Luskin on Judge Jones, Round 2

Casey Luskin has responded, apparently, to my post about his seemingly conspiratorial question for Judge Jones. I noted that he had clearly implied that Judge Jones had allowed someone else to write his ruling. The only alternative was that Luskin was making a terrible analogy. Now he says the latter was correct:

[Note added 5/5/06: Apparently this question has caused some controversy so I want to clarify: This post was a parody. My intent is not to imply that Judge Jones plagiarized, nor do I think he did. The point was that the arguments in his decision so-closely resembled those of the plaintiffs so much that it seems like he uncritically accepted anything they said-even patently, demonstrably false statements akin to "ID has published no peer-reviewed literature"-a claim which he made over 5 times in the decision, and is easily refuted by the existence of various papers. If the plaintiffs said it, then it went uncritically into the decision. The "pre-publication" drafts part was simply a take off of all the big deal made about pre-publication drafts of Pandas during the trial. Of course I do not think Judge Jones plagiarized. I'm sure he wrote his own decision. But it's clear where he took his arguments from.]

This explanation only raises more problems with his claim. First, this claim about peer reviewed ID articles is a red herring. Clearly, Judge Jones is referring to the fact that there is no research published anywhere that supports ID as a model. In fact, DI fellow Michael Behe admitted as much under oath. From the ruling itself:

On cross-examination, Professor Behe admitted that: "There are no peer reviewed articles by anyone advocating for intelligent design supported by pertinent experiments or calculations which provide detailed rigorous accounts of how intelligent design of any biological system occurred." (22:22-23 (Behe)). Additionally, Professor Behe conceded that there are no peer-reviewed papers supporting his claims that complex molecular systems, like the bacterial flagellum, the blood-clotting cascade, and the immune system, were intelligently designed. (21:61-62 (complex molecular systems), 23:4-5 (immune system), and 22:124-25 (blood-clotting cascade) (Behe)). In that regard, there are no peer-reviewed articles supporting Professor Behe's argument that certain complex molecular structures are "irreducibly complex."17 (21:62, 22:124-25 (Behe)). In addition to failing to produce papers in peer-reviewed journals, ID also features no scientific research or testing.

The list of articles that Luskin refers to easily refuting this claim does nothing of the sort. The first three are not from peer reviewed journals, but from a popular book, Darwinism, Design, & Public Education, a book edited by two DI fellows, Meyer and Campbell. The fourth is Meyer's article in the Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington, an article that contains no research whatsoever but only a mishmash of claims taken straight from the creationist literature. And the board of that journal has publicly disavowed the article because the editor, Richard Sternberg, went outside the usual review procedures to make sure the article got in the journal (in his last issue as editor - how convenient, eh?).

The Lonnig paper argues only that Behe's IC notion and Dembski's CSI notion have potential applications - but of course, no one has ever actually attempted to apply them to the real world. The article does not argue for ID, nor does it even define an ID model that could be argued for. It also contains no research whatsoever. It's just another ID advocate claiming that their arguments will, sometime in the future, lead to some research that might confirm those ideas. Wake us up when that happens; more predictions of the same mean nothing.

And among the books listed as being allegedly peer reviewed is Behe's own Darwin's Black Box - but off course the Dover trial established the fact that the "peer review" that book underwent was a joke. Of the three reviewers we know of for the book, two of them thought it was absurd and have written so, while a third admitted that he never even saw the book, only had a 10 minute conversation with the editor about whether it would sell. This is peer review in the ID world.

As for the rest of Luskin's argument, it is patently absurd. Now he claims that while Judge Jones did write his own ruling it's "clear where he took his arguments from" - meaning from the briefs filed by the plaintiffs. Well gee, that's a shock. Both sides file briefs on every single legal argument in a case. The judge, in deciding the case, has to decide which one is right - meaning he has to agree with one of them in the end. Is it really a shock, then, that the judge's ruling would concur with the arguments of one side or the other? If the judgement were reversed, his ruling would have taken up the arguments of the defense. Do you suppose Luskin would be bothered by that? Of course not. He's bothered only because his side lost, and this is a silly attempt to distract attention from that fact. A judge's ruling must concur with the arguments of one side or the other. This is only an issue for those attempting frantically to distract from the real issue.


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Poor wi'll Casey Luskin.

The money's gonna dry up, my boy. Even hardcore ideologues don't like funding losers, and the DI now has a big, ominous 'L' stenciled bright and shiny red on its forehead, compliments of Judge Jones. The guy better start thinking about a body guard.

Could it really be the demise of the DI's creationist wing? Maybe not, but I'll bet all the senior fellows are updating their resumes anticipating their next free meal ticket.

Hell, Berlinski is probably already scouring retirement homes upstate New York looking for dying widows to woo. Behe is thanking God (oh, I mean the unspecified "intelligent designer") he's got a good job at a respected university, even if in his own department he is not. Jonathan Wells is probably looking for a Moonie congregation to fleece, and Dembski is already picking up paychecks as a "researcher" at yet another Bible-thumping seminary.

And Casey? Well, I suspect for now he's just glad to be snuggled up each night in Stephen Meyer's sock drawer. It's a cold, cruel world out there, Casey. Keep the bilge pumps 'a running while you can.

Note to Luskin: when your parody is indistinguishable from the rest of your work, it is time to throw in the towel.

My bet? That the Van Adels and the Ahmansons of the Right will start to put their money elsewhere. Focusing on the "Christian Nation" bit, some potent propaganda fide, is always attractive to these types. Also, the YECs have a new Museum coming up in KY, so why not spread the love a little to the more honest creationists?

I have always respected one thing about the non-ID creationists -- their honesty about motives, and in some cases, their views on theonomy: they admit up front, despite their lack of intellectual coherence to make their case, to their clear and present motives. The Janus-esque Disco Institute doesn't.

I keep wondering when Luskin and the rest of the DI are going to actually read Jones' decision. About 90% of what they say about it is refuted within the text of the decision itself, if only they'd look.

This is not surprising since we're talking about the DI's livelyhood here. They've correctly recognized this as as political struggle, not a scientific one. This is seen from the pre-trial commentary and their focus on how they had stacked the deck politically in the favor; a Bush appointee and all. No talk about how they were going to finally prove ID's scientific value. After they fell on their face and lost they have done what political losers do; smear the people who brought them down. Jones has set a precedent, that ID is creationism renamed, which would be extremely difficult to overturn. Therefore they are fearing they will become like Creation Scientists and fall into obscurity while the new creationism steps forward claiming they are real science this time. Of course while creation scientists might have no political influence today they still have a great deal of religious influence and raise money for their "research" just the same. I think what we are witnessing with the smear of Jones are the final whimpers of a group watching their political influence die away.

keep wondering when Luskin and the rest of the DI are going to actually read Jones' decision. About 90% of what they say about it is refuted within the text of the decision itself, if only they'd look.

I'm fairly sure that Luskin et al. have read the decision, they're just counting on the choir to which they're preaching not bothering to read it.

A judge's ruling must concur with the arguments of one side or the other.

As if it would make Mr. Luskin happier if the judge went around concurring with a bunch of extraneous stuff. Lol.

Not only are the Campbell and Meyer book contributions NOT peer reviewed, the book is a book on the rhetoric of the movement, having nothing whatever to do with science.

Even at that there is a serious, fatal flaw in the Campbell/Meyer book -- good rhetoric is concerned with accuracy, to find truth. Oddly, that concern is not deal with adequately, if at all, in the entire collection. The most important part of rhetoric and rhetorical criticism doesn't play any significant role in the rhetoric and rhetorical criticism book on ID.

By Ed Darrell (not verified) on 08 May 2006 #permalink


Is it any wonder that a religious group went through the Old Testement to find hints after the fact of predictions for Jesus as Messiah, now goes through biologic information looking for hints of something "scientific" that might concure with religious beliefs?

It wasn't good historical technique, taking things out of context, and it isn't good science taking bits here and there out of context (Evolution) to prove a religious point.

And while Judge Jones should have been hunting through the testimony from the Dover trial, he damn well shouldn't have been doing it to prove a preconceived notion or opinion. He should have been weighing and balancing the relative merit of the data and the reasoning presented in the trial.

Looks like he did a good job of that.