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Traipsing Into Evolution Book Release Event Notes

Below are excerpts from some notes I used during a book release event for Traipsing Into Evolution on May 16, 2006. (Jonathan Witt previously posted his notes here):

As I first read the Kitzmiller decision, I kept having this strange sensation of déjà vu: Where had I heard all these types of arguments before? Then I remembered: I’d heard them during plaintiffs closing arguments which I witnessed live on the final day of the trial–arguments which were based upon a false, straw definition of ID, and misconstrued much evidence about ID. We could spend hours talking about this, so in 4 minutes, here are the primary problems with what Judge Jones said about science in the decision.

First Judge Jones says, “ID violates the centuries-old ground rules of science by invoking and permitting supernatural causation”

Ignoring whether methodological naturalism is a “ground rule of science,” to claim ID invokes “supernatural causation” the Judge had to ignore clear testimony from the pro-ID expert witnesses, unambiguous statements from the Pandas textbook, and a multitude of clear statements from leading ID theorists explaining that ID does not invoke supernatural causation. As the Pandas textbook even said, there is “intelligence, which can be recognized by uniform sensory experience, and the supernatural, which cannot.” Thus, “All it implies is that life had an intelligent source”-not a supernatural cause. Why did the Judge get this wrong? He ignored the clear testimony from ID proponents and simply accepted the Darwinists’ straw definition of ID, rather than let design proponents define their own position.

Secondly, Judge Jones called the argument for irreducibly complexity a “flawed and illogical contrived dualism”

What the Judge was saying is that ID claims the inference to design is based solely upon the falsification of evolution. But it is well recognized that evidence against one theory does not therefore constitute evidence in favor of another theory. Point taken, and that’s not what ID says. As pro-ID biologists Michael Behe and Scott Minnich testified at the trial, ID is a positive argument which is based upon our understanding that the information in irreducibly complex structures always results from an intelligent source. Whenever we know the origin of irreducible complex machine, we know in our experience that those machines always come about as a result of intelligence. Why did the Judge get this wrong? He simply regurgitated the Darwinists’ misconstrual of ID and did not let ID proponents define their own position.

Judge Jones also said that ID “…has not generated peer-reviewed publications”:

This is simply not true. In fact we submitted an amicus brief to Judge Jones that documented various peer-reviewed publications, which he accepted into evidence. Here are some of them I’m holding in my hands right here. This is a black and white binary question which is hard to get wrong. Unfortunately Judge Jones missed it.

Similarly Judge Jones said “…nor has ID been the subject of testing and research.”

Yet on the last couple days of the trial, I sat in the courtroom and watched flagellum expert Scott Minnich present slides from his own mutagenesis experiments performed in his own lab at the University of Idaho. In his experiments, he knocked out every flagellar gene, one by one, and found that the flagellum is irreducibly complex. These plain tests were given to the Judge, but apparently he ignored them.

Finally Judge Jones said, “ID has failed to gain acceptance in the scientific community”

What Judge Jones neglects is that every scientific theory starts off as a minority view. If we impose this requirement then science can never progress. ID is about 10 years old, and a minority of scientists do indeed support ID. In fact 85 scientists submitted an amicus brief to Judge Jones pleading that he should not stifle scientific inquiry by judicially legislating what is or what is not science. Jones ignored that brief, and he also ignored the fact that if we rewound the tape back to 1869–ten years after the publication of Origin of Species, Darwinism was still largely unaccepted.

Unfortunately, I think it is clear that Judge Jones’ decision is dangerous to scientific progress, and that his findings were based upon non-existent evidence!

Casey Luskin

Associate Director, Center for Science and Culture
Casey Luskin is a geologist and an attorney with graduate degrees in science and law, giving him expertise in both the scientific and legal dimensions of the debate over evolution. He earned his PhD in Geology from the University of Johannesburg, and BS and MS degrees in Earth Sciences from the University of California, San Diego, where he studied evolution extensively at both the graduate and undergraduate levels. His law degree is from the University of San Diego, where he focused his studies on First Amendment law, education law, and environmental law.



__k-reviewJudge John E. JonesKitzmiller v. Dover Area School DistrictTraipsing Into Evolution