Joined: June 2006
The recent Miller-Luskin affair is a tempest in a teapot, but it underscores the fact that Luskin is a hack spin doctor whose crapola can be believed only by those who are determined to believe crapola.
Brief recap: Miller was interviewed by BBC, Luskin accused him of mischaracterizing Dembski's argument, Miller said that he wasn't even talking about Dembski's argument.
Which brings us to Luskin's latest statement:
|Miller writes, "I do not remember the exact question that prompted my response."|
He claims he doesn't remember the question he was asked, but he claims he does remember he wasn't talking about Dembski. Miller's admission of a fading memory on this matter does not inspire confidence for the things he claims he does remember. After all, in the documentary Miller clearly states he is critiquing the "mathematical tricks employed by intelligent design," and Dembski is widely recognized as the leading mathematical theorist in the ID movement. Dembski seems a likely target for Miller's comments.
Since Miller can't remember everything from a year ago, what he does remember is probably wrong. And since Miller used the word "mathematical" and "intelligent design" together, he must have been talking about Dembski. After all, nobody else has ever tried to make a case for a creator based on probability.
|(2) Miller has a history of misrepresenting intelligent design arguments:|
Miller attempts to pass the blame to Discovery Institute, saying we "should know better," implying we should not think he would misrepresent Dembski. This reminds us how, in 2003, Dembski told Miller that Miller "should know better" than to claim that ID necessarily requires “the direct and active involvement of an outside designer.” Yet in this very BBC documentary, Miller repeats the same false claim, saying, "By the terms of the advocates of intelligent design themselves, the designer creates outside of nature, supernaturally..." (time index 39:25) Shouldn’t Miller “know better” than to make such claims? Based upon this example and many others, we “know” that Miller at times misrepresents the arguments of ID-theorists.
This one really irks me. If you look at the incident that Luskin is referring to, it is Dembski who flails at a strawman as he addresses a criticism that Miller never made. Luskin, in turn, misconstrues Dembski's point. I would chock this up to abysmal reading skills on the part of Luskin and Dembski, but since they both have degrees, I think good old-fashioned dishonesty is the only explanation for their word-twisting.
|(3) Miller admits that the documentary makes it look like he's talking about Dembski:|
....If we assume Miller's explanation of the situation is true, then according to Miller's admission that the documentary "does mislead the viewer," then I did nothing wrong. I simply watched the video and took away the message any reasonable viewer would take: the context strongly indicates that Miller was talking about Dembski.
No, a reasonable viewer would notice that Miller didn't say anything at all about Dembski. Both Jeremy and I saw this, which prompted Jeremy's email to Miller, which resulted in Miller confirming that he wasn't talking about Dembski. If any reasonable viewer would make the same mistake as Luskin, then how did several "Darwinists" manage to avoid that mistake?
|(4) If Miller wasn't talking about Dembski, he's still promoting a straw man view:|
...no ID-proponent argues that mere improbability is enough to infer design nor do they argue that some inconsequential but unlikely event (like a hand dealt in a game of cards) is enough to falsify neo-Darwinian evolution. Design theorists acknowledge that improbable events happen all the time. When inferring design, they always couple improbability with some specification. One commenter on Dembski's blog, "gpuccio," explained this point clearly:
"As far as I know, nobody in the ID field has ever made the silly argument that Miller criticizes. Everybody, instead, in the ID field, constantly mentions the CSI argument due to Dembski, and so clearly and beautifully explained in many of his writing."
Well, if such an authority as gpuccio from UD says so, then it must be true.
What a crock. I'll bet most people who have the notion that evolution is simply too improbable have never even heard of, much less read, Dembski. The improbability argument was around long before Dembski, and it's still around. To say that nobody uses it by itself and that everybody always pairs improbability with specification is simply ridiculous. I can think of two IDers just in the past week who have trotted out the improbability argument without mentioning specification.
Heaven help the DI if Luskin is the best spokesman they can find. But then again, it really doesn't matter what he says. IDers will faithfully imbibe his swill no matter how putrid it is.
"I wasn't aware that classical physics had established a position on whether intelligent agents exercising free were constrained by 2LOT into increasing entropy." -DaveScot