Kansas Kangaroo Court Reports

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Jack Krebs is our main connection to these Kansas hearings. But, as vice president of Kansas Citizens for Science, he is too busy to act as a reporter for us. However, at least two bloggers from Kansas have enough time to issue reports about the hearings.

Red State Rabble

Thoughts From Kansas

If you have a report about events at the hearings send it in, and I will consider posting it.

106 Comments

From Thoughts From Kansas

She pointed out that there are two theories of chemical bonding taught in chem classes, so why not teach creationism?

Refresh my memory: is it ionic bonds or covalent bonds that are bogus supernatural garbage?

Seriously, I remember it was in my public high school chemistry class that I discovered a whole stack of Skeptical Inquirer magazines. I’d never seen the magazine before. I also had no idea that human beings existed who made weirdo fake “scientific” arguments to justify Noah’s Ark and other Bible stories. I also remember feeling sorry for those human beings because the drubbing they got in the Skeptical Inquirer was a serious one. That was a long long time ago but if you look at the “scientific advances” made by creationists since then, it might as well have been an ten minutes ago.

Yes - my jaw dropped a bit at Bryson’s remark. My first thought was “What two “theories?” Then I realized that she probably meant two kinds of bonds, and that she was equating that to teaching evolution and ID as two “theories.”

Mind boggling. Another example of scientific vandalism - throwing a brick through a window and in one fell swoop making a mess that would take hours to clean up.* (*Credit to my friend Bob Hagen for this excellent metaphor.)

Of course Pedro was not going to take time to cross-exam that stupid remark, but now it was on the record and in the minds of the Board subcommittee and the ID supporters in the audience.

There were literally dozens of such moments in the hearings. I encourage Panda Thumbers to listen to the hearings, found at www.audible.com, and supply other such examples as well as more general reflections. I will be helping Pedro prepare his final summation this week and we may find a good use for gems like this.

One of the best blogs covering this controversy and the broader issues it raises is Pandasthumb [a reference to an excellent essay by the late Stephen Jay Gould]. It presents the intelligent design controversy from the perspective of scientific authority. Read it here.

Kathy Martin said, “Evolution has been proven false. ID is science-based and strong in facts.”

We should all chip in and buy Pedro dinner afterwards. I would not be able to endure two weeks of this shit.

http://photos1.blogger.com/img/137/[…]SCN00081.jpg

She even looks like Dana Carvey’s “Church Lady” character from SNL.

I thought one of the funniest moments was Wells stating - twice, and very carefully - that he is supported by grant from the DI for which “no goods or services are required” (I wish all my grants were like that!). Anyway, Wells is certainly fulfilling the grant requirements to the letter - LOL!

Actually, I think Bryson may have been referring to valence bond theory vs molecular orbitals theory. However, if I remember the issue right, she’d be wrong anyway - MOT is just a better theory than VBT, and it explains the nature of certain bonds that VBT can’t cover. However, VBT is OK for most bonds, and is much simpler, so it is still taught as a useful approximation (much like newtonian mechanics is still perfectly fine for most phenomena, though general relativity is a more encompassing theory). This really is not a valid example of teaching two competing theories (leaving aside that there is no ID theory to teach anyway, by the ID theorists’ own admission).

“Kathy Martin said, “Evolution has been proven false. ID is science-based and strong in facts.” “

We should all chip in and buy Pedro dinner afterwards. I would not be able to endure two weeks of this shit.

(Image from the SomethingAwful.com forums)

http://img219.echo.cx/img219/4985/dscn00075yx.jpg

I saw this statement on a CNN Online article:

Intelligent design advocates contend the universe is so complex it must have been created by a higher power.

I love it.

How much time and money and effort did the ID peddlers spend trying to convince the lay public that intelligent design creationism is not creationism?

All for naught.

I find especially interesting the use of the term “higher”, particularly when – time after time after time – the dissembling promoters of this bogus theory insist that their alleged “theory” says “nothing” about the nature of the designers.

The journalists at CNN apparently understand what the ID peddlers are up to better than the ID peddlers themselves!

Either that, or the ID peddlers are liars and habitual obfuscators and the CNN journalists see right through it.

I remember when a certain ID apologist by the name of DaveScot tried to compare the synthesis of a viral genome to the task of designing and creating all the life forms that ever lived on earth. And I remember when another ID apologist claimed that he could not rule out the possibility that humans could be the designers.

Humans everywhere will be very excited the day that a giant flying saucer lands on this planet, carrying the mysterious alien beings who designed all the life that ever lived on earth, humans everywhere will be very excited. I supposed Bill Dembski, Michael Behe, Paul Nelson et al. will be more excited than any of us. On that day, they will be vindicated. For their sake, we should hope that the aliens don’t also admit to writing to the Bible.

SomethingAwful is jumping on these guys?

When are the transcripts of the Kansas Kangaroo Court coming out? I would like to count how many times the ID witnesses said “I’m not an expert” on crucial topics like human evolution and the age of the earth.

The transcripts will be a long time coming, I imagine - 3 full days of talk. I like the idea of dividing up the job of listening to the audio files at www.audible.com, with a checklist of things to look for.

“How much time and money and effort did the ID peddlers spend trying to convince the lay public that intelligent design creationism is not creationism?”

grrr. yeah, and part of it was OUR freakin’ money!

You’ve got to love this debacle going on in Kansas. Only in America!

Evolutionists and Creationists, fighting it out for the bottom rung on the credibility ladder.

If H.L. Mencken was alive today, he’d roll over in his grave.

“The history of our race, and each individual’s experience, are sown thick with evidence that a truth is not hard to kill and that a lie told well is immortal. Mark Twain (1835 - 1910), Advice to Youth

… oh and CW rises above the “rabble” on angels wings…

it is too laugh.

I’m in a Mencken kind of mood tonight…

“All men are frauds. The only difference between them is that some admit it. I myself deny it.”

“All professional philosophers tend to assume that common sense means the mental habit of the common man. Nothing could be further from the mark. The common man is chiefly to be distinguished by his plentiful *lack* of common sense: he believes things on evidence that is too scanty, or that distorts the plain facts, or that is full of non sequiturs. Common sense really involves making full use of *all* the demonstrable evidence–and of nothing *but* the demonstrable evidence. “The scientist who yields anything to theology, however slight, is yielding to ignorance and false pretenses, and as certainly as if he granted that a horse-hair put into a bottle of water will turn into a snake.”

God, I LOVE this guy!!

My favorite Mencken is “Nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public.” (that quote may not be exact, I see lots of variations)

Mencken for this reason wasn’t much of a fan of elected officials, which he regarded as members of as well as pandering to the least common denominator.

Charlie apparently hasn’t noticed yet that no evolutionists are involved. This is strictly the creationists fighting it out. Real scientists have conceded the bottom rung without argument.

Flint wrote:

Charlie apparently hasn’t noticed yet that no evolutionists are involved. This is strictly the creationists fighting it out. Real scientists have conceded the bottom rung without argument.

That’s not exactly true. Scientists Boycott Kan. Evolution Hearings By JOHN HANNA, Associated Press Writer Sun May 8, 4:54 PM ET

TOPEKA, Kan. - Scientists have refused to participate in state Board of Education hearings this past week on how the theory of evolution should be treated in public schools, but they haven’t exactly been silent.

About a dozen scientists, most from Kansas universities, spoke each day at news conferences after evolution critics testified before a board subcommittee. They expect to continue speaking out as the hearings wrap up on Thursday.

“They’re in, they do their shtick, and they’re out,” said Keith Miller, a Kansas State University geologist. “I’m going to be here, and I’m not going to be quiet. We’ll have the rest of our lives to make our points.”

Hey Charlie, do you believe that the medical community is not telling us the truth with regard to cholesterol, blood pressure, and heart disease?

Charlie:

You’re right, scientists are presenting science to anyone who will listen, as they always have.

But perhaps we agree on the underlying point here: Science lost this case at the polls. The people of Kansas, in their electoral wisdom, have selected a school board of creationists because they wish their children to be taught creationism, and by golly that’s what they’re going to get. Certainly I also expect those I elect to at least make the effort to keep their promises.

Ultimately, I expect the US Constitution to trump any introduction of religious doctrine into science classes, so that probably won’t be attempted. But the school board CAN provide a bully pulpit for the celebration of the creationist “worldview”, and they can also make it limpidly clear that any high school science teacher who even THINKS the word “evolution” can kiss any academic career in Kansas goodbye.

At this point, once the foxes rule the henhouse, the hens really lack any workable strategy. They can show up and get misrepresented, they can stay home and get misrepresented, they can try to win some offstage shekels, but those efforts are ignored by the national news media.

I’d like to think that if a few major employers left the state, the voters would think twice, but there is no guarantee of this either. Religious zealotry is not diminished by adversity – if sacrifices aren’t pleasing the gods, make more sacrifices!

Many questions.

When is the next election for Kansas state school board?

Will the conservative incumbants see the writing on the wall, or in the burning bush as the case may be, and decline to run?

Will the electorate be fed up enough and remember enough to vote in a sensible board?

Will Kathy Martin eventually read the science standards and have a Come to Darwin moment?

Oh, Kathy, evolve me baby!

…but I digress.

Listening to the KS day 1 proceedings, and Harris was asked to define “intelligent design”. Harris started out talking about “Darwinism” and then said that “intelligent design” was simply a disagreement with “this view”.

Thank you very much, Dr. Harris. That was very helpful.

“But perhaps we agree on the underlying point here: Science lost this case at the polls. The people of Kansas, in their electoral wisdom, have selected a school board of creationists because they wish their children to be taught creationism, and by golly that’s what they’re going to get. Certainly I also expect those I elect to at least make the effort to keep their promises.”

idiot.

I guess you forgot that kansas tried this shit before, in 1999. As soon as they changed the science standards, and folks in kansas actually started paying attention, they were tossed out.

then kansas went back to sleep again, and allowed a new group of dunces to take over the BOE.

once they finish changing the science standards AGAIN, what exactly do you predict will happen?

I’m gonna go out on a limb here and guess… they’ll get tossed out again.

all the while Kansas keeps taking credibility hits. one would think the voters would learn a bit and keep sensible folks who can actually read on the BOE.

ST:

Yes, I’m well aware of the Kansas history. The flipflopping we’ve seen in the last three school board elections can be interpreted two ways: Either everyone fell asleep except the fanatics (who never sleep), woke up briefly to toss the bums out, falsely believed they’d put the fire out, and went back to sleep. If you’re right, maybe next time this silent majority will stay awake and the creationists will never again have a prayer (so to speak).

But what I consider the more reasonable interpretation is that the Kansas voters are very closely split between creationists and “take the default and trust the experts” zombies. And this tends to make for very close elections, which can go either way depending on things utterly outside of any creationist platform: public bungling during the campaign, ill (or favorably) timed human interest events (wife/husband diagnosed with cancer, child rescued from dire circumstances, etc.)

You don’t seem to understand that in the mind of the creationist, Kansas is doing the exact opposite of taking a credibility hit. They are leading the inevitable march of God’s soldiers.

I don’t think these PR proceedings are hurting the creationists at all. They don’t care about facts or integrity, they care about publicity and votes. They are getting these. I have very little confidence that the polls showing a small majority of Kansas voters believe in a young earth and the creation of man POOF in current form are far from the reality.

So you can listen to the proceedings and see the creationists making fools of themselves. A creationist hears the same testimony and swoons in delight.

”…As if he granted that a horse-hair put into a bottle of water will turn into a snake.”

IIRC, Jesus performed this very miracle on a number of occasions… and once while on the cross.

Only a scientist would be so closed-minded as to assume - simply by means of reason - that such an act would be an impossibility.

@flint:

“But what I consider the more reasonable interpretation is that the Kansas voters are very closely split between creationists and “take the default and trust the experts” zombies.”

first, I apologize for the vitriol. I’m a bit nonplussed today, and CW’s original post kinda set me off a bit.

I personally lean towards the idea that even in Kansas, the majority actually don’t want to see changes to the science standards.

hmm. How difficult would it be to figure out some real world numbers?

I bet KCSE might have a better idea on this. Would it be worth pursuing to get a real world answer to the question:

Do most Kansas citizens wish to see the current science standards changed?

after all, the idea that the republicans have a “mandate” because GW got re-elected is certainly arguable.

Toejam, old fruit, give me a break! How many Kansans have a freaking clue what the science standards are, unless they’re teachers? Until this entire unfortunate brouhaha started, and I so seldom get to use the word brouhaha in a sentence, people in Kansas were opaque to standards.

This is the voting public, Sir T, who can’t find the Atlantic Ocean on a globe if you give them the big hint that it’s the blue bit.

Do Kansans want the standards changed? Do Kansans know the standards exist?

Oh, hang on, they went through this in 1999. My mistake. They must’ve forgot.

Sorry.

eh, on any other day, I’d be arguing your position, bill.

I’m just in a mood to see something concrete for a change.

Why did they even bother to vote in the folks who changed the standards back to including the teaching of evolution, if there wasn’t at least some knowledge that changing it to begin with was a mistake?

as vice president of Kansas Citizens for Science, he is too busy to act as a reporter for us

Scary! Normally if something’s happening on any of the (many) patches that I have responsibility for, I’d try and make sure I was in the loop - and reading this isn’t one of them. He must be, like, REALLY busy.

Flint said:

Yes, I’m well aware of the Kansas history. The flipflopping we’ve seen in the last three school board elections can be interpreted two ways: Either everyone fell asleep except the fanatics (who never sleep), woke up briefly to toss the bums out, falsely believed they’d put the fire out, and went back to sleep.

I think your first interpretation is the correct one. And I think if the sensible people wake up briefly to toss these bums out, they’ll just fall back asleep again.

Flint Wrote:

As one of our posters wrote in creative English, I grow tired to repeat myself. The question of which positions should be appointive and which should be elective is not a strawman.

Well I also grow tired of repeating myself, so this is the last time I’ll point this out. You said, “it’s not true that electing our officials is the cause of our problems, which would simply go away if we appointed all our officials.” Since I neither said that electing officals was the cause of all our problems, nor did I suggest appointing all of them as the solution, you erected a strawman. It’s that simple.

I can only continue to emphasize that there are dangers both to electing and to appointing. Both have been tried, and both have both worked and failed.

Wow, Thanks. I’m glad you’re here to tell me these things! If you didn’t think I knew this already, or had any disagreement with this emminently reasonable view, then I can only conclude that you’re determined to read something into what I wrote that’s just not there.

I understand that you are frustrated that creationists get elected, when you believe (perhaps correctly) that they would not have been appointed. When RBH points out that in Ohio, it was the pro-science people who were elected and the creationists who were appointed, I notice you somehow fail to comment on this.

I don’t feel compelled to comment on every little thing to suit your preference. It’s not in my job description. But since you ask, my previous comment encapsulated the issue: The Ohio governor will have to answer for what happened. RBH can spend his time opposing one candidate rather than eight. And even better, people will actually know who this one candidate is, and will vote for (or against) him in non-trivial numbers. If you diffuse it across eight different candidates in races that no one pays attention to, you make it much easier for the special interests (e.g. creationists) to determine the outcome.

In the end, if the creationists gain complete political power, there’s nothing we can do to stop them. But from what I’ve seen, what happened in Ohio is the exception to the rule – it’s usually steath creationist school board candidates who try to introduce creationism, and the governor who’s disavowing what they do. That’s why the creationists run “stealth” candidates to begin with – they’d court too much opposition if their true agenda were out in the open.

But when I pointed out that a creationist governor would glory in that controversy, you don’t seem to comment.

I commented on it at length. That was the whole purpose of most of my last post. It’s not that a creationist governor wouldn’t promote creationism, it’s that a creationist governor is easier to oppose than several creationist school board members. Maybe I’m wrong about that, but that’s my point. Feel free to address it sometime.

Or better yet, maybe we need a voting public who bothers to take the time to know what they’re voting FOR.

You come up with a way of magically changing the voting public, and I’m all for it. Until then, I’ll have to accept what political scientists have been saying for decades: most people aren’t interested in politics and don’t know what they’re voting for anyway. I wish it were different, but in the meantime, we’ll have to tailor our political system around people, rather than trying to tailor people around our political system.

For you, ‘better balance’ is not the same as for me.

No kidding. I presented my point of view as a point of view, not as an objective fact.

Having too many elective offices reaches a point where nobody can reasonably hope to keep track of the offices themselves, much less the several people running for each and each person’s position on the issues (if any). Having too few reaches a point where the baby can’t be separated from the bathwater.

Once again, this belongs in the no shit category. I am obviously aware of the fact that there’s a tradeoff; the fact that you seem to presume otherwise implies that you are invoking a slippery slope, as if I believe that appointments are always better, hence we’ll end up with a system with a maximal number of appointments. Of course that’s not my position at all; there are plenty of positions I feel should be elected rather than appointed (e.g. US Senator, to cite one prominent historical example that was changed around). Your pontificating does nothing to address the specific reasons I gave for why other positions would be better off being appointed rather than elected.

You favor appointing judges, but these are lifelong appointments, and dislodging an idiot from such a position is incredibly expensive and problematic.

Judicial appointments need not be lifelong. But the founding fathers did in fact favor lifetime judicial appointments because they take the politics out of the judiciary. I don’t know of any state with judicial appointments that has produced an utter clown like Roy Moore. As I said, executives who appoint judges have no incentive to put publicity whores like him on the bench.

Again, this is something I could be wrong about, but convincing me that I am requires more than pointing out the obvious, mundane facts about what appointment implies.

And again, teaching politics to a scientist is like teaching science to a creationist — both think they know everything they need to know, thank you. Everyone is an expert, no matter how little (usually ZERO) formal education or practical political experience they’ve had.

You have no way of knowing how much formal education or practical political experience I’ve had. You presume way too much. And I think you’ve confused smug pedantry with “teaching”.

Steve R, could you post an abstract of your last comment?

So why aren’t pro-science advocates, and the Panda’s Thumb crew in particular, raising hell about Ohio’s official curriculum?

That matter is already the subejct of court action, isn’t it?

Sir_Toejam Wrote:

Why did they even bother to vote in the folks who changed the standards back to including the teaching of evolution, if there wasn’t at least some knowledge that changing it to begin with was a mistake?

I’d just like to state that the primary system is partially to blame. In Kansas only Republicans get to vote in the Republican primary. Kathy Martin got elected by beating the incumbent moderate Republican Bruce Wyatt in the primary. There were no Democrats running for the office, so once she won the primary she was unopposed and could only be beaten by a write-in candidate (which is virtually impossible).

Steve Abrams also won his primary and then ran unopposed.

I, like many other Kansans, did not get to vote for a real opponent to Kathy Martin because of the primary election system, and also because the Democrats couldn’t be bothered to field a candidate.

You have to give the IDers credit, politically they know how to get maximum results out of minimum effort.

The Pharyngula.org link includes another link to the Ohio Citizens for Science web page, which seems not to have been updated since October 2004 or earlier (and seems to be provided via a flaky server which requires multiple requests to deliver a simple page).

The most recent entry on their “news” section reads:

July 20th, 2004: State Board of Ed stonewalls on document requests

For 3 months, the Ohio Dept of Education has been delaying its response to requests by the ACLU and Americans United for Separation of Church and State for documents pertaining to the creationist lesson plan adopted by the Ohio Board of Education in March 2004.

At the July 12-13 Board meeting, elected Board member Martha Wise reproved the Department for the unconscionable delay not only on the Freedom of Information Act requests, but also on their delay in supplying her with key documents she requested in March. At the March meeting, the lesson was adopted in part because Deputy of Public Instruction Bobby Bowers claimed to have peer-reviewed scientific articles that supported the creationist claims made in the lesson plan. Thus far, the Dept has failed to produce the purported evidence.

From this very limited evidence, it appears that the stonewallers have outlasted the progressives yet again.

I don’t want to second guess the developers of biology curricula, but it would seem equally instructive to teach the obsolete models (young earth, old earth with no common descent, Lamarckian evolution, etc.) first, with some “critical analysis” of why they all fail.

This view is soft-pedaled, at best, in current textbooks. Do you think the creationist-dominated board in Texas would approve of a book that directly debunks creationism?

There are a few side-skirmishes whispered in the law circles about cases against teachers who DID teach creationism, and then took it apart. One of the AP biology texts has an entire page devoted to creationism, telling why it is bad science. The creationists didn’t read that far, I guess – I haven’t found a single complaint in the Texas transcripts.

Ohio Citizens for Science says:

July 20th, 2004: State Board of Ed stonewalls on document requests

For 3 months, the Ohio Dept of Education has been delaying its response to requests by the ACLU and Americans United for Separation of Church and State for documents pertaining to the creationist lesson plan adopted by the Ohio Board of Education in March 2004.

At the July 12-13 Board meeting, elected Board member Martha Wise reproved the Department for the unconscionable delay not only on the Freedom of Information Act requests, but also on their delay in supplying her with key documents she requested in March. At the March meeting, the lesson was adopted in part because Deputy of Public Instruction Bobby Bowers claimed to have peer-reviewed scientific articles that supported the creationist claims made in the lesson plan. Thus far, the Dept has failed to produce the purported evidence.

In other words, there is no rational basis for the board to have voted the way it did. Now, if only somebody can figure out a way to get the case into court …

notorus brings up an interesting point;

in states where opposition parties don’t bother to field a candidate, why shouldn’t the primary become essentially “open”. In other words, why bother with a primary at all?

Seems to me that if all the voters want are republican candidates, they should be able to pick and choose which one is the best by a standard vote if there are no opposition party candidates, yes?

Is there any movement in Kansas to change the primary system to reflect the one-sided nature of some of the contests?

ST:

I don’t believe there is any requirement that one must vote the straight party line matching one’s registration. In most one-party states like Kansas, it simply makes sense to register for whatever party’s primaries are the ‘real’ elections. Just register as a Republican and vote in the primaries. If a Democrat should happen to run in November, vote for the Democrat in November. Perfectly legal.

well, that depends on where you are. In most areas, a democrat can’t simply “appear” on the ballot at the last minute; and if they could, who would vote for them with no exposure?

moreover, i don’t know any areas where you can nominate a candidate for office AFTER the primaries are done.

I certainly could be wrong, but it would certainly not be the norm, I am sure.

Besides all of that, I wasn’t speaking of democrat vs. republican; i was speaking of republican vs. republican in races where alternative parties fail to field a candidate.

before you say… “isn’t that what primaries are for?” don’t, because they are not. Primaries do not work the same as open elections.

ST:

I don’t understand your response. If you lived in Kansas, you would notice that the only meaningful elections, where the actual winner was selected, was the Republican primaries. You would notice that if you were not registered as a Republican, you wouldn’t be allowed to vote in these primaries. So you would (of course) register as a Republican. Then you would vote in the primaries.

My observation has been that to win elections in a winner-take-all system like the US has, with single-member districts, only two or at most three candidates really have much of a chance. What these candidates do is vie with one another for the middle ground, where (presumably) they’ll get the most votes because they will appeal to the greatest number. In states where people vote Republican because that’s what their parents and grandparents and great grandparents have always done, nobody bothers to run as a Democrat, why bother? Instead, they take what WOULD be the Democratic platform and run as a Republican (moderate wing).

A joke is told of someone campaigning as a Democrate in a state like Kansas, and after a speech a member of the audience came up and said “I like what you have to say, how do I become a Democrat?” And the candidate asked, “well, how did you become a Republican?” The response was, “I was born a Republican!”

Anyway, just register as a Republican so you’re elegible to vote in the real elections. There, you will find candidates of a political spectrum that would certainly include Democrats in a state where the word ‘Democrat’ wasn’t pejorative. (I imagine in Chicago, you’d register as a Democrat to vote for the Democrat (conservative wing) of your choice, in the primary).

To phrase it one more way: The primaries are open to Republicans of every persuasion. Just call yourself one, then vote as you see fit.

The theory of intelligent design is not science and thus doesn’t belong in the science curriculum. On the other hand, the glaring gap in the theory, namely the identity of the designer, has now been filled. See

www.theintelligentdesigner.com

I think you have a good idea for a parody; it is a bit lacking in content tho. nice job scoring that domain name!

keep plugging.

Can we use the extra three days set aside for scientists to have AiG present its arguments against the ID’ers in Kansas?

I’d love to see Kathy Martin and co publicly disagree with argument along the line of these gems from AiG on ID:

Despite incorporating some extremely bright thinkers, the movement as a whole seems to have a recurring philosophical blind spot. Though they often correctly point out the religious foundations of Darwinism, the fact that all scientific reasoning is ultimately based on axioms/presuppositions (which are unprovable, hence metaphysical/subjective/biased by definition) should have alerted them to the fact that there is no such thing as a ‘neutral’ scientific arena within which to interpret the evidence related to the past.

Since the only thing in their platform which comes close to being a commonly-shared presupposition is a negative (naturalism is wrong), they can provide no coherent philosophical framework on which to base the axioms necessary to interpret evidence relevant to the historical sciences (paleontology, historical geology, etc). So they can never offer a ‘story of the past’, which is one more reason why they must continually limit the debate to one of mechanism—and then only in broad, general terms (designed vs undesigned).

They generally refuse to be drawn on the sequence of events, or the exact history of life on Earth or its duration, apart from saying, in effect, that it ‘doesn’t matter’. However, this is seen by the average evolutionist as either absurd or disingenuously evasive—the arena in which they are seeking to be regarded as full players is one which directly involves historical issues. In other words, if the origins debate is not about a ‘story of the past’, what is it about?

I’d love to see Kathy & Co argue with AiG that the bible is the only possible explanation for ID.

From a tax geek, from Ks., who really appreciates the expertise and effort appearing here, a small contribution: if you do something, or are expected to do something (e.g., teach, let your professor take credit for your research, etc.), to get or keep a grant, it’s income and taxable. If a grant is awarded because the giver thinks you’re generally swell and should just go on with your life and work as always, it’s a gift and not taxable.

Comment #29255

Posted by Andrea Bottaro on May 9, 2005 07:41 PM (e) (s)

Steve Reuland: Wells is probably just going on record to protect himself from an IRS audit. Grants and scholarships are tax exempt only if you’re not required to do anything in exchange for receiving them. Wells’ language sounds like it came straight out of the 1040 instruction manual.

(I’m just joking, but if this turned out to be the case, I’d only be slightly surprised.)

Uhm … I thought the recipient of a scholarship/grant was tax exempt only if (or to the amount that) the support was used to pay tuition and educational material toward an official degree.

But you are right, it sounds suspiciously legalistic. I wonder what’s behind it … perhaps the DI wants no legal resonsibility for Wells’ continuous nutty accusations of fraud and conspiracy, in case he finally crosses the line and gets sued by someone. A hit-man with plausible deniability.

Sorry guys, you’re in my area now. It has to do with employment taxes, not income taxes. Research grants, like from the NIH, are reported as “Other Income” on Page 1 of the Form 1040. They are not subject to self-employement or employment taxes. They are subject to INCOME taxes.

(How do I know this? Besides having an MS in Taxation, my wife is a scientist that is paid through University adminstered science grants.)

If whomever was receiving “grant money” was providing goods and services, that’d make the income 100% taxable for self-employment/employment tax purposes. This is a very common occurance in charitable (non-academic) areas. Day cares, for example, frequently receive grants from state agencies. Such funds are ordinary income subject to self-employment/income taxes, depending on the underlying tax structure of the recipient.

Now, he could opt-out of employment taxes saying he was a member of the clergy. And he made the election within the rules and within the prescribed time. But that’d really put a definitional/proceedural damper on the “ID is not creationism” position, wouldn’t it… :)

Scholarships and educational grants for tuition are not income. Provided, of course, they’re bona-fide scholarships and educational grants.

I think much of the confusion comes from the “loose” common venacular “grant” versus the stringent definitions of the IRC that classifies the many, many, many types of grants.

Now, if you want to blow your mind away… Or need a nap, I could lecture on QSSSTs. :)

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This page contains a single entry by Reed A. Cartwright published on May 7, 2005 6:12 PM.

“Waterloo” delayed? Again? was the previous entry in this blog.

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