The dog ate my homework

| 47 Comments | 5 TrackBacks

Pat Hayes of Red State Rabble sends us this report from Kansas:

As the Kansas science hearings got underway in Topeka this morning, there was a feeling about the room that these hearings would produce little real drama. By the end of the first day, the testimony of the intelligent design witnesses seemed to have fallen into an all too predictable pattern. Ennui began to envelop attorneys, witnesses, the media, and spectators alike. The process would go on, but rather like a tree falling in the forest that goes unnoticed.

The crowds were smaller, lines shorter despite increased security procedures that forced participants to pass through a metal detector, and many of the big media figures who attended the first day decamped for greener pastures.

Then, out of the blue, under a withering cross-examination by Science Coalition attorney Pedro Irigonegaray the hearing room was electrified by Edward Peltzer’s admission that he had not read the science standards draft written by the pro-evolution majority of curriculum committee. Peltzer, a Scripps Institution oceanographer and intelligent design witness was flown in from California to share his expert evaluation of the competing science standards drafts, and is currently enjoying the hospitality of Kansas taxpayers.

As the day wore on, each witness in turn was forced to fess up – to an increasingly scornful Irigonegaray – that they too hadn’t bothered to read the majority draft before giving their testimony. This despite the fact that each had earlier testified – in response to questions from intelligent design attorney John Calvert – that the minority draft was superior to the pro-science majority draft.

“I’ve not read it word for word myself,” confessed board member Kathy Martin in an ill-fated attempt to salvage the credibility of the witnesses.

As groans erupted through the hearing room in response to Martin’s admission – and AP reporter Josh Funk ran for the exit to phone the story in – a new feeling that the intelligent design showcase was turning into a failure began to seep into the room.

5 TrackBacks

There is an anti-evolution kangaroo court going on in Kansas right now, with a string of creationist pseudoscientists being trotted out in hearings held by the state board of education, all with the intent of injecting nonsense into schoolkids&apos... Read More

There is an anti-evolution kangaroo court going on in Kansas right now, with a string of creationist pseudoscientists being trotted out in hearings held by the state board of education, all with the intent of injecting nonsense into schoolkids' educati... Read More

News from Kansas from stranger fruit on May 7, 2005 1:50 PM

Over at Red State Rabble and Panda's Thumb, Pat Hayes presents this revealing account of yesterday's shenanigans at the Kansas "show trial" of evolution: [U]nder a withering cross-examination by Science Coalition attorney Pedro Irigonegaray the hearing... Read More

"Waterloo" for evolutionists is delayed yet again... Read More

More from Kansas from The Politburo Diktat on May 8, 2005 11:35 AM

The Panda's Thumb has the latest. Among the gems, the Muslim (Turk) brought in by the Creationists who noted that among other reasons for "Muslims hating us," is our scientiifc naturalism." He's a member of BAV, Holocaust denial organization( the Armen... Read More

47 Comments

I think that this can be summarized with one word.

0WNED!

In a sane culture people would at this point pack up and go home, or maybe adjourn for the next week AFTER reading the literature. I wonder if that’ll happen?

of course not. this was never about being “informed” to begin with. this is a power struggle, pure and simple.

I *love* the smell of fundies frying themselves in the morning. It smells like … VICTORY !!!!!!!

;>

I’m printing some T-shirts to give to all the Board members and witnesses: “Stupid for Jesus”.

… just to add; the people organizing this sham don’t have enough rational thought between them to have even calculated that the issue of them, or their “witnesses”, having actually read the materials under discussion would even come up.

“what, me worry?”

…hadn’t bothered to read the majority draft before giving their testimony

Wow. Just… wow.

This reminds me of the politician I’d heard about here in some earlier posts who railed on and on about how ID was superior to evolutionary biology given the “evidence” and should be taught alongside (or instead of) “just-a-theory” evolution, but yet embarassingly admitted in the following Q and A session that she hadn’t read a word of the contemporary scientific literature.

I wish I could remember her name, but I can’t.

And as much I’d love to join in the celebrations, I think sir toejam had the right idea. While this may reflect on the intellectual and moral bankruptcy of the ID movement and the people supporting it, in the end whether or not the people involved are “informed” is merely trivial…this is a power struggle, and the spin doctors will no doubt proclaim this to be a great victory and/or martyrdom of ID and it’s proponents…in the meantime, ID will be adopted in Kansas schools, and the school children of Kansas will suffer for it.

I don’t see why this should surprise anyone. These folks already “know” the truth, don’t they? So why would they bother reading the majority draft?

And once the press reports on the day’s proceedings, they’ll just play the martyr angle, howling about how biased the press is… yada yada yada, and go on.

Good grief!

I read the entire majority report before I read the minority report just to write a one page freaking letter supporting the majority report.

I didn’t get a freaking dime!

Now I see where I made my mistake- I shouldn’t read anything- I should just spout a load of crap about complexity is too hard to ‘splain so golly it must be Gauddunit so lets say we toss the Constitution and build us some bonfires.

Then the fundy whacknuts will fly me around the country, and pay me lots of cash.

I listened to the first bit of the hearings, when Harris was introducing the “minority report” case. He said (correctly) that the “controversy has profound implications for religion and philosophy”. He argued that all religions have “a story to tell” about origins. He said

When the state, via public education, asserts an answer to that question [origins] from a scientific or whatever point of view, they [sic] have entered a religious arena. They are offering an answer that may be in harmony, may be in conflict with, religious issues. (Emphasis added; approx minute 4)

That’s a breathtaking assertion. Harris is essentially claiming that if science, any science, speaks to an issue that religion has made claims about, science has entered the religious arena! Not the reverse, not that if religion makes claims about the physical universe it is entering the scientific arena, but that science is somehow intruding on religion. Flint is right: the primacy is clear for Harris and the other IDists. If science and religion speak to the same issues, religion is primary and science is the intruder.

RBH

exactly.

it’s like when i complain to people who participate in real-estate speculation that it drives up the price of housing.

their response is inevitably, “well, nothing is stopping you from speculating too.”

*sigh*

er, 28774 was in response to 28769. man i wish i could edit my posts.

Syntax Error: mismatched tag at line 3, column 2, byte 389 at /usr/local/lib/perl5/site_perl/5.12.3/mach/XML/Parser.pm line 187

A good article by The Independent on the trials:

Fundamental questions: America debates the place of Darwin and God in school

And a copy of the AP story which Pat apparently saw being phoned in:

Kansas Board Holds Evolution Hearings

Now why should they bother to read it (ignoring for the time being the fact that they may well have testified under oath to the effect that they were indeed familiar with it)? It would almost assuredly have stuff in it that they don’t want to hear .… and isn’t that the whole point of this little exercise in Inquisition Redux?

Cheers,

“I’ve not read it word for word myself,” confessed board member Kathy Martin in an ill-fated attempt to salvage the credibility of the witnesses.

Why is this person on the standards board then?

At the 2003 hearings in Texas, it was a couple of witnesses in before someone mentioned that the written standards for what kids should know require kids to know and understand what evolution is and how it works in some detail. The ID folks had been saying that stuff could be abandoned in favor of criticism of evolution – but, of course, they couldn’t change the law in approving the texts.

In sum, it’s not uncommon that ID advocates have not read the regulations they address. Heck, if they’d read the stuff they should have read, they might understand evolution – why break a life-long consistency that favors ignorance just for one hearing?

Moral of the story: Always – ALWAYS – read the stuff!

In 2004, the Texas State Board, on the sly, instructed publishers to leave out of their health books any mention of condoms, since the board members planned to vote against such a discussion. Again, however, the state knowledge standards required kids to be familiar with an understand the use of “barrier methods of contraception.” The publishers each promised a supplement, in order to meet the requirements of the law and allow their books to be approved. In the districts, however, the local boards were told to disallow the supplements. In short, the radicals will violate the laws on what to teach kids in order to meet their own political agenda. It’s no different in any state for biology, I’d wager.

“Why is this person on the standards board then?”

why, to save our souls, and those of our children, of course.

geez, what are ya, deaf?

ohhh, you thought this was about education…

sorry.

;)

When it comes to snide but funny stuff the Brits’ papers are hard to beat. This line from The Independent is simply priceless, “As far as secular groups like Kansas Citizens for Science are concerned, it is like handing control of a blood bank over to a cabal of vampires.”

Wonder why Bill did not join battle at the “Waterloo of Darwinism”. Bill is probably the weakest debater among the IDC crowd. While Behe, Wells and Johnson seem to have some real conviction about their wrong notions, Bill compres poorly. He probably is the only one who uses a team of trolls to trawl thru the literature and come up with priceless gems that get shot down at PT itself.

Almost every witness was asked about common descent, and every single one of them asked said they did not accept the general principle of common descent nor common descent between humans and pre-hominids. Most, when asked how humans did arise, said they did not know, or that it from design but they had no specifics. One man, however, answered “Special creation by God.”

Alleluia!!!! Alleluia!! The god of Truth (and science) prevails. I hope. At least god would read the majority repost.

Hi Jack!

Do you think the apparent gaffe committed by the participants in not reading the actual document in dispute was considered to be a big deal by the participants themselves?

is this thing about to fizzle, or what?

cheers

report

Avarice, Envy, etc., and now Sloth. This crowd doesn’t just recognize the sins, it lives them!

I don’t even want to know how they express Gluttony!

Take a look at this poll at MSNBC:

Should public schools teach students about counterarguments to the theory of evolution?

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/7739061/

Currently 56% to 44% in favor or “no”. I hate to say it. As much as we would like to think this is an isolated problem, the American public proves its ignorance.

So, qualified, informed and diligent people shouldn’t direct the content of school curricula, but these clowns should? I just bet they would be diligent at teaching “both sides” too.

Az. .

Take a look at this poll at MSNBC:

Should public schools teach students about counterarguments to the theory of evolution?

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/7739061/

Currently 56% to 44% in favor or “no”. I hate to say it. As much as we would like to think this is an isolated problem, the American public proves its ignorance

Those polls are such a joke though. If a few of the more prominent bloggers who are not evangelical idiots put those polls up in a post and urged its readers to vote, we could probably swing it to 65% in favor of no, easily.

I wonder how Nathan Newman would vote, though? He must be so depressed by the huge “backlash” after these ID peddlers are shamed into oblivion …

in the meantime, ID will be adopted in Kansas schools, and the school children of Kansas will suffer for it.

And when it gets to court, all of these idiotic statements will be on the record, and not even the most diehard Republican Judge in the country will be able to rule that the aim of the hearings was to NOT to advance religion.

Kansas will turn out to be ID’s last desperate gasp.

Almost every witness was asked about common descent, and every single one of them asked said they did not accept the general principle of common descent nor common descent between humans and pre-hominids. Most, when asked how humans did arise, said they did not know, or that it from design but they had no specifics. One man, however, answered “Special creation by God.”

So IDers are just lying to us (again) when they claim ID isn’t creationism.

I’m shocked. Utterly shocked.

I can’t WAIT for these idiots to get into court. … .

There’s quite a good article in today’s Independent about the Kansas farce.

http://news.independent.co.uk/world[…]story=636310

RBH Wrote:

That’s a breathtaking assertion. Harris is essentially claiming that if science, any science, speaks to an issue that religion has made claims about, science has entered the religious arena! Not the reverse, not that if religion makes claims about the physical universe it is entering the scientific arena, but that science is somehow intruding on religion.

ID Creationists just hate comparison of their position to Flat Earthism, but there’s some hay to be made with this one.

Surprise surprise, the fundies indicate they have no idea what they are talking about and haven’t even read what they should have.

Really surprising.

But remember, it doesn’t *matter*! Sure, they might lose the support of moderates who mistakenly thought this was a serious debate, and opportunists who see the opportunities drying up, but they themselves will continue on, eventually evolving some new species of creationism to push on the schools …

Peltzer was trained at Scripps, but is not a Scripps employee. He works at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI) in Moss Landing.

from that Independent article:

Their very presence inspired the board of education members to deliver paeans of praise for their work, even if they professed to understand little about it. “I’m a little confused by the prebiotic soup,” board member Connie Morris blurted out at one point. Her colleague Kathy Martin offered to help out. “We can’t see a soup in nature, so talking about it is not naturalistic. It’s speculation.” Everyone seemed quite satisfied with that sentiment, and the proceedings moved on.

Ahahahahahaha.

Who is speaking in the Majority Report? No scientists, I gather? The ID boys are spinning it so that no one is even going to defend the science-friendly standards.

Harq asked

Who is speaking in the Majority Report? No scientists, I gather? The ID boys are spinning it so that no one is even going to defend the science-friendly standards.

There were several scientists on the writing committee who supported that majority report. Once again, scientists in general are boycotting the hearing because it’s a rigged jury (three creationists). There’s lots going on outside the hearings, and the lawyer representing the pro-science side in the hearings is doing a good job on cross-examination.

RBH

A small correction to the article:

“Edward Peltzer” is not a “Scripps Institution oceanographer”. He’s an “analytical chemist working in oceanography” according to his website. He did graduate work at SIO (graduating in 1979!), but he’s employed by the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, somewhat less prestigious or academic than SIO. His papers are on chemistry of deepsea vents and of CO2 & methane in the deep ocean. I have no competence to evaluate his papers. [It would have been interesting to get him to testify about his beliefs about global climate change, which is what the deep ocean carbon sequestration stuff is all about.]

As a grad of UCSD and frequent patron of the SIO library, I have enough respect for SIO that I searched SIO’s website and then googled Peltzer.

As a grad of UCSD and frequent patron of the SIO library, I have enough respect for SIO that I searched SIO’s website and then googled Peltzer.

As a San Diego expat, I’m glad to learn this. I was taken aback, however, to see that the Birch Aquarium (which I believe is operated by SIO) has an “evolution disclaimer” prominently posted by its displays. I can’t remember the exact wording - if someone reading this visits there, maybe he/she could post it.

And speaking of San Diego - Kansas connections, “Wait, wait - Don’t tell me” the NPR news quiz, got big laughs and huge applause from its live audience in El Cajon today when it covered the silliness in Topeka. I guess some Kansans, missing the attention they got in 1999 as laughing-stock of the educated world, are trying to relive the moment.

Russell writes”And speaking of San Diego - Kansas connections, “Wait, wait - Don’t tell me” the NPR news quiz, got big laughs and huge applause from its live audience in El Cajon today when it covered the silliness in Topeka. I guess some Kansans, missing the attention they got in 1999 as laughing-stock of the educated world, are trying to relive the moment.”

Perhaps in Kansas being laughed at is the highest form of flattery..

Ha - Ha!

Regarding the quality of Peltzer’s research - The best way to gauge that is to see how often his work is referenced by others. I’m almost certain the applicable journals would keep records of this…

“Kansas will turn out to be ID’s last desperate gasp.”

I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

@speck:

“The best way to gauge that is to see how often his work is referenced by others”

not necessarily. that would be a way to gauge quality, if he is working in a busy field, but not so much if he was working on something a bit more esoteric.

btw, if you did want to check references, I suggest using Science Citation Index.

I wouldn’t necessarily come to a negative conclusion if there aren’t many references to Peltzer’s work.

Evolution works as a belief system, it just doesn’t work when subjected to scientific examination.

Certainly in a pluristic society, we need to accept each other beliefs. I just think we are cheating ourselves if we teach belief systems as science.

My high school biology experience gave me no opportunity to weigh the evidence between creationism vs. evolution. The South Carolina public school systems chose to avoid the issue altogether, and so we were denied the learning experience. That is my concern: when children are denied exposure to either (or more the pity, both) sides of an important issue, they are denied a basic principle of the education process, that is the development of critical judgement.

Re “when children are denied exposure to either (or more the pity, both) sides of an important issue, they are denied a basic principle of the education process, that is the development of critical judgement.”

Plus, lack of any knowledge of the subject matter is what the Creationist/ID arguments depend on.

Henry

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This page contains a single entry by Reed A. Cartwright published on May 6, 2005 8:24 PM.

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