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Casey Luskin appears to be outraged at…something

Back in July, Nature‘s podcast editor Adam Rutherford wrote

were I in a position to offer Guillermo Gonzalez tenure, I would deny it for the precise reason that his, yes, religious views about purpose in the universe explicitly mean he is a crap scientist, regardless of his ability to generate valid data.

It so happens that Rutherford also reviewed Judgment Day for Nature. The juxtaposition appears to have upset Casey Luskin. In a December 5 posting at the misnamed Evolution News and Views. Why? Luskin doesn’t bother to explain, simply saying he’ll let Rutherford speak for himself. Coming from an IDist, it’s usually a cue for the game quote mine…but the words seem to match Rutherfords, no missing ellipses, nothing. Until you actually read what Rutherford wrote.

Luskin’s brief piece is a work in minimalism – the sort of thing you get when you forget that the people outside your head can’t actually hear the conversation going on inside. The fact that I can even attempt to parse these dollops says that I spent far too much time reading these people’s nonsense. Anyway…

  1. Luskin quotes the words “crap scientist” in the title.
  2. He mentions that Rutherford reviewed Judgment Day for Nature.
  3. He slips in a little “religious persecution” line.
  4. He mentions that Rutherford reviewed the documentary before it was released to the public: “Someone inside Nature or PBS must have hand-picked Rutherford to view a sneak preview of the documentary”.

The last point is the funniest one. Someone inside Nature picked a Rutherford. What a conspiracy – pick someone who does reviews for Nature to do a review for Nature. What an underhand conspiracy.

So what did Rutherford really say?

This year he was put forward for, but denied a tenured position in the physics faculty. Gonzalez and his intelligent-design cronies moaned that this was discrimination based on his personal beliefs.

In this week’s Nature, evolutionary biologist Harilaos Lessios rather cheekily points out that Gonzalez’s appeal against the decision rests on the admission that his beliefs are indeed religious in origin. Whoops. The US judiciary has said it, now ID’s top brass have admitted it: intelligent design is a religious ideology.

He then adds background and context before coming back to say

Saying, whether in 4004 BC or 13 billion years ago, that “God made it” is not falsifiable and therefore not science. I know that, were I in a position to offer Guillermo Gonzalez tenure, I would deny it for the precise reason that his, yes, religious views about purpose in the universe explicitly mean he is a crap scientist, regardless of his ability to generate valid data.

Gonzalez’s “religious belief” is intelligent design. Gonzalez’s “religious beliefs” explicitly reject the scientific method. It’s a real problem when your religious beliefs interfere with your ability to do your job. Let’s say a Muslim woman wants to be a swimsuit model, takes the job, and then says that her religion forbids her from parading around in clothes like that. Do you defend her religious freedoms and say that her employer has to employ her, and let her go down the catwalk properly accompanied by a male relative, and “decently” covered? Suppose I applied for a job as a speaker for the Discovery Institute, and after they hired me, I said that my religion does not allow me to lie. Would Luskin defend my religious freedom to go out an tell the truth about ID?

In the real world, we have Rutherford who, after expressing a perfectly reasonably opinion about a cdesign proponentist, is allowed to review Judgment Day for Nature…a copy which PBS supplied to Nature in advance of the showing of the documentary. In Luskin’s world, Nature selects someone who has advocated the religious persecution of IDists to review a mysteriously obtained copy of Judgment Day.

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