Wednesday, April 19, 2006


Casey Luskin: A League of his Own

Over at the Discovery Institute's Evolution News and Views blog, Casey Luskin is replaying the Dover intelligent design trial... again. The result of Luskin's latest, "Do Car Engines Run on Lugnuts?" is a little like a strange version of Rotisserie league baseball.

The idea of Rotisserie, or fantasy, baseball is to simulate owning and managing a team comprised of pro players. Players are selected from the rosters of actual major league teams. Winners and losers are decided by the on-field batting and pitching stats of the players drafted.

The way Luskin plays Rotisserie Dover is a bit different. Instead of creating a dream team, all the players from the trial stay the same, but Luskin gets to step in for them and say the things he thinks they ought to have said during the trial. He also gets to step in and change the rules at whim, but that's another matter.

In Luskin's fantasy trial, Ken Miller doesn't refute Michael Behe's arguments that the bacterial flagellum is irreducibly complex. Instead, Miller's pitch -- that a portion of the whip-like bacterial flagellum functions as the "syringe" that makes up the Type III secretory apparatus -- hangs high in the strike zone, and Behe hits it out of the park.

That creates a tricky tactical problem for Luskin because, in the real trial, Miller testified first, and Behe followed him. Behe had the perfect opportunity to refute Miller's testimony. Unfortunately, Behe took a mighty swing -- ended up admitting astrology would have to be considered a branch science if defined the way intelligent design activists demand -- and struck out.

In this hermetically sealed Wayne's World fantasy version of the trial, Luskin, who in real life doesn't know the difference between a bolt and a lugnut, yells, "Put me in, coach!"

And since, this is Rotisserie Dover and Luskin is coach, manager, player, and fan, he goes in. He steps in for his hero -- in his basement, in his mind, he is Behe, he's better than Behe. He, Casey "The Kid" Luskin steps confidently to the plate. The crowd sits forward in their seats and a strange hush settles over the stadium.

Luskin spits. He rubs his hands in the dirt near the plate. He digs in.

Miller lobs his flagellum toward the plate. It's a lazy pitch. Laughable, really.

Luskin smiles a steely smile and plays the testimony the way it should have been played. The crowd is on its feet, roaring in ecstacy as young Luskin knocks it out of the park. The way Behe surely would have if only he'd been on his game. The way he would have if only he knew the things Luskin knows.

Meanwhile, around the country, real school boards react to the real trial by stepping back from intelligent design. In Kansas money is raised, events organized, and votes sought to take back Kansas from the wingnuts who have stolen it. We are doing everything in our power to give Luskin the opportunity to play Rotisserie Kansas starting in November.


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