Luskin, Undercover Agent

The Cornell University IDEA Club web site, The Design Paradigm, offers up a story about New Scientist reporter Celeste Biever requesting information about the club via an assumed identity as a Cornell student. They close with the following:

We’re simply a forum for civil, informed discussion, and we like having various points of view. If you think you’ve got a strong argument supporting either side, we’d love to hear it. And if you just want to come and listen to the arguments you’re welcome too.

We do prefer, though, if you don’t lie to us.

Going undercover, though, is not something solely practiced by ID critics. UCSD IDEA Club and IDEA Center co-founder and current Discovery Institute spokesperson Casey Luskin has his own experience in flying under the radar. Back in 2000, there was a seminar series at UCSD about combatting creationism. Casey Luskin was a participant in the seminar. Some of Casey’s summaries and responses that circulated on the closed “Phylogenists” email list were copied to a Finnish-language Usenet discussion group. It is interesting to read Casey’s take on these. In his summary of Russell Doolittle’s presentation to the seminar group, Casey talks about how he held back on what he might otherwise have said in defense of Behe. There isn’t something explicit there, but the implication seems to be that Casey was reluctant to state to his classmates that he was in the opposing camp. That interpretation is bolstered by Casey’s description of my outing of him (see previous link).

So, if it is wrong to incompetently take on a false identity to ask a few questions, is it also wrong to avoid telling a seminar organizer and other seminar participants about having an antithetical stance to the course’s intended purpose, perhaps resulting in the exclusion of another student who might have had a direct interest in participating?

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Wesley R. Elsberry

Falconer. Interdisciplinary researcher: biology and computer science. Photographer. Husband. Christian. Activist.