I just learned that the Attack Mouse of the Discovery Institute, Casey Luskin, got a Ph.D. I’d known that he sort of vanished in 2016, leaving the Discovery Institute, but had no idea why…I missed it entirely, but Klinghoffer mentioned it last year, in 2021, that he’d been in South Africa, getting a degree in geology. It was a secret!
Dr. Luskin’s PhD in geology, from the University of Johannesburg, is something to celebrate. It was five years in the making, during which his location and activities were a closely guarded secret. In truth, while he was far away geographically, we thought of Casey often and missed him. The reality of the Darwinist cancel culture meant that if word got out, some malignant ID critic — more than one, in all likelihood — would try to hurt him and ruin his doctoral work, get him kicked out of his university, whatever they could do. There were a couple of times when we were anxious that something just like that might happen.
Wow, your persecution complex is showing. If they’d been open about it, I would have figured it was a good thing that he was finally off learning something. Truth be told, I didn’t care and failed to notice that he’d stopped lying for 5 years, and barely noticed his return. That’s saying something, because when I took a look at my blog archives, I’ve been ripping on Luskin’s stupidity and mendacity for over a decade and a half, at least.
September 2006: Luskin claims that the fusion of chromosome 2 in the human lineage is not evidence for evolution, and poses a huge problem for neo-Darwinism, because a Robertsonian fusion would be non-viable, and even if it were, you’d have to have two individuals of different sexes to acquire the same mutation in order to reproduce. He knows nothing of genetics, but he likes to pretend otherwise.
March 2007: Luskin reviews Carroll’s book, The Making of the Fittest, and to show how wrong the book is, inadvertently reveals that he doesn’t understand junk DNA or pseudogenes. This is a habit with him: anytime he is expected to discuss a subject, he quickly reveals that his understanding is a millimeter deep.
October 2007: Luskin declares that gene duplication is simultaneously trivial and incapable of generating new information. To make his point, he quote-mines a Nature article to misrepresent its conclusions.
May 2009: Luskin is invited on to Fox News (a match made in hell) to claim that all the biology textbooks are wrong, repeating the Haeckel nonsense, and further claiming that horizontal gene transfer invalidates all evolutionary trees.
January 2010: Luskin thinks that finding fossil trackways older than Tiktaalik invalidates transitional forms. Everything is supposed to be linear and sequential, don’t you know.
July 2011: Luskin claims that I conceded that embryology does not support evolution. I, of course, said no such thing. This is how he operates, though.
July 2014: Luskin quote-mined me to claim I agreed with Behe that chloroquine resistance in malaria couldn’t possibly be a result of evolution, when I said the opposite. This is something of a theme in Luskin’s ‘work’, that he can’t read for comprehension and replaces understanding with lies.
September 2015: Luskin gets cranky about the discovery of Homo naledi. Once again, because the fossil demonstrates a mosaic set of features, rather than recognizing that biology predicts a complex branching pattern in the human lineage, he thinks it disproves evolution. Really, the guy has the most child-like understanding of basic concepts.
Possibly most revealing, way way back in 2006 he also criticized the journalist Chris Mooney for not having a degree in biology, claiming that
he has no formal credentials in neither science nor law, back at a time when he only had an undergraduate degree in geology. I guess being blind to hypocrisy is an important skill for a creationist, and I’m going to guess that he went back to school to get an advanced degree in something just so he could claim to have credentials of some sort. Joke’s on him, though: we don’t care.
Trust me, I have a long history of dealing with Luskin’s lies. Now that he’s back at the Discovery Institute — I guess he didn’t actually get a doctorate so he could do advanced study in geology — one might wonder what idiocies he’s promoting more recently? Professor Dave has got you covered.
Oh man, he was terrible in the past, he’s just as terrible as ever now. I guess the only thing his new degree did was promote him from Attack Mouse to Attack Rat.
That PhD (from an apparently decent university department) might enhance his credibility if he was making claims about geology, but none of those quoted about seem to be. I assume he just wants to put “Dr.” in front of his name.
Pierce R. Butler says
At least Luskin (sort of, if you skip the details) agrees with you about <a href=”https://www.discovery.org/a/review-of-yuval-noah-hararis-sapiens/’>Yuval Noah Harari.
Waste of time though.
Creationists don’t believe because of the data. Data is irrelevant.
They believe because of their religion.
Luskin could have gotten a Ph.D. from a diploma mill for 30 dollars or so and it would have served exactly the same purpose and saved him years and money.
Pierce R. Butler says
Apologies for and correction of my # 2:
At least Luskin (sort of, if you skip the details) agrees with you about Yuval Noah Harari.
bcw bcw says
“He holds a PhD in Geology from the University of Johannesburg where his thesis focused on paleomagnetism and the early plate tectonic history of South Africa”
a publication as part of a book: De Kock, M.O.,Wabo, H., Djeutchou, C., Luskin, C. (Accepted 2020): Precambrian drift history and paleogeography of Kalahari. Chapter 12 in: Ancient Supercontinents and the Paleogeography of the Earth. Pesonen, L., Evans, D.A.D., Salminen, J., Elming, S.-Å., Veikkolainen, T. (Eds.), Elsevier, ISBN: 978-0-12-818533-9.
Ancient? I guess no young earth theory. The thesis accepts all the hundreds of millions of years dating of the sample.
bcw bcw says
@5 sample should have been samples. The thesis looks legit and is a fairly mundane mapping of magnetism directions to describe local plate tectonics.
I was going to write something similar, but at least with fake “Dr.” Sebastian Gorka, you face more ridicule that way.
bcw bcw@6 confirmed my hunch, though I was unable to find the dissertation. I got as far as Michiel de Kock, who I guessed was his PhD advisor. You do have to be reasonably bright and work hard to get a legitimate PhD. Very few of these have any lasting influence. Time will tell if it was worth Luskin’s while. Or… who knows… maybe he just felt like getting one.
Marcus Ranum says
I’m glad he has a post hole digger. They can be dangerous, though, so be careful with it!
Dammit, I missed my opportunity to destroy someone’s university career! I only need three more to join PZ’s College Career Crushers and get my nifty membership pin in the shape of a Black Widow.
The problem with Luskin’s post hole digger is that it has no depth control. No matter how deep the hole, Luskin just keeps digging. : )
A remarkably dishonest man, even by creationist standards. I rate him at 9 on the Matt Powell scale of intelectual dishonesty
There were creationists in my geology department when I was getting my degree. They were certain that they could learn ‘the truth’ that they already knew and that the rest of us were …must be just stupid, gosh.
P. J. O’Rourke used to refer to “stupidity sent to college”. This is stupidity sent to grad school. His alma mater should hang its head in shame.
Is there any sort of academic law about getting PhD’s under false pretences to tick a box rather than actually intending to learn and apply them? Or any way of getting a PhD in, say, geology, retracted if the person with it then rejects everything he was taught and substitutes his own nonsense instead?
@12. seachange : Did they manage to learn better? Did it change their views at all?
PhD theses are often specialized enough in scope that, without checking the subject matter Luskin chose, there’s a very good chance he did not have to pretend to believe anything he was writing. Sure, his denial of the all the naturalistic presuppositions by which the entire field of geology is underpinned goes without saying, but then, I suspect there are a lot of people with doctorates walking around who disagreed with at least some of the settled science their work was based upon.
In the end, cases like Luskin are extremely rare, and any attempt to police them more rigorously likely risks backfiring in ways we wouldn’t expect. Luskin’s a gnat buzzing impotently around the giant edifice of science. Prof. Dave’s debunking video is all the attention he’s going to get and it is all he deserves.
John Harshman says
The proper rodent epithet, by universal acclaim, is “gerbil”. Please fix that.
As far as I know, Casey (the Attack Gerbil) has always been an OEC, so there’s no problem with him believing in ancient tectonics. Now, if he’d managed a Ph.D. in evolutionary biology, that would have been weird. Still, if he’s not going to do any science beyond the thesis, it was a waste of time, effort, and money on the part of the university, when his slot could have been filled by a student with a real interest in doing science.
Like most of the folks here at freethoughtblogs including PZ, you do not understand faith sorry. ‘Learning’ is not and was not ever the goal. It wasn’t for them forty years ago, and it isn’t for this guy now.
The goal is revelation. The goal needs to be and must be revelation. All the time. Always. Forever and ever. I’m not being at all sarcastic or figurative here, I believe that this emphasis is rhetorically necessary.
Just like a gnostic can go into the desert, or a monk can retreat to a monastery, or an oracle can breath volcanic fumes until their brain malfunctions, you can go to a university (scary! dangerous!). By going to university they are “allowing” in the kindness and mercy of their god a different revelatory technique might be valid (even if PZ’s guy doesn’t actually believe that, levels of interfaith tolerance do vary, my guys were open to this idea). They are “allowing” themselves the consecration by those who have the advanced degrees of these super-dangerous places (following a different apostolic succession than theirs) that those of us who do follow the natural philosophy of science to ‘lay knowledge upon their head’ and they are showing to us that they have followed all-the-rules.
If they come out unchanged, then they like Jesus in the desert, have allowed themselves to be exposed to Satan and HAVE MAJORLY WON.
So no they did not change their minds. Nor did they kiss. Aww, they were cute together.
seachange@18 I agree. It’s all about entering “the belly of the beast” and coming out unscathed (i.e. with preconceptions unchallenged). I sort of wonder what his advisor thought of this. It doesn’t seem like the kind of thing you can hide working closely with someone.
@19 Perhaps it’s like the case of the equally appalling Andrew Snelling – writes a standard Geology PhD thesis and, I presume, papers in standard journals, while at the same time making videos about a 6000 year old Earth and a world wide flood which “explains” all the layers in the Grand Canyon (incidentally, I have never seen a YEC talk about any other deep erosion gully with many visible layers – now why would that be?). Or the egregious Georgia Purdam with a PHD on genetics, pretending that creationism can explain the diversity of life. These people are just dishonest con men and con women.
I always assumed Luskin was going away to get a PhD so he could come back and be able to claim he was a “scientist”. I am sure that he will be just as incompetent and dishonest as he was before though. He’ll still be the DI’s pathetic attack gerbil.