I'm from Missouri

This site is named for the famous statement of US Congressman Willard Duncan Vandiver from Missouri : "I`m from Missouri -- you'll have to show me." This site is dedicated to skepticism of official dogma in all subjects. Just-so stories are not accepted here. This is a site where controversial subjects such as evolution theory and the Holocaust may be freely debated.

Name:
Location: Los Angeles, California, United States

My biggest motivation for creating my own blogs was to avoid the arbitrary censorship practiced by other blogs and various other Internet forums. Censorship will be avoided in my blogs -- there will be no deletion of comments, no closing of comment threads, no holding up of comments for moderation, and no commenter registration hassles. Comments containing nothing but insults and/or ad hominem attacks are discouraged. My non-response to a particular comment should not be interpreted as agreement, approval, or inability to answer.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Sleazy PZ falsely accuses Casey Luskin of quote-mining

Sleazy PZ Myers posted an article charging that the following statement from an op-ed by the Discovery Institute's Casey Luskin contains quote mines from a U.S. National Academy of Sciences booklet titled Science, Evolution, and Creationism:

In January, the U.S. National Academy of Sciences weighed in on this debate, declaring that "[t]here is no scientific controversy about the basic facts of evolution," because neo-Darwinism is "so well established that no new evidence is likely to alter" it.

Casey's two above quotes came from pages 52 and 16 of the booklet. Sleazy PZ charged that Casey's above statement misrepresents the NAS's position.

Here is the full context of the 2nd quote, from a comment by John Pieret on the Panda's Thumb blog:
.
Many scientific theories are so well established that no new evidence is likely to alter them substantially. For example, no new evidence will demonstrate that the Earth does not orbit around the Sun (heliocentric theory), or that living things are not made of cells (cell theory), that matter is not composed of atoms, or that the surface of the Earth is not divided into solid plates that have moved over geological timescales (the theory of plate tectonics). Like these other foundational scientific theories, the theory of evolution is supported by so many observations and confirming experiments that scientists are confident that the basic components of the theory will not be overturned by new evidence. However, like all scientific theories, the theory of evolution is subject to continuing refinement as new areas of science emerge or as new technologies enable observations and experiments that were not possible previously. (emphasis added)

If the word 'it" at the end of Luskin's statement is changed to "them" so that the reference is to "basic facts of evolution" rather than "neo-Darwinism" (possibly including the details of evolution as well as the basic facts of evolution), then Luskin's statement is essentially the same as the second bolded statement above:

In January, the U.S. National Academy of Sciences weighed in on this debate, declaring that “[t]here is no scientific controversy about the basic facts of evolution,“ because neo-Darwinism is “so well established that no new evidence is likely to alter” [them].

So it appears that Luskin is at worst just guilty of a poor word choice. IMO any misrepresentation of the NAS's position was too subtle to have been deliberate.

In contrast to Luskin's innocent poor choice of a word, Judge Jones did some real quote-mining. Jones said in his Dickinson College commencement speech,

. . . this much is very clear. The Founders believed that "true religion was not something handed down by a church or contained in a Bible, but was to be found through free, rational inquiry." * At bottom then, this core set of beliefs led the Founders, who constantly engaged and questioned things, "to secure their idea of religious freedom by barring any alliance between church and state." * (quote mines are shown in bold)

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

* Quotations from The Founding Fathers and the Place of Religion in America by Frank Lambert (Princeton University Press, 2003).

The book that Jones quote-mined says,

How did the Puritan Fathers erecting their "City upon a Hill" transform into the Founding Fathers drawing a distinct line between church and state? The answer lies in the changing meaning of freedom in the concept of freedom of religion. To the Puritans who fled persecution, Massachusetts Bay represented the freedom to practice without interference the one true faith, which they based solely on the Bible, correctly interpreted. Thus religious freedom in the "City upon a Hill" meant freedom from error, with church and state, though separate, working together to support and protect the one true faith. Those who believed differently were free to go elsewhere and sometimes compelled to do so. The Founding Fathers had a radically different conception of religious freedom. Influenced by the Enlightenment, they had great confidence in the individual's ability to understand the world and its most fundamental laws through the exercise of his or her reason. To them, true religion was not something handed down by a church or contained in the Bible but rather was to be found through free rational inquiry. Drawing on radical Whig ideology, a body of thought whose principal concern was expanded liberties, the framers sought to secure their idea of religious freedom by barring any alliance between church and state. (Quote mines are again shown in bold. Sorry for the long quote, but I wanted to give the quote mines some more context)

By failing to mention the "radical Whig ideology" that was mentioned in the book, Jones gave this alleged "true religion" of the Founders more credit for the establishment clause than the book gave -- the "radical Whig ideology" may have even been essential for the creation of the establishment clause. Even the book gave this "true religion" too much credit -- in establishment clause histories given in two Supreme Court decisions, Everson v. Board of Education (1947) and Engel v. Vitale (1962), this "true religion" is not even given honorable mention as a contributing factor (so much for Jones' emphasis on the importance of judicial precedent). In contrast to Casey Luskin, Judge Jones obviously deliberately misrepresented his source. Furthermore, Jones did not credit his source when he gave his speech. And most importantly of all, Judge Jones was supposed to show neutrality towards organized religion and he did not.
.

Labels: ,

19 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's pretty damn obvious that Casey Luskin was indeed quote mining, as PZ conclusively showed.

The only thing that's sleazy here is your denial of the obvious to promote your pals at the Discovery Institute.

Thursday, March 13, 2008 7:57:00 AM  
Anonymous Voice in the Urbanness said...

Isn't it amazing how helpful the troll is in leading us to information that shows the weakness of his own case?

He just seems to run a word search for evolution and then repeats parts of what he finds here. If he believes it supports his cause, he cites it as proof. If he believes it does not, he tries to shoot it down without showing any understanding or even evidence that he has actually read it.

By the way, we are still asking for evidence of arbitrary censorship and you are, as always, ducking it.

What a clown. I see where Buzz Corey gets the name "Chuckles" for you.

Thursday, March 13, 2008 10:21:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here's the meat of the mined quote:

".....of evolution," because neo-Darwinism is "so well established that no....."


Show me where either of the two mined quote uses that word "BECAUSE."

That's the objecitonable quote mine.

Thursday, March 13, 2008 12:44:00 PM  
Blogger Jim Sherwood said...

The "theory of evolution" now conventionally means what biologists have long referred to as "Darwinism:" the doctrine that all life somehow evolved by perfectly unintelligent, mechanical causes: with natural selection acting upon random genetic variations, as the basic form-creating process.

Contrary to what the NAS says, there are no "observations and confirming experiments" which support Darwinism. Rather, they support only parts of that theory, such as negative selection; minor changes in existing forms by random mutations and natural selection; and descent of existing species from earlier ones.

If Darwinism had any real experimental support, I would certainly believe in it. As it is, it's merely an arbitrary hypothesis which very poorly fits the evidence.

Thursday, March 13, 2008 2:19:00 PM  
Anonymous Voice in the Urbanness said...

> The "theory of evolution" now conventionally means what biologists have long referred to as "Darwinism:" <

Biologists don't use that term. It is used only by creationists.

> the doctrine that all life somehow evolved by perfectly unintelligent, mechanical causes <

There is nothing inherently unintelligent nor intelligent about it any more than there is something unintelligent or intelligent about the law of gravity.

> Contrary to what the NAS says, there are no "observations and confirming experiments" which support Darwinism. <

You are now taking up Chuckles' tactic of repeating a patent falsehood in hopes that it will eventually make it true.

> it's merely an arbitrary hypothesis which very poorly fits the evidence. <

It very closely fits the evidence. It is a shame, you are posting from a public library as you can't afford a computer at home. Isn't there any material there which you can use to enlighten yourself?

Thursday, March 13, 2008 2:37:00 PM  
Blogger Jim Sherwood said...

Nit-picking aside, Casey Luskin has quoted the NAS position, which is a ludicrous position, adequately.

These guys would have done better to quote one NAS member, Philip Skell, who states matters much better: "I do not have the position, or hold the position, that Darwin's theory is incorrect, or correct. I think there is no good way to make that decision."

In the existing state of scientific research, Skell's view is clearly much closer to the truth.

Thursday, March 13, 2008 2:47:00 PM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

Anonymous said,
>>>>>> Here's the meat of the mined quote:

".....of evolution," because neo-Darwinism is "so well established that no....." <<<<<<

No, that statement is meaningless.

>>>>> Show me where either of the two mined quote uses that word "BECAUSE." <<<<<<

That is unnecessary because "because" is not inside the quote marks.

IMO the only possible misrepresentation is a result of using the word "it" instead of "them" at the end of the sentence. The word "it" refers back to the term "neo-Darwinism," falsely suggesting that the NAS said that the details as well as the basic facts of neo-Darwinism are unlikely to change. This misrepresentation is so subtle that most people did not recognize it. Actually, in the context of the sentence, it is apparent that Casey was referring just to the "basic facts" of neo-Darwinism and not the details too.

Some people made a big stink because the quotes are widely separated in the booklet: one is on page 16 and the other is on page 52. That is not a valid complaint if Luskin did not misrepresent the position of the NAS.


It is noteworthy that some of the commenters on PZ Myers' blog felt that Casey did not misrepresent the NAS. One commenter said,

I'm just not seeing it. Isn't the line from p. 16 about "many scientific theories" intended by the NAS author to include the "theory" of evolution as well? and if that's right, then wouldn't the author be willing to agree with luskin's concatenation? I'm not trying to be contrarian here, I think I'm just missing the deception. I agree quote-mining in general is despicable, but I'd like to see the damage here.

BTW, the complete context of the page 16 quote -- shown in my above article -- shows that the NAS was in fact talking about evolution as well as other theories.

Another commenter said,

From a jungle of dishonesty, weeding out this particular Luskin quote just seems odd. It doesn't look, to me, like he flagrantly misrepresented the position of NAS. "Outrageously dishonest?"

-- and another said,

Luskin incorporates these two quotes to bolster his statement that since the theory is well established and unlikely to change, the basic facts are not controversial. That's just true. Please explain my automatic 'F' for not seeing the problem there?


Another commenter wildly misinterpreted Luskin's statement:

The way the quote is put together the implication isn't that evidence to disprove the theory is unlikely, but that even if such evidence surfaces it will be rejected -- thus the lie.


On Panda's Thumb, a commenter said,

If the juxtaposed quotes more or less accurately characterizes the standpoint, complaining that the juxtaposed quotes were unethical certainly seems petty.

Thursday, March 13, 2008 3:02:00 PM  
Blogger Jim Sherwood said...

Since some commenters (see above) still claim that biologists don't use the word "Darwinism" for the conventional theory of evolution, evidently they haven't read Dawkins: or Ernst Mayr, one of the main apostles of the conventional theory.

In his book What Evolution Is, (2001), Mayr repeatedly called his preferred theory "Darwinism." On p.277, he asked "Is Darwinism unalterable dogma?" and of course said that it is not: "All theories of science, including Darwinism, are vulnerable to rejection if they are falsified." (p.277)

In his book The Ancestor's Tale (2004), Dawkins listed "Darwinism" in the index: and on p.546 he wrote, concerning altruism: "Why should this matter? Bause Darwinism is a selfish game. Building a road that might help others will be penalised by natural selection." Etc., etc.

Thursday, March 13, 2008 4:00:00 PM  
Blogger Jim Sherwood said...

Oops! In my comment, the correct quote from Richard "The Great" Dawkins should be "Because Darwinism is a selfish game," not "bause" it is one!

Anyway, I probably made the error "because" Darwinism is essentially "bosh"...

Thursday, March 13, 2008 4:45:00 PM  
Anonymous Darwin B. Leaver said...

Since I hate all those fundies, my hate
Should prove that old Darwin was great!
So, his theory was nuts?!?
Since it's vexing the butts
Of fundies, it surely must rate!

(My friend Leaver has to chime in again, pointing out that his faith in Darwinism has nothing to do with the evidence. --Jim Sherwood)

Thursday, March 13, 2008 5:38:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

> Another commenter wildly misinterpreted Luskin's statement: <

You mean Larry, of course.

Thursday, March 13, 2008 7:41:00 PM  
Anonymous The Limerick Master said...

There once was an idiot named Larry.
He was so retarded it was scary.
He likes to eat paste.
He enjoys the taste.
And he plays with himself, so his palms are hairy.

Thursday, March 13, 2008 11:37:00 PM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

I remember that when I used to post comments in AOL debates about evolution, I was considered so good that I was nicknamed "scary Larry." My arguments about co-evolution were particularly effective.

Thursday, March 13, 2008 11:59:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

< My arguments about co-evolution were particularly effective. >

I.e., you scared off even your allies.

Friday, March 14, 2008 2:15:00 AM  
Anonymous Voice in the Urbanness said...

> I was considered so good that I was nicknamed "scary Larry." My arguments about co-evolution were particularly effective. <

Chuckles can't even tell derision when he sees it. If he had any effective arguments about any subject at all, why have none of them ever appeared on this board?

People laugh at Larry, he hears applause.

Friday, March 14, 2008 2:39:00 AM  
Anonymous Buzz Corey said...

> I was considered so good that I was nicknamed "scary Larry." <

If there was anyone still remaining who doubted that Chuckles was delusional, I am sure that their ranks are depleted now.

Friday, March 14, 2008 11:12:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jim Sherwood said...

If Darwinism had any real experimental support, I would certainly believe in it.

I feel the same way about UFOS.

The problem here is not an absence of experimental support for evolution in the scientific community, but an abundance of intellectual dishonesty on your part.

As it is, it's merely an arbitrary hypothesis which very poorly fits the evidence.

Nevertheless, that vast majority of those actually practicing science see the complete opposite and continue to make new product and discoveries from what they see. What output has your opinion resulted in, other than comments here?

Friday, March 14, 2008 12:20:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

Friday, March 21, 2008 12:08:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

Friday, March 21, 2008 1:33:00 PM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home