21 September 2005

Chutzpah, pure chutzpah

There's an article in today's York Dispatch about the upcoming Intelligent Design lawsuit. This particular article discusses the rats leaving the sin Discovery Institute's principled decision not to support the Dover school district in this case. Most of the quotes from the various DI talking heads is the usual stuff, but there was one statement attributed to Casey Luskin that displays a disregard for reality that is below and beneath even the rather loose standards of the Discovery Institute:
He [Luskin] said the Discovery Institute is "not trying to hinder their case in court," but the organization wants intelligent design to be debated by the scientific community, not school boards

"Debated by the scientific community, not the school board."

I was honestly shocked to read that. After almost a decade of following the various creationist strategies, I thought I'd seen every type of dishonesty possible, but this really takes things to an all time low.

"Debated by the scientific community, not the school board."

That's just about as far as you can get from everything that the Discovery Institute has actually done. Their fellows spend inordinate amounts of time pushing their philosophy in political forums, particularly educational ones. The scientific output of the Discovery Institute, measured in terms of material published in peer-reviewed scientific journals, is absolutely pitiful. The output of the Discovery Institute, measured in terms of press releases, op eds, letters to the editor, and other attempts to push their message in the public arena, is impressive.

But don't just take my word for it. The Discovery Institute has a list of "Peer-Reviewed and Peer-Edited Publications Supporting the Theory of Intelligent Design" up on their website. Scanning down the list, one can quickly count 34 separate items. Looking a bit more closely, one finds that three items are listed twice - once in the "featured articles" section at the top, then again in the appropriate section further down. Looking closer still, one finds that they listed a book which was edited by two of their fellows as one item, and then listed five chapters from that same book as separate items.

The following items are listed as "Articles Supportive of Intelligent Design Published in Peer-Reviewed Scientific Journals":

  • S.C. Meyer, “The Origin of Biological Information and the Higher Taxonomic Categories,” Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington, 117(2) (2004): 213-239.
  • M.J. Behe and D.W. Snoke, “Simulating Evolution by Gene Duplication of Protein Features That Require Multiple Amino Acid Residues,” Protein Science, 13 (2004): 2651-2664.
  • W.-E. Lönnig & H. Saedler, “Chromosome Rearrangements and Transposable Elements,” Annual Review of Genetics, 36 (2002): 389-410.
  • D.K.Y. Chiu & T.H. Lui, “Integrated Use of Multiple Interdependent Patterns for Biomolecular Sequence Analysis,” International Journal of Fuzzy Systems, 4(3) (September 2002): 766-775.
  • M.J. Denton & J.C. Marshall, “The Laws of Form Revisited,” Nature, 410 (22 March 2001): 417.I.
  • M.J. Denton, J.C. Marshall & M. Legge, (2002) “The Protein Folds as Platonic Forms: New Support for the pre-Darwinian Conception of Evolution by Natural Law,” Journal of Theoretical Biology 219 (2002): 325-342.

That's a grand total of six articles that have been published within the last five years, for an average of 1.2 articles per year. That publication rate wouldn't be considered to be overly impressive coming from a single scientist, let alone from ten. It's even less impressive when you consider the fact that the DI's center for The Renewal of Science and Culture has about 40 fellows.

Over the same period, the Discovery Institute and its fellows have released dozens, if not hundreds, of press releases and op-eds advocating that their views be taught in public school classes in various parts of the country. Its fellows have testified before school boards and textbook adoption committees. They have waged, in short, a very agressive public relations campaign (even going so far as to hire a well-known public relations firm) trying to build popular support for their views.

Those are not the actions of a group of people who want to debate their views within the scientific community. Those are the actions of a group of people who are hoping that they can use a miniscule number of peer-reviewed articles as a scientific fig leaf to cover a religious agenda. If they really wanted to debate their views within the scientific community, they would be doing just that. They would be formulating and testing hypotheses, doing experiments, writing papers, and focusing their efforts at convincing scientists. They would certainly not be putting the vast bulk of their efforts into public relations.

They also wouldn't have been saying things like this:
[from a DI press release] The Discovery Institute today faulted defenders of Darwin's theory for refusing to defend their views before the Kansas State Board of Education and for being afraid to answer tough questions about the scientific problems of modern evolutionary theory.

“Darwinian scientists showed contempt for science and the citizens of Kansas by refusing to appear before the State School Board,” said Dr. Jonathan Wells, a biologist at the Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture.

"Debated by the scientific community, not the school board." What utter, unmitigated hypocrisy.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I read the article and it is obvious the Discovery Institute is specifically trying to avoid public debate with scientists!

4:55 AM  
Blogger Mark said...

Besides the Luskin quote, I noted (at http://divineafflatus.blogspot.com):

'Also laughable, Thomas More Law Center's Richard Thompson will have Michael Behe testify that "intelligent design is not a religious movement"--therefore must be defended in Dover by "The sword and Shield for People of Faith", which "specializes in cases related to the religious freedom of Christians."'

6:54 AM  
Blogger RPM said...

Taking a closer look at what they've published:

1. Meyer 2004 - It was pushed through the peer review process by outgoing editor Sternberg. Long story, read more about it at the Thumb.

2. Behe & Snoke 2004 - Michael Lynch (one of the leading researchers studying gene duplication) wrote a reply. I have yet to read it (I don't have electronic access to the article), but I'd appreciate any comments people have about it.

3. Lonnig & Saedler 2002 - I don't know how you can spin TE mediated rearrangement to mean design (the word "design" never appears in the article).

4. Denton & Marshall 2001; Denton, Marshall, & Legge 2002 - Protein Chemists trying to make conclusions about evolutionary biology. Nothing mentioned about design, but they do discuss evolution and a regression to pre-Darwinian thought. They babble about physical laws governing biology (something no one denies), but they claim this means selection is bogus. It's odd and unclear.

7:21 AM  
Blogger Vincent said...

I'm pretty sure I have read somewhere a full refutation of every publication in that list -- but I can't find where. Anybody ?

10:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Denton, IIRC, isn't really ID. He's just trotted out by the ID people whenever they have to name someone who isn't also a creationist. That's why his article doesn't have anything to do with ID. It's really just a platitude: some physical properties of protein backbones (i.e. hydrogen bonding) are so chemically stable that they take precendence over the noise that can be created by numerous side-chain combinations. Whoa...

11:39 AM  
Anonymous Eric Murphy said...

I think it would be fun for a site, such as the NCSE site, to publish a list of peer-reviewed papers by scientists who work in the biological sciences and who subscribe to the Theory of Evolution (perhaps a list of papers published in peer-reviewed journals by "the Steves"?) I'm guessing that such a list (restricted to the last five years) would run into the thousands of papers. I think it would make for an interesting contrast.

12:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Luskin is one of the most pathetic liars walking the earth today. He wants to be a master obfuscator but, like so many fundamentalist tools, he can't help himself. He invariable stretches too far and makes himself look like a complete ass.

Remember that the guy took the California Bar Exam this summer and will soon be employed by the Discovery Institute or some other anti-science ID peddling think tank to issue quotes to reporters.

Except now he will quoted as "an attorney" and, who knows, Luskin may still try to pass himself off as a scientist.

Remember also that California attorneys must pass the moral character test. If that hurdle was meaningful, we can bet that Luskin would have no chance given his well-documented record of spinning baloney about evolutionary biology and the "theory" of intelligent design.

I friend of mine once invited Luskin to debate him about the non-science nature of the intelligent design movement. Luskin refused because, he claimed, he could see that my friend was not interested in a "friendly" debate about evolution.

Can you smell the hypocricy emating from Luskin the Weasel's scent glands? Or is it the smell of chicken roasting on the grill?

Enough said about this freaking creep Casey Luskin, a human stain on the California Bar.

12:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

An extremely quick PubMed search (obviously terribly inaccurate) comes up with 22 papers including the word "evolution" by researchers named Steve. Extrapolating we get over two thousand. It would be great to see someone publish a similar list...

7:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Up above I wrote "Luskin may still try to pass himself off as a scientist."

And lo and behold that's EXACTLY what he does!!!!!!


"Most of Dr. Miller's testimony today against intelligent design was simply based upon a misrepresentation of the scientific theory of intelligent
design," said scientist Casey Luskin"


Luskin is not only a lying creep, he's a miserable and predictable moron!

Check it out -- this nitwit has devoted his frigging LIFE for the past three years at least to shilling for the Discovery Institute. And now he's an employee! Can anyone say "SICK FREAK"?

Lyin' Casey claims to know what the scientific theory of intelligent design actually says. Let's hear it, Casey, you twit!

--crickets chirping--


4:16 PM  

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