Georgia - stickers must go!

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This just in from CNN

Judge: Evolution stickers must be removed from textbooks

Thursday, January 13, 2005 Posted: 11:42 AM EST (1642 GMT) ATLANTA, Georgia (CNN) – A U.S. District Court judge has ruled that a school district in suburban Atlanta, Georgia, must remove an evolution disclaimer inside textbooks.

The stickers inside the Cobb County School District’s science books said “Evolution is a theory not a fact.”

The ruling issued by U.S. District Judge Clarence Cooper said the stickers violate the Establishment Clause of the U.S. Constitution.

Parents in Cobb County, a politically conservative area northwest of Atlanta, and the American Civil Liberties Union had challenged the stickers in court, arguing they violated the constitutional separation of church and state.

You can get the entire ruling in a 2 mb pdf file here.

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A lot of people have been e-mailing me about this, and it is very happy news: a Georgia judge has ruled the Cobb county textbook stickers unconstitutional. I'm planning to go pop the top on a bottle of diet Coke to celebrate. Read More

139 Comments

Congratulations to the judge for seeing through all the obfuscations and half-truths used by the defenders of the stickers in attempting to hide their religious intent.

That’s going to stir the right-wing pundits into a frenzy for sure.

That pdf appears to be damaged and won’t open. If someone finds a working version of the file, please post the link.

The URL for the decision has two dots preceding the “pdf”, but eliminating one of them gets a “Page not found” error. Hmmm.

Just go here to access the PDF.

http://www.gand.uscourts.gov

Here’s a good URL for the decision. I just got it there.

RBH

Yay!

On first rapid reading, the Court’s decision decided that the sticker did not violate the first prong of the Lemon test (it has a secular purpose), but does violate the second “effects” prong (excessive entanglement of the state in religion). The Court also ruled that the sticker violates the Georgia Constitution. (REmember, I’m not a lawyer!)

Just got off the ‘blog’ at the DI. They don’t have an entry regarding this decision. Funny, don’t-cha think? - Yea right. Maybe it just takes longer to get news out to the west coast. Yeah I’ll wipe that smirk off my face - someday.

The system works.

If you want to see a hefty dose of spin, here’s the report by Agape Press. Note that over half the space is given to “Brian Fahling, an attorney with a Mississippi-based pro-family organization” to comment on how he disagrees with the judge’s decision.

… “Really what’s going on here is there’s this oppressive orthodoxy that has been institutionalized in the academy and now in our public schools with respect to evolution. You can’t question it,” he says in reference to the theory of evolution, “and if anybody does question it, then they’re crushed, both in the science community and the academic community.” …

That’s rich, since IDC propopents have tried to circumvent the scientific community and take it straight to school boards.

While this is certainly good news from a Constitutional perspective, I’m not sure it’s good news from an intellectual perspective - broadly speaking. I see the inclusion of Creation “Science” in the public schools as an opportunity for sound science to shine. For the competent instructor, making the case for evolution in contrast to Creation “Science” is child’s play. Let’s call their bluff and put this nonsense to rest. What better way to teach the value of science than to put it up against the religious ramblings of fanatics - there’s no contest here.

As an IDer, the ruling doesn’t bother me at all, inasmuch as it applies to ID. (It bothers me a great deal that the judge can tell the school system what to do, but that is independent of ID. And if it doesn’t bother you, it should, because the next judge might decree the opposite.)

I don’t think the stickers would have any effect on any young mind, one way or the other. I never understood why you guys got so upset about them.

I would have simply laughed if we had “Relativity is a theory not a fact.” stickers in our physics books.

At some level, “X is a theory not a fact” is manifestly true, unless you claim that X is complete, accurate, not subject to modification, and thoroughly tested to arbitrary accuracy.

When you teach science, it either stands or falls on its own merits, not some silly sticker.

I’m not too enthusiastic about the first 30 or so pages of the Judge’s opinion, in spite of the fact I agree with the final result.

The opinion seems to me to approve of double-speak by religious people to some extent, at least with respect to the first two prongs of the Lemon test.

Moreover, as School Board member Laura Searcy pointed out at trial, evolution was the only topic in the curriculum, scientific or otherwise, that was creating controversy at the time of the adopt-ion of the textbooks and Sticker. The School Board’s singling out of evolution is understandable in this context, and the undisputed fact that there are other scientific theories with religious implications that are not mentioned in this Sticker or in others supports the Court’s conclusion that the Board was not seeking to endorse or advance religion.

I draw the exact opposite conclusion: the Board was seeking to endorse the religious beliefs of those parents who created controversy. Evolution didn’t create the controversy. Fundamentalist religious types created the controversy. The Court appears to be saying that the fact that the religious folks objecting to evolution didn’t object to the earth-centered solar system is crucial, that somehow this “proves” that the objections to evolution are not religiously motivated but “sincerely” about “thinking critically.”

For it’s analaysis of the second prong of the Lemon test, the Court ignores the demonstrable fact that the pitch of the evolution “controversy” has nothing to do with the alleged “weakness” of the theory and everything to do with the fact that the objectors are engaging in a traditional recitation from a century-old script, an activity that religious conservative donors are eager to promote.

Similarly, this paragraph

There is no evidence in this ease that the School Board included the statement in the Sticker that “evolution is a theory, not a fact” to promote or advance religion. Indeed, the testimony of the School Board members and the documents 1n the record all indicate that the School Board relied on counsel to draft language for the sticker that would pass constitutional muster

seems illogical to me. Of course any parent with reasonable knowledge of the law who wanted to endorse his or her religious beliefs in class would try to do so in a way that wasn’t blatantly unconstitutional. How can consultation with a lawyer possibly be cited as evidence against a motivation to endorse religion? Weird.

As the Fifth Circuit stated in Freiler, “local school boards need not turn a blind eye to the concerns of students and parents troubled by the teaching of evolution in public classrooms.” 185 F 3d at 346

The solution to the concerns of religious parents is as obvious as it is distasteful from an educational perspective: students whose parents fear that their religion is threatened by scientific facts should put their children in private schools or be allowed to pull their children from the particular classes which they deem offsensive. That is a Constitutional accomodation. Why should they be treated any differently than the children of non-religious parents?

The final dozen pages of the opinion are spot-on, of course. And if I find the analysis somewhat contradictory along the way, I am certain is more likely due to the overlapping nature of the Lemon test prongs than to incompetence by Judge Cooper, who saw through all the baloney at the end of the day.

Following the Court’s reasoning, it would seem difficult for the creationist types to get a special sticker in a particular science textbook without violating the Constitution. I wonder if they would be satisfied with a general disclaimer, spoken to all the students on the first day of school: “To those students with religious faiths: if your religious faith is genuine, nothing you will be asked to understand in your classrooms can shake that faith.”

Seems reasonable to me.

Jeff,

If every high school science teacher were also an advocate of good science instruction, your proposal might have merit. But we know from polls and the like that between one quarter and one third of high school science teachers are antievolutionists themselves. Do you think that they would take the opportunity to expose students to critiques of antievolution, or just present “evidence against evolution”?

While this is certainly good news from a Constitutional perspective, I’m not sure it’s good news from an intellectual perspective - broadly speaking. I see the inclusion of Creation “Science” in the public schools as an opportunity for sound science to shine. For the competent instructor, making the case for evolution in contrast to Creation “Science” is child’s play. Let’s call their bluff and put this nonsense to rest. What better way to teach the value of science than to put it up against the religious ramblings of fanatics - there’s no contest here.

Other than time limitations, I don’t see any reason why a teacher couldn’t explain why arguments from ignorance, e.g., theories that invoke mysterious intelligent alien beings to explain phenomenon, are scientifically useless.

Heddle writes

I don’t think the stickers would have any effect on any young mind, one way or the other. I never understood why you guys got so upset about them.

I would have simply laughed if we had “Relativity is a theory not a fact.” stickers in our physics books.

Sure, David, but not everyone is such a child prodigy like you who was able to deduce in high school that all of the world’s biologists were wrong about evolution, but you were right.

Rather than resurrect your opinions about “young minds”, why not go back into the archives and address the questions that were asked of you the first time you voiced that viewpoint here. I recall that your answers were woefully incomplete and contradictory. And then you ran away for a while.

GWW,

In a sense I agree with you. I reached my conclusions without the help of the sticker–so obviously the sticker would have had no effect on me. If I recall correctly, you said the sticker would not have affected you, because you were smarter than most kids. I recall expressing admiration for your moxie.

So, are there readers here who admit that the sticker would have influenced them?

Posted by RBH on January 13, 2005 12:39 PM

On first rapid reading, the Court’s decision decided that the sticker did not violate the first prong of the Lemon test (it has a secular purpose), but does violate the second “effects” prong (excessive entanglement of the state in religion). The Court also ruled that the sticker violates the Georgia Constitution. (REmember, I’m not a lawyer!)

Well, we knew the judge’s decision on the purpose prong ahead of time, because he ruled on that on during the motion to dismiss last year. He said then that the issue was with the effect prong. And boy, did he do it – looked at the history of creationism, “theory not fact,” and everything.

Wesley,

That’s why I qualified my statement with “competent.” If the figures you give are true (I don’t doubt them), then there’s a much bigger problem here than simply religious fanatics encroaching our public schools systems. Biology teachers who take an anti-evolutionary stance are not qualified to teach biology in any possible world. I guess the problem here runs much deeper - oh my.

This part of the decision:

Therefore, the Court continues to believe that the School Board sincerely sought to promote critical thinking in adopting the Sticker to go in the textbooks.

Is indeed wrong, but perhaps the judge was just giving the defendants the benefit of the doubt, since he knew they were going to lose for at least one other reason.

Syntax Error: mismatched tag at line 5, column 388, byte 1334 at /usr/local/lib/perl5/site_perl/5.16/mach/XML/Parser.pm line 187.

In the hope of realizing liberal ideals of toleration and neutrality, this decision will bolster the idea of parental choice through vouchers or homeschooling.

The salient paragraph is found on page 42 of the decision. To wit …

In sum, the Sticker in dispute violates the effects prang of the Lemon test and justice O’Connor’s endorsement test, which the Court has incorporated into its Lemon analysis Adopted by the school board, funded by the money of taxpayers, and inserted by school personnel, the Sticker conveys an impermissible message of endorsement and tells some citizens that they are political outsiders while telling others that they are political insiders. Regardless of whether teachers comply with the Cobb County School District’s regulation on theories of origin and regardless of the discussions that actually take place m the Cobb County science classrooms, the Sticker has already sent a message that the School Board agrees with the beliefs of Christian fundamentalists and creationists. The School Board has effectively improperly entangled itself whiz religion by appearing to take a position Therefore, the Sticker must be removed from all of the textbooks into which it has been placed.

And then there is the rest. Having skimmed the first 41 pages, I think the decision is quite narrow, but then it so was the case as argues by the ACLU’s attorney. The issues to be examined in Dover, given the specific mention if ID in the board’s policy, are likely to be very different with the prospect of a broader decision. But that’s an opinion of a voyeur, not a lawyer versed in Constitutional law.

David Heddle Wrote:

I would have simply laughed if we had “Relativity is a theory not a fact.” stickers in our physics books.

At some level, “X is a theory not a fact” is manifestly true, unless you claim that X is complete, accurate, not subject to modification, and thoroughly tested to arbitrary accuracy.

No such stickers were stuck for any other scientific theory: relativity, electromagnetism, atomic theory, etc. So evolution was being singled out for some reason. I don’t imagine the school board would acknowledge encouraging close-mindedness about other theories besides evolution.

That evolution is a theory is true, but as noted by the judge, the word “theory” is used differently in science and in general usage, and the stickers sought to make use of that double usage to cast doubt on evolution, and this was done for reasons that were religious, not scientific.

I reached my conclusions without the help of the sticker—so obviously the sticker would have had no effect on me.

You have never articulated how you reached your conclusion as a high school student that the world’s biologists were wrong about evolution and you were right.

I suspect you encountered a text that was indistinguishable from the sticker and, given your naivety and predisposition to being a gadfly, you took the ball and ran.

Again, I urge you to revisit the archives and examine your previous statements. You were all over the place with your assertions about “worldviews” and other nonsense.

Bottom line, though: the claim that disclaimers can not influence anyone’s position on a subject is indefensible. You might as well argue that humans don’t need oxygen to survive. It’s that stupid.

The specific of the decision, that is where the sticker violated the Establishment Clause, are found in the paragraph that bridges pages 33-34. It’s as follows…

The critical language in the Sticker that supports the conclusion that the Sucker runs afoul of the Establishment Clause is the statement that “[e]volution is a theory, not a fact, concerning the origin of living things” This statement as not problematic because of its truth or falsity, although testimony from various witnesses at trial and the amicus brief submitted by the Colorado Citizens for Science, et al , suggest that the statement is not entirely accurate. Rather, the first problem with this language is that there has been a lengthy debate between advocates of evolution and proponents of religious theories of origin specifically concerning whether evolution should be taught as a fact or as a theory, and the School Board appears to have sided with the proponents of religious theories of origin in violation of the Establishment Clause. As the Supreme Court stated in County of Allegheny v. American Civil Liberties Union, 492 U S 573,593-94,109 S Ct 3086, 106 L Ed 2d 472 (1989), “[t]he Establishment Clause, at the very least, prohibits government from appearing to take a position on questions of religious belief,” and this is exactly what the School Board appears to have done.

GWW,

Well, I am waiting for someone to admit they were feeble minded enough that a stupid sticker would have turned them into a Fallwellian fundamentalist.

I think you are referring to why I did not buy evolution in high school? What’s the point, you won’t accept any answer. It was not because of religion, because I wasn’t a Christian in high school.

I mostly remember thinking there wasn’t enough time–a criticism that I still believe is valid. However, my decision may have also had a large “gut feeling” component.

Our books were perfectly orthodox–no stickers, no reference to creationism, it was a public school. They probably had falsified embryonic sequences, but I don’t think that would have played a part in my decision.

The specific of the decision, that is where the sticker violated the Establishment Clause, are found in the paragraph that bridges pages 33-34. It’s as follows…

The critical language in the Sticker that supports the conclusion that the Sucker runs afoul of the Establishment Clause is the statement that “[e]volution is a theory, not a fact, concerning the origin of living things” This statement as not problematic because of its truth or falsity, although testimony from various witnesses at trial and the amicus brief submitted by the Colorado Citizens for Science, et al , suggest that the statement is not entirely accurate. Rather, the first problem with this language is that there has been a lengthy debate between advocates of evolution and proponents of religious theories of origin specifically concerning whether evolution should be taught as a fact or as a theory, and the School Board appears to have sided with the proponents of religious theories of origin in violation of the Establishment Clause. As the Supreme Court stated in County of Allegheny v. American Civil Liberties Union, 492 U S 573,593-94,109 S Ct 3086, 106 L Ed 2d 472 (1989), “[t]he Establishment Clause, at the very least, prohibits government from appearing to take a position on questions of religious belief,” and this is exactly what the School Board appears to have done.

Note the judge’s citation of the amicus brief from the Colorado Citizens for Science. The judge gives that brief a somewhat of a back hand in the decision, I suspect it was influential to some degree in bringing him to his conclusion. I trust those of you associated with other groups who would consider filing brief in the Dover case will certainly put them in contact with the plaintiffs’ attorneys. Amicus briefs in cases like this are always important (an amicus brief is conidered to have turned the tide in Aquillar vs. Edwards, if I remember correctly.

I have to be honest here and question the use of the “Establishment Cause” as a rationale for doing the right thing. I’ve read the text of the debates that occurred in the various states, which submitted amendments to the new U.S. Constitution.

Those states that were interested in inserting language, which would become our First Amendment, offered the amendment because they did not want the federal government to intrude in their space since they had state religions to defend. Their intent was to prevent the federal government from establishing a national religion that would supersede their own state’s religion.

Now, while one can argue the wisdom (or lack thereof) of an individual state having an official religion, it doesn’t undermine the original rationale for inserting language into the Constitution in the first place, which was to prevent the establishment of an official national religion.

While the language of the stickers was surely religiously-motivated, I’m not sure leaving them in place would have established a national religion.

I don’t think the stickers would have any effect on any young mind, one way or the other. I never understood why you guys got so upset about them. I would have simply laughed if we had “Relativity is a theory not a fact.” stickers in our physics books.

Obviously, the leaders of the ID movement think differently. Otherwise (presumably?) they wouldn’t have wasted people’s time and money advocating the stickers.

You do bring up a good point, though. If ID leaders are interested in students knowing fact from theory, why didn’t they advocate a sticker for all science disciplines? I’ll tell you why: Because evolutionary science is the only one that forces them to confront a contradiction between reality and their worship of the Protestant Bible as without error.

David surely your not in the one hand saying that scientists that believe in the multiple universes and say that ours is “priveleged” is meaning that in a many talking about the creator? Exactly why, if we humans are the end goal of “God” would god go through making physics up to spawn of infinate amounts of universes most of which would not be conducive to “Human” life. PLEASE don’t give me the line about “to show us God’s glory”.

No, you’ve missed the boat. What I have said is, inspite of the fact that everyone wants to deny that any non religious fanatics see evidence for design, is that many cosmologists DO acknowledge how privileged our universe is, and they choose either:

(1) there are many universes and yes ours is privileged not because God made it but because if ours wasn’t one of the rare privileged universes we wouldn’t be here talking about it

or

(2) this is the only universe and the reason it is privileged is because it was designed.

Most physicists probably choose (1) BUT EVEN THAT CHOICE AKNOWLEDGES WHAT YOU ALL WANT TO DENY: that our universe is privileged.

I choose (2)

It’s that simple.

If you prove to me that parallel universes exist, then I’ll be happy to revise my beliefs.

Well its a common stratergy used by creationists so references would be good so we can see if they are out of context or not.

You caught me! Penrose didn’t say

Amazing fine-tuning occurs in the laws that make this [complexity] possible. Realization of the complexity of what is accomplished makes it very difficult not to use the word “miraculous” without taking a stand as to the ontological status of that word.

He really said, “The last thing you’d ever hear me say is…” followed by the quote above!

Ref: comment #13883 by Wayne F.

“…I don’t know how Abiogenesis occurred. I don’t even know if it occurred on earth.”

“How this abiogenesis occurred, through completely natural causes or through divine intervention is not yet known.”

If this is true then I have something to work with–I certainly won’t have to waste time searching for any scientific proof on it but I can look for anything we know or speculate about it up to this point, and persue my inquires from there.

BTW..this is for Great White. I hope you had a good nights rest and took your medication this morning. You seemed a little testy yesterday.

Thanks, Harvey

So, anybody found the probability distribution–or even an accepted way to estimate it–for the likelihood that the expansion rate of the universe would be, say, 10% higher than it currently is?

Mr Heddle:

Jan: go look at the accuracy of quantum electrodynamics and the electron magnetic moment. Maybe 20 decimal places was too many, that’s possible, I just pulled it out of the air. But I am sure it is at least 13—not sure of the latest data. But my point stands, that evolution cannot match that precision—nor should it. But your claim that evolution is on firmer ground that relativity is absurd—not sure why you brought god into that debate.

You said relativity, nothing about QED or EMM. Those can be addressed, but your shell game is merely that, and therefore you are but a charlatan, not a serious discussant. I will therefore hencefore ignore you. You waste my time.

Mr Heddle:

Jan: go look at the accuracy of quantum electrodynamics and the electron magnetic moment. Maybe 20 decimal places was too many, that’s possible, I just pulled it out of the air. But I am sure it is at least 13—not sure of the latest data. But my point stands, that evolution cannot match that precision—nor should it. But your claim that evolution is on firmer ground that relativity is absurd—not sure why you brought god into that debate.

You said relativity, nothing about QED or EMM. Those can be addressed, but your shell game is merely that, and therefore you are but a charlatan, not a serious discussant. I will therefore hencefore ignore you. You waste my time.

Jan,

QED is a relativistic quantum field theory. And the EMM is calculated via QED. If relativity is wrong, QED is wrong, and its calculation would be off. Any theory with relativity built in obviously tests relativity.

It’s not a shell game. I must say I am embarassed for you you for this particular criticism.

I will end this post the same way I ended my last on another thread.

My hypothesis is that you cannot offer a cogent, impassioned, reasoned response to the question concerning why non-ID physicists see fine tuning, because you think it opens the door to ID. It violates your world-view. It is impossible for you to say what these world-class non-ID scientists say, which is Hey, look at this fine tuning. Is that remarkable or what? Now I don’t believe in God, but this sure demands an explanation. Let’s investigate.

In giving that response, they are thinking like scientists. In covering your ears and saying “I don’t see fine tuning, I don’t see fine tuning, I don’t see fine tuning” you are thinking like religious fundamentalists.

Harvey et al,

Science has concluded that life on Earth began about 3.8 billions years ago and has since evolved into a huge number of extinct and living species, such as E. coli, T. rex, and H. sapiens. This overarching evolutionary phenomenon of common ancestry is known as macroevolution. An important aspect of macroevolution is that it has nothing to do with how life began. Scientists do speculate plausibly about the beginning of life on Earth, and anti-evolutionists attack this speculation as if it were part of macroevolution, but macroevolution is the history of life after it started.

David Heddle writes,

My hypothesis is that you cannot offer a cogent, impassioned, reasoned response to the question concerning why non-ID physicists see fine tuning, because you think it opens the door to ID. It violates your world-view. It is impossible for you to say what these world-class non-ID scientists say, which is Hey, look at this fine tuning. Is that remarkable or what? Now I don’t believe in God, but this sure demands an explanation. Let’s investigate.

In giving that response, they are thinking like scientists. In covering your ears and saying “I don’t see fine tuning, I don’t see fine tuning, I don’t see fine tuning” you are thinking like religious fundamentalists.

The question of why there is a universe in which the all the component parts (things, forces, laws, etc.) are such that interesting stuff happens, including beings such as us who can in fact ponder this question, and in fact why anything exists at all, is a powerful question that, in my opinion, we will never be able to ultimately answer: informed agnosticism is the only legitimate position on this.

The reason I think this is that no matter what we discover through science about how the world is, there will always be the question of “but why is it like that?” - there will always be an infinite regress of such questions. For instance, even if there to be definitive evidence for the quantum-based many-world hypothesis, we would still not know the ultimate reason why a quantum substrate that could produce many worlds was what existed; and of course if we conclude that the world is as it is because of the existence of an omnipotent intelligent designer, we would not know why such a designer existed, nor whether that designer was part of a larger metaphysical environment.

We just can’t know: we are a creature that has been promoted above our level of competence - it is part of our nature that we can ask questions that we can’t answer.

Many people try to solve this problem through logic, but such efforts are bound to rest someplace on chosen assumptions as opposed to evidence, and do not escape the dilemma. There are many different metaphysical ways to understand how our universe could be such as it is - it is certainly not the case that the only two positions are belief in an omnipotent intelligent designer or belief in a purely material quantum multiverse of many-worlds. Furthermore, there are many scientists who do believe in an omnipotent God and also believe that science is the proper way to investigate the “fine-tuning” problem from an empirical point of view.

Jack,

That’s the only concession I was trying to get:

Furthermore, there are many scientists who do believe in an omnipotent God and also believe that science is the proper way to investigate the “fine-tuning” problem from an empirical point of view.

I agree. I am all for vigorous scientific investigation of the fine tuning, including investigation and, hopefully someday, testing multiverse theories.

Jack Krebs Wrote:

We just can’t know: we are a creature that has been promoted above our level of competence - it is part of our nature that we can ask questions that we can’t answer.

This is a point that we all need to fully appreciate. Our desire to have concrete answers to our questions often means we create or accept answers that are not fully supported by the available evidence. I would say that all of us are guilty of this to some degree. The only solution to this dilemma, I suppose, is to keep searching for answers and to accept that scientific explanations will always be tentative. The problem with this solution is that some people seem unwilling (or unable) to accept uncertainty.

Mr Heddle, it might be best if you were less loose with the facts in some of your assertions.

For example,

My hypothesis is that you cannot offer a cogent, impassioned, reasoned response to the question concerning why non-ID physicists see fine tuning, because you think it opens the door to ID. It violates your world-view. It is impossible for you to say what these world-class non-ID scientists say, which is Hey, look at this fine tuning. Is that remarkable or what? Now I don’t believe in God, but this sure demands an explanation. Let’s investigate.

In giving that response, they are thinking like scientists.

Now, in the single example that you requested me to investigate, that of Penzias,

Granddaughter,

OK, just explain Penzias’s quote. A Nobel prize winner. Or explain how it is out of context. Just one quote.

I did. In fact it was trivially easy to demonstrate that you are factually incorrect when you would label him as someone who would say, “Now, I don’t believe in God, but.…”

The quote that you selected for your website is from Cosmos, Bios, and Theos. From what I can find on the web it is a collection of speculations and personal opinions on the part of scientists who do, in fact, already believe in God.

Note the following interview information

But Dr. Penzias says, “The creation of the universe is supported by all the observable data astronomy has produced so far. As a result, the people who reject the data can arguably be described as having a religious belief.” That is, people who refuse to consider the evidence because it conflicts with their preconceived ideas are following a “dogma” in the most stubborn sense of the word.

In an article in Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith, Penzias told Dr. Jerry Bergman of the American Scientific Affiliation, “I invite you to examine the snapshot provided by half a centurys worth of astrophysical data and see what the pieces of the universe actually look like . … In order to achieve consistency with our observations we must … assume not only creation of matter and energy out of nothing, but creation of space and time as well.”

Penzias, a Nobel Prize winner, added, “The best data we have are exactly what I would have predicted had I had nothing to go on but the five books of Moses, the Psalms, the Bible as a whole.”

from Prison Fellowship: http://www.pfm.org/Content/ContentG[…]int/BreakPoi

These are not the words of a scientist objectively disinterested in the problem, they are the words of a man of faith who sees the fingerprints of God.

You do not, in fact, have a single quote from an atheist scientist, correctly taken in context, which supports your assertion.

By being so disingenuous, you open yourself up for speculation that your position is less than impartial concerning ID.

Granddaughter,

I did not know Penzias was a Christian, the only one on the list that I was sure of was Griffiths, since he was one of my professors. Fair enough, although exactly the way you put it

These are not the words of a scientist objectively disinterested in the problem

is revealing.

Anyway, point taken. That still leaves a long lists (and I have plent more quotes) what about Hoyle? Hoyle is without question anti-theist.

Granddaughter,

You do not, in fact, have a single quote from an atheist scientist, correctly taken in context, which supports your assertion.

By being so disingenuous, you open yourself up for speculation that your position is less than impartial concerning ID.

Not a single one? I admit I didn’t know Penzias’s faith, but I have never seen his name pop up on pro ID literature. But surely you don’t want to make such a strong claim on all the quotes, because many are easy to place in context, including Hawking’s. The context of his, from A Brif History, was essentially You should believe my new theory because it doesn’t have the creation problem of the standard models beacuse it postulated a universe without a start. So in making his quote, Hawking recognized the fine tuning as a problem in our current model. Since making that statement, Hawking’s model has not gained acceptence and some of his technical criticisms of the standard model have been resolved.

So to summarize, Hawking, in context, is saying: we have to get away from our current cosmology because of the appearance of design with points (a) he acknowledges the fine tuning and (b) we have not moved away from the current model instead we have moved in the multiverse direction.

Of those statements, Hawkings is the one that you could most claim I took out of context, and yet even with the most generous spin in your favor it still shows an acknowledgment.

Truly I am amazed you would make a claim that I have used them all out of context. You investigated each one? Could you explain how Jastrow’s was out of context? Hoyle’s? You claim implies that you have investigated all of them.

In fact, they are all in context. Now finding out that some are Christians is relevant, and I admit that I need to identify Penzias as such from now on–I thank you for that info. It’s not like I mind havong a Nobel Prize winner as a Christian.

Ref: comment #13958 by Ralph Jones.

Thanks Ralph, but my initial question was if anyone could direct me to any documentation that might exist on any work done using the scientific method attempting to prove “abiogenesis”. I heard Stanley Miller and Harold Urey did some work in this area but I can only find mention of it–no formal documentation of it. Was this work carried out any further by them and /or do you know of any records that might exist of their work?

Thanks, Harvey

If you google “origin of life research” you will find lots of info. Some will be creationist (Answers in Genesis, Walter Bradley) but a majority of the hits will be partial answers to your question.

If you google “abiogenesis research” you will get more creationist sites (although my first hit was at talkorigins - have you looked there?) The reason for this is that “origin of life” is a term more likely to be used by scientists than “abiogenesis”, because abiogenesis, in its emphasis on “life from non-life” supports the dichotomous arguments of the creationist; that is, the word itself contains a connotation of an logical impossibility.

So I suggest you do some googling and reading, and then perhaps report back on whether you see anything that might start to answer your question.

Jeremy Mohn Wrote:

Our desire to have concrete answers to our questions often means we create or accept answers that are not fully supported by the available evidence. I would say that all of us are guilty of this to some degree. The only solution to this dilemma, I suppose, is to keep searching for answers and to accept that scientific explanations will always be tentative. The problem with this solution is that some people seem unwilling (or unable) to accept uncertainty.

I agree with this, but I would just like add that we can reduce or minimize uncertainty as much as we want by the reiterative application of the scientific process.

I just have to wonder why if evolution cannot be questioned and nothing against it considered how that is using a search for truth in science?

Why do they not allow all the evidence against evolution to also be taught?

Isn’t that the sort of dogmatic approach that some say belongs to religion?

Does anyone actually exist that believes the theory of evolution is facts and cannot be questioned?

Then why should it be treated like its holy ground itself?

Seems to be an awful lot of questions evolution cannot answer, so why is that hidden from the students?

What questions can’t it answer Larry? Where’s your evidence that evolution can’t be, or hasn’t been, questioned?

Re: “Reading Comprhension 101”

Reading Comprhension 101 Wrote:

What questions can’t it answer Larry? Where’s your evidence that evolution can’t be, or hasn’t been, questioned?

These are valid questions as long as we all understand that the Theory of Evolution is not a scientific theory borne of the Scientific Process.

Harvey

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This page contains a single entry by Jack Krebs published on January 13, 2005 10:45 AM.

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