Joined: May 2006
My Night with the Discovery Institute, Part the Last
Notes: Lecture black. My comments red
Casey Luskin, MS JD Esq. on Kitzmiller v Dover and Academic Freedom
> Luskin begins his talk on academic freedom by showing a graphic for Expelled. He says the persecution is real, because if it wasn't, he wouldn't have a job. Part of his job is to provide defense and assist in the defense of such persecution victims. Luskin was admitted to the California Bar in November 2005 and remains an active member. This means, at a minimum he pays his annual dues and complies with Continuing Legal Education requirements of 25 hours every 3 years. Luskin is not a member of the Washington State Bar. To join the WA Bar he would either need to take and pass the WA Bar Exam or qualify for admission under a reciprocity agreement. I think he went to the DI right after law school, so it is unlikely that he would qualify under reciprocity.
> Guillermo Gonzalez was a Cuban refugee. He was persecuted at ISU, where he had 65 peer review papers published. I believe GG sctually had 65 papers published over the course of his entire academic career, not just at ISU. As stated, Luskin did imply that it was 65 papers at ISU. It was one sentence and could have been mangled in the telling.
> He was told it was a mistake to publish The Privileged Planet and it would factor into his tenure decision. His colleagues were against him because of it.
> Luskin references a newspaper article where John Hauptman states ""I participated in the initial vote and voted no, based on this fundamental question: What is science? "
> He shows a quote from Hector Avalos that reads "ID...has now established a presence...at ISU"The ellipsis caught my eye. I looked a but further into the quote and I have read Avalos response, but didn't find his defense particularly compelling
> Joerg Schmalian: "If we go on record, we give Gonzalez a clear sign that his ID efforts will not be considered as science by the faculty." and also something from John Harmon about how GG should know that they are not going to count his ID work for him in tenure decision. Basically, what Luskin wants us to think here is that GG's ID work was a negative to his tenure application. That may be so, but it could also be read that his ID work was considered a nullity.
> He talks about how Eli Rosenberg, department chair, instructed voting members of the tenure committee to make ID a litmus test in the decision and his support for ID "disqualifies him from serving as a science educator."
> KvD was cited by ISU in the report to the President on GG's tenure decision. Luskin states that the DI gave warning to Judge Jones to not decide on the question of whether ID is science because it could have serious consequences. The implication here is that JJ decision cost GG his job. I don't find that compelling. GG record of publications, raising grant money, and graduating students was poor after arrival at ISU. That a judge half a continent away said ID isn't science was the least of GG problems.
> Scott Minnich was also the victim of targetted discrimination. A speech code was implemented at the U of Idaho stating that only evolution was appropriate to teach. Context anyone? A lot of organizations have statements regarding what is considered to be part of sound science education. That hardly seems like a speech code. Was there really a speech code put in at U of Idaho or is Luskin just trying to push some buttons with the Baptists?
> The next example of persecution was Rodney LeVake, who wanted to be a biology teacher for years. However, he was demoted because he wanted to teach the strengths and weaknesses of evolution. Actually, LeVake wanted to teach something other than the cirriculum approved by the school.
> LeVake sued the school district on the grounds that they violated his right of free speech, right of free exercise of religion, and due process. Right of free religious expression? Are the pickings so thin that this is one of your poster children?
> To demonstrate the lack of academic freedom at the high school level, Luskin showed the following quote from a decision by the Minnesota Court of Appeals. I find the use of this quote odd. They are basically admitting that their boy was insubordinate. Since you probably noticed the ellipsis in their as well, I pulled the missing text from the decision. I don't think the missing text necessarily changes the idea that LeVake just didn't want to teach what was in teh curriculum.
"The classroom is a 'marketplace of ideas,' and academic freedom should
be safeguarded. But LeVake, in his role as a public school teacher
rather than as a private citizen, wanted to discuss the criticisms of
evolution. LeVake's position paper established that he does not believe
the theory of evolution is credible. Further, LeVake's proposed method
of teaching evolution is in direct conflict with respondents' curriculum
requirements ... Based on LeVake's belief that evolution is not a viable
theory, respondents' concern about his inability to teach the prescribed
curriculum was well-founded."
> The quote Luskin provided is damning enough. For the sake of completeness, here is what was missing.
See Clark v. Holmes, 474 F.2d 928, 931 (7th Cir. 1972) (recognizing teacher had no First Amendment right to override judgment of superiors regarding proper course content). Accordingly, the established curriculum [*509] and LeVake's responsibility as a public school teacher to teach evolution in the manner prescribed by the curriculum overrides his First Amendment rights as a private citizen. See Webster v. New Lenox Sch. Dist. No. 122, 917 F.2d 1004, 1007 (7th Cir. 1990) (recognizing compelling state interest in choice and adherence to suitable curriculum for benefit of young students overrides individual teachers' desire to teach what they please).
> Academic freedom bills. Introduced in 6 states last year and 5 states this year. And failed to pass in everyone except Louisiana. The Louisiana law charges the state education department to approve supplemental material that can be used to teach "strengths and weakness". I am not aware that, to date the department
> The crucial section (Note the singular) in the bills (note the plural) is section F, which states that the bill only protects the teaching scientific info, not religion or non-religion.Is their sufficient evidence to assume all these bills evolved from a common ancestor?
> Even the ACLU cannot deny the facial constitutionality. The problem comes in when someone starts to teach weaknesses that have antecedents in creationist literature and no scientific support.
> In reference to the LA bill, it says what is taught can't be religion. He then apparently quotes Barry Lynn of Americans United. The phrases quoted are chosen to make Lynn look bad " laughingstock of world", "Smelly crap" Luskin asks the rhetoical question "How can you argue against such logic?"Casey seems to have forgotten to mention that it is Reverend Barry Lynn. Wouldn't want anyone to know their nemesis is a preacher. That will just not do.
> Luskin talked about how to OU professors circulated a flyer about the recent bill. They apparently called it a Trojan Horse Bill and said those professors were engaging in fearmongering, conspiracy theories, and scare tactics. Thus proving the need for Academic Freedom Bills. He also said that they said something about lawsuits resulting from the LA bill, but there are no lawsuites. Are there no lawsuits because there is no approved material for teaching "strengths and weaknesses?"
> Luskin states "Ladies and Gentleman of the supposed jury, I rest my case!" Seriously, his whole case wasn't even as coherent as the Chewbacca Defense.
> Casey goes on to make a further case for Academic Freedom by showing that Darwinists are mean. He brings up slides with regard to ERV's treatment of a troll involving disemvowelling and the joke "Tits or STFU" and claims that this is not free and open debate! It is a freaking blog, Casey. It isn't a classroom, a laboratory, a journal, or a scientific conference. A blog.
> At this point, he puts up a slide showing all the nasty things that people have said about him here.Casey, you really need to get over yourself. We say worse things to each other and we like each other. Except that homo Chatfield.
> He mentions the Pennock column in US News that says the IDers don't deserve civility.
> But he forgives us! Especially you, Wes! He was very much Master Thespian. Way too grandiloquent for me to take seriously, but maybe everyone else just realized what a nice young Christian man he is.
> He closes with a plea for free speech, civility, and peaceful coexistence in the Academy.
> Q & A was basically a disaster. There were already 6 or so Trinity members lined up by the microphone when Casey finished. Abbie cut to the front of the line (How rude!) to offer a defense. There was alot of cross-talk and the lower volume of the Q&A mike might have made it difficult for her to be understood. I heard Abbie try and discuss how poorly she was treated at UD and by Behe. She was obviously upset. At the time, I wasn't watching Luskin to see how he was reacting. I was watching host Don Ewert who was visibly angry and demanding that Abbie yield the microphone. I don't know if Ewert will ever read this, but if he does I want him to know that I think poorly of him. Even if Luskin was right and we are all mean nasty oppressors, and Abbie is a Super-King-Kamehameha bitch, human decency would dictate that, after Luskin attacked a person in the audience, the person would have the opportunity to respond. Ewert, you are no gentleman. This puts in clear relief just how interested you are in free and open exchanges. In short, you aren't.
> Casey states "res ipso loquitor". After seeing your assassination of Abbie and your apparent unwillingness to allow her opportunity to respond, all I can say is: Indeed, it does.
As a conclusion, this all reminded me of December 2007 when Abbie was dusting it up with Behe and the knotheads over at UD. I had a PM exchange with an ID cheerleader in which they expressed their disappointment in me for defending Abbie. Here is what I said then and it is still true today.
|But allow me the privilege of stating clearly why I feel the way I do. Sure, ERV is a bitch. So what? She is dedicating her life to working towards a cure for a horrible disease that afflicts millions. That scores alot of points in my book. While I don't expect folks like Sal or Behe to actively participate in that effort, they should at least not hinder the progress of those that do. But they won't do that. In addition to spreading demonstrable falsehoods, they want to destroy the science education system that has produced the cures for polio and many other such diseases. A system that will, God willing, produce a cure for AIDS someday.|
You will undoubtedly say you don't see it that way. You will say that you think the ID folks are onto something. Fine, maybe they do have a better way. Then it is high time that they stop publishing mass market books [and lobbying legislatures] and get on with curing diseases. Who's hands are you willing to put your families lives in? Me, I will take a single potty mouthed bitch who is working cure a disease any day over a roomful of IDers who can't seem to get beyond heckling her.
And that is all I have to say about that.
It's natural to be curious about our world, but the scientific method is just one theory about how to best understand it. We live in a democracy, which means we should treat every theory equally. - Steven Colbert, I Am America (and So Can You!)