American Family Association Lawyer Weighs in on Cobb County Disclaimers

| 38 Comments

As reported in Agape Press, “Ga. Schools Denied Time to Appeal Evolution Disclaimer Ruling,” Brian Fahling, “a constitutional lawyer with the American Family Association Center for Law & Policy,” is doing a lot of projection:

Fahling says the opponents of the evolution disclaimers have been showing a tremendous amount of hostility. “The high priests of evolution, if you will, are becoming increasingly shrill in their attacks on, for instance, the intelligent design scientists,” the AFA Law Center attorney notes, “and the reason for that is they’re not able to answer [the proponents of the intelligent design theory]. They can’t debate them and meet them on intellectual and scientific terms.”

38 Comments

You may want to check & revise your spelling of “Fahling”. I’d hate for you to be accused of pulling a Dumbski. And be sure to take a look at Fahling’s photo with that article. Does it look like he has a Cobb up his *** or what?

Fahling Wrote:

They can’t debate them and meet them on intellectual and scientific terms.

I invite “the intelligent design scientists” to meet me on scientific terms, i.e. in the peer-review scientific literature. I’m going to hold my breath now until they show up.

Syntax Error: not well-formed (invalid token) at line 1, column 64, byte 64 at /usr/local/lib/perl5/site_perl/5.12.3/mach/XML/Parser.pm line 187

“make sure you think critically”

And we arrived at the conclusion of evolution by not thinking critically?!

Fahling Wrote:

The high priests of evolution, if you will, are becoming increasingly shrill in their attacks on, for instance, the intelligent design scientists

Bayesian Bouffant Wrote:

take a look at Fahling’s photo with that article. Does it look like he has a Cobb up his *** or what?

Hmm. Perhaps “shrill” isn’t precisely the right word; nevertheless, …

Fahling says the opponents of the evolution disclaimers have been showing a tremendous amount of hostility. “The high priests of evolution, if you will, are becoming increasingly shrill in their attacks on, for instance, the intelligent design scientists,” the AFA Law Center attorney notes, “and the reason for that is they’re not able to answer [the proponents of the intelligent design theory]. They can’t debate them and meet them on intellectual and scientific terms.”

(sniffle) (sob) Boo hoo hoo.

Your side lost.

Get used to it.

Alleged lawyer Brain Failing says

“The high priests of evolution, if you will, are becoming increasingly shrill in their attacks on, for instance, the intelligent design scientists

Kind of funny to see the fundies smearing scientists by referring to them as “high priests.”

Everyone knows the negative connotations associated with the phrase “high priests” precisely because of indecent people like Mr. Failing.

“it really does … confirm that there is this histrionic view of religion — Christianity in particular — by the federal judiciary”

That seems like a very stupid thing for an attorney who is likely to be appearing before a Federal judge to say. But nobody ever said that creationist apologist attorneys were intelligent or competent (or if someone did say that, they were mistaken).

“They can’t debate them and meet them on intellectual and scientific terms”

Perhaps Mr. Failing or one of his grunts would like to come here and debate scientists like myself where their ignorant drivel will be forever memorialized and distributed throughout the blogosphere and to journalists around the world.

Or perhaps Mr. Failing is just a loudly clucking chicken like so many of the other big-talkin’ loud-squawkin’ creationist hacks.

Bayesian Bouffant, FCD Wrote:

You may want to check & revise your spelling of “Fahling”.

No worries there, as it is a cut-and-paste job from a pro-Christian, anti-evolution source, I doubt if it could be even half-heartedly be considered a “Dumbski”.

As far as the invitation to meet them in the peer-review, don’t hold your breath. They aren’t as good when it comes to something more substantive than soundbites.

Oh, I’m sorry it’s Brian Fahling not “Brain Failing.”

My bad. It must be time for my afternoon coffee.

All apologies.

whatever. the more moronic the lawyers on their side, the better for all.

behavior and comments like that of this lawyer make me sometimes wonder if some of the people getting paid on the ID side are actually saboteurs. laughing all the way to the bank.

All the pro-hetero-family evangelical lawyers in the world, can’t make ID a scientific theory.

Earlier today I read an essay on line, by whom I don’t recall, which pointed out that three of the most vocal fundamentalist promoters of messing with the schools were family oriented—Focus on Family, Family Research Council, and the AFA. Yet they are striving mightily—the Ten Commandments in every classroom, ID in biology classes, prayer in the schools, “In God we trust” on every wall, etc.—to have the schools assume many of the responsibilities that families have traditionally filled. It leads one to think that the three don’t think parents and families are doing an adequate job of religious and moral instruction and the state needs to assume a greater role. If so, why do they call themselves “family” organizations? It seems to me they should drop the word in their titles since they seem to have a very dim view of the typical American family.

So I wrote to AFA and invited Mr. Fahling to join us here.

Bet he won’t.

It’s just rhetoric to stir up the “base.” The same rhetoric ID “High Priests” like Phillip Johnson have been using for years. What do they say about repeating a lie often enough? And you can bet all those pandering politicians will gleefully join the chorus. For these guys, anything short of immediately assenting to whatever wacky notion du jour this or that IDist is pushing (there are SOOOO many) qualifies as “shrill.”

It leads one to think that the three don’t think parents and families are doing an adequate job of religious and moral instruction and the state needs to assume a greater role.

I’m not sure that’s true. I think they have a pathological fear that a secular state has enough power and influence via the schools to subvert the will of parents who believe in their fundamentalist version of Christianity. Not quite the same thing.

I’m not sure about the AFA, but Focus and the FRC believe that you can only be truly successful in bringing up your children to be good, God-fearing citizens if they are nurtured in a “Bible-believing” environment. To them, a secular school system is a huge hole in that system that allows for demonic influences to take hold in a child’s heart that will subvert their parents’ wishes. (Of course, they won’t say it that way - sounds too nutty - but that’s basically what they fear).

That’s why home-schooling and “Bible-believing” (I really hate that term, BTW) schools are becoming more popular. He’s resisted it so far, but the FoF president James Dobson is already close to advocating that like-minded parents begin a full-scale retreat from public schools. That may reduce the political pressure on the state school system, but need we be reminded what’s happening to Islamic nations who have seen the widespread growth of Wahabi schools?

Ed wrote,

So I wrote to AFA and invited Mr. Fahling to join us here.

Bet he won’t.

Interesting. You guys are scared stiff at the thought of coming to Kansas and allowing yourselves to be publicly cross examined by a non-Darwinist lawyer in front of the world’s media (in highly visible contrast to the scientists and scholars who willingly agreed to the same public cross-ex by a Darwinist lawyer.) But, ~now~, you (and GWW) are suddenly just sooooo eager to invite a non-Darwinist lawyer to come to the ole PT blog and debate the evo-gang, far away from the inquisitive reporters and the upfront news coverage. And you’re even going so far as to “bet” that he won’t show, after you yourselves have pulled what has to be the no-show of the year.

You gotta be kidding, Ed and GWW. (You too, Bouffant.) Pure pffft, all the way.

The ole mmph-o-meter registers about five on this one, but I’ll just offer three for now:

“Mmph-Mmph-Mmph!”

FL

FL

Pure pffft, all the way.

Reminds me of Gena Rowlands’ character in “Woman Under the Influence.”

You guys are scared stiff at the thought of coming to Kansas and allowing yourselves to be publicly cross examined by a non-Darwinist lawyer in front of the world’s media

Yeah, just like we’re scared stiff of visiting proctologists of the opposite sex. It’s not a matter of fear. It’s awkward and unnecessary.

Interesting. You guys are scared stiff at the thought of coming to Kansas and allowing yourselves to be publicly cross examined by a non-Darwinist lawyer in front of the world’s media (in highly visible contrast to the scientists and scholars who willingly agreed to the same public cross-ex by a Darwinist lawyer.)

Dover.

IDers will get killed there too.

Just like they have in every other Federal court case they have ever been involved wiht.

Did anyone else stumble over the omission of the conjuction that?

The reason for that is they’re not able to answer [the proponents of the intelligent design theory].

The reason for that is that they’re not able to answer.

Since Fahling worries about proper education,

Fowler Wrote:

This is quite legitimate, but often unpleasant. […] The motive is is obvious, to avoid one that-clause depending on another; the end was good, but the means bad; a more thorough recasting was called for.

FL Wrote:

But, ~now~, you (and GWW) are suddenly just sooooo eager to invite a non-Darwinist lawyer to come to the ole PT blog and debate the evo-gang, far away from the inquisitive reporters and the upfront news coverage. And you’re even going so far as to “bet” that he won’t show, after you yourselves have pulled what has to be the no-show of the year.

You gotta be kidding, Ed and GWW. (You too, Bouffant.) Pure pffft, all the way.

Since Mr. Fahling is being commented upon here, it seems courteous to inform him of that fact and let him make his own decision about whether to participate.

As far as what the “no-show of the year” is, I invite you to meet us on scientific terms, i.e. in the peer-review scientific literature. I’m still holding my breath.

Just the one brief quote provided by Reed makes me ask: What Bizzaro world does this guy come from? Perhaps he is already using the new definition of “science” that Creationists want to establish.

Keanus Wrote:

Earlier today I read an essay on line, by whom I don’t recall, which pointed out that three of the most vocal fundamentalist promoters of messing with the schools were family oriented—Focus on Family, Family Research Council, and the AFA.

Focus on the Family, Concerned Women for America, and the Chalcedon Foundation (among others) have devoted issues of their magazines to Creationist arguments against evolution, identifying it as the cause of all misery in the world.

Focus on the Family, Concerned Women for America, and the Chalcedon Foundation (among others) have devoted issues of their magazines to Creationist arguments against evolution, identifying it as the cause of all misery in the world.

Well, that’s a surprising change! So it has nothing to do with Adam and Eve eating a piece of fruit after all?

FL said:

Interesting. You guys are scared stiff at the thought of coming to Kansas and allowing yourselves to be publicly cross examined by a non-Darwinist lawyer in front of the world’s media (in highly visible contrast to the scientists and scholars who willingly agreed to the same public cross-ex by a Darwinist lawyer.)

Creationists always look backwards through the microscope!

Scientists WENT to Kansas, and the proposal to introduce ID was rejected in the official process of the State Board of Education. That was last year. Then the wackoes demanded another hearing. Scientists cooperated – ID was rejected a second time.

Now, in what is at best extra-legal, perhaps illegal process, the creationists in Kansas want to rehash the court fight they lost in Arkansas in federal court in 1982, and in Louisiana in 1986, and in the U.S. Supreme Court in 1987.

No, scientists are not afraid of discussion. But if you want to claim the stamp of law on the discussion, the discussion must be in the rule of law – and the Kansas Kangaroo Kourt is not in the rule of law.

On the other hand, when a creationist demonstrates complete ignorance (and a great deal of unjustified arrogance) such as the lawyer at Don Wildmon’s wild organization, we invite him to discuss.

The witnesses in Kansas, FL, could not qualify as experts were there any rules of evidence in effect. They are not sworn to tell the truth – when that was the rule in Arkansas, the creationists all confessed that there is no science and only scripture behind creationism.

You want a fight? Great – set the rules and stick by them. Creationism loses.

You want an ambush? That’s typical creationist ethic – fight unfairly.

I do take it as encouraging news that you’re so bothered by the Kansas stuff. The newspaper editorials nationally are not favorable to the ID/creationist side. Give a creationist enough rope …

Yeah, just like we’re scared stiff of visiting proctologists of the opposite sex. It’s not a matter of fear. It’s awkward and unnecessary.

Being over 40, I prefer women doctors. Smaller hands. :)

Interesting. You guys are scared stiff at the thought of coming to Kansas and allowing yourselves to be publicly cross examined by a non-Darwinist lawyer in front of the world’s media (in highly visible contrast to the scientists and scholars who willingly agreed to the same public cross-ex by a Darwinist lawyer.)

No. They’re not scared. They refuse to go to a ‘hearing’ where opinion, hersay, lying and brinksmanship is the state of the ‘hearing,’ as opposed to factual evidence sworn under oath and penalties of perjury and where the witness must demonstrate professional expertise. Especially one where the conclusion has already been determined by the “judges.”

It would be like going to Bob Jones University and debating benifits of pre-marrital sex’s impact on lowering divorce rates. The FACT that people who engage in pre-marital sex are substantially less likely to get divorce than those that are ‘chaste’ prior to marriage is not acceptable in regards to Christian “purity” issues. That people in liberal states (blue states) are far more likely to engage in pre-marital sex and less likely to get divorced than people in red states seems to escape the religious wing-nuttery.

For example, in “Fagachussetts” (yes I read the right wing blogs) the divorce rate is about ONE-HALF than Tennessee, the home of most Christian Music and Christian Publishing. Tennessee is widely regarded the MOST evangelical state in the US often called the “Buckle of the Bible Belt.” And, of course, “Fagachussetts” is regarded as the most liberal state in the US.

But, ~now~, you (and GWW) are suddenly just sooooo eager to invite a non-Darwinist lawyer to come to the ole PT blog and debate the evo-gang, far away from the inquisitive reporters and the upfront news coverage. And you’re even going so far as to “bet” that he won’t show, after you yourselves have pulled what has to be the no-show of the year.

Once again, you’re mis-interpreting the venues. There was no point in going to this Soviet-style ‘hearing’ with its pre-ordained conclusion. These scientists are busy. Doing science that they love and/or feel is important.

That they are unwilling to waste their time in going to a right-wing show-trial doesn’t mean they were afraid. It just means the recognized the futility of debating IDers with three creationists as judges.

That they’re willing to discuss evolution in a less time consuming, and easier to fact-check manner, doesn’t negate their unwillingness to participate in the mockery you and the rest of the flat-earthers foisted upon the people of Kansas, and America.

“To them, a secular school system is a huge hole in that system that allows for demonic influences to take hold in a child’s heart that will subvert their parents’ wishes. (Of course, they won’t say it that way - sounds too nutty - but that’s basically what they fear).”

Actually, the president of the Southern Baptist Convention has advised fundie parents to take their kids out of the public school system already.

“That’s why home-schooling and “Bible-believing” (I really hate that term, BTW) schools are becoming more popular. He’s resisted it so far, but the FoF president James Dobson is already close to advocating that like-minded parents begin a full-scale retreat from public schools.”

Then perhaps they should retreat from the public schools. If they really feel that the environment there is that hostile to their beliefs, they should vote with their feet.

It’s time for them to “‘turn on, tune in, and drop out!’” (Timothy Leary, circa 1967)

“That may reduce the political pressure on the state school system, but need we be reminded what’s happening to Islamic nations who have seen the widespread growth of Wahabi schools?”

In find it somewhat less than probable that such a thing would happen hear in the U.S., given that our society is presently hypervigilant with regard to terrorism and extremism. People are starting to tire of these religious zealots and their simple-minded world view. Besides we have executed our own homegrown terrorists.

“In find it somewhat less than probable that such a thing would happen hear in the U.S”

don’t be too sure:

http://christianexodus.org

It’s a shame that the debate has to be so polarized. Is it not allowed to be both pro-Christian and pro-Darwinist? That certainly seems to be the impression I get from both sides of the ‘discussion’. I’ve never had any problem finding harmony in both my faith and unquestionable science, yet it seems I am very much a minority.

Living in the Deep South hasn’t prevented me from being a firm believer in both evolution or its value in education. Nor has being a Christian and (what I call) politically moderate. Naturally, I would hate to be automatically classifed as foaming, Bible-beating ignoramus because I have so much in common with the stereotypical anti-evolutionary radicals. And when I do come in contact with the genuine article, I am ironically accused of being an arrogant, science-worshipping atheist. It seems I just can’t win.

Unfortunately the debates Fahling and his ilk produce only serve to perpetuate the stereotypes and old prejudices on each side. I think this is one of the reasons the argument is so bitter in the first place: most people belive they have to chose one side or the other; compromise and mutual respect are not an option. It’s a vicious circle. I’m tired of being made to feel as if I have to choose between faith and science; I choose both. Even if intelligent design and similar concepts are not your cup of tea, (and that’s perfectly fine) at least it’s an attempt at a third option. I see no fault in disagreement, but to actively discourage or unfairly group other points of view is damaging to everyone involved.

I’m not trying to reprimand any of the other posters, merely offering an alternative point of view that doesn’t conform to either standard. And it’s lonely over here.

Samantha

I think this is one of the reasons the argument is so bitter in the first place: most people belive they have to chose one side or the other; compromise and mutual respect are not an option.

Actually most people are a lot like you. I am not aware of any pro-science poster or commenter here who has claimed that you must choose between accepting evolution or having a religious life.

I am aware that in the Kansas Kangaroo Court hearings this Angus Creationist character suggested that people like you were “confused” because they weren’t “logically consistent.”

That is the most offensive assertion I’ve heard recemt;u/

“Is it not allowed to be both pro-Christian and pro-Darwinist?”

of course it is! this culture war was not started by mainstream christians, nor mainstream scientists. it was started by extremist evangelicals who simply cannot accept that their children would be taught standard science in schools. unfortunately, in their zeal to “protect” their children from the evil “materialist” science, they have decided they need to rewrite the rules for the rest of society as well.

It is this that mainstream science must not only attack, but has a DUTY to discredit, as changing what we define as basic science will do a grave disservice to all of us.

so, no samantha, it has nothing to do with reasonalbe people, and everything to do with stopping extremeist that do not share your view, or the view of mainstream science.

do you recall McCarthyism in the 50’s? where if you disagreed with someone you labeled them a communist and ruined their lives? What scientists are afraid of is that that attitude will return.

This isn’t a debate about differing scientific opinion, this is a debate about a minority group attempting to essentially reverse 150 years of scientific endeavor.

these extremists are attacking your belief structure just as much as they are science itself.

Stand up for yourself; convince your church congregation to stand up to these folks; it shouldn’t be so lonely where you are.

cheers

Even if intelligent design and similar concepts are not your cup of tea, (and that’s perfectly fine) at least it’s an attempt at a third option.

that’s what the creationists want you to think, Sam. Intelligent Design was born in the late 80’s, when creationism was determined to be religion and unfit for science class. Intelligent Design is Scientific Creationism with the overt references to god stripped away, and some pseudoscience math thrown in.

And Sam, if you don’t believe me, just look into one thing.

Ontogenetic Depth.

It’s an ID term. Sounds impressive, doesn’t it? Sounds scientific. But unlike real science terms, it doesn’t mean anything. The guy who came up with it, can’t give you a definition for it.

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There doesn’t seem to be much doubt that moderate or mainstream Christians would find that their faith would fail to pass muster in the theocracy envisioned by the Creationists. In such a system, at a very minimum, there would be a fairly stringent faith test to hold any public office (including military officer or policeman). Samantha and GWW would fail that test equally (there being no degrees of apostasy - you’re guilty or you’re not). History around the world is pretty clear: those of the wrong persuasion receive unequal treatment. Sadly, the rate at which they are exterminated has been limited only by the technology of extermination available to the “true believers”. And Howard Ahmanson, who funds the DI, is already on record as favoring the death penalty for apostasy, defined as failure to agree with his preferences. Nobody has ever been more ruthless than the righteous.

“Rev Dr” Lenny Flank comments “But it is indeed a huge problem that the mainstream churches have been so quiet on the matter”.

I’d suggest that’s simply because mainstream churches don’t see evolution as having any material relevance to the Gospels, or the Gospels to evolution.

Fundamentalist colleagues and acquaintances do describe this position as “confused” or other such words, but they never seem hang around long enough to explain the nature of that confusion. Pity, because I enjoy listening to people explaining things.

I’d like to thank those of you who have responded in such a positive manner; this is very reassuring! I am lucky enough to be part of a very reasonable congregation, and have spoken out many times on the correlation between science and religion.

And don’t worry steve, I believe you! I don’t personally prescribe to the Intelligent Design Theory, but it’s the only ‘named’ theory I could think of that doesn’t fall on the most extreme ends of the Origin Theory spectrum.

I agree with you all that the biggest problem is silence. This allows the most radical voices to drown out other opinions and get all the limelight. But what’s the reason for silence? I’ve talked about the evolutionary theory to several aquaintances who are casual church-goers, and their opinion is.…they don’t seem to have one. Some of these people had never really thought about it or tried to work out their stance on the subject. If the mainstream majority has no real problem with either religious views or evolution, I wonder if is the result of apathy as much as the result of reasonableness. This might also explain the lack opposition to extremists. Hm. Hope that doesn’t sound pessimistic.

Anyway, the the helpful feedback is appreciated.

About the religion or science false dichotomy: Samantha, creationsits fear nothing more than a Christian who understands evolution. Almost never will they allow someone like Ken Miller to debate them – he’s a life-long Catholic, and quite devout. They don’t ask Dr. Francis Collins to discuss the problems of intelligent design – he’s the head of the Human Genome Project, and notes that it confirms Darwin precisely, and he’s also a devout Presbyterian, having converted just a few years ago.

I myself have a standing challenge to Kent Hovind – he welched on one debate we had set up when he discovered I was not a practicing scientist, and I am Christian. The promise to “get back” never happened.

Scientists talking about biology generally do not make faith statements. So you cannot tell whether a scientist speaking in favor of evolution is a person of faith or not. My experience is that many, if not most, are religious.

On the other hand, is there a single mainstream Christian anywhere in the ID movement? Any real, true-to-God atheists? Any real, still-practicing-in-a-science-related-to-evolution scientists?

Why do you suppose that is so?

Now, if you know that ID lacks all science, do you wish to choose between science and faith? Do you wish to have to make that choice if you have diabetes, or if anyone in your family has ever had cancer?

It is a false dilemma the creationists pose. Don’t fall for that, either.

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This page contains a single entry by Reed A. Cartwright published on May 11, 2005 4:57 PM.

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