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NCSE and the Pro-Evolution-Science & Theology-Only “Understanding Evolution” Website

Casey Luskin

I report with great sadness that my friend Wesley Elsberry of the National Center for Science Education (NCSE) has a publicly stated a strategy of trying to paint ID-proponents as liars:

If you want to drive a wedge between an audience of evangelical Christians and the professionals in the ID movement, you need a third approach: show that the ID advocate on stage with you has been lying to his followers. Show misquote after misquote; demonstrate error after checkable error, and make the audience understand that if the ID advocate claims that the sky is blue, their next step had better be to look out the window to see for themselves. Evangelicals do want to take Christ’s message to the world, but they also have a deep loathing of liars.

(see here)

This gives justification to wonder whether a comment Wesley made yesterday is such an attack upon my character. Wesley wrote, “Since Luskin can’t get that small detail correct, should we trust what he says about larger issues?” He claimed I was not trustworthy because I had stated that the NCSE obtained a research grant to create the pro-evolution science/theology website “Understanding Evolution.” He writes:

NCSE, by the way, was a sub-contractor to the University of California Museum of Paleontology on the NSF grant for the “Understanding Evolution” website. The $450,000 figure was the total budgeted amount for the project. NCSE’s part was a small fraction of that.”

Technically speaking, Wesley is correct. That is, until we look at the “University of California Museum of Paleontology” people who administrated the NSF grant: Kevin Padian (NCSE President), and Kevin Padian’s “Research Associate,” none other than Eugenie Scott (NCSE Director).

But don’t take my word for it; feel free to look out the window and see how, as Wesley puts it, “the sky is blue.” I have posted below some court documents, which, if I have interpreted them correctly, show Kevin Padian and Eugenie Scott requesting ~$452,000 to make the website and list themselves as the only “Senior Personnel,” on the Understanding Evolution project:

Partial graphic:

Click here for the full graphic:

It appears as if the NCSE leaders ran the grant through Berkeley to get the money from the NSF. There is nothing necessarily wrong with that, but I think this shows what I said was perfectly true. Who was behind it all in the end? The NCSE.

As for the rest of Wesley’s blog post, we clearly live in different worlds. He thinks that ID funding is comparable to the tens and tens and tens of millions the government gives to fund evolution-research. Until the NSF would fund an “Understanding Intelligent Design” website, Wesley and I do live in different worlds. Although they are very unequal worlds, I hope Wesley will recognize that in both worlds, “the sky is blue.”

[note: edited a little soon after posting; also, my apologies but I had to temporarily remove and then resize the partial graphic because the original size was wreaking havoc with the webpage formatting]

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.