Casey Luskin Cries Persecution

It’s been many years since I’ve paid attention to Casey Luskin, the Discovery Institute’s boy wonder, but he showed up in South Dakota to testify in favor of a bill that would have allowed teachers to throw in their own religiously-motivated nonsense in science classes. Because if they can’t do that, they’re being “persecuted” and “censored.”

In addition, the Discovery Institute flew in a spokesman, Casey Luskin, to testify on behalf of the bill, which seems to have been loosely based on the Institute’s model legislation.

Luskin told the committee that while in the days of the Scopes trial teachers were persecuted for teaching evolution, today teachers are being “persecuted” and “censored” for dissenting to “Darwin’s theory and other controversial scientific topics.”

“The old Scopes trial stereotype of teachers fearing persecution for teaching the evidence for evolution has been overturned,” he said. “Today, it’s the teachers and students who are raising questions about modern neo-Darwinian theory who are being stifled.”

You know what it takes to make a scientific topic “controversial”? One person to dispute it. Voila, we have a “controversy.” Is a teacher being “persecuted” and “censored” if they aren’t allowed to teach the “controversy” about whether the earth is spherical or flat? Or if they aren’t allowed to teach the “controversy” over whether the earth revolves around the sun or not? There are lots of religious people who deny the germ theory of disease. Would it be “persecution” and “censorship” to require a teacher to stick to the curriculum rather than bring in Mary Baker Eddy’s writings to deny that illness is caused by microorganisms or genetic defects and the like?

How about if a history teacher decided to teach Holocaust denial? Would it be “persecution” and “censorship” to forbid them from doing so? You see, once you open this Pandora’s box there’s a whole lot more coming out of it than just creationism. Once you allow religious alternatives to be taught, there’s a whole lot of other religions waiting to get their unscientific drivel into schools too.

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  • matty1

    Here is how I think teachers should deal with this ‘controversy’.

    1. Don’t bring it up

    2. If a student brings it up explain that in this class we study what experts agree is the best explanation of the evidence.

    3. If they push you tell them that you are not a substitute for their parents or pastor and if they want to learn about their views they should ask them.

    4. Remind them they will be tested on what you teach, not on what they think of it.

  • http://en.uncyclopedia.co/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    Once you allow religious alternatives to be taught, there’s a whole lot of other religions waiting to get their unscientific drivel into schools too.

    Now you’re just being ridiculous. Words mean things, Ed Brayton. “Teach the Controversy”, for example, means “Teach My Controversy”, much like “Freedom of Religion” means “Freedom of My Religion”.

  • John Pieret

    How about if a history teacher decided to teach Holocaust denial?

    There you go … another Darwinist refusing to engage in civil discourse on d controversial subject and, instead comparing honest intelligent design scientists to Holocaust deniers! The Discovery Institute has complained about this many times but Darwinists keep doing it.

    You’d never see ID theorists saying anything like Darwin inspired Hitler to commit the Holocaust or comparing Darwinists to Stalinists, would you?

    Oh, wait a minute …

  • D. C. Sessions

    Funny how the “controversy” always revolves around Christianity. Also how soon we forget the events of living memory.

    Somehow I rather doubt that Mr. Luskin is going to go to bat for the teacher who introduces the Moslem version of “creationism.” Which is basically what happens when you “empower teachers” and there’s a wiseass teacher in the District. And, yes, I had one of those wiseasses back when my District was tapdancing around school prayer and tried to settle it by not having a District prayer but instead left it to the teachers.

  • mistertwo

    “Or if they aren’t allowed to teach the “controversy” over whether the earth revolves around the sun or not?”

    That’s a real controversy, too! Just the other day I found the blog http://galileowaswrong.blogspot.com/

    That controversy should be given equal time with intelligent design.

    Actually, I should keep that to myself. I can actually envision that becoming a movement within Evangelicalism.

  • Sastra

    How about if a history teacher decided to teach Holocaust denial?

    How about if a history teacher decided to teach that America is a terrible country and the principles of the Constitution entail Socialism? Let’s really feed into their fevered fantasies. They can’t dare say there’s no danger of anyone holding that “controversial” view. They think it’s standard liberalism.

    But doesn’t this poor teacher have any personal freedom?????

    Would it be “persecution” and “censorship” to require a teacher to stick to the curriculum rather than bring in Mary Baker Eddy’s writings to deny that illness is caused by microorganisms or genetic defects and the like?

    Oh gawd, if it’s relabeled “alternative medicine” and called complementary or integrative then yes, it is called “persecution” and “censorship” as well as “closed-minded” and “allopathic” and “Western” to keep holistic, natural, ancient, spiritual, and indigenous ways of “healing” out of medical schools.

    Every time someone uses medicine as their safe zone in an analogy which tries to make woo look ridiculous another Science-Based Medicine Advocate shivers.

  • http://www.gregory-gadow.net Gregory in Seattle

    It would have been perfectly lovely if, at the very same hearing, after Luskin had spoken but before he left, a series of high school science teachers stood to speak. The first one mentioned that he was a Hindu, and looked forward to teaching the theory that the appearance of evolutionary change was the result of reincarnation. He was followed by a Wiccan, who was delighted that she could teach that evolution was the product of the God and Goddess in eternal coitus, producing the every changing variety of life in all its beauty.

    I wonder what Luskin might have said then.

  • rhebel

    I teach anti-woo in an elective secondary class, utilizing “Do You Believe In Magic”. Just waiting for that parent that objects–hasn’t happened yet, though.

  • Doc Bill

    Luskin. He’s so cute. Too bad he wasted his life as a paid liar for the Disco Tute. Sucks to be him.

  • Hercules Grytpype-Thynne

     Casey Luskin, the Discovery Institute’s boy wonder

    You misspelled “blunder”.

  • peterh

    Luskin doesn’t comprehend that what he perceives as “stifle” is, in reality, “We’ve been there, done that, and you’re wrong.”

  • Pierce R. Butler

    You’ve got to come up with some new songs if you want to hit the charts, Casey!

  • http://zenoferox.blogspot.com/ Zeno

    Why does the Discovery Institute continue to use as its spokesperson a guy who comes across as a smarmy little weasel? Luskin is remarkably free of redeeming qualities.

  • Hercules Grytpype-Thynne

    @Zeno

    Faute de mieux?

  • longship

    Zeno@13: I like Jay Novella’s hypothesis that Luskin really works at IHOP. “Hey, Luskin, put away that iPad and get more syrup on table 5!”

    Hercules@14: you silly twisted boy.

    😉

  • birgerjohansson

    Gregory in Seattle, you beat me to it.

    And Family Guy already explained creationism (clip from “I Dream of Jeanie”, animals zap into existence, “BOIIINGGG”)

  • scienceavenger

    Why does the Discovery Institute continue to use as its spokesperson a guy who comes across as a smarmy little weasel?

    For the same reason the GOP uses as its spokemen people who come across as intolerant, lying dicks (I’m looking at you Steve “I didn’t know who David Duke was” Scalise). Because they look and act like the people choosing them.