Gary Hurd posted Entry 1361 on August 17, 2005 03:43 PM.
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I compiled an appendix for “Why Intelligent Design Fails” sometime in the summer of 2003. The appendix is a list of internet resources, both pro-science and pro-creationism, usually with brief descriptions of the target website. Generally, I merely copied some text from the site itself as the descriptive text.

Some months ago intelligent design creationist Casey Luskin sent me the following email:

Dear Dr. Hurd,

Greetings. My name is Casey Luskin and I am the co-president of the IDEA Center. I wanted to contact you because I was recently reading the appendix of “Why Intelligent Design Fails” and found some fairly benign but clear factual mistakes. These are basically factual inaccuracies which you’d probably want to correct in future versions of “Why Intelligent Design Fails.”

I was wondering if you are interested in hearing more about these. If you are interested in knowing more details about them, please let me know and I will briefly outline them for you. In fairness, I should let you know that I am writing a response correcting the inaccuracies for the sake of readers who own your book. I’ll probably post it on the IDEA website sometime in the near future.

In any case, I will definitely pay you guys one compliment regarding your volume: “Why Intelligent Design Fails” is the best book out there providing a scientific critique of ID and when I want to know what the critics are saying, it’s the best resource out there (in my opinion).

I hope to hear from you. Thanks and take care.


Casey Luskin

I saw no point in responding, particularly as Luskin could have simply presented what ever errors he had in mind, and I had no interest in playing “cat n’ mouse” games. Further, as indicated in the portion of his email that I have highlighted in bold, he was planning to post his discoveries anyway, and I was quite able to wait – there wasn’t an opportunity to correct any errors at this point anyway.

And in due course, said mistakes appeared on Mr. Luskin’s intelligent design website, “Appendicitis: Corrections to the Appendix of Why Intelligent Design Fails”

The greatest ire seems to have been the outrage of Mr. Richard Deem, an Old Earth Creationist whom I incorrectly infered to be a Young Earth Creationst. Mr. Deem’s “review” of WIDF posted to reads as follows:

“You know a book is bad when authors can’t even get some obvious, basic facts correct. Regarding my website, “Evidence for God from Science,” Hurd states in the appendix, “These web pages, hosted by God and, illustrate the intelligent-design support among young earth creationists.” The problem is that God and is presented from a decidedly old earth perspective. In fact, young earth creationism is specifically denounced on numerous pages - two pages of which even call it heresey. The fact that Hurd missed this obvious fact (check out the website yourself)demonstrates his shoddy, sloppy scholarship.”

We have posted a link to Luskins website also on the WIDF web page maintained by Taner Edis under “errata.”

Not WMDs, but errors anyway. Minor corrections were made between the first and second printings. We are currently in the third printing, but I have no idea if there will be any further printings, or even if I would have the opportunity to delete the offending URLs and other errors discovered by Luskin. “Man tun was man kann.” If I can- I will.

(I’ll leave comments open for while.)

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Comment #43575

Posted by Andy Groves on August 17, 2005 5:00 PM (e)

I hope you hang your head in shame, Gary. I hope you hang your head in shame….…..


Comment #43577

Posted by Evil Monkey on August 17, 2005 5:01 PM (e)

Tell him where to cram it. If I had a dime for every time I typed “Brian” as “Brain”, or “money” as “monkey”, I’d be a freakin’ billionaire. Does that mean I have poor scholarship?

Mr. Deem’s life must be oh-so-very-hard.

Comment #43604

Posted by AdrianG on August 17, 2005 7:16 PM (e)

You’ve responded exactly the way you should. It’s not con artists like Mr Luskin that we’re trying to convince of the value of science. Luskin has made his choice and invested his reputation in his con game. It’s our mutual audience that we need to sway to our side. We can set ourselves apart from the con arists behind the ID movement by demonstrating our willingness to admit even minor mistakes and by being willing to let our audience form their own opinions if we offer the plain truth, as we understand it.

The ID movement mistrusts our mutual audience so much that they feel they must lie, scheme, and carefully reprocess the facts before that audience can be trusted to make the right choice. That is the real difference between us and them. Science thrives on peer review and a frank look at the evidence, even where the evidence says we made a minor mistake. ID is about winning converts, even at the expense of honesty and integrity.

Think about how many times the creationists have refused to acknowledge their mistakes, and the right choice for us becomes very clear.


Comment #43606

Posted by Hyperion on August 17, 2005 7:38 PM (e)

Nah, you don’t tell him where to cram it. You respond politely by saying “Thank you for pointing out the errors in my paper, your criticism was very helpful. In the spirit of mutual criticism, I have a few errors that I have found on the IDEA website, and I was wondering if you could correct them. Thank you.”

Not that I think that it would actually cause ID “researchers” to admit to errors, of course, but it’s just a perfect opportunity to present some criticism in a manner polite enough that they would be forced to respond.

Comment #43610

Posted by SEF on August 17, 2005 8:11 PM (e)

I don’t see how you could reasonably have been expected to spot the mirror site issue when the creationists plagiarise the same old rubbish off each other all the time anyway in a simplistic cut and paste manner (right down to the missing reference, footnote or figure numbers sometimes!).

Comment #43643

Posted by Gary Hurd on August 18, 2005 12:10 AM (e)

I have had problems posting comments. I must have run foul of some new rule. I’ll try to post increments and this way discover something about the “new” PT.

“I hope you hang your head in shame, Gary. I hope you hang your
head in shameb€&b€&b€&

Yeh, I cried for days. ;-)

I do hate being mistaken, and I don’t question Luskin’s or Deem’s claims.

The first error Luskin cited was probably a typo, but as I recall I merely copied URLs from the address box in my browser. Odd.

His objection that I used information about his site that I copied from his site is interesting. I used the following:

“The Intelligent Design and Evolution Awareness (IDEA) Club birthed in May of 1999 after UC Berkeley law professor Phillip Johnson came and lectured at UCSD. Known for his books critiquing Darwinian evolution, naturalistic thought, and his leadership in the ‘Intelligent Design Movement,’ Johnson was brought to UCSD Intervarsity Christian Fellowship and Campus Crusade for Christ to speak on issues related to creation and evolution.”

It is worth note that that Luskin’s inspiration for the IDEA club was a visit sponsored by “Intervarsity Christian Fellowship and Campus Crusade for Christ.” But of course “Intelligent Design” isn’t religiously motivated. No! Really!

I probably did confuse the IDEA club with the Intelligent Design Undergraduate Research Center (IDURC).

In the case of seperate URLs linking to the same website, I would probably make that mistake again.

I wish that I had the chance to rework Deem’s site information, because YEC opposition to IDC is starting to appear. There are growing tears in Johnson’s “big tent.”

But, Luskin’s “gottcha” did not make me glad, and all and all, I do wish I could correct these mistakes.

Comment #43648

Posted by Gary Hurd on August 18, 2005 12:23 AM (e)

Well, I think I found the problem. There seems to be an issue with a link I wanted to make to an Answers in Genesis screed by Carl Weiland> Here is the naked URL:

That actually makes me glad. (For the record, I don’t hate Christ, or Christians, Carl. And for your own spiritual health, stop bearing false witness).

Comment #43649

Posted by steve on August 18, 2005 12:28 AM (e)

It is worth note that that Luskin’s inspiration for the IDEA club was a visit sponsored by “Intervarsity Christian Fellowship and Campus Crusade for Christ.” But of course “Intelligent Design” isn’t religiously motivated. No! Really!

Exactly. The fact that Luskin is a minister has nothing to do with anything. Just because he wrote an article titled “Intelligent Design: Giving creation back to God” does not mean ID has anything to do with any god. I don’t know how you could even imagine that.

Comment #43658

Posted by Carsten S on August 18, 2005 2:42 AM (e)

Oh, another correction: “Man tut, was man kann.”


Greetings from old Europe,


Comment #43714

Posted by Gary Hurd on August 18, 2005 11:18 AM (e)

Egad! Even my high school German has failed me (again).

Comment #43876

Posted by Sir_Toejam on August 18, 2005 10:11 PM (e)

which, more directly translated means:

One does what one can..

who’s carl?

Comment #44000

Posted by Tom Morris on August 19, 2005 5:39 PM (e)

So, Dembski can misuse Wein’s NFL ideas and get away with it. But if you dare misprint a URL or address, you’re a bad guy. The difference between intentional deception and honest accident seems difficult for these people to grasp. Which is funny, since they claim to be able to detect design in the universe in such a method as not to incur false positives. ;)

Comment #44110

Posted by Gary Hurd on August 20, 2005 1:37 PM (e)

Well, this seems to be finished.

“Carl”= Carl Weiland of Answers in Genesis

Thanks for the kind words. Tom’s observation was most welcome, but I still hate to make errors. ;~}