Cobb County News

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A couple of news articles about the upcomming trial of the anti-evolution messages in Cobb County (GA) textbooks:

AJC: Court to weigh in on evolution feud

MDJ: Debate over Cobb school district decision taken to courtroom

Use BugMeNot.com if you don’t want to register.

Update

A couple of Discovery Institute links

Background Information on Cobb Country Georgia Court Case

Georgia Scientists File Legal Brief in Evolution Lawsuit, Defend Open-Minded Approach to Teaching Evolution

(I’ve read the brief, and it is bad, very bad. Even cites Behe and Snoke (2004) as research questioning evolution.)

42 Comments

Anti-evolution? In what regard? Students are being told:

This textbook contains material on evolution. Evolution is a theory, not a fact, regarding the origin of living things. This material should be approached with an open mind, studied carefully, and critically considered.

1) Is evolution regarding the origin of living things “a fact” - on the same level as “2+2=4”? Has it been observed (regarding the origin of living things, not regarding relatively small-scale modifications of proteins, regulation and phenotype)? 2) Should students read any material with a closed mind, fail to study it carefully, or not critically consider it? Certainly there are few other areas of high school curriculum which consider themselves above review.

More negatively, 3) is this statement even asking students to consider alternatives, such as ID or creationism? 4) Are there any areas in which the evidence for evolution has failed to show that it could explain the origin of living things?

Is this sticker anti-evolution because the students are being asked to think about what they are reading, rather than simply accept it as true without thinking? You must have a great lack of confidence in the theory of evolution’s ability to convince people if you don’t want people to think about it!

Regarding Behe and Snoke(2004) (which models the generation of multi-amino-acid protein features, and demonstrates how difficult it would be for such features to arise in a population through mutation and natural selection - which is the engine of evolution) - this paper certainly doesn’t support evolution. Until it can be shown how their model is wrong, I would count it as evidence against evolution.

Troll Wrote:

Is evolution regarding the origin of living things “a fact” - on the same level as “2+2=4”?

Bad question since evolution is not about the origin of life.

Has it been observed (regarding the origin of living things, not regarding relatively small-scale modifications of proteins, regulation and phenotype)?

Yes.

Should students read any material with a closed mind, fail to study it carefully, or not critically consider it? Certainly there are few other areas of high school curriculum which consider themselves above review.

Why doesn’t Cobb county require a disclaimer on those areas of the high school curriculum?

You must have a great lack of confidence in the theory of evolution’s ability to convince people if you don’t want people to think about it!

Not at all. The problem is that the disclaimer gives the students an excuse to ignore evolution. Given the poor coverage of evolution in Georgia’s biology curricula, they cannot be expected to be knowledgable enough to critically evaluate it. Only an anti-evolutionist would think that high-school education equips someone to critically analyze the unifying concept of modern biology.

Regarding Behe and Snoke(2004) (which models the generation of multi-amino-acid protein features, and demonstrates how difficult it would be for such features to arise in a population through mutation and natural selection - which is the engine of evolution) - this paper certainly doesn’t support evolution. Until it can be shown how their model is wrong, I would count it as evidence against evolution.

Been there, done that.

Note how many (few) scientists on the list are biologists or have relevant backgrounds. No wonder the DI includes chemicical origins in their plea.

Never ceases to amaze me how DI and ID supporters are overstating the ‘robustness’ of their claims when all they misrepresent scientists’ claims that Neo-Darwinism is somehow involved in a scientific controversy when in fact the ‘controversy’ is about additional mechanisms of variation and the role of neutrality. Few of these debates given any credibility to the flawed claims of ID, all they show is that there is a lively discussion about evolutionary theory and that the controversy is not about neo-Darwinism being wrong and certainly not about intelligent design which so far has failed to present any scientifically relevant theory or hyphotheses.

Regarding Behe and Snoke(2004) (which models the generation of multi-amino-acid protein features, and demonstrates how difficult it would be for such features to arise in a population through mutation and natural selection - which is the engine of evolution) - this paper certainly doesn’t support evolution. Until it can be shown how their model is wrong, I would count it as evidence against evolution.

It’s irrelevant to evolution. To consider irrelevant models as evidence against evolution would explain the ID stance. Nothing beats a strawman. Certainly that’s all ID has to offer lacking any scientific relevance of its own.

Troll Wrote:

Is evolution regarding the origin of living things “a fact” - on the same level as “2+2=4”?

Both your question and the textbook sticker are poorly worded in several respects, similar to “are you still beating your wife?”. First, scientific evidence is not the same as mathematical proof. No scientific statement about the actual world can/will ever be on the same level as a proven mathematical tautology. Second, evolution does not regard the ultimate origin of living things — it concerns “origins” only insofar as biological novelties (including new species) have occurred since the origin of life. Third, yes, evolution is a scientific fact. It is both fact and theory. It is as much a fact as the theory that the earth is round, as the theory that electrons are negatively charged, as the theory that fusion of hydrogen -> helium drives solar radiation. All “facts” in science are strictly and formally theories or hypotheses that have been so well corroborated by evidence that scientists now take them as assumptions. This most certainly applies to many aspects of evolutionary theory, such as universal common descent.

Trol Wrote:

Has it been observed (regarding the origin of living things, not regarding relatively small-scale modifications of proteins, regulation and phenotype)?

Yes, it has been indirectly observed by scientific means, in the same way that we have observed the DNA double-helix or anything else in science that nobody has seen with their own two eyes (radiowaves, the orbit of the earth around the sun, electrons, entropy, enthalpy, energy, X-rays, etc. etc.).

Puke warning:

Here

Is the above Amazon book reviewer the same “Seth Cooper” that is referred to as an attorney “expert” in “creationism” issues on the Disclaimer Institute’s website Here?? I’m inclined to believe so, given the extreme ideological idiocy proudly displayed by Mr. Cooper.

I have little doubt that Mr. Cooper’s evident fondness for lying men can be related to his own fondness for ignoring the truth and peddling second-hand falsehoods to anyone who will listen.

Does anyone have a link to the brief written by the folks representing our side?

On this page

here

Seth Cooper writes

As a non-scientist who is nonetheless familiar with most of the published literature in the contemporary Darwin vs. design debate .…

HAHAHHAHAAHHA!!!!

“Most of the published literature” ??????

Lying human scum.

The MJD link in the original article is corrected here.

Syntax Error: mismatched tag at line 3, column 147, byte 257 at /usr/local/lib/perl5/site_perl/5.12.3/mach/XML/Parser.pm line 187

How much do y’all want to bet that that is a quote-mine? That Dawkins goes on to say that creation “science” should be treated like all discredited ideas.

If creationist views are going to be promoted in public schools, we are certainly entitled to promote non-religious ideas among the children of religious people. Let’s put together some glossy brochures detailing the case that traditional Christian and Jewish ideas about history and science are demonstrably wrong and pass them out in church parking lots after Sunday school. It would also be a public service to inform young people of the possible dangers of being along with clerics and give them a number to call for help in the case of molestation by their priest.

And guess what? Here is what Cordova left off:

It should take all of about 10 minutes to teach it and then children can be allowed to make up their own minds in the face of evidence. For children who study hard and keep an open mind, it seems to me utterly inconceivable that they could conclude anything other than that evolution is true.

Let’s put together some glossy brochures detailing the case that traditional Christian and Jewish ideas about history and science are demonstrably wrong and pass them out in church parking lots after Sunday school.

If you do that, make sure to yell “Teach the Controversy”. I hear they all support that kind of thing.

Just to let people know the score in case they are wondering about Dawkins views, he has recently accused those who would seek to teach ID of being guilty of child abuse. He joined with other scientists and religious leaders in condeming the teaching of creationism in UK academies. He is as against it as anyone could possible be.

Just thought the record needed setting straight after the previous ‘quote.’

Just to let people know the score in case they are wondering about Dawkins views, he has recently accused those who would seek to teach ID of being guilty of child abuse.

How recently? The bastard is stealing my thunder. ;)

Dawkins wrote

For children who study hard and keep an open mind, it seems to me utterly inconceivable that they could conclude anything other than that evolution is true.

Of course that is true. On the other hand, there are just as many dishonest students who prefer short-cuts, who can’t reason, who memorize scripts but can’t defend them, and who grow up until little spewage-spouting Salvadore.

Perhaps students who insist that evolution is bogus should be asked to write a short term paper defending ID. If their paper quotes a scientist out of context or grossly misrepresents the conclusions of a paper or relies on an incomprehensible untestable presumption, the student will be given an “F”. That seems fair.

What do you think, Salvador? Does that seem fair to you? If not, why? Let’s see if you can write an answer without falling into the usual pitfalls which merit an “F” ! You claim to have graduated high school. Prove it, by making an argument for ID that a high schooler couldn’t destroy in five minutes.

The problem here is that proponents of ID insist that it belongs in science curricula. It doesn’t, though that doesn’t necessarily mean it doesn’t belong in schools.

ID is a philosophy and appropriately would be taught in high school sociology curriculum as one of the many philosphies on origins of life that are out there (of course, many ID proponents want to suppress all the others).

In contrast, evolution is one of the best, if not the best, examples of how the scientific method works. Darwin, a religious man though that is immaterial here, observed a set of facts.…differentiation of similar species in differing locations and different species performing the same functions in different locations. After much work, he developed a theory in which these facts were consistant. This was the basis of his publication on the origin of the species. In my opinion, every single student in the US should get this lesson in elementary school as one can’t understand science unless one understands how theories are developed. There is no better example of this development.

Charles Darwin would hardly recognize evolutionary theory today as the one he originated, but that doesn’t make it wrong, it simply means that as more observations take place, the theory has to grow to accomodate them.

If a scientific theory fails to account for an apparent contradiction, it gets thrown out and a new one is developed. That’s how science works. The theory of relativity was persuasively demonstrated at the end of World War 2, but its successor, quantum mechanical theory, was never really accepted by Einstein. It doesn’t mean that relativity was wrong (E still equals MC^2), but other theories had to develop to account for logical inconsistencies in relativity.

As a previous poster pointed out, mathematical proofs stay proven; they don’t change. Howver theories, even the theory of evolution, evolve and this needs to be part of everyone’s science education.

GWW wrote:

or grossly misrepresents the conclusions of a paper or relies on an incomprehensible untestable presumption, the student will be given an “F”. That seems fair.

Seems fair to me.

Your presumption that random mutations and changes in gene frequency due to natural selection can result in the emergence of highly organized structures, processes and adaptations is both incomprehensible and untestable.

You get an “F”

Charlie http://enigma.charliewagner.com http://www.charliewagner.com

The sticker Wrote:

This textbook contains material on evolution. Evolution is a theory, not a fact, regarding the origin of living things. This material should be approached with an open mind, studied carefully, and critically considered.

a Creationist Troll, apparently Wrote:

Anti-evolution? In what regard?

In the same regard as a high-school physics text would be pandering to the young-earth Creationists if it sported a disclaimer like this:

This textbook contains material on relativity.  Relativity is a theory, not a fact, regarding the speed of light and its implications.  This material should be approached with an open mind, studied carefully, and critically considered.

There is nothing in the evidence to justify such a disclaimer, and the material would not be in the high-school curriculum if there was.

a Creationist Troll, apparently Wrote:

is this statement even asking students to consider alternatives, such as ID or creationism?

It is asking them to disregard the version best supported by the scientific evidence long before they have had a chance to see that evidence and make a reasoned judgement on the merits.  They won’t see enough of that evidence in HS biology anyway (they are not doing research, nor even how to do research) so the statement should be deferred until it is proper:  PhD programs.

(I see the “questionable content” filter is still banning yahoo addresses. For shame.)

I got a page with the error message as follows:

Your comment submission failed for the following reasons:

In an effort to curb malicious comment posting by abusive users, I’ve enabled a feature that requires a weblog commenter to wait a short amount of time before being able to post again. Please try to post your comment again in a short while. Thanks for your patience.

Please correct the error in the form below, then press Post to post your comment.

This message notwithstanding, I checked to see that my submission is already posted.  This error message is misleading and would tend to cause multiple posts.  I suggest that both the filter and this misleading error message be fixed.

One time, a post I made showed up more than a day late.

“How recently? The bastard is stealing my thunder. ;)”

Probably about two or three weeks ago on BBC Radio 5 live. Sensible chap.

From th DI article:

“Scientists joining the legal brief include biologists and biochemists from state schools such as University of Georgia, Georgia Southern University, Georgia Institute of Technology, Kennesaw State University, Stanford University, and Ohio State University.”

I thought Stanford was a private university. Does anybody know the biologist there that signed the petition?

Ralph Jones Wrote:

I thought Stanford was a private university. Does anybody know the biologist there that signed the petition?

He doesn’t exist. Now Dean Kenyon, a biophysicist, did get his PhD at Stanford and is on the list. They are probably refering to him with a slight of hand. The list consists of 25 scientists from inside the state, mostly chemists. The closest the in-state list comes to biolgists is a apiculturalist and a dairy scientist. The DI tacked on five out of state names, who had “bio” somewhere in their PhD.

Well there is a new twist. Apparently the attorney representing Cobb County, Linwood Gunn, is not too swift. The Discovery Institute is not too happy with Linwood’s performance in court.

http://www.discovery.org/scripts/vi[…]20and%20News

Seth Cooper of the DI weighs in:

“It appears that, because of the Gunn’s failure to call expert witnesses the Judge will not get to hear directly from these scientists,” says Cooper. “If I was a parent in Cobb Co., I’d be wondering why this attorney is not doing more to protect the school district from censorship. If I were a teacher in the district, I’d give him a failing grade.”

Salvador, thanks for the updates.

Seth Cooper of the DI weighs in:

“It appears that, because of the Gunn’s failure to call expert witnesses the Judge will not get to hear directly from these scientists,” says Cooper. “If I was a parent in Cobb Co., I’d be wondering why this attorney is not doing more to protect the school district from censorship. If I were a teacher in the district, I’d give him a failing grade.”

Har!

Geez, Seth, send those parents over to The Panda’s Thumb and we’ll tell them why Gunn isn’t putting pro-ID “scientists” on the stand.

Unlike the ultra-dense dissembler Seth Cooper, maybe Gunn realizes that when your case is premised on pure bullcrap, it’s better not to let the judge’s nose get too close to the pile.

Of course, it’s not clear when Seth “Faith-based Attorney” Cooper last represented anyone in Federal court (assuming he ever did). But damn is the guy quick at writing those Amazon book reviews!!!

Salvador wrote

Well there is a new twist. Apparently the attorney representing Cobb County, Linwood Gunn, is not too swift. The Discovery Institute is not too happy with Linwood’s performance in court.

The judge elected not to hear experts. However, he did want to hear from the author of the textbook in which the disclaimers were placed. Seems reasonable to me, given that the disclaimer was directed at the content of the text.

BTW, when are Intelligent Design Creationists going to ask for similar disclaimers about theories in physics and chemistry? Seems to me there are some real controversies there, what with string theory, Bell’s Theorem, and all that. YECs espectially should be pusing those, don’t you think. Salvador? How about the constancy of the speed of light? Have the little nippers explore the implications of a 10^6-fold increase in the speed of light over the last few thousand years for the structure of the Oklo reactors. And there’s geology. Surely the theory of plate tectonics needs careful examination. Continent-sized slabs of crust drifting around, colliding, making mountains? C’mon, Salvador. Use your imagination! (It’s all that YECs have, really: imagination.)

RBH

It turns out that the one “expert” the defense wanted to put on (a chemist who wants to be a minister) backed out. See here for a brief report from a spectator at the trial.

RBH

And Seth Cooper of the Discovery Institute? How many trials does he have? His bar admission indicates 2004.

Salvador wrote

Well there is a new twist. Apparently the attorney representing Cobb County, Linwood Gunn, is not too swift.

It’s quite clear that Seth “Green Horn” Cooper doesn’t know what he’s talking about. I’m inclined to believe that Mr. Gunn is making the best argument that he possible can under the circumstances and he’s well-advised to avoid a battle of the experts. After all, nothing could be more pleasing than watching ID apologists with their pseudoscientific gobbledygook shrivel and fry under the intense lights of genuine science, with the national media watching.

There is an excellent article here

http://biz.howhoo.com/law/041105/ef[…]16599_1.html

which provides the best account I’ve seen yet of the issues. Insert “ya” where the text says “how”.

The following passage from that article shows precisely where Mr. Gunn has been forced to mistate the bad facts of the case

Before the county adopted the Miller/Levine textbook, Cobb banned any mention of evolution in its textbooks and prohibited teaching evolution, Gunn said.

“What we did is correct that,” Gunn said. “The only thing the school board did is acknowledge there is a potential conflict [between the science of evolution and creationism] and there is a potential infringement on people’s beliefs if you present it in a dogmatic way. We’re going to do it in a respectful way.”

Do you see Gunn’s intentional lie? He says that the “only thing” the school board did was to “acknowledge there is a potential conflict .…”

This is pure baloney but he’s a lawyer so we’re not surprised.

I recall another thread on this issue where several commenters proposed alternate ways to “acknowledge” the “potential conflict.” Indeed, one can imagine language that would not only have acknowledged the “potential” conflict, but that would have helped Christian students to avoid or resolve the “potential” conflict, as so many Christians who are biologists have successfully done.

Alas, Gunn must dissemble before the court (or admit defeat) in order to satisfy his paranoid, ignorant and self-righteous clients on the school board. What does the sticker actually say?

This textbook contains material on evolution. Evolution is a theory, not a fact, regarding the origin of living things. This material should be approached with an open mind, studied carefully, and critically considered.”

Where is the “acknowledgement” of a “potential conflict” between science and religion to which Gunn refers? There is none. There is only the selective and discriminatory disparagement of the work of thousands of scientists who long ago proved the fact of evolution and who continue to rely on and expand the utility of the principles set forth by Charles Darwin well over a century ago.

Judge Cooper has evidently already recognized the disconnect.

The sticker “is not clearly neutral towards evolution,” he wrote. “A cursory reading of the sticker would likely posit doubt in the mind of the reader regarding the merits of evolutionary theory when those doubts might not otherwise exist.”

The Cobb school board, he continued, “decided to place the sticker in the textbook as a way to accommodate religious belief” after a group of parents “expressed concern that the instruction of evolution would be in a manner that would negate any possibility of religious belief.”

But to the extent that the school board was seeking to avoid offending students and parents, the sticker also served a secular purpose, he wrote. He agreed with the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in a 1999 ruling originating in Louisiana that “the local school board need not turn a blind eye to the concerns of students and parents troubled by the teaching of evolution in public classrooms.”

Perhaps local churches will arrange baptisms for alarmed students after their exams to disinfect their brains of the troubling knowledge they acquired in class. The school board could send a flyer to parents informing them of the particular churches in their community which have offered their services.

That link again (it’s the y*hoo part that the damn server won’t permit posting) should be

biz.howhoo.com/law/041105/ef0c1853a5c7c256d00441f725316599_1.html

Don’t forget to add

http://

to the beginning and

.html

to the end.

RBH wrote:

BTW, when are Intelligent Design Creationists going to ask for similar disclaimers about theories in physics and chemistry? Seems to me there are some real controversies there, what with string theory, Bell’s Theorem, and all that. YECs espectially should be pusing those, don’t you think. Salvador

Yes. You are wise RBH.

However, if us YECs keep have guys like Linwood to defend our case, we’ll have a hard time pushing our wedge strategy to get creationism, ahem, I mean Intelligent Design, taught in the classroom.

Salvador

What’s going on? Is someone spoofing Salvador? Is he spoofing himself? Who’s in charge here? Where’s my Captain’s Wafers…

Hey! I’ve heard that the Cobb County School Board wants a notice published in school textbooks saying that evolution is a theory, not a fact. Great idea as long as the school board is as eager to publish the same notice on the first page of the Bible.

Hey! I’ve heard that the Cobb County School Board wants a notice published in school textbooks saying that evolution is a theory, not a fact. Great idea as long as the school board is as eager to publish the same notice on the first page of the Bible.

Off topic posts dumped to the Bathroom Wall.

WARNING: WARNING STICKERS MAY BE HARMFUL TO YOUR CAUSE

Cobb County schools have made national news of late as a result of their decision to provide biology students with a caveat concerning a biology textbook’s presentation of the theory of evolution. Succumbing to pressure from conservative Christian parents and a petition that gathered some 2,000 signatures, they opted for placing a sticker inside the cover of the text. It reads: “This textbook contains material on evolution. Evolution is a theory, not a fact, regarding the origin of living things. This material should be approached with an open mind, studied carefully and critically considered.”

A sticker?

I have my own doubts about Darwin’s theory. And I have serious reservations about the philosophy of science that informs the authors of such texts and which stands as the chief “in principle” objection to allowing any form of “Creationism” to be taught in the schools. That philosophy is Methodological Naturalism, which maintains that, by definition, scientific explanations are naturalistic. This precludes a priori any appeal to Intelligent Design as a possible explanation of observed phenomena, or to poltergeists as the cause of strange bumpings in the night. On this view, to make any such appeal is to compromise science with religious doctrine–bad thing. Next, you’ll be reading goat entrails and filling petri dishes with Holy Water. But it seems to me that it is at least, in principle, possible that there are, in fact, non-natural or even supernatural causes. Gilligan’s Professor, ingenious man that he was, made all sorts of mechanical and electronic contrivances having only coconuts and bamboo to work with. A similarly resourceful naturalist, who insists upon limiting his hypotheses to natural explanations, may come up with a coherent and perhaps even plausible explanation of a given phenomenon. But in the event that the correct explanation involves things never dreamt of in his philosophy, he will have missed the boat entirely–as did Gilligan in nearly every episode.

But I am troubled by this strategy in Cobb County. For one thing, I wonder whether any of those good people responsible for the placing of the sticker have considered how this will play in the national news. I am sympathetic, but I see the move as ripe for parody–the kind of thing that becomes fodder for articles in such satirical publications as The Onion, and to devastating effect. Perhaps the Harry Potter books will be permitted in the school libraries, but not without a sticker inside the cover: “Warning: This book promotes witchcraft and Satan worship.” Perhaps we will witness a burgeoning book warning sticker industry that offers cautionary advice on everything from the works of everyone from Tolkien (“Warning: This book is a work of fantasy”) to Twain (“Warning: This book has the “N” word”). Or perhaps “sticker wars” will break out. Unable to remove the anti-evolution stickers from the texts, the opposition lobbies for anti-sticker stickers: “Warning: The sticker below has been put here by people with an extreme right-wing agenda. Please think critically about the warning contained therein.” It escalates from there, as the original group heads to press with yet a third sticker.…

Whether true or not, it is all too easy to imagine those responsible for the petition and sticker as resembling those two-dimensional, hair-in-a-bun versions of conservative Christians offered up by Hollywood. The ignorance and closed-mindedness of such characters typically serves as one of the obstacles faced by the protagonist who has truth and justice on her side.

Christian people might do well to keep in mind the importance of what has been called the “context of plausibility”–the general intellectual climate of the culture in which they would ply their wares, and its willingness or unwillingness to consider their view even as being among the contenders for truth, let alone its willingness to embrace it as actually being true. To illustrate, I confess that I personally would stand a better chance of turning into a pheasant than becoming, say, a devotee’ of the Hare Krishna movement. The teachings strike me as implausible enough that, were I to make shipwreck of my Christian faith, it would not even be among the options in the way that, say, Naturalism would be. The context of plausibility is a function not only of rational considerations, but non-rational as well. In particular, it may also be affected by the public perception of those who bear the message. If the messengers are perceived as fools, their message will likely be discounted as foolishness without so much as a serious hearing.

Some would argue that the very claim on the sticker is controversial: “Evolution is a theory and not a fact.” I take the warning to mean that the process of evolution by natural selection cannot be confirmed by direct observation or experimentation in the way that established scientific facts can be. True enough. But the theory-versus-fact distinction is insensitive to another distinction: that between good theories and bad ones. When people like Richard Dawkins say things like “Evolution is fact, fact, FACT!” they are overstating the case, to be sure. But they might argue that much good science may be done given Darwinian assumptions. According to them, the theory has strong predictive and explanatory power, and enjoys a kind of elegant simplicity and an absence of ad hoc explanations. It does such an impressive job of decoding an otherwise inexplicable world around us that we may be rational in thinking that the theory has provided us with epistemic access to the fact. We may challenge these assertions regarding Darwin’s theory, of course. I do, in fact. But my point is that it is possible for a “mere” theory to do just that. Juries regularly convict and sentence people because they find them guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, and they do so even though none of them was present when the crime was committed.

Until quite recently, with the development of Intelligent Design as a scientific hypothesis, a project still in its fledgling stages, Creationists have had very little to offer that, by any stretch of the imagination, could count as science. Frankly, I sympathize with those who, in the past, have objected to giving equal time to Creationism. Unless and until a “theory” meets certain reasonable criteria (such as those above claimed by some for Darwinism), you might as well give “equal time” to astrology or the reading of tea leaves. Assuming, as I do, the overall truth of Creationism (i.e., there is a Creator), then I suspect that one reason why Creationists are so far behind in advancing any respectable theories is that they have for too long retreated from the battlefield and claimed sanctity in their churches, thus embracing various forms of anti-intellectualism.

Sometimes it seems as though the best that they have to offer is a bumper sticker image of the Truth fish devouring the Darwin amphibian. Has any Darwinian motorist been forced to rethink his position as a result of falling in behind a car sporting this sticker? I am inclined to think that a sticker in a book will be equally ineffective.

Mark,

See comment # 10287 on the Bathroom Wall.

Evil Among Them:

Just a reminder to anyone inclined to indulge in the PC fantasy that the politically active and/or attention-hungry evangelical Christian characters we respond to here are less likely to lie and steal than other controversy-loving charlatans.

From Roger Ailes via Atrios –

http://rogerailes.blogspot.com/2004[…]937945428990

Former Georgia School Superintendent Linda Schrenko, whose groundbreaking political career dissolved into erratic behavior and defeat, was indicted Wednesday on federal charges that she stole more than $500,000 in taxpayer money and spent part of it on cosmetic surgery.

Schrenko, 54; her close friend and chief assistant Merle Temple, 56; and Alpharetta businessman A. Stephan Botes, 47, were named in an 18-count indictment that alleges they were involved in a scheme to steal federal education funds and secretly funnel about half the money to Schrenko’s failed 2002 campaign for governor.

In addition, the indictment charges the Republican school superintendent used $9,300 of the money to pay for cosmetic surgery.

A former teacher and principal whose only prior campaign was a losing race for school superintendent of Columbia County, Schrenko was first elected to head the $6 billion state Education Department in 1994, running a down-home campaign and with a 100 percent approval rating by the Christian Coalition. Once in office, she put personal friends on the DOE payroll, including her pastor and his wife.

A brief refresher re a couple of Ms. Schrenko’s brilliant ideas:

March 10 1996

In Georgia, one school district, Hall County north of Atlanta, this year adopted a policy calling for the teaching of creationism along with evolution. A bill in the state Legislature to give state approval for teaching creationism has stalled in committee, but State School Superintendent Linda Schrenko, who is sympathetic to teaching creationism, has asked for a state attorney general’s opinion on whether creationism can already be taught.

August 12, 1999

Schrenko has recommended that the State Board of Education add to its curriculum social studies courses based on the Bible. History of the Old Testament I and II and History of the New Testament I and II would be taught in Georgia schools if Schrenko’s idea is approved.

She said the courses focus on the Bible in the context of history, and that through that historical context students would get a great deal of value from the Bible and the course lessons.

http://images.google.com/imgres?img[…]%3D%26sa%3DG

Link to photo of Shrenko above. Nothing too horrifying – what was the cosmetic surgery for? Bigger boobs?

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