Friday, October 28, 2005


Are ID Proponents Honest About What They Believe? An Exchange of Views With Casey Luskin

First of three parts:

Red State Rabble has received a letter of complaint from Casey Luskin. Luskin, a staff member at the Discovery Institute and Co-President of the Intelligent Design and Evolution Awareness (IDEA) Center, wrote to protest two of our posts, “Casey Luskin: A Pilgrim’s Progress” and “The Misinformation Train.”

Here's what Mr. Luskin had to say:

"I saw your post a while back on your blog where you make the allegation that ID proponents (including myself) are not open about who they think the designer is [The Misinformation Train, RSR]. In contrast, I have been very open on the internet that I am a Christian and also explained that while I am a Christian, my beliefs about the identity of the designer are not informed by ID theory. They are my personal religious beliefs because I don’t know how the empirical data can tell me who the designer is, or if the designer is supernatural/natural. It’s simply not something that design theory can address. If you would like more information. on this, I’d be happy to send you a free copy of William A. Dembski’s “The Design Revolution,” courtesy of the IDEA Center. Let me know if you are interested. In any case, here are some links where I have either talked about that I am a Christian and/or talked about how ID theory can’t identify the designer."
Luskin then goes on to list a series of links. His e-mail then continues below:

Regarding your most recent post, [Casey Luskin: A Pilgrim’s Progress, RSR] I’ve submitted the following post (appended below) to go online at where I mention the references from prominent philosophers of science (who are all evolutionists, as far as I know), who have questioned both the McLean decision’s criteria of science and also explaining how the McLean definition of science has been rejected by many philosophers. That includes Michael Ruse, who essentially repudiated his testimony about a decade later.

I just wanted to let you know that the post below which I hope to post to soon explains everything you were looking for.

Finally, I’m a decent human being and a nice guy and I do feel like you have not been very charitable in how you have disparaged me on your blog. I have no ill will against you and I wish you the best. Also, that’s great that your kids go to public schools. I also went to public schools from K-12 and I would not have traded my good experiences there for anything.

Take care and blessings to you. Sincerely, Casey Luskin

Permission not given to quote from or forward this e-mail to anyone, in part or in whole.

Luskin then appends his post, which as of this writing has not yet appeared on Evolution News and Views.

Red State Rabble Replies:

Dear Mr. Luskin, This is to let you know that I have received your e-mail, "RE: ID proponents are open about their beliefs and the designer," responding to two posts on my blog, Red State Rabble.

I am in the process of preparing a response to your note and will send it to you shortly, but I wanted to let you know in advance that I don't feel in any way bound by the injunction at the close of your note: "Permission not given to quote from or forward this e-mail to anyone, in part or in whole."

It is my intention to publish your note on my blog and respond to it publicly there. I will, of course, as a courtesy, send you an advance copy of what I intend to publish. There are three reasons I don't feel bound to treat your note as confidential:
  1. First and foremost, we are engaged, on opposite sides, in an important public policy debate over what should be taught in public schools, the definition of science, and the separation of church and state. I believe this debate should be conducted in full public view. Moreover, the ostensible purpose of your note is to convince me that ID proponents are open about their beliefs, so let's be open.
  2. The bulk of your e-mail consists of a public response to Red State Rabble on methodological naturalism and philosophy of science you indicate will be published soon on
  3. Finally, I note that the subject line of your e-mail begins with "RE:" an indication that although it is addressed to me, I did not receive it myself until after you had already shared it with others.

I'd like to address this comment in your note, as well:

Finally, I'm a decent human being and a nice guy and I do feel like you have not been very charitable in how you have disparaged me on your blog."

I want to assure you, Mr. Luskin, that I have no doubt that you are indeed a very decent human being and a nice guy.

Red State Rabble is quite often sharply worded. We also use wit and humor to enliven what otherwise might be a very dry debate. Please don't take it personally.

Red State Rabble has, in recent weeks, had a little fun at the expense of you, and others at the Discovery Institute, who have had the unenviable task of putting a positive spin on the news coming out of the Kitzmiller v Dover trial.

Even so, we've tried to be scrupulously accurate in quoting you in our posts so that our readers might accurately judge the arguments you make for your position. Our responses, though light in tone, nevertheless do you the favor of taking you seriously enough to fully and fairly engage the ideas and arguments you raise.

Perhaps, some of the sharpness of language and pointed humor you feel unfairly mocks you in RSR's responses is driven by our belief that you have not been nearly so careful in quoting those you do not agree with. And that – no matter how earnest your tone – you do not really bother to come to grips in a serious, intellectually honest, way with the issues and ideas you argue against.

The paradoxical nature of political battles, such as the one we are engaged in, is that there are good, decent human beings – nice guys – on each side. The problem between us is not your "nice-guyness," but rather that I believe the public policy you advocate would be disastrous for public education, science, and religious tolerance in this country.

I further believe, that while your motives may be pure, your methods too often are not.

I can't promise that Red State Rabble will stop using sharply formulated language or wit when discussing the issues that divide us. I can promise you that we will continue to do you the honor of treating your ideas seriously by reporting them fully, honestly, and fairly. I can also promise we will do everything in our power to defeat them.

Monday, in Part 2 of this exchange, RSR will address the issue of whether Mr. Luskin and other ID activists are, as he claims, open and honest about who they think the designer is. Finally, Tuesday, in Part 3, we will discuss whether Mr. Luskin is correct in saying that Michael Ruse "essentially repudiated his [1982 McLean v. Arkansas, RSR] testimony about a decade later."


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