As usual, Casey Luskin over at DI’s media complaints division is playing games, misrepresenting people’s words in order to claim that that they’re misrepresenting IDists words. Nothing like the pot calling the kettle black, eh? This time, he’s accusing Ken Miller of misrepresenting Dembski
in a BBC documentary.
Let’s first take a look at what Casey claims happened in the documentary:
A reporter recently sent me an anti-intelligent design BBC documentary with the outlandish title “A War on Science.” In it, Darwinian biologist Ken Miller is shown purporting to refute irreducible complexity in the bacterial flagellum by citing the type 3 secretory apparatus, giving his usual misrepresentation of irreducible complexity. But it gets incredibly worse. Miller egregiously twists the basic arguments of leading ID theorist, mathematician William Dembski. To paraphrase Miller’s argument (Miller’s exact words are given ***below), when cards are dealt out in a game of poker, the hand you get is unlikely. But obviously that hand wasn’t intelligently designed. Therefore, unlikely and non-designed things happen all the time, so evolution can happen even if it’s unlikely, and we should never infer design. This completely misrepresents Dembski’s arguments.
And now, let’s look at the words that he pulled out of context, and see what was actually said in the documentary. The following are a direct transcript of Miller’s words, in context:
“One of the mathematical tricks employed by intelligent design involves taking the present-day situation and calculating probabilities that at the present would have appeared randomly from events in the past. And the best example I can give is to sit down with 4 friends, shuffle a deck of 52 cards, and deal them out, and keep an exact record of the order in which the cards were dealt. We could then look back and say ‘my goodness, how improbable this is, we could play cards for the rest of our lives and we would never ever deal the cards out in this exact same fashion.’ And you know that’s absolutely correct. Nonetheless, you dealt them out and nonetheless you got the hand that you did.”
Ok. Quick show of hands. Does anyone read the last paragraph, and think that it in any way refers to Bill Demsbki and his nonsensical specified complexity? Anyone? Anyone?
The problem here is that Casey doesn’t get math, at all. He sees the word “probability”, and he has no real idea of what it means, but he knows that something about things being improbable is part of his idol, BillyD’s writings. So that must be what it refers to, right?
Except that it’s remarkable clear that Miller’s argument is not talking about Dembski. It’s talking about other ID babblers like David Berlinski, who make a direct argument that
life must be designed because otherwise it’s too improbable.
Here’s a quick hint for you Casey, my boy…. Before claiming that someone is making a bad
mathematical argument, or twisting one of Billy’s arguments – try checking to make sure that
they’re actually make the same argument that you think they’re making. Because if you’re going to
go around claiming that people are deliberately misrepresenting your point of view, when in fact
they’re making an entirely different argument, and the only reason you didn’t know that is
because you don’t understand either argument… Well, it makes you look like a total
Of course, you’re probably used to that.