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Responding to Criticism with Responsiveness (and Other Responses to Misinformation)

Musings, Documentation of Change articles in Response to Criticisms, & Correction of Misinformation

Casey Luskin
first posted Feb. '05

Introductory Musings:
Being an ID proponent who has posted a bit on the 'net since I first started the IDEA Club at UCSD website in 1999, I have received lots of feedback and criticism from various Darwinists. Some of the criticism has been good-natured, but a large percentage has been hostile, and mean-spirited. This is saddening, for I personally try to look past namecalling or other accusations and see if there are some good critiques there. I especially appreciate when people take the time to contact me personally with criticism, and I find that even when the criticism comes from an unfair and hostile critic via an e-mail or some blog, there is always an opportunity to catch an error, improve an argument, and perhaps even learn something new. So I even appreciate hostility which is sent my way with malicious intentions. I have found that even some of the most volatile and mean-spirited critics may at least have something worthwhile to say along the way.

I often find it amusing that many Darwinists are very quick to accuse of dishonesty, lying, and various other moral failures but yet rarely go back recognize when ID proponents are responsive to their criticism and "do the right thing" in their eyes. Darwinists will rarely publicly tell you about when I do the right thing (in their eyes). Because of some Darwinists have a filter for only preaching the negative, most people don't know is that I am happy to be responsive to legitimate criticisms from Darwinists, and when I agree with them and have time, I have made many efforts to revise my writings when warranted.

I created this page to document what my many critics will never tell you: that I happily have made many changes to my articles in responses to Darwinist feedback. I also use this page to correct some of the misinformation about me on the internet.

Non-Exhaustive List of Some Examples of Changes:
I've made so many changes over the years in response to both friendly and hostile Darwinist feedback that I could never go back and recount all of them. However, I created this page to start documenting changes I've made in response to Darwinists, starting where my memory begins around May, 2004. Of course I don't always make changes when I don't feel they are warranted or if I simply haven't had a chance to yet. And I'm sure that there's always lots of room for improvement in any article. And often, the changes have a negligible effect on my overall argument. But if I feel it is called for, I am more than happy to make changes to my articles when my law-student's schedule permits. And I appreciate those who send me feedback--especially with a kind tone.

Oh yeah, and don't worry, if you are an evolutionist and you send me feedback--I won't post anything specific on this page about the person who sends me the criticism unless the criticism was already public (like on a blog or something). And please, I do enjoy and appreciate feedback, which can be sent to me at Thanks!

Here are a few instances I can recall where I responded by changing, retracting, or apologizing for something I later found out to be wrong. Note: This is FAR from exhaustive list:
  1. 08/08: In response to a mistake pointed out by various critics, I corrected mistakes about the homologous bones in the wrist of Tiktaalik; NOTE: my admitting and fixing this mistake only led to my improving my arguments against the "fish to tetrapod" evolutionary transition, as seen at An 'Ulnare' and an 'Intermedium' a Wrist Do Not Make: A Response to Carl Zimmer.
  2. 07/08: In response to some minor corrections pointed out by critics about the specific attendees of the Altenberg 16 conference, I fixed an article to accurately reflect the conference attendees.
  3. 09/07: In response to the comments of a Darwinist, I added links, clarifications, and made corrections to my responses to Richard Dawkins, here and here. Note: this is a great example where, as I stated above, "even when the criticism comes from an unfair and hostile critic ... there is always an opportunity to catch an error [or] improve an argument."
  4. 02/07: Fixed a mistake about how an LA Times reviewer was selected here.
  5. 01/07: Fixed the description of how New Mexico news article described how the New Mexico legislature handled a bill.
  6. 10/06: Retracted a controversial argument I had previously made in my article "Do Car Engines Run on Lugnuts? A Response to Ken Miller & Judge Jones's Straw Tests of Irreducible Complexity for the Bacterial Flagellum" about the number of non-homologous parts which are known in the bacterial flagellum.
  7. 5/18/05: Retracted an argument I made in my defense of Jonathan Wells after a critic on the internet made me realize that it was a very poor argument.
  8. 2/15/05: Fixed a link at FAQ: Why isn't intelligent design found published in peer-reviewed science journals? after I was made aware of the link in a critical post on PandasThumb by Pim Van Meurs.
  9. 2/1/05: Modified "A Holiday Truce: A Holocaust Survivor Speaks Out after I was made aware that some ID proponents had made inappropriate comments invoking the Holocaust.
  10. 2/1/05: Modified "A Holiday Truce: A Holocaust Survivor Speaks Out after a prominent Darwinist from PandasThumb contacted me regarding an article Jonathan Sarfati wrote which used inappropriate Holocaust comparisons.
  11. ~1/7/05: Modified "A Holiday Truce: A Holocaust Survivor Speaks Out after PandasThumb poster contacted me regarding a clarification of the sorts of criticisms being made on the blog.
  12. 11/04: Temporarily removed quote collections from IDEA Club at UCSD website pending our Quote Verification Project after a discussion about some problems with a Darwinist.
  13. 10/04: Removed some people from our List of Evolution Skeptics in response to a Darwinist e-mailer to clarify the list so it only had people who were overall skeptical of Darwinian theory. (previously the list had people who were very skeptical of some prominent aspects of naturalistic theories of biological origins but yet retained a strong belief in some sort of naturalistic theories overall).
  14. Summer, 2004: Helped an IDEA Center staff member begin to change our FAQ: Can irreducible complexity be evolved via gene duplication and co-optation of parts? after some criticisms were made to it on PandasThumb by Andrea Bottaro. Unfortunately, the staff member (a biologist at one of the top universities for biology near the Pacific) has yet to complete the revisions (as of Feb. 2005). He's going a bit slow because other research takes up much of his time.
  15. 6/7/04: Added an addendum to my defense of Jonathan Wells in response to a prominent PT Darwinist who pointed out that some of my complaints about Darwinist name-calling might also apply to some ID proponents. This is another example of my willingness to apply criticisms equally to both Darwinists and ID proponents.
  16. 5/04: Immediately removed our FAQ: Can irreducible complexity be evolved via gene duplication and co-optation of parts? after some criticisms were made to it on PandasThumb by Andrea Bottaro so that it could be revised.
  17. 5/04 - 9 / 04: Made many changes to my Punctuated Equilibrium and Patterns from the Fossil Record article after criticisms from Richard B. Hoppe and Wesley Elsberry on Pandas Thumb. Most of the changes were made in response to Richard B. Hoppe. I felt the changes didn't affect my overall argument and clarified some of my points.
  18. March, 2003: Added additional explanation and context to a quote by H.J. Muller on the IDEA Club / IDEA Center Quote collections in response to a kind Darwinist, Chris Ho Stuart, who contacted us regarding the need for extra explanation for that quote. Chris then commended us on the TalkOrigins website saying "The IDEA club (Intelligent Design and Evolution Awareness) have removed the incorrect sentence. They have also added to their page a plain editorial comment warning of the widely repeated incorrect sentence, and reminding users that Muller is an evolutionist who considers that mutations are occasionally beneficial. Their response to learning of the problem with the quote as originally given was immediate and exceptionally constructive."
Non-Exhaustive List of Responses to Other Misinformation on the Internet about me:
I am amazed how easily and quickly some Darwinists spread, believe, and then further spread misinformation about people. Below are a few corrections to misinformation I have found about myself on the internet (this is not an exhaustive list):
  • I am not a young earth creationist.
  • I never applied for nor did I enroll in a Ph.D. program at UC San Diego (UCSD). Rather, I applied for a masters program, was accepted and enrolled, and I successfully completed the masters program I enrolled in.
  • Though my science degrees are in earth sciences, I have a strong background in evolutionary biology, having taken at least a dozen courses that covered evolution while at UCSD. This includes a few graduate-level courses dealing covering evolution that I completed at Scripps Institution for Oceanography. (During that period UCSD was ranked as the #1 public university for biology in the U.S.)
  • Some people deny that I have a science background, or that I am an attorney. For the record, I have a bachelors of science degree and a masters of science degree in earth sciences from UCSD, and a jurisdoctorate (i.e. law degree) from the University of San Diego (USD) School of Law. I have published articles, including peer-reviewed or editor-reviewed articles, in both mainstream scientific and law journals. I have over 4 years of science research experience and I am licensed as an attorney in the state of California.
  • I was accepted to two top tier law schools, but I did not attend the best law schools that accepted me. I chose to attend the USD law school for geographical reasons and financial reasons (i.e. I got a partial scholarship). USD law school was a great experience and I know I made the right choice: the year I graduated, Educational Quality Rankings ranked USD law school faculty quality at 23rd in the U.S., and USD law school student quality at 38th in the nation. I had a great experience at USD!
  • I strongly support science: I believe that science should be based upon the scientific method, I therefore believe that ID is science, that evolution is science, that evolution should be taught in schools, and that evolution should be taught as a science that is open to critical scrutiny and not as a dogma that cannot be questioned.