Recently I stumbled upon a blog post from earlier this year by Josh Rosenau, a staffer at the National Center for Science Education (NCSE), where he commented on the response I wrote to a Congressional Quarterly article. In his post, Josh tries to insinuate that I might be a young earth creationist. He writes:
Disco. ‘tute “research” director Casey Luskin is sad. Congressional Quarterly wrote about creationism and didn’t say nice things about “intelligent design” creationism. Casey insists that ID shouldn’t be lumped in with young earth creationism or geocentrism, asserting
the vast majority of leaders of the ID movement accept the conventional age of the Earth and the universe
This is a tough claim to judge, and Casey’s word choice here is interesting. Calling the best scientific estimates of the age of the earth “conventional” leaves Casey wiggle room: does he regard 4.54 billion years as a mere “convention,” or as a well-tested and solid assessment based on multiple lines of evidence.
A “tough claim to judge”? Apparently Josh disagrees with his (now outgoing) boss, Eugenie Scott, who wrote that “most ID proponents do not embrace a Young Earth, Flood Geology, and sudden creation tenets associated with YEC.” (Evolution vs. Creationism: An Introduction, p. 128 (Greenwood Press, 2004).)
In any case, Josh must think he has divinely inspired insight into my writings. Or perhaps he’s using the secret decoder ring he got from his package of Ovaltine. When I say that the “the vast majority of leaders of the ID movement accept the conventional age of the Earth and the universe,” that is clearly code. For Josh, what it really means is that I’m a young earth creationist.
Though I have nothing personal against young earth creationists, it’s not my viewpoint. On both scientific and theological grounds, I do not believe everything was created in six 24-hour days just a few thousand years ago. In fact, Josh should already know this. Here is what I wrote to him in a private e-mail on March 30, 2010:
Plate tectonics / continental drift / standard model of physics / HIV causes AIDS / age of the earth / big bang cosmology — in all of those areas I find the “consensus” view persuasive due to the evidence.
So I was perfectly clear to Josh that I accept the “consensus” view on the “age of the earth” because of “the evidence.” And this is nothing new; I’ve been quite public about my views on this for a long time. Indeed, earlier this year I co-authored a textbook and curriculum, Discovering Intelligent Design, that endorses the Big Bang model (and thus the standard age of the universe) because it’s a compelling argument for cosmic design. Yet Josh still goes around suggesting I might be a young earth creationist.
I don’t get it. I’d like to think that maybe he forgot what I wrote him. I don’t know for sure. But what I do know is this: when you’re dealing with the Darwin lobby and the NCSE, often what you say and what you do don’t matter. Their goal is to spin things and try to paint you in a negative light.