The Discovery Institute has challenged SMU profs
to debate at the “Darwin vs Design” event in Dallas. No takers so far; I’m not surprised, any scientist who participated would be increasing the DI’s reputation immensely simply by sharing a meeting room with one of those clowns.
But the DI is in the mood for a debate, eh … so how about with Peter Irons, noted constitutional lawyer, Harvard Law School grad, Supreme Court bar member, and author of a forthcoming book, God on Trial(amzn/b&n/abe/pwll), which includes a chapter on the Dover case? He’s going to be in the Seattle area at the end of May, is willing to arrange a neutral venue, and has specifically offered to meet Casey Luskin, pipsqueak, University of San Diego School of Law, passed the California bar exam, incompetent poltroon, in public debate.
I have been personally informed by Mr Irons that the DI has refused his offer.
Many scientists have a policy of refusing to grant creationists any credibility by sharing a podium with them (we will happily discuss science in the public arena, though … it’s just a waste of time to try to inform and educate with a kook lying and obfuscating next to you), so I can understand why the SMU professors aren’t going to bother with them. The DI is the party asking for a debate, though; Irons has even offered to come to them and make it all as easy as possible for Luskin to get up and argue with him. So why do they chicken out now?
Is it because a debate on subjects of substance, directly addressing their socio-political goals rather than providing cover for their pretense of being a scientific organization, would not actually help their fading image? Or perhaps it is because no one at the DI actually has any confidence in Casey Luskin?
Peter Irons has sent along his own account of the DI’s evasions, which I’ve put below the fold.
The Discovery Institute is putting on another of their dog-and-pony shows
on April 13 and 14, at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, trotting
out their usual lineup—Mike Behe, Steve Meyer, and Jay Richards—to give
their potted speeches. This event, however, has provoked several SMU
faculty members to quesion the university’s decision to provide a forum
for the DI’s propaganda.
Adopting the old adage that “there’s no such thing as bad publicity” he
DI’s president, Bruce Chapman, has challenged the critical SMU profs to
debate one of the DI speakers (he didn’t say which one) at the opening
session. There hasn’t been any response yet, so the debate is still up in
However, Chapman’s debate challenge prompted Peter Irons to issue one of
his own. Irons, an emeritus constitutional law professor at the
University of California, San Diego, has challenged the DI’s in-house
lawyer, Casey Luskin, to debate the Kitzmiller decision in which Judge
John E. Jones III ruled that ID cannot be taght in high-school biology
classes in Dover, Pennsylvania, a decision that Bruce Chapman confessed
was a “disaster” for the DI. Irons, a Harvard Law School graduate and
U.S. Supreme Court bar member, is the author of a forthcoming book, God on
Trial: Dispatches From America’s Religious Battlefields (which Viking
Press will publish in May), which includesw a lengthy chapter on the
Irons was also invited by the editors of the Montana Law Review to write
an article on the Kitzmiller case for their next issue, responding to one
by Luskin and John West of the DI staff, along with David DeWolf, a DI
fellow and Gonzaga Law School prof. Irons says, “things got quite heated
in the editing process, especially around the intemperate language in the
DI’s rebuttal to my article.”
Back to the DI’s debate challenge to the SMU profs. Irons issued his own
challenge to Casey Luskin, offering to debate him at the University of
Washington. Guess what? The day after Casey posted a piece on the DI’s
blog, headed “Will SMU Faculty Debate Intelligent Design?”, he refused to
debate Irons. Irons says, “it looks like the DI propagandists are only
willing to debate on their own turf.” Or maybe Casey, knowing he would
face a skilled and experienced debater, simply chickened out.