my humble little blog is found by the discovery institute

Well, colour me startled! It seems that some of the things I said in a recent blog post & its associated comments thread have attracted the attention of the Discovery Institute. They don’t appear to be particularly happy with me. I don’t think that I’ve ever been called "dishonest" and "a liar" before, had my teaching methods impugned, or been described as stifling free speech and academic freedom. I must have reached the big time!

But seriously. As one commenter has noted on that thread (& on his own blog), the writer of the DI piece seems to have merely skimmed the original piece – how else could he have missed my comment that discussion of ‘intelligent design’ would be quite appropriate in a class on the philosophy & nature of science, for example? He does, however, show a certain ability in quote-mining.

And the supreme (and hilarious) irony: to be accused of trampling on students’ rights to free speech  by someone who does not allow comments on his own blog.


PS a colleague has noted that I must be more influential than he realised – after all, the DI post cites me as justification for legislative change in the USA (heading me off at the pass in case I ever decide to emigrate)!

17 thoughts on “my humble little blog is found by the discovery institute”

  • Well, colour me startled
    Nobody expects the Discovery Institute!!!
    Well that is the big time, Alison. They must have people combing the net for instances of “Trampling on Free Speech” who they can attack but then not allow freedom of reply.

  • Alison Campbell says:

    I should perhaps have added that Mr Luskin doth protest too much. After all, when people descend into invective & personal attacks, it does rather suggest that they realize that the evidence in support of their own case is weak (or non-existent) 🙂

  • herr doktor bimler says:

    Oh, I see from Ted Herrlich’s blog that Mr Luskin has also used his advanced powers of clairvoyance to diagnose you as an atheist who will actively persecute anyone foolish enough to admit in class to believing in a god.
    I’m surprised you find the time.

  • Congrats! I wish I was on their radar screen, it is certainly an accomplishment!
    I did have a thought why little casey would not ‘notice’ your comment about the nature of science and philosophy. The Discovery Institute doesn’t want to even recognize that Intelligent Design is a philosophy. They want to be science — in spite of not being able, or not being willing, to actually do science. So if he had even hinted that your statement was perfectly reasonable — it would be against the playbook.
    It’s either that or whoever gave little casey his marching orders forgot to tell him to actually read the article he was to whine about.
    Thanks again,

  • The whole “irreducible complexity” argument has to be the most childish, idiotic tenet I’ve ever run across. It really boils down to “nothing more to learn, stop all inquiry”.
    Good on you for tweaking this knucklehead’s beard.

  • herr doktor bimler says:

    So if I understand the Intelligent Design position correctly, its proponents are willing to allow (for now at least) that Darwinian evolution held sway over the last billion years or so of multicellular existence. They seem to be arguing that the previous two or three billion years — in which our planet was occupied only by prokaryote life — was not long enough for those life-forms to invent innovations like flagella by themselves, so we need a second explanatory mechanism that does not actually explain anything but just asks us to accept that there is a man behind the curtain.
    What is lacking here is the element of parsimony.
    You know what I’d like to see? Lynn Margulis and Michael Behe in a cage fight.

  • herr doktor bimler says:

    Looking at the Wiki page, I see that archaebacteria as well as bacteria have flagella, which they’re thought to have acquired independently, given that the archaea and the bacteria diverged so long ago. Not to mention the two kinds of flagella being so different in internal design and having no recognisable segments of DNA in common.
    It seems, then, that flagella are actually quite “evolvable”, since they’ve appeared at least twice, exapting quite different mechanisms. Either that, or the Intelligent Designer saw fit to install two different intelligent designs.

  • herr doktor bimler,
    Your description of ID, if correct, would have them only interested in the origin of life and the origin of eukaryotes. Why then the fuss about flagella in court, etc.?
    It’s a (more than) reasonable thing to consider that early life didn’t have flagella & there is an argument that flagella originated as an exaptation of an export system. (The core proteins are in the same class as export proteins and from memory some flagella both generate movement and also have an export role. (Export = cellular-level excretion, if you will.)
    There are quite a range of flagella. I recall (vaguely!) that only two proteins are shared between them all.

  • I’m surprised the Christian backers of the Discovery Institute haven’t put a stop to the whole irreducibly-complex-flagella argument.
    Do they really want to promote the image of a divine creator stooping to diddle with the hair on a germ’s bum?

  • Loving the battle that seems to have commenced with no winner expected in the Luskin vs. evolution case. Even better was the germs bum comment. Awesome!

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