Thursday, July 26, 2007


Luskin's Pick of the Nits

When you have no substance whatsoever to your arguments, any shadow of a controversy has to be blown up well beyond its actual significance and, preferably, completely beyond recognition.

The Discovery Institute's Gofer General and lice egg fellatioist is at it again with a rehash of a possible mistake in Ken Miller's testimony in the Kitzmiller case concerning in which, out of some eleven editions of Miller's textbook, the phrase "Evolution is random and undirected" might appear. Nick Matzke, of the National Center for Science Education and major behind-the-scenes player at the trial, discussed the issue at some length in comments at The Panda's Thumb, here and here.

The problem is that Luskin can't make any sort of logical connection between the use of the phrase and his larger claim. The mere existence of the phrase itself, in a particular biology textbook, is supposed to conflict with Judge Jones' (alleged) finding that "it is 'utterly false' to believe that evolution conflicts with religion."

Luskin, unsurprisingly, is misrepresenting what the Judge found, which was that evolution is not "antithetical to a belief in the existence of a supreme being and to religion in general." That is a proposition that is daily demonstrated by millions of believers who nonetheless accept science. Many mainstream denominations have no problem recognizing that evolutionary theory is not antithetical to a belief in God. Perhaps the most striking example of this of late is The Clergy Letter Project which has collected over 10,000 signatures (rather putting to shame the Discovery Institute's list of 400 [700 now] scientists who either don't understand science or who are political naïfs) on a letter that reads, in part:

We the undersigned, Christian clergy from many different traditions, believe that the timeless truths of the Bible and the discoveries of modern science may comfortably coexist. We believe that the theory of evolution is a foundational scientific truth, one that has stood up to rigorous scrutiny and upon which much of human knowledge and achievement rests. To reject this truth or to treat it as "one theory among others" is to deliberately embrace scientific ignorance and transmit such ignorance to our children. We believe that among God's good gifts are human minds capable of critical thought and that the failure to fully employ this gift is a rejection of the will of our Creator.

Furthermore, even assuming that showing that some scientists used a particular five word phrase (that Miller pointed out in his testimony was scientifically wrong, since natural selection is not "random"), that doesn't mean "evolution" conflicts with religion. One book or some subset of scientists do not represent all of evolutionary theory. That subject can barely be contained within large libraries.

And even if, as Luskin says, some theists find the phrase "offensive," (Luskin's word), that still does not prove that evolution is antithetical to belief in God or religion in general. The offense threshold of Luskin and his ilk does not represent all of religion either.

And, lastly, please keep repeating that ID is all about the science and has nothing at all to do with religion, nosiree Bob!

As I read the debate, I keep thinking back to most scientist 8 year old experiment regarding whether Santa Clause could actually visit every house on Christmas Eve, and the Discovery Institute continually arguing He can.

Ok, so Santa has to visit 1.3 billion homes in one night

Yes but he travels opposite the way the world turns, so that gives him an additional 21 hours to do it in.

Yes, but there are 1.3 billion homes.

Yes, but Santa only goes to Christian homes because only Christians believe in Santa.

Ok, so Santa has to visit 480 million homes one night.

Yes, but Santa is magical.

At some point, don’t you just have to throw up you hands and say to debate is pointless?
At some point, don’t you just have to throw up you hands and say to debate is pointless?

Most of ID is not worth "debating," though, for the sake of the uninitiated, it can be worth debunking. Most of all, it is worth constant vigilence to keep it out of public school science classes. If they want to preach ID or the science of Santa Clause, let 'em do it in their homes and churches or, at most, in comparative religion classes, if they really want it in public education.
"There ain't no Sanity Clause!"
How can you say that? The Night Before Christmas was an inspired document written long long ago.
Ah! But was it as inspired as A Night at the Opera?
Is Santa head lice free?hehehe...i think not...hahaha or maybe..
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