009

    The smug and rather imbecilic face…

    All of these imbeciles are smug. The biggest imbecile of the lot, Bananaman, is so smug I want to *deleted* him.

  9. #9 Glen Davidson
    May 8, 2009

    Of course, if you actually read the NS article, it’s about horizontal gene flow in bacteria making the root of the tree of life more syncytial, saying nothing about the variation you get when you look at single genes. Luskin’s argument is completely bogus.

    True, but at other times he tries a little more complicated “explanation”:

    Some of these ad hoc rationalizations may appear reasonable ? horizontal gene transfer, convergent evolution, differing rates of evolution (rapid evolution is conveniently said to muddy any phylogenetic signal), fusion of genomes ? but at the end of the day, we must call them what they are: ad hoc rationalizations designed to save a theory that has already been falsified.

    Stupid as Casey Luskin, I know. But what would he know of matching up cause and effect? You see bacteria swapping genes, you find genes that came from another organism, and your “ad hoc” explanation is lateral transfer. My god, that’s so wrong, compared with saying “it’s like that because god made it so.”

    Glen D
    http://tinyurl.com/6mb592

  10. #10 Loc
    May 8, 2009

    I don’t know what’s worse; his quirky smile or his whiny ass voice…or his bold-face, chicken shit lies.

  11. #11 Glen Davidson
    May 8, 2009

    Here’s the link to the Luskin quote in #9:

    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2009/05/a_primer_on_the_tree_of_life_p.html

    Yes, it’s so much wanking around to deny the evidence.

    Glen D

  12. #12 OneHandClapping
    May 8, 2009

    Seriously, if you even pay 2 seconds attention to Fox News your brain will rot. Any network who hires Carl Rove to be a political analyst, keeps Bill O’really and Glenn Blech as full timers (or at all for that matter) AND claims to be “Fair and Balanced” can burn to the ground. I hate Fox more than I hate Bush, and I really hate Bush (of the George W. variety).

  13. #13 WarrenS
    May 8, 2009

    How he can accuse scientists of peddling fraudulent evidence when he sits there and lies nonstop is beyond me.

    Ya gotta go with what you know. Since he’s a nonstop liar, it is obvious that everyone else must be too.

    …sigh.

    Sometimes being a member of the reality-based community gets me so bigbangin’ tired.

  14. #14 Compo
    May 8, 2009

    As Bill Hicks said “Ever noticed how people who believe in Creationism look really unevolved?” Which eye do I look at when I’m speaking to him?

  15. #15 Alex
    May 8, 2009

    Organizations like Fox now see the opportunity (with a more librul guvment) to foment cohesiveness among their followers by pulling these kinds of dishonest, disingenuous tactics. That cohesiveness cultivates a loyal, engaged, and vibrant community that will keep Fox in business for quite some time. The religionists are in hunker-down mode and Fox is providing a venue for them to foster their delusions.

  16. #16 Greg F.
    May 8, 2009

    And don’t forget his incessant, grating whining every time it’s pointed out that he’s either a liar, a hypocrite or an incompetent fool…

    http://worldofweirdthings.com/2009/01/01/discovery-institutes-crocodile-tears/

    Just as an aside, how come every horrendous liar has to have a smug smirk on his or her face when the camera’s on them?

  17. #17 Barry
    May 8, 2009

    Look at That face carefully, really study it. Now, in your mind?s eye, add about 100 lbs. bodyweight. Presto! It?s Earl Hickey?s brother Randy! Oh hell, I just admitted I watch that show.

  18. #18 E.V.
    May 8, 2009

    What’s with the Groucho Marx eyebrows? I love the unfocused but intense stare though, it’s a dead giveaway for mental instability.

  19. #19 Jackal
    May 8, 2009

    It’s like saying that when we look at the history of the English language and pluck out one word, it may have a different etymology and rate of change than another, therefore English could not have evolved.

    That’s just a historian conspiracy. God created English when he created Adam and Eve. After all, the Bible is written in English. /Luskin

  20. #20 Geoff
    May 8, 2009

    Fox and Friends? Isn’t that the show where one of the hosts Googled “ignoramus” and decided it meant “ignorant lawyer”? That made my day.

  21. #21 Sven DiMilo
    May 8, 2009

    Wait…

    Luskin…lying?

    Lying…on Fox News?

    Are you sure? Because those are a couple of tough statements to believe.

  22. #22 Brett
    May 8, 2009

    We piss and moan all the time about this kind of IDiot, when is someone going to push their way in to mainstream media and represent the rational?

    “Aaaarrgggh the stupid!!! It burns!”

  23. #23 Mike Haubrich, FCD
    May 8, 2009

    It’s blatantly obvious that the Disco Tutes propagandist’s aren’t stupid. They know how to market and get their “persecution” word out. They don’t care about science, they don’t care about larnin’ and they don’t care about anything but the Wedge (despite their attempted disclaimers on it.) There are creationists who still say “there are no transitional fossils,” and that the fossil record demonstrates “stasis.” It’s not that they don’t get it, it’s that they do get it, but it doesn’t fit their agenda so they deny it. They have their conclusions, and damn the process that would lead them elsewhere. They are no better than Ken Ham.

  24. #24 Holbach
    May 8, 2009

    “Your main problem with science books is that they take a one sided look at revolution.” What? You mean there is another side to consider other than the scientific one? What a bullshit beginning to a discussion involving two science-dead morons. It would have been hilarious if they were wearing signs around their necks, one with “god”, and the other with “easter bunny”. Much was gleaned and learned there.

  25. #25 Eidolon
    May 8, 2009

    Faux News is no different than any other Right Wingnut media source. The viewers know that and FWIW, I have seen little evidence that there was ever any intent to be other than that.

    In other news – on the issue of torture – I see that an AFA poll finds that about 85% of their respondents have no moral qualms about using torture.

    http://www.onenewsnow.com/newsbrief/smallemail.aspx

    this is a poll that is in serious need of repair.

  26. #26 Anonymous
    May 8, 2009

    That was very hard too watch. My blood pressure rose quite a bit…

    This is beyond the typical nonsense of religion…this is just black and white, wrong, vile…I don’t even know. Words cannot describe my disgust at the state of things right now. Can’t Americans just look at something like mitochondrial DNA and grasp that the scientists are RIGHT? Can’t they understand that there won’t be “Evolutionary Law” any sooner than there will be “Music Law”!? Don’t they understand that the fossil record isn’t about showing EVERY stage of development but rather overall change!? Which it does quite well….

    RAAAAAAAAAAGE. People, we have to get through somehow….
    Your post has disturbed me PZ, but the frustration is necessary I suppose.

  27. #27 tweetybirdie386sx@gmail.com
    May 8, 2009

    Allow me to quote Steve Ducey: “When a Texas board of education approved objections to evolution in textbooks, the fight over how to teach the subject (evolution) should have been over. But some textbooks are still getting it wrong, raising the question: should the board be stripped of its power to choose textbooks.”

    Lol, welcome to the Fox News, ladies and gentlemen.

  28. #28 FuSchmu
    May 8, 2009

    AH! This kind of thing is so frustrating. You can tell creationists a hundred times that their arguments are wrong, but they’ll dismiss you and immediately decide to forget what you’ve told them.

    At a creationism/evolution debate a year or two back the creationist told everyone in the audience that evolution couldn’t occur because the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics states that things should be increasing in entropy and evolution decreases entropy.

    When I raised my hand and told him that this applies to closed systems and clearly evolution is happening in open systems (energy is assimilated by organisms all the time, etc.) his response was simply, “You evolutionary biologists and your “open systems”.” What the hell is that supposed to mean?? After this meaningless response he scoffed, asked me to sit down and took the next question.

    It doesn’t matter what you tell them. They have faith in the lies that they hold to and no truth that you tell them is going to change their minds.

  29. #29 Keith Douglas
    May 8, 2009

    I have to wonder – do these Liars For God ever feel any twinges of doubt or the like over their dishonesty? I can understand a moderate, doesn’t-contradict-much theism, the “confort theists”, etc. But these guys? Why are they so hell-bent on creating a theocracy? Or are they really that brainwashed, that they sincerely believe all the codswallop? I wish I could decide which was worse. Ultimately it doesn’t matter: PZ and others are here to immunize some of us who might otherwise be vulnerable, not convince the brainwashed or stop the lying, per se. But I would still like to know, in a psychopathological way …

  30. #30 Brett
    May 8, 2009

    @23 To quote another famous idiot then…
    “Stupid is as stupid does.”

    But FWIW if we’re not calling them stupid then here…

    “Aaaarrgggh the denial!!! It burns!”

  31. #31 itspiningforthefyords
    May 8, 2009

    Some kooks desire to ‘square the circle’ or to elucidate the ‘time cube’ or warn the world about ‘Frankenstein Radio Control’ (or whatever that FC Dec thing was – look it up yourself!).
    Casey Luskin is another example of Creationism’s obsession with re-inventing the ‘self-polishing turd.’ You can order it through Faux Noise 24/7. They promise to throw in a set of Ginzu knives or a State of Kansas Jello mold, but it never gets delivered.

  32. #32 Diego
    May 8, 2009

    “when you look at one gene, it gives you one version of the tree of life, and when you look at a different gene, it gives you an entirely different tree of life”

    Does he not understand the phrase “entirely different”? We do get differences in gene genealogies due to lineage sorting and the like, but what we don’t see is trees that are “entirely different”.

  33. #33 MosesZD
    May 8, 2009

    Faux Noise and creationists… A match made in ignoramus heaven.

  34. #34 tweetybird386sx
    May 8, 2009

    I don’t know who wrote this for Steve Ducey, but whoever they are, they get paid way too much!

    “When a Texas board of education approved objections to evolution in textbooks, the fight over how to teach the subject (evolution) should have been over. But some textbooks are still getting it wrong, raising the question: should the board be stripped of its power to choose textbooks.”

    Lol.

  35. #35 Joe Cracker
    May 8, 2009

    Hey, didn’t Jesus teach the creotards that it’s a sin to lie and deceive?

    Oh, well … I guess they’ll burn forever in the Hell they created.

  36. #36 Lowell
    May 8, 2009

    Luskin is a disgrace to the legal profession. (If you didn’t know, he’s a lawyer licensed to practice in California.)

    We’re trained to present the facts in a way that supports our position, of course, but we’re not supposed to Make Shit Up.

  37. #37 Iason Ouabache
    May 8, 2009

    This is exactly why you don’t send a lawyer to do a biologist’s job.

  38. #38 SoSaithTheSpider
    May 8, 2009

    Na, Joe. They have that magical “get out of jail free” card.

  39. #39 kamaka
    May 8, 2009

    Liars For God™,

    Keith, I think it has something to do with the comfort of certainty.

    Of course, deep down they know they could be wrong, hence the compulsion to convince everyone else their wacky ideas are true.

    they sincerely believe all the codswallop?

    Well, I think they do believe angrygod really can be pissed off.

  40. #40 Glen Davidson
    May 8, 2009

    It’s like saying that when we look at the history of the English language and pluck out one word, it may have a different etymology and rate of change than another, therefore English could not have evolved.

    You almost make it sound as if specific causes were involved with the evolution of each gene. You know, like natural selection operates at the gene level.

    Since that is entirely opposed to the stupid theory of evolution which is the only one Luskin recognizes, that just won’t do. And Luskin will continue forever to attack the stupid theory of evolution. Might as well, since all evolution is stupid, god said so.

    Glen D
    http://tinyurl.com/6mb592

  41. #41 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    May 8, 2009

    Hard to understand him.

    I don’t speak mouse.

    SQUEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEK

  42. #42 David Marjanovi?, OM
    May 8, 2009

    “Ask not at whom the chimp smirks ? he smirks at you.”
    ? smirkingchimp.com (early 2000s), about another smirking liar.

  43. #43 386sx
    May 8, 2009

    This is the most hilarious news interview I’ve ever seen. It’s like a parody video or something. Nice touch with the “Weird Science” factoid chalkboard. Amazing…

  44. #44 shonny
    May 8, 2009

    Remember once at uni being called ‘elitist’ for not watching commercial TV.
    Tried to explain to them that I don’t like to have toilet content flushed into my lounge room.
    And it wasn’t even septic godbotting involved.

  45. #45 Blake
    May 8, 2009

    Is it wrong that I kind of want to fuck Casey Slutkin? I mean sure, he’s a deranged lyin’-fer-jebus nutbag who obviously doesn’t have any problem stooping to the lowest forms of intellectual dishonesty known to humankind in order to keep people believing in the stupidest most dangerous superstitions on offer. But his goofy appearance and bushy eyebrows make me want to do very, very dirty things to him! I wonder if he’s ever been on the receiving end of a facial? lol

  46. #46 kamaka
    May 8, 2009

    Is it wrong that I kind of want to fuck Casey Slutkin?

    Eeew!

    Hahaha!

  47. #47 Cappy
    May 8, 2009

    Wow. Just wow. I read once that if you watch someone’s eyes as they speak, if they twitch to their right a lot it means they are lying. Supposedly, this is an indication of activity in the right hemisphere (the “artistic, creative” side) where one is “creating” the narrative one is speaking. I hadn’t put a whole lot of credit to this, but as he’s talking about Haeckel’s drawings HE DOES IT! Weird.

  48. #48 bobxxxx
    May 8, 2009

    How he can accuse scientists of peddling fraudulent evidence when he sits there and lies nonstop is beyond me.

    It’s very simple. Casey Luskin is a dishonest asshole, and he knows he’s a dishonest asshole. That’s his job. He’s a professional liar for Jeebus. Being a lying piece of shit makes him a lot of money and he’s too stupid to do anything else.

  49. #49 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    May 8, 2009

    squeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeek

  50. #50 bobxxxx
    May 8, 2009

    The problem is there’s too few scientists who are attacking Luskin and the other shitheads of the Dishonesty Institute. Meanwhile the Christian creationist Disco assholes put out daily press releases to spread lies about scientific discoveries.

    It’s about time scientists stop being nice and started attacking these subhumans who are no better than Muslim terrorists.

  51. #51 Q
    May 8, 2009

    It’s posts like this that I love so much, yet hate with a passion. I took the single biology class that was required for my liberal arts degree, so science isn’t my forte and, being an evolution supporter, that can cause problems. So, PZ’s science posts combined with the fact that I had a genetics PhD. as a roommate for 4 years after college help. Starting to be able to hold my own.

  52. #52 Anton Kozlik
    May 8, 2009

    In the year 2020 we can round them all up and banish them for ever to Texberta!
    http://www.withoutgods.net/2009-05-8-TEXBERTA-1.htm

  53. #53 Lynna
    May 8, 2009

    PZ, thank you for linking back to the Haeckel story you posted in 2007. That was some truly great stuff. Makes me realize that I need to go back and explore the archive of blogs you wrote before I discovered Pharyngula.

  54. #54 Rick R
    May 8, 2009

    Lopsided hair.

    Lopsided brain?

  55. #55 mxh
    May 8, 2009

    @#20… yep, the hosts at Fox&Friends are probably the most stupid people in the world. Anyone with any inkling of intelligence would not pay attention to what goes on there… so who cares if some DI idiot is on it.

  56. #56 Ryan
    May 8, 2009

    It’s like saying that when we look at the history of the English language and pluck out one word, it may have a different etymology and rate of change than another, therefore English could not have evolved.

    But, PZ, your analogy fails here because English did not evolve. It was given to us by God. That is why 98% of Americans are Christians.

  57. #57 Big City
    May 8, 2009

    Unfortunately, no one watching Fox News will ever learn any differently.

  58. #58 Doc Bill
    May 8, 2009

    Hey, hey, hey! Don’t y’all be mean to Casey! He’s only doing his job. Besides, he keeps a ledger of all the mean things people say about him. More like a tome. Several volumes, actually.

    We all know Casey does an excellent job of trashing evolution and demonstrates morals of a cockroach. Hang on, I take that back. My apologies to cockroaches everywhere.

    Of course, Casey will interpret what I wrote as follows:

    Doc Bill said:

    “We all know Casey does an excellent job … and demonstrates morals. My apologies.”

    Hey, Casey, how’d I do? Need a summer intern up there in Seattle?

  59. #59 Skeptigirl
    May 8, 2009

    Posted by: siflrock | May 8, 2009 4:59 PM
    His face is rather imbecilic, but ultimately who cares what this turd had to say on fox and friends?

    And yet Chris Matthews was unable to challenge Tancredo on his falsehoods that there is no evidence of macroevolution, that there are no transitional fossils, and that scientists are on the fence about evolution.

    The Discovery Institute knows the value of getting their propaganda out on any mainstream media outlet. Fox has plenty of viewers.

  60. #60 JD
    May 8, 2009

    Smirking, simpering, uni-brow piece of lying shit.

    Hey Luskin, grab on *this* tree of life you stinkin’ ass munch.

  61. #61 Lynna
    May 8, 2009

    Yes, Fox News has plenty of viewers, and I hear people in my neck of the woods repeating their misinformation all the time. You can’t just let it go.

  62. #62 Rick R
    May 8, 2009

    “I wonder if he’s ever been on the receiving end of a facial? lol”

    It’s risky. There’s a greater than 70% chance you’ll wind up bukkaked with stoopid.

  63. #63 astrounit
    May 8, 2009

    Let’s not forget that the Haeckel/Romanes concept was MONUMENTALLY more scientific than ANYTHING the Undiscovery Institute ever once proposed.

    Man, this is as hard to watch as the Robertson crap.

    This is PRECISELY the sort of jerk I’ve had in mind when visualizing what UI, um, DI people look and act like.

    I have to wonder now. Seriously: how the friggin’ HELL can an asshole like that draw money from wealthy people?

    There’s only one way. Assholes cheek up to other assholes as if there’s no other choice.

  64. #64 Walton
    May 8, 2009

    Smirking, simpering, uni-brow piece of lying shit.

    Hang on. As the proud possessor of a uni-brow myself, I take offence at your use of the term as a pejorative. :-)

  65. #65 JD
    May 8, 2009

    He’s so “bright-eyed and bushy-tailed.” This means Jebus has been pumping him with norepinephrine again.

    Or, just pumping him.

  66. #66 Skeptigirl
    May 8, 2009

    PZ: Oh, dog. Not again. I have been all over the Haeckel story so many times.

    So we can conclude here the problem is not a knowledge deficit. The more likely thing we are seeing is confirmation bias on the part of the evolution theory deniers.

    Sometimes it’s hard to believe confirmation bias can be that strong. And in this case, given the focus of the Discovery Institute on marketing their beliefs, it is possible there is willful deceit here. But even if there is purposeful deceit carefully planned in a marketing meeting, the vast majority of evolution deniers truly believe there is evidence supporting their view. And that comes from confirmation bias.

    While I don’t have the magic answer to post here just yet, the first step in problem solving is identifying the problem. The solution to confirmation bias is not the same as the solution to a knowledge deficit.

  67. #67 James F
    May 8, 2009

    #64

    I keep my brows trimmed, but Walton, my brother, let your freak flag fly!

  68. #68 JD
    May 8, 2009

    @64. Forgive me. This is an insult-specific incidence used to augment the impact of a hyperbolized, pernicious ferret.

    I have some residual lanuga too…it just doesn’t work for Luskin.

  69. #69 astrounit
    May 8, 2009

    By the way. Is it just me, or is anyone else who likes to save great Pharyngula moments see that now every file is no longer headed by the word “Pharyngula”? A perfectly convenient way to keep files easily searchable dashed like that?

    PZ? Have I missed something?
    In my sluggish ways and means, in case I didn’t notice it, what was the point of that again?

  70. #70 astrounit
    May 8, 2009

    Walton: “Hang on. As the proud possessor of a uni-brow myself, I take offence at your use of the term as a pejorative. :-)”

    But at least you aren’t a “twirp”. ;-)

  71. #71 Emmet, OM
    May 8, 2009

    A wag once quipped that if Dawkins is Darwin’s Rottweiler, Casey Luskin is Behe’s Attack Bichon.

  72. #72 Ciara
    May 8, 2009

    It’s amazing that the argument is still “creationism vs. evolution”.

  73. #73 astrounit
    May 8, 2009

    Skeptigirl # 66, if a “confirmation bias on the part of the evolution theory deniers” doesn’t lead DIRECTLY to a “knowledge deficit”, i’ll eat my computer.

  74. #74 inkadu
    May 8, 2009

    I learn something stupid about Fox every day, apparently. Here’s a link to the ignoramus/ignorant lawyer clip for those who also seemed to have missed the great political moments of last year like I have
    http://justorb.com/2009/04/28/what-an-ignoramus/

    And, astrounit… I’m not sure what the answer to your question is, but it does remind me of the index to a Gary Larson Far Side compilation. In the index, the A section was completely empty, so was B and the C’s, all the way up to the ‘T”s, where the index began with, “the one with aardvark… p. 27; the one with the banana… p. 4…”

  75. #75 astrounit
    May 8, 2009

    Emmet, #71, you made my day. LOL!!!

  76. #76 Kel
    May 8, 2009

    Why be honest when belief is what will save you? Lying for Jesus has the added advantage of converting the ignorant, so who cares if they are lying? Jesus forgives all but the rejection of the holy spirit…

  77. #77 astrounit
    May 8, 2009

    inkadu, I know that Larson cartoon. It doesn’t apply.

    I just want to know why files aren’t headed by “Pharyngula” at the start, that’s all. What the reason for the change was.

  78. #78 Monado
    May 8, 2009

    It’s important to keep plugging away. And here’s something good from Huffington Post: “Fox News caught repeatedly cropping, manipulating video.” I like the one where they took Pres. Obama’s paraphrase of a question as his answer instead of showing his answer, which was the opposite.

  79. #79 Rey Fox
    May 8, 2009

    “Hang on. As the proud possessor of a uni-brow myself, I take offence at your use of the term as a pejorative. :-)”

    He’s a werewolf!

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unibrow

  80. #80 Sven DiMilo
    May 8, 2009

    One certainly can learn a lot about young Walton here at Pharyngula, even if one is trying as hard as one can not to.

  81. #81 Escuerd
    May 8, 2009

    Blake @45:

    Is it wrong that I kind of want to fuck Casey Slutkin?

    I wouldn’t fuck that with a ten foot pole.

    It’d need to be at least fifteen feet.

  82. #82 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    May 8, 2009

    I wouldn’t fuck that with a ten foot pole.
    It’d need to be at least fifteen feet.

    I wouldn’t fuck that with Behe’s dick.

  83. #83 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    May 8, 2009

    One certainly can learn a lot about young Walton here at Pharyngula, even if one is trying as hard as one can not to.

    Though honestly I found his uni-brow comment/admission fairly funny.

  84. #84 Tom
    May 8, 2009

    You know a person is full of shit and is almost always religious when they have a big smile on their face for no reason. i fucking hate people who fake emotions.

  85. #85 Pierce R. Butler
    May 8, 2009

    No doubt C. Luskin lied every second his mouth was open – but the disinformation per syllable count for Fox Noise remained constant, and the hysteria level may well have dropped.

    Consider the frenzy and vitriol News Corp employees such as G. Beck are pumping up already in month 4 of the Obama Era. Consider also that Boss Murdoch is more than capable of longer-range planning even beyond the 2- and 4-year scope of US political tides, and ask yourself what the scripts for even the rest of ’09 look like.

    The only consolation is that Luskin & other ID creationists will remain bit players. Problem is, Rupert & the Repubs (insert favorite band-name riff here) will have the major roles.

  86. #86 rickflick
    May 8, 2009

    Let?s face it. Any large human population will have a small percentage of sociopaths who, throughout life, look at things with the selfish id and ego of a 6 month old child. They earn their paycheck through deception and have no idea why everybody doesn’t do the same but feel lucky they don’t. The evolution of cheat detectors in the rest of us allows us the opportunity to remove the alleles responsible for this antisocial lifestyle. Constant vigilance is required to keep the bell curve lumpy in the middle and thin at the ends.

  87. #87 Rob Davidson
    May 8, 2009

    All these attacks on the bloke’s face and smile are not helping anyone’s arguments. Stick to the ideas, not the person.

  88. #88 Pierce R. Butler
    May 8, 2009

    “Random Quote” synchrofelicity of the day:

    For it is the natural tendency of the ignorant to believe what is not true. In order to overcome that tendency it is not sufficient to exhibit the true; it is also necessary to expose and denounce the false.

    HL Mencken

  89. #89 OctoberMermaid
    May 9, 2009

    As slimy as Luskin is, I’ll always enjoy him because he’s such a pussy online and can’t take the slightest insult without weeping over it and making a post about how so many people are mean to him.

    Also, wasn’t he the guy who threatened legal action if someone didn’t take down a picture of him that was online? Seeing his face now, I can understand why. Jesus.

  90. #90 Kel
    May 9, 2009

    DonExodus2 with the smackdown

  91. #91 tsig
    May 9, 2009

    When I saw him I thought:

    Alfred E. Newman

  92. #92 Scott Hatfield, OM
    May 9, 2009

    How he can accuse scientists of peddling fraudulent evidence when he sits there and lies nonstop is beyond me.

    (tsk tsk) PZ. He’s a professional spin doctor, like the people who work for political parties. Fraudulent evidence, misleading claims, outright falsehoods? That’s what this class of folk was apparently born to do. We get understandably exercised that talking heads in the media who are sympathetic to evolution don’t understand the issue well enough to ask the right questions, to challenge these weasels. It’s infuriating!

    But (gulp)….at the risk of an eruption….this is kind of what the whole ‘framing’ thing is all about. In this arena, it would probably help if we had a less genteel and (frankly) intolerant alternative to NCSE, which tries to take the high road. There is a need for a pro-evolution spokesperson that will give the electronic media the raw meat they crave in certain settings. Sometimes, we should be fighting fire with fire, which is to say with mockery and caricature.

    For example:

    “Casey, if this is a matter of science, why is the Discovery Institute sending you to make it’s case? You’re not a scientist, you’re a spin doctor with a law degree, a lawyer who has no brief, no track record of legal success in this area. Why should we buy the argument your think tank is peddling, when the vast majority of real scientists reject it?”

  93. #93 SourBlaze
    May 9, 2009

    Mr. Myers, how can it be “beyond you” why Mr. Luskin acts this way? The answer is simple:

    Mr. Luskin is dumber than a bucket of rainwater when it comes to science. Simple.

  94. #94 shonny
    May 9, 2009

    Posted by: Compo | May 8, 2009 5:15 PM #14
    As Bill Hicks said “Ever noticed how people who believe in Creationism look really unevolved?” Which eye do I look at when I’m speaking to him?

    Doesn’t matter which eye, he is blind on one, and can’t see on the other.

  95. #95 Aseem
    May 9, 2009

    Casey Luskin was invited by the IDEA club in my university (University of Oklahoma) a couple of months back. I don’t believe in souls, but if they existed, the one person I would know has definitely sold his would be Casey Luskin.

  96. #96 Dancaban
    May 9, 2009

    Mealy mouthed. Needs a good slap. Or three.

  97. #97 Anonymous
    May 9, 2009

    Why are they so hell-bent on creating a theocracy?

    Because they’re morons. Another possibility is that it’s about power.

    Seriously.

    If they get their way and get evolution removed from schools and universities–they will be viewed as having a ton of power. They took on the big bad science-y types–and won! They beat da Man!

    And if they can do that, they’ve gotten the USA well on the way to theocracy. And they think they’ll be the grand poobahs of it all.

    Think of it as the Plato’s Republic effect. Remember those people who read Plato’s Republic and automatically thought they’d be the Philosopher-Kings. forgetting about the Guardians and the masses?

    That’s Luskin and the rest of the DI tards. They really think that they’re going to be the Philosopher-Kings of the Republic of Gilead.

  98. #98 Aquaria
    May 9, 2009

    Argh. I’m on the old computer and forgot it doesn’t have autofill. #97 was me.

  99. #99 Stuart Ritchie
    May 9, 2009

    Is it just me, or does Luskin shout instead of speaking? And they accuse Dawkins et al. of being ‘shrill’…

  100. #100 arachnophilia
    May 9, 2009

    No one seems to notice that this is a show that claims to be examining a “white-hot controversy” with one guest discussing only the Discovery Institute’s position. Hmmm.

    well of course. because if they had “the other side” they’d happily point out that there really isn’t a controversy, and these guys are just huffing and puffing and blowing a lot of hot air.

  101. #101 Jerry Coyne
    May 9, 2009

    P. Z.,

    Have a look at Bob Richards’ discussion of the “controversy” in his new book on Haeckel. The “duplicity” of the man is way, way exaggerated, and in fact may not be underhanded at all.

  102. #102 Eidolon
    May 9, 2009

    Aquaria @97:

    I have to agree that this is one symptom of the far right’s willingness to do and say anything to get back into power. Rush wants failure for this administration – so the Right can get back into Power. The Right has offered nothing of substance this session, beyond a lock-step NO! on any Democratic proposal. Look at the rising stars in the Repubs. Jindal, Palin, Tancredo, Pease – central to their effort is to hold the far right while creating some straw man they can run against in 2010.

    Defeating Evolution would indeed be a major feather for them. It is one of the best supported theories in science. If they could be “proven” right on this issue, then the rest of their control agenda would follow. I have this image from the film “John Doe” where Cooper enters a church and they are singing “Give That Old Time Religion”. That and the old time control by men, the old time racism, all that good old stuff.

    Depressing at times, I gotta say.

  103. #103 a_ray_in_dilbert_space
    May 9, 2009

    There seems to be a trend for journalists to present themselves as experts, or even to present each other as experts. Want to do a piece on genetic engineering? Don’t go talk to all those boring scientists. Scour the various national rags (what’s left of them, anyway) and contact a journalist who has already done the legwork and interview him. Somehow, I can’t imagine Walter Cronkite or Edward R. Murrow being that lazy. And of course the American people are dumb enough to lap up whatever the tube serves up.

  104. #104 Jors
    May 9, 2009

    Oh, dog. Not again.

    Just a minor spelling correction: In that context, I believe Oh, dawg is the intended slang.

  105. #105 Eidolon
    May 9, 2009

    What Scott said @92.

  106. #106 Free Radical
    May 9, 2009

    I’ve been honestly wondering lately, and would be interested to hear what the readers of this blog have to say: has there ever, in human history, been a movement as aggressively, insistently, astonishingly WRONG as the Christian right?

    I mean, maybe it’s living in an Information Age, and maybe it’s spending all their time in an evangelical echo chamber, but having performed a mental scan of every great ideological debate I can think of, I can’t think of any others where one participant did not merely REJECT an enormous, easily accessible body of evidence – they stridently and repeatedly denied that it existed, or ever had.

    Don’t take me amiss, people have been wrong before, but on a different scale and in a different world. If you were Galileo, you could count on the Church rejecting your findings as incorrect, or even denying that you had found them. You’re talking about a Christianity with a stranglehold on academia and the educational system. But if you were Galileo, and you’d convinced every other academic in the world that you were correct, and all ten thousand of you got together and amassed evidence for a century or so, and you made sure all that evidence was readily available to a largely secular educational system, you would assume there would never be one hundred percent agreement with your teachings – but would you assume that a mainstream movement would be able to say, with a straight face, that your friends did not exist and neither did your findings?

    Let me bring this into the realm of the concrete in case my analogy has gotten overcomplicated. I know Darwin expected to have to lay out his case and win people over to the theory of natural selection. I’m sure modern evolutionists expect a minority to be unwilling or unable to reconcile evolution with their religious believes. But the major talking points of Intelligent Design have never changed, not one time, not one iota, not since they were just called creationism or creation science. They are STILL saying no intermediary fossils have never been found. They are STILL saying no explanation exists for specimens of “irreducible complexity” like bacterial flagella. They are still saying, quite clearly, that no compelling evidence for evolution exists or ever has. Biologists have probably expended as much ink answering these claims in the last few decades as they have describing new science, and to call the evidence overwhelming is to understate the facts. It is conclusive. It is prohibitive.

    It is completely and blithely ignored by a mainstream movement that is winning converts every day, and I can think of no precedent for that in the era of modern science.

  107. #107 mvXfer
    May 9, 2009

    Notice how he cites “an article in the journal New Scientist.”

    By that he means, “just the front cover of an issue of the magazine New Scientist.”

  108. #108 Gingerbaker
    May 9, 2009

    “I wouldn’t fuck that with Behe’s Denyse O’Leary’s dick.”

    Fixed it for you, Rev. :)

  109. #109 Michael Ralston
    May 9, 2009

    @106: Holocaust denial, Anti-vaccinationists, AGW-deniers…

    I’d say MOST such “debates” work that way.

  110. #110 Free Radical
    May 9, 2009

    Michael: You’ve certainly drawn attention to debates that aren’t necessarily (or at least exclusively) the province of the Christian right, but they’re all completely modern. Precedent is what I’m looking for. I had intended to include, but omitted for brevity, your example of global warming and another of my own: the Christianity or atheism of historical figures. That the founding fathers were by and large not Christians, and that they intended quite explicitly to found a secular nation, is a matter of clear, unambiguous historical record; that Hitler was a Christian, and certainly a theist, is even more self-evident.

    These are all debates of the Information Age, however, and that’s what I find so fascinating. They seem to be of a historically unique character, and to have an astonishing memetic resiliency; they seem to rely on hermetically sealed intellectual and ideological communities forming, paradoxically, in an environment of constant data flow.

    I could cynically say that they rely for converts on people’s unwillingness to examine the available data, which they do. ID mouthpieces like Michael Behe can continue to argue that no counterarguments to irreducible complexity have ever been made, that no evolutionary links between species have ever been discovered, because they know their intended audience will simply listen to them instead of examining the evidence for themselves. This implies, however, that the mouthpieces themselves don’t believe what they’re saying, even AFTER examining the data I would call self-explanatory; and I think they do. That’s what I think is new, and that’s what has me puzzled.

  111. #111 Free Radical
    May 9, 2009

    I don’t mean to harp, but I think I have a more concrete version of the Galileo analogy that better illustrates what I’m poorly trying to articulate.

    When Galileo reported that heavenly bodies appeared to be moving unpredictably or around one another, instead of around the earth, and that they had craters and other features rather than being perfect spheres, he was striking at widely-held notions of philosophy and theology; the Moon was still commonly thought to mark the point after which began the Heavens, which were flawless and unchanging in their rotation around the Earth – not to mention being the literal home of God himself. Galileo’s use of the telescope and the conclusions he drew from it did not merely upset geocentrism – they implied that the Heavens could be observed by man, and found to be mutable and imperfect.

    Naturally the clergy did not like this, and while many of their objections were couched in the science of the time, that science was based primarily on philosophy and theology, two related disciplines considered to be the fount of real truth; at their root, then, was the notion that Scripture was truth, that deviation from it was heretical, and that empirical observation was inferior to revelation. Those were the terms of the debate.

    What people DIDN’T do was carefully pore over Galileo’s every word and then declare, straight-faced, that no one had ever empirically observed anything moving in the heavens. They didn’t carefully pore over his counterpoint and then declare, straight-faced, that nobody had ever presented a counterpoint to their argument. They argued that the evidence was wrong, or should be ignored – but they didn’t argue that there had never been any evidence.

    That’s what these modern movements are doing, and that takes an audacity that bears further inspection.

  112. #112 done with it
    May 9, 2009

    who cares? this guy and his little group and his ignorant little opinions are obsolete. we’re rapidly approaching a new elightenment, wherein fox news and it’s vapid followers will be obsolete as well. i’m done with worrying about these douche-fuck morons and am committing myself to only following what matters. if everyone else wants to listen to that shit and believe it, fuck em they can all wait to die for all i care.