Kansas Kangaroo Court transcripts are up

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The transcripts from the Kansas Kangaroo Court of May 2005 are finally up (unfortunately labeled, “Science Standards Expert Testimony” – someone should count how many times the witnesses said something like “I’m not an expert” on relevant scientific questions). Briefs, presented materials, etc., are also available on the KSDE website.

The transcripts run to 308 pages total, if I count correctly. Still, it’s far better than trying to listen to the recordings and write down the shocking bits. I planned to do this one weekend, but it took me most of the day just to get through Bill Harris’s opening presentation.

Hear is one random bit of bogusness from Harris’s talk:

4 If a Coke bottle fell out of the sky into 5 an African desert and I was a native – you 6 know, the movie I’m talking about “The Gods 7 Must Be Crazy.” Those people knew that that 8 Coke bottle was a design, but they had no idea 9 what it was.

10 There’s an entire wing in one of the 11 museums in DC that’s dedicated to objects that 12 we don’t know what they are, but we know 13 they’re objects made by humans. I mean, you 14 don’t have to know where it comes from, you 15 don’t have to know who did it, you don’t have 16 to know where it was done, you don’t have to 17 know when it was done to come to the conclusion 18 that something was designed.IDNet’s Bill Harris, May 5 Kansas Hearings

The claim that there is an “entire wing” at a museum in DC devoted to designed objects of unknown function is a mutant version of a virulent creationist meme that has been flitting about in ID discourse for over 5 years. Jeff Shallit traced the origin and evolution of this notion in 2002 – see Anatomy of a Creationist Tall Tale – and showed it was almost entirely false. Here is the evolutionary series:

“The Smithsonian Institution has a collection of obviously designed human artifacts, concerning the purposes of which no one has a clue.” (Del Ratzsch, essay in Mere Creation, 1998)

“There is a room at the Smithsonian filled with objects that are obviously designed but whose specific purpose anthropologists do not understand.” (William Dembski, 1998)

“For example, the Smithsonian contains thousands of intelligently-designed objects whose function, or intended function, is unknown to us.” (Steve Renner, 2002 – Note: this page has been corrected)

“There’s an entire wing in one of the museums in DC that’s dedicated to objects that we don’t know what they are, but we know they’re objects made by humans.” (Bill Harris, May 2005 Kansas Hearings)

Jeff Shallit, however, managed to track down the original source. He contacted the Smithsonian, and they wrote back,

“The Smithsonian has no room such as described in William Dembski’s book. He may be referring to a section of an exhibition called Nation’s Attic which was displayed at the National Museum of History and Technology (now the National Museum of American History, Behring Center) from April 1, 1980 through February 8, 1981. We have enclosed a photocopy of a short article concerning the exhibition from Smithsonian magazine, April 1980. In one showcase in the exhibition a number of unindentified articles were displayed, but there was never a whole room devoted to them.”Shallit, quoting the SmithsonianAnatomy of a Creationist Tall Tale

Shallit summarizes the Smithsonian Magazine article:

The April 1980 issue of Smithsonian reveals that the entire exhibit consisted of 125 objects; for nearly all of these objects the purpose was well-known. The only reference to objects whose purpose is unknown consists of a single line:

“The final category, Unidentified Objects, consists of several items that no one can figure out.” [emphasis in bold added]

In other words, “several items” exhibited once in 1980-1, in one showcase of an exhibit, have become in true creationist fashion, an entire room devoted to the artifacts.Shallit, Anatomy of a Creationist Tall Tale

Anyway, the transcripts are full of this kind of stuff. I’m not even sure Bill Harris got the bit about the movie The Gods Must be Crazy right. I don’t specifically remember if the design of the bottle was discussed by the natives or not. I do vaguely remember that the main character, the Junt-wasi tribesman Xi, comes across tire tracks at one point, but rather than seeing them as designed, interprets them as some kind of strange animal tracks. This would be a counterexample (well, a fictional counterexample to Harris’s fictional example; we much remember that the Baez Crackpot Index gives out “20 points for every use of science fiction works or myths as if they were fact.”)

I have a question for PT denzens. We have all of this data on ID and “Teach the Controversy” proponents, in text form. What kind of analysis should we do? Obviously, we should count how many ID witnesses are Young Earthers, how many wouldn’t or couldn’t answer that question, etc. But there are many additional possibilities. Post your ideas here.

PS: Hat-tip to Wes Elsberry for beating me to Harris’s “entire wing” remark.

5 TrackBacks

Heh? from stranger fruit on June 11, 2005 10:52 PM

Transcripts from the Kansas hearings are now available online - see this posting by Nick Matzke over at the Thumb. Worth the price of admission is the following reply by "pro ID expert" Warren Nord: Q: Is it also your opinion, sir, that it is important... Read More

The transcripts from the Kansas Kangaroo Court are now available for your reading, um, pleasure. They go on for hundreds of pages, and the overwhelming impression is of mind-numbing vacuity from the "expert witnesses" for Intelligent Desi... Read More

The Discovery Institute is doing a fine job of raising the visibility of creationism and focusing the attention of their enemies. They say things like this: Although much of the public controversy over intelligent design has focused on the application ... Read More

A new recruit from The Panda's Thumb on June 13, 2005 9:12 AM

The Discovery Institute is doing a fine job of raising the visibility of creationism and focusing the attention of their enemies. They say things like this: Although much of the public controversy over intelligent design has focused on the application... Read More

After perusing the testimony in the Kansas Science Standards Hearings on teaching intelligent design creationism in Kansas schools and reading some of the many comments by knowledgeable bloggers, I would like to offer my two cents. A major theme in... Read More


We have all of this data on ID and “Teach the Controversy” proponents, in text form. What kind of analysis should we do? Obviously, we should count how many ID witnesses are Young Earthers, how many wouldn’t or couldn’t answer that question, etc. But there are many additional possibilities. Post your ideas here.

Anything that equates ID with creation “science” is a high-caliber legal bullet. I can’t find one ID argument anywhere that wasn’t already amde decades ago by ICR’s minions.

Anything that equates ID with endorsing religion is higher-caliber. Such as their constant attempts to equate evolution with atheism.

Our pal Nelson even got quoted, extensively, saying that ID has nothing scientific to offer:

Are you familiar with Mr. Paul Nelson? 23 A. I have a vague understanding of who he is, yes. 24 Q. Would you tell me if you would agree or 25 disagree with this statement? “Intelligent 0039 1 Design proponents offer nothing to the 2 scientific community upon which a scientific 3 program can be developed. They don’t even have 4 clearly defined definitions of critical terms 5 that can be understood and applied by others. 6 For example, they have provided no objective Page 16 Science Hearing May 07 2005 PM.txt 7 basis upon which others can apply concepts such 8 as irreducible complexity or specific 9 complexity. They focus on critiques of 10 evolutionary theory that either attack straw 11 man views of evolution, misrepresent current 12 science, or are simply based on flawed 13 reasoning. They also point to areas of 14 frontier science in which the scientific 15 community is yet to reach a consensus. None of 16 this constitutes any challenge to the 17 predictive and explanatory power of 18 evolutionary theory. With regard to 19 Intelligent Design, there is simply no theory 20 or anything approaching it. It is not used in 21 scientific research, even by its primary 22 proponents. All Intelligent Design is, is a 23 series of failed and rejected criticisms of 24 evolutionary theory. Easily the biggest 25 challenge facing the Intelligent Design 0040 1 community is to develop a full-fledged theory 2 of biological design. We don’t have such a 3 theory right now, and that’s the real problem. 4 Without a theory, it is very hard to know where 5 to direct your research focus. Right now, 6 we’ve got a big, powerful– we have a big bag 7 of powerful intuitions and a handful of notions 8 such as irreducible complexity and specified 9 complexity, but as yet no general theory of 10 biological design.”

An interesting bit from Nord’s testimony:

Is it also your 5 opinion, sir, that it is important to have 6 religion taught in economics? 7 A. Oh, for sure. 8 Q. Mathematics? 9 A. That’s a harder case, but you can actually make 10 a case for that. I’ll be happy to do it if you 11 like.

Gee, I’d VERY much like to see an IDer make a case for teaching religion in mathematics class . …

Paul? Sal? Blast? Anyone?

Another gem from Nord’s testimony — seems as if the IDers have found themselves yet another, uh, “controversy” to teach:

my view is that 7 rather than have any definition of science, it 8 would be better for the Standards to say the 9 definition of science is controversial. I 10 would be inclined to say let’s let scientists 11 decide how to define science, but part of the 12 problem is scientists disagree. There’s 13 certainly a majority group and a minority 14 group, but there’s a significant disagreement 15 about how to define science. 16 So it seems to me what’s important is to 17 at least initiate the controversy, and this is 18 what a liberal education requires. Let’s let 19 students know that the definition of science is 20 controversial for the following reasons, here 21 are the different positions people take, rather 22 than insisting on a particular correct 23 definition of science.

“The final category, Unidentified Objects, consists of several items that no one can figure out.”

Two questions:

1) Is it impossible to figure out how the objects were made without invoking mysterious aliens and their awesome powers?

2) Does the phrase “no one can figure out” mean that “no one knows for certain what they used for” or, rather, that the objects do not resemble anything made by humans or animals throughout history?

I assume the answer to both questions is “yes” in which case Harris’ anecdote is more than just dumb.

Where is the testimony of Robert diSilvestro? He said some really revealing things that need to be out in the sunlight, especially in light of his role in the currently unfolding Leonard affair here in Ohio.

Our pal Nelson even got quoted, extensively, saying that ID has nothing scientific to offer:

Careful, I think much of that quote got misattributed somehow. Starting at “Easily the biggest challenge facing the Intelligent Design…” the quote is authentic, from a roundtable interview in Touchstone, pp. 64-65. But the preceding comments are not in that article as far as I can tell. They might be from an ID skeptic, who then quoted Nelson.

In reading through the transcripts, I keep finding more and more ammo. It looks as if the Kansas Kangaroo Kourt was even more a disaster for the IDers than I thought it was.

Here’s a gem from Harris. Remember it the next time some IDiot blithers on about ID being “just a science controversy”:

Q. If this is all about science and not about 09:49AM 21 philosophy or religion why do you keep bringing 22 up atheism, materialism, naturalism, and 23 humanism to this argument? 24 A. Well, in my remarks I said it’s not all about 25 science. This is a scientific controversy that 09:49AM 0065 1 has powerful theistic implications. So it’s 2 not all about science. It’s– the core is 3 about science, but there is a penumbra, there’s 4 an umbrella out here that’s philosophical and 5 religious and that’s where it comes in.

Bill Harris misspoke. It’s not a wing of a museum, it’s a warehouse, and all of the artifacts were clearly made by intelligent beings [not necessarily by humans].

I know.

I saw it in that archeological biography, Raiders of the Lost Ark.

Another gem from Harris:

Q. Where in the standards do you find a definition 25 or indication in any way whatsoever to atheism 09:59AM 0072 1 or philosophical materialism? 2 A. I see it between the lines. I don’t see it 3 written anywhere. 4 Q. You see it between the lines? 5 A. Yeah. In the presentation of unproven theories 10:00AM 6 to fact. 7 Q. Unproven theories according to you? 8 A. According to me, exactly. 9 Q. Do the standards state anywhere that science or 10 evolution theory is based on atheism or in any 10:00AM 11 way in conflict with belief in God? 12 A. No, the standards do not address that. 13 Q. Is it your opinion that to believe in evolution 14 one must adhere to naturalism? 15 A. If you would define evolution for me. 10:01AM 16 Q. Evolution as it is in the mainstream of 17 scientific understanding. 18 A. That’s what I need to have defined. 19 Q. You don’t understand what I mean by evolution? 20 A. I know that that’s the slipperiest term in town 10:01AM Page 30 Science Hearing May 5 2005.txt 21 today and that term can mean change over time, 22 which I agree with completely. That term can 23 mean all that we have in the world today is an 24 accident and I disagree with that. So I need a 25 definition. 10:01AM 0073 1 Q. Is evolution defined in Draft 2? 2 A. It’s defined in toto, yes. It’s described– 3 actually evolution is– I don’t think it’s 4 described quite like that as a definition like 5 a dictionary definition, but it’s certainly 10:02AM 6 benchmark three, standard three, the 8th 7 through 12th grade is all evolution. 8 Q. And is it your opinion that that definition 9 stands for naturalism and some sort of 10 religion? 10:02AM 11 A. The uncritical acceptance of a perspective that 12 says all of life is here by chance, which is, I 13 think, what the minority– excuse me the 14 majority report portrays. 15 Q. Where does it say that? 10:02AM 16 A. That’s what I see it in toto. In words it 17 doesn’t say it, that’s what I see.

These idiots don’t have a prayer in court.

Pardon the pun.

Testamony from Nancy Bryson PhD aka the church lady MR. IRIGONEGARAY: Excuse me a second, Mr. Calvert. Pursuant to the rules, I have an objection. This has nothing to do with science standards in Kansas. This has been a litany about complaints about something that happened when this witness (Nancy Bryson PhD) was trying to give a speech–

The whole line of questioning had nothing to do with science standards.

BY MR. IRIGONEGARAY: Q. I have a few questions for you that I’d like place on the record first, please. The first thing I’d like to ask you is what is your personal opinion as to what the age of the world is? A. I’m undecided. Q. What is your best guess? A. I’m totally undecided. Q. Give me your best range. A. Anywhere from 4.5 billion years to ten thousand years. 3 Q. And, of course, you have reached that conclusion based on the best scientific evidence available? A. Yes.

I’m glad we got that narrowed down. Fortunately, she’s only a temp.

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From Bryan Leonard’s testimony:

I have a few questions that I want 4 to ask you for the record. First, what is your 5 opinion as to what the age of the world is? 6 A. I really don’t have an opinion. 7 Q. You have no opinion as to what the age of the 8 world is? 9 A. Four to four point five billion years is what I 10 teach my students. 11 Q. I’m asking what is your opinion as to what the 12 age of the world is? 13 A. ‘Um, I was asked to come out here to talk about 14 my experiences as a high school biology 15 teacher. 16 Q. I’m asking you, sir – 17 A. I was not under the impression that I was asked 18 to come out here – 19 Q. I’m asking you – 20 A. – talking about – 21 Q. – sir, what is your personal opinion as to 22 what the age of the world is? 23 A. Four– four to four point five billion years is 24 what I teach my students, sir. 25 Q. That’s not my question. My question is, what 0025 Page 10 Science Hearing May 06 2005.txt 1 is your personal opinion as to what the age of 2 the world is? 3 A. Again, I was under the impression to come out 4 here and talk about my professional 5 experience – 6 Q. Is there a difference? 7 A. – more of – 8 Q. Is there a difference between your personal 9 opinion and what you teach students the age of 10 the world is? 11 A. Four to four point five billion years is what I 12 teach my students, sir. 13 Q. Is– my question is, is there a difference 14 between your personal opinion and what you 15 teach your students? 16 A. Again, you’re putting a spin on the question 17 is– you know, now I’ll spin any answer, sir, 18 to say that my opinion is irrelevant. Four to 19 four point five billion years is what I teach 20 my students. 21 Q. The record will reflect your answer.

Q. Do you– do you believe, sir, that intelligent 14 design should be taught in science classes as 15 an alternative to evolution? 16 A. Can you define evolution? 17 Q. Do you believe intelligent design should be 18 taught in science class? 19 A. I don’t teach intelligent design – 20 Q. And why don’t you? 21 A. – in science class. Because I just have 22 chosen not to. 23 Q. You’ve chosen what? 24 A. Well, in terms of teaching intelligent design, 25 so are you asking me or should teachers teach 0031 1 it? 2 Q. I’m asking you. Do you teach intelligent 3 design in the classroom? 4 A. I have not taught intelligent design in the 5 classroom. 6 Q. Do you think it should be? 7 A. In terms of other teachers or myself? 8 Q. I’m asking just you. 9 A. You know, I really haven’t given it much 10 thought. 11 Q. Is the teaching of intelligent– strike that. 12 Is intelligent design a hypothesis? 13 A. Is intelligent design a hypothesis, I really 14 haven’t given it a whole lot of thought in 15 terms of if it’s a hypothesis or if it’s really 16 something else. I – 17 Q. Would you – 18 A. I don’t teach it. I have not taught it. 19 Q. Would you agree with me that one of the basic 20 principles of science is that when a hypothesis 21 comes along in science one should be able to 22 challenge it? 23 A. Yes, if– if a hypothesis comes along, and 24 then, of course, you have to test the 25 hypothesis, repeat the tests, so and so forth. 0032 1 Q. Falsification part of it? 2 A. Falsification would be part of it. 3 Q. Would you please explain to us how we could 4 falsify the existence of a designer? 5 A. How to falsify, I don’t know. 6 Q. That’s the crux of it, is it not, because it’s 7 a philosophical argument and not a scientific Page 13 Science Hearing May 06 2005.txt 8 construct? 9 A. I’m– I’m saying I don’t know because I really 10 haven’t thought about it like that.

Q. Have you read the Majority Opinion, draft two 12 of the standards? 13 A. The Majority, no, sir. 14 Q. You have been brought to Kansas to challenge 15 the Majority Opinion and you have not taken the 16 time to read it? 17 A. I read the part of the Minority Report that – 18 Q. I didn’t ask you about the Minority. Listen 19 carefully to my question. Have you read the 20 Majority Opinion and the answer was no? 21 A. Yes. 22 Q. And the follow-up question is, you have been 23 brought to Kansas to tell us how educate– how 24 we should educate our Kansas children and you 25 have not bothered to take the time to read the 0033 1 Majority Opinion. Correct? 2 A. Again, yes– no, I have not read the Majority 3 Opinion. 4 MR. IRIGONEGARAY: No further 5 questions.

Pfffft. Some “expert” . … . …

(snicker) (giggle)

If there’s a theory of intelligent design, they should be able to do the following: pick a feature of living things, any feature. Then answer at least some of the following questions:

When was it designed? Where was it designed? How was it designed? What considerations were involved? By whom was it designed? How was the design implemented?

Evolutionary theory has led to many answers about the origins of many things. Can we get some for design, too?

Nick asks what kind of analysis should be done on these transcripts.

First, I agree with previous comments that it’s important to compile all the passages that prove this really is all about religion. That compilation would be useful in convincing judges of the unconstitutionality of these efforts.

Second, I think it would be valuable to tally all the outright lies and egregiously false statements. That might actually be much more valuable in winning the support of the Average American.

If you go to the man on the street and say “Look; this is wrong because it’s unconstitutional,” you’re fighting an uphill battle. You get bogged down in all kinds of questions about what the 1st Amendment really means, what the founders wanted it to mean, what it really should mean, etc.

But, if you go to him and say “Look; these guys are just lying through their teeth. Literally making shit up. They don’t care at all about truth; they just want to keep your kids from learning things they don’t like,” maybe it would have some impact.

Hey, I can dream, can’t I?


The creationists won.

Sorry, but regardless of what actually happen, they’ll revel in the “legitimacy” given by the event, and selectively quote from the transcripts to make that so. Truth has no chance against a media apparatus.

I’ve only gotten through Harris’s testimony and part of Thaxton’s so far, but I note some interesting contradictions.

Harris complains that the standards go too far in teaching biological evolution. We can’t ever know for sure what happened historically, he says. We must admit that we just don’t know.

Then comes Thaxton, who complains the standards don’t go far enough in teaching chemical evolution (i.e. abiogenesis).

So, where we have a coherent theory, well-supported by evidence, with proven predictive power, Harris wants us to say “Eh, we don’t really know.” But when all we have is a bunch of competing hypotheses, none of which is well-supported (yet), Thaxton says we need to teach the hell out of ‘em.

I also like Harris’s two-faced position on evolution being undirected. First, he complains that it’s an unwarranted assumption, and that it contradicts various religious views. But then, he complains that the Majority-approved standards don’t actually describe evolution as being undirected! So he thinks it’s an unwarranted assumption, but he wants it included in the standards?

Thaxton does the same thing. He goes to all the trouble to explain the enormous inadequacies of current hypotheses on “chemical evolution” and then says the standards are wrong not to include all of it anyway.

I’m frankly amazed that these people can function in day-to-day life.

The creationists won.

Sorry, but regardless of what actually happen, they’ll revel in the “legitimacy” given by the event, and selectively quote from the transcripts to make that so. Truth has no chance against a media apparatus.

Alas for them, though, the “media apparatus” was finally convicned by the Kansas debacle that the IDers are all nutjobs and liars. Most reporters didn’t even stick around for the second or third day of hearings – the first day had already shown them what they needed to know.

And the only major newspaper I saw that had anything even remotely favorable to the IDers was the Moonie-owned Washington Times. Everyone else declared that the IDers were, well, nutjobs and liars. The DI’s Media Complaints people were working overtime trying to keep an intact hide.

ID is dead. It’s all over but the funeral. And that will come in Dover.

Dumbski was half right —- Kansas did turn out to be SOMEBODY’S Waterloo. (snicker)

'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank Wrote:

An interesting bit from Nord’s testimony:

Is it also your 5 opinion, sir, that it is important to have 6 religion taught in economics? 7 A. Oh, for sure. 8 Q. Mathematics? 9 A. That’s a harder case, but you can actually make 10 a case for that. I’ll be happy to do it if you 11 like.

Gee, I’d VERY much like to see an IDer make a case for teaching religion in mathematics class . …

Paul? Sal? Blast? Anyone?

This about sums it up: The Rockall Times

Cheers Amos

Unfortunately, the answers I was interested on, Giuseppe Sermonti’s, are apparently blurred by a thick italian accent, and therefore do not appear in the Pdfs. Has anyone any ideas on what the old genetic professor said? Or was he so forgettable? Thanks a lot.

Marco Ferrari

P. S. By the way, everything else was a lot of fun.

What a crazy zoo this is! Do such creatures truly exist? “How long will you simpletons love your simple ways? How long will mockers delight in mockery and fools hate knowledge?”

From my own mathematical and physical keyword search:

Here’s Calvert questioning one Ralph Seelke of UW-Superior being questioned by John Calvert, in which Dr. Seelke compares the timescales of the asexual evolution of bacteria to the sexual evolution of humans (“I have it on a CD”, “people don’t tend to flaunt their failures” – you just can’t make up stuff like this!), and claims that biological order is inconsistent with natural laws!

[FYI, the name of Seelke’s “hero” mentioned below is actually Richard Lenski, author of the article “Evolution: Fact and Theory”. Seelke appears to be confused by the 1999 Science article about Lenski’s work.]

(5 May 2005) Wrote:

20 So you can– you can ask bacteria to do 04:07PM 21 very, very specific things and find out can 22 they do it or can they not do it. So 23 experimental evolution– and you can also– you 24 can model time. One of my heroes is Richard 25 Linskey at Michigan State. And Richard Linskey 04:07PM 0236 1 has been evolving bacteria for 35,000 2 generations. He does this– it’s actually his 3 technicians do this, but he takes two teaspoons 4 of bacteria and he grows them in a medium 5 that’s low on glucose. And then after they’ve 04:08PM 6 grown he takes a hundredth of that population 7 and puts it in a new tube. He gets 6.64 8 generations every day. He’s been doing this 9 for 15 years. You do the math, with a little 10 work you can model trillions of organisms and 04:08PM 11 literally tens of thousands of generations. 12 35,000 generations puts you in the range of 13 what human evolution– what is supposed to have 14 happened in human evolution. So experimental 15 evolution allows you to ask real questions 04:08PM 16 about what evolution can do and– I have it on 17 a CD. 18 Q. Do you have it on a CD? 19 A. It’s over in the– it was– basically what I 20 had is a chart of successful and unsuccessful 04:09PM 21 evolution experiments that happened. And by 22 doing this there’s a number that are 23 successful, there are a number that are 24 unsuccessful. 25 Now, I’m rather proud that of that chart 04:09PM 0237 1 of unsuccessful evolution. It is not easy to 2 find. People don’t tend to flaunt their 3 failures. But I have been able to produce a 4 chart of eight or ten cases of evolution where 5 people looked very hard for evolution to take 04:09PM 6 place and it didn’t happen. And so this is the 7 sort of thing that can be readily done in this. 8 So, yes, we can– so that– the chart was 9 just– just showed some examples of successful 10 evolution and examples of unsuccessful 04:10PM 11 evolution. … 3 Q. I have on the screen an indicator that would 4 have students understand that the sequence of 5 the nucleotide process within genes is not 04:30PM 6 dictated by any amount of chemical or physical 7 law. Is that a scientifically accurate and 8 valid statement? 9 A. Yes, that’s an accurate statement. And it’s– 10 it has to be accurate. As a matter of fact for 04:30PM 11 years one of the reasons the discovery of DNA 12 and the genetic material was a late discovery 13 historically was because we thought DNA was 14 boring. We thought it had a very repeated 15 structure, that it was holding proteins 04:31PM 16 together because proteins were interesting and, 17 therefore, they had to be the genetic material. 18 And because we thought that, because we thought 19 it was repeated and boring, therefore, it could 20 have no information. If it weren’t– if there 04:31PM 21 was a law that says R has to be next to T and T 22 had to be next to C and C had to be next to G 23 then you would have no information. So in 24 order to be an informational molecule you can’t 25 have the order dictated by law. … 3 Q. (BY MR. CALVERT) And that brings up another 4 question is that indicator one of standard 5 seven, benchmark three, this is a description 04:31PM 6 of scientific knowledge. And the Majority 7 Report would have scientific knowledge describe 8 and explain the physical world in terms of 9 matter, energy, and the forces. Whereas the 10 Minority proposes that we simply say scientific 04:32PM 11 knowledge describes and explains the natural 12 world. Which in your view is the better 13 statement? 14 A. Well, I think there’s the glaring admission– 15 omission, excuse me, in the definition of as it 04:32PM 16 is is information and the other is that I think 17 it would– 18 Q. You mean biological information? 19 A. Biological information, exactly. 20 Q. And could you be a little bit more specific 04:32PM 21 about what you mean by that? 22 A. It’s the code. It’s the DNA. It’s the 23 sequences. 24 Q. The messages? 25 A. The message. The message is what matter, 04:33PM 0254 1 energy, even forces can explain. 2 Q. And so since you cannot reduce science– if you 3 did reduce science to just a physical world, 4 then you would omit the investigation of 5 biological information? 04:33PM 6 A. Yes, I think that’s– that’s one of the things. 7 Or your understanding would be quite 8 constrained. But it has to be approached as 9 information.

The testimony of John Millam (being questioned by John Calvert), who claims that an infinite static universe violates thermodynamics, and that this shows that naturalism can be mistaken!

(6 May 2005) Wrote:

2 (reporter interruption). A simple college 3 level proof using thermodynamics should have 4 demonstrated infinite static universe was 5 impossible, however, curiously, that was not 6 discovered until long after the infinite static 7 universe model was gone. And– in other words, 8 no one was encouraged to challenge that view of 9 the universe.

The testimony of Nancy Bryson of the Mississippi University for Women (being questioned by Chairman Abrams), in which Dr. Bryson says that self-organization violates thermodynamics!

(7 May 2005, AM) Wrote:

11 A. My thrust– my big point in my talk was you 12 couldn’t have ever got the whole thing started. 13 From my understanding of thermodynamics there’s 14 no origin of life scenario, no prebiotic 15 evolution scenario, no chemical evolution 16 scenario that would have ever allowed for 17 self-organization of matter. 18 Q. And so what do you base that on? I mean, what 19 method of science or how do you come to that 20 decision? 21 A. Of my reading– in my reading it all made good 22 sense to me thermodynamically. You just don’t 23 have that kind of self-organization occur. And 24 there would be so many processes that would be 25 occurring on the early earth that would have 0028 1 prevented any self-organization; dissolution of 2 amino acids in the ocean, the fact that amino 3 acids combine in different ways, the fact that 4 non proteinaceous amino acids combine with 5 proteinaceous amino acids. It– the whole 6 scenario is utterly impossible in my opinion. 7 Q. Are you basing that conclusion upon empirical 8 science? 9 A. I think so, yes. Yes.

The testimony of Warren Nord of University of North Carolina (being questioned by John Calvert and Pedro Irigonegaray), in which Dr. Nord says that religion should be incorporated into mathematics!

(7 May 2005, PM) Wrote:

21 BY MR. CALVERT: … 13 Q. Do you believe that discussion of Intelligent 14 Design should be accomplished within the 15 context of the biology science classroom? 16 A. Yes. Where one handles other kinds of 17 religious claims is tricky business. Simply 18 the title of my second book, “Taking Religion 19 Seriously Across the Curriculum,” suggests that 20 religion should be taken seriously in most all 21 disciplines. I used to say except mathematics 22 and driver’s education, but the Amish let me 23 know that driver’s education is religiously 24 very important. And, actually, a case can be 25 made for mathematics because the philosophy– 0029 1 well, I’m not going to get into that. … 9 BY MR. IRIGONEGARAY: … 3 Q. Is it also your opinion, sir, that 4 intelligent– strike that. Is it also your 5 opinion, sir, that it is important to have 6 religion taught in economics? 7 A. Oh, for sure. 8 Q. Mathematics? 9 A. That’s a harder case, but you can actually make 10 a case for that. I’ll be happy to do it if you 11 like.

(7 May 2005, PM) Wrote:

21 BY MR. CALVERT: … 23 So for example, even though the Big Bang 24 isn’t mentioned by name, there’s certainly 25 reference to the Big Bang, but there’s no 0023 1 mention to the problem of the origins of the 2 Big Bang. There is a fierce debate raging 3 about whether or not there’s fine tuning in the 4 aftermath of the Big Bang, and many 5 cosmologists, philosophers, and some 6 theologians have come to believe there is fine 7 tuning, that the Big Bang was set up in a 8 certain way in order to lead to life. This is 9 an incredibly important argument. There’s no 10 mention of that.

I enjoyed reading Dr. Thaxton’s comments and responses. Mr. Irigonegaray wound up looking like that rookie challenger on Iron Chef America last night who lost by nearly 20 points (and even failed to plate 3 of his 5 planned dishes for the judges, a new record low.)



Marco: Sermonti’s testimony is available in audio format here, towards the end of day 1. It’s free, but you have to register. His English was pretty bad for a scientist, but I didn’t think it would be so utterly incomprehensible to an American ear that it couldn’t be transcribed. Of course, I can’t vouch for how it sounded to a Kansan. ;-)

Hi, FL.

I believe you were about to explain to me why Adam didn’t crap himself to death because of all the immortal bacteria being fruitful and mutliplying inside his intestines . … .

And then you were about to show me the kidnergarten science that you have to go along with your kindergarten theology . … . .

I enjoyed reading Dr. Thaxton’s comments and responses.

Me too. Especially the parts where he confirms that ID is all about religion and not science:

Don’t just impose a natural cause 8 only perspective that would force the answer to 9 be natural process

18 So the purpose of my testimony here is 19 not to advocate or promote Intelligent Design, 20 but simply to point out that the guidelines, if 11:04AM 21 they are– if you’re not careful in avoiding 22 some decision that would adopt a process or a 23 methodology that would prevent acquisition of 24 humanology in the future that might counter the 25 natural cause answer.

Q. Is there anything in the standards that would 22 deny a teacher and student, if they chose to so 23 do, to discuss Intelligent Design? 24 A. You mean a student can probably ask a question. 25 Q. Listen to my question carefully. Is there 11:25AM 0125 1 anything in the standards that would prohibit a 2 teacher from discussing Intelligent Design with 3 her students? 4 A. I think there is. 5 Q. Where? 11:25AM 6 A. When it talks about natural cause only.

Q. I wanted to go back for a moment to the DNA and 22 its code. Is it your testimony that DNA is 23 evidence of an Intelligent Design? 24 A. No, that is it not my testimony. I am using it 25 only as an illustration to show the error of 11:27AM 0127 1 limiting to natural process only. The 2 inference is to something other than natural 3 process and what that is– 4 Q. Yes, sir. I apologize, sir. 5 A. I said and what that is is where my question 11:27AM 6 was. I’m suggesting that if you’re going to go 7 beyond that then you’re dealing with matters 8 that the guidelines don’t want you to talk 9 about.

And the parts where he admits that he’s just a creationist, and not an expert on evolution anyway:

Do you believe 10 in common descent? 11:17AM 11 A. You mean, common ancestry? 12 Q. Common descent, yes. 13 A. Well, I have difficulty with common ancestry 14 and maybe that’s what you mean by common 15 descent. 11:18AM 16 Q. Do you believe in common descent in humans, 17 such as the fact that there were perhominids 18 before homo sapiens? 19 A. Are you asking me if I accept evolutionary 20 thought on this? 11:18AM 21 Q. I’m asking you if you accept prehominids as the 22 ancestral line to homo sapiens? 23 A. Personally I don’t, no. 24 Q. You what? 25 A. I personally do not. 11:18AM 0120 1 Q. You do not? 2 A. Yes. I mean, I’m not an expert on this.

And the part where he admits that the Kansas standards don’t even mention any of the things that he has been bitching about:

Do the science standards 11:18AM 6 anywhere mention the word “atheism”? 7 A. The ones I read did not. 8 Q. Do the science standards anywhere use the word 9 “materialism”? 10 A. I don’t see it. 11:18AM 11 Q. Do the science standards anywhere use the term 12 “humanism”? 13 A. No, not to my knowledge. 14 Q. Do the science standards anywhere use the term 15 “unguided” or “undirected” or “accidental”? 11:19AM 16 A. I don’t recall seeing that.

And the part where he stumbles all over himself trying to explain why he doesn’t want science limited to “natural causes” but also says he doesn’t want any “supernatural causes” taught:

Q. You would agree with, would you not, that the 23 science standards provide a foundation for the 24 development of a curriculum and they do not 25 limit the scope of knowledge? 11:22AM 0123 1 A. Well, I think they do limit the scope of 2 knowledge. 3 Q. In what manner, sir? 4 A. They adopt the natural cause only perspective 5 and I think that limits them. 11:22AM 6 Q. And you’re suggesting that supernatural causes 7 should be inserted? 8 A. That’s an example of precisely the kind of 9 thinking that I said the majority report put in 10 that I thought was the problem. 11:22AM 11 Q. Well, if it’s limited to the natural and you 12 suggest that that is inappropriate to limit it 13 to natural, wouldn’t logically that would 14 require us to teach the supernatural? 15 A. If you’re talking about metaphysics, yes, but 11:23AM 16 we’re not talking about metaphysics. 17 Q. We’re talking about science? Page 51 Science Hearing May 5 2005.txt 18 A. Natural does not mean naturalism unless you 19 exclude the possibility that– not exclude, if 20 you say only natural causes are permitted that, 11:23AM 21 in effect, is saying– it’s what’s tacit 22 naturalism. Even though you haven’t used it, 23 you’re saying natural cause only. 24 Q. Sir, please don’t put words in my mouth. I 25 have not used the word naturalism. Naturalism 11:23AM 0124 1 is something completely different. 2 A. That’s true. 3 Q. Naturalism implies that the individual with 4 that belief excludes the possibility of a God 5 in any process. I am talking about the natural 11:23AM 6 process which is involved in science. Do you 7 believe that in an appropriate scientific 8 curriculum for the children of the State of 9 Kansas supernatural theistic opinions should be 10 included, yes or no? 11:24AM 11 A. No.

Indeed, Thaxton’s testimony is a very good microcosm summary of ALL the, uh, “expert testimony”.

‘Rev Dr’ Lenny Flank,

I enjoy your insights and thanks for the transcript posts … alas, not sure whether to laugh or cry.


Not even Behe found it worth this time to read the Majority Report.

6 Q. You have not been provided with Draft 2 of the 7 Majority– you were not provided with Draft 2 8 of the writing standards? 9 A. Of the Minority Report? 10 Q. No, no, no. The Majority Report, Draft 2. 11 A. No, I have not received that.

I’m glad they have the transcripts up, because every time I tried to listen to the audiofiles, my ADD kicked in and I just couldn’t concentrate and listed to it. Now that I can read it, though, it’s even more starkly obvious how inane and moronic the entire thing is.

Still, it was difficult to read past the first dozen pages or so, the stupidity, and worse, blatant logical fallacies became so bad that I just had to stop to save my brain. I think I’ll go back and read them again if I can manage to smoke enough weed so as to dumb myself down to their level…hey, I could test a scientific hypothesis: I propose that a subject smoking marijuana will finally “get” the ID hypothesis at around the dosage level that kitty litter becomes an acceptable snack food, but not before.

In the June 12, 2005 opinions section of the Boston Sunday Globe, Jeff Jacoby provides the following description of the Kansas debate (This is part of Mr. Jacoby’s support for his “get government out of the schools” kick):

Kansans have been debating how the development of life on earth should be taught in public schools - as the unintended result of random evolution or as the complex product of an evolution shaped by intelligent design. The board of education is to decide this summer whether the science standards should be changed. Kansas is just one of 19 states in which the Darwinism vs. Intelligent Design contest is being fought. Emotions have been running high, as they often do when the state takes sides in a clash of fundamental values and beliefs.

Interestingly, I do not recall “evolution shaped by intelligent design” as being the consensus or even majority view of the ID promoters. Interestingly, My. Jacobs does not describe how difficult it was for testifying ID proponents to even come forward and say that the earth is most definitely greater that a few million years old.

And the part where he stumbles all over himself trying to explain why he doesn’t want science limited to “natural causes” but also says he doesn’t want any “supernatural causes” taught:

It’s William Jennings Bryan all over again, isn’t it? “I do not think about things I don’t think about…”

Bloody hell.

I have to say, that I am an alum of ‘ol UW- Superior and I even had a couple of classes with the fabulous Dr. Seelke; he teaches a good cell biology course. He has been touting the “evolution of bacteria” nonsense for at least 10 years now, luckily his creationist bend doesn’t infuse his teaching too badly (the other facutly do a good job of keeping him in check). I went to a Behe talk with him and he must have tried to get all of us to understand his generational problem for at least an hour on our way back to UWS. What really depresses me, is that he found his study of bacterial evolution, just like he always wanted, but he ignores the evolution that did occur and tries to focus on the failures as providing evidence that evolution can’t occur. That’s a real shame and I’m very disappointed to see him stoop to the standard creationist drivel.

I agree with qetzal that it might be useful to have an enumeration of all the lies, evasions, and “I’m not an expert but I play one in front of a credulous audience” the alleged experts committed. And then send this to the various media and school board representatives (in case they got bored and missed some). Sure, lots of folks support the IDiots, perhaps because they assume what the IDiots say is correct; but I suspect (hope) most people do not want to be lied to.

Why hasn’t Saturday Night Live done an ID sketch?

The creationists won.

Sorry, but regardless of what actually happen, they’ll revel in the “legitimacy” given by the event, and selectively quote from the transcripts to make that so. Truth has no chance against a media apparatus.

The, and, but, um, I.….

I see that Dr Harris was playing the straight ID party line when he talked about scientists using methodological naturalism but that had so many syllables that “I’ll just call it naturalism.” What a thin excuse for claiming that the two are equivalent. Of course, his definition of methodological naturalism had a lot more to do with philosophical naturalism, but even so, this is very misleading.

Who was it who said that the primary aim of creationists is to confuse people? I think that’s a very good example of it.

Syntax Error: mismatched tag at line 1, column 229, byte 229 at /usr/local/lib/perl5/site_perl/5.12.3/mach/XML/Parser.pm line 187

Regarding religion and mathematics.

I definitely see a connection there. Anybody who didn’t do a lot of heavy praying the night before one of Dr. Odel’s diff-eq tests deserved to fail! That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

Although, there was that one exam on tensors where I heard a distinctive voice say

“Feel the Force, Master Bill, the derivative you must take.”

Lenny Flank Wrote:

Alas for them, though, the “media apparatus” was finally convicned by the Kansas debacle that the IDers are all nutjobs and liars. Most reporters didn’t even stick around for the second or third day of hearings — the first day had already shown them what they needed to know.

How little WE learn. Isn’t this pretty much what happened at the McLean trial? Although, interestingly enough, the transcripts for the creation side seem to have been, ahem, lost, there are enough snippets out there to get a good idea of how well the creationists shot themselves in the foot. (Science and Creationism, A. Montague, Oxford U Press 1984 makes some great reading). Yet creation science by no means died, very simply because it’s not based on evidence, science- or courtroom-wise. All they did was put on a happy face and rally the troops by telling them everything was o.k.

And evolve into ID, of course.

Now that’s all ID needs to do.

Everyone: download and save your copies of the Kansas transcripts, lest the ID movement make some silly claims 20 years down the road.

> Gee, I’d VERY much like to see an IDer make a case for teaching religion in mathematics class … .

*giggling madly* 1 + 1 + 1 = 1?

I enjoyed reading Dr. Thaxton’s comments and responses. He did indeed put on a tutorial par excellence. By the time Thaxton was done, Mr. Irigonegaray wound up looking like that recent challenger on Iron Chef America who failed to plate 3 of his expected 5 cuisine dishes and lost the entire match by nearly 20 points. Delicious reading!


You’ve posted that before, and it didn’t make any sense then either. But keep reaching for that rainbow.

Somebody kick the FL-bot, he’s skipping again…

Wow, tim, a killer refute there for sure.

Mr. Irigon would be proud of you; that’s about his speed, really.


FL Wrote:

Mr. Irigon would be proud of you; that’s about his speed, really.

From my reading of the transcripts, I thought Mr.Irigonegaray did a pretty good job. So you think the IDCists could have been made to look more foolish with higher-caliber questioning?


But not to leave out ‘Enough’s’ post either.

The thing is, when stuff remains unrefuted, I reserve the right to offer the same stuff again. And in this case, the transcript is clear. Mr. Irigon couldn’t even touch Dr. Thaxton’s primo tutorial on the witness stand.

And Thaxton more than held his own on whatever end-run questions Mr. Irigon could work up the nerve to ask. Adding it all up, you have the full equivalent of an Iron Chef wipeout, Mr. Irigon duly serving as the wipee.


In retrospect, I’m deeply sorry that I did not recognize the genius in FL’s reasoning, nor even recognize the need to “refute” his statements after all. On second reading, it is clearly a well-reasoned presentation of the scientific facts in favor of ID, and deserves a lively academic discussion. I will prepare a full rebuttal, complete with references to primary sources*, entitled “How Pedro Irigonegaray is Clearly Eternal-Champion Iron Chef Michiba, and the IDiots Resemble a Host of Carl’s Jr. Line Cooks Who Can’t Even Handle Spoons Without Requiring Stitches”. I will be submitting it the the venerable Journal of Really Crappy Analogies, where I presume FL is currently publishing.

* The original Japanese Iron Chef, b*tches, not the pale roundeye imitation.

Whee. Trolling creationist morons find other creationist morons persuasive. This is news?

Is that exhibit at the Smithsonian the same one where they keep my penis?

Quick question: I like to tinker, and I built a little gizmo that a really cute girl I know just doesn’t understand. Does this, I hope, mean I am a god to her?

Thanks in advance.

Wow, tim, a killer refute there for sure.

Speaking of “kilelr refutes”, FL, I believe you were about to tell me how it is that Adam didn’t crap himself to death from all those fruitfully-multiplying immortal bacteria in his guts . … ?

Oh, and you said somethign about showing me the science behind ID — ya know, the kindergarten sciecne to go along with your kindergarten theology?

And gee, FL, you still haven’t answered my simple quesiton about the source of your religious authority — what makes your religious opinions and interpretations any better than mine, my next door neighbor’s, my car emchanic’s, or the kid who delivers my pizzas? Other than your holy say-so?

Ya know, FL, if you keep avoiding my simple quesitons, people are gonna start thinking that you CAN’T answer them. Wouldn’t want THAT, would we . … ?

Comment # 34844

Hyperion Wrote:

Comment #34844 Posted by Hyperion on June 12, 2005 11:41 AM (e) (s) I’m glad they have the transcripts up, because every time I tried to listen to the audiofiles…

There are audio files? Can anyone point me to where these may be please.

Audio is at audible.com. Search on something like “Kansas evolution”.


Google for news on connie Morris -

Kansas School Official Calls Evolution ‘Fairy Tale’

POSTED: 9:14 am CDT June 14, 2005

TOPEKA, Kan. – A member of Kansas’ State Board of Education who’s involved in writing new public school science standards calls evolution a “fairy tale” that’s sometimes defended with “anti-God contempt and arrogance.”

A newsletter written by board member Connie Morris said students should be taught “criticism of Darwinism alongside the age-old fairy tale of evolution.”

In her newsletter, Morris said she’s a Christian who believes that the creation account in the Book of Genesis is literally true.

But she also acknowledges that many other Christians have no trouble reconciling faith and evolution.

Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

If you find the audible.com format and software a real pain (as I did), it might help that I converted them to MP3 and I share them on LimeWire.

It turns out GoldWave can save them as WAVs and, of course, you can then compress from there. I’ve encoded at 32kbps constant bitrate, 16khz, mono, but it’s still 250MB in total. Perhaps they should be torrented!

Others may have done the same and made smaller files.

P.S. Can anyone tell me how legal what I’m doing is?

Thanks Nick, I did just what you said.… listened to the first day of the trial. One thing I find interesting is that they say its a leap of faith to extrapolate micro evolution to macro evolution but they have no problem extrapolating something having the appearance of design to “it is designed”

I also see the IDers got their facts all wrong about the whole journal scandal. He said the paper was peer reviewed, which it wasn’t. Said that he lost his position as the editor because of it, which he didn’t, and lost his position at the S.I. which is also false.…oh and he said no one had any issue with the actual content of the article…which many did and wrote about

They live in a different world don’t they. A world where facts just don’t matter.

> you don’t have to know when it was done to come to the conclusion that something was designed.

coming to the conclusion that the universe was designed .. is as natural to the ancients to conclude that zeus is the highest of all gods. maker of lightnings and thor who makes thunder. and neptune lord of the seas makes tsunamis ..

but we all know now thru science that all of these are natural phenomenons ..

They live in a different world don’t they. A world where facts just don’t matter.

Instead, they live in a world much too important to permit facts to run around loose and unsupervised. Facts must be managed in the interests of right thinking.

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This page contains a single entry by Nick Matzke published on June 11, 2005 9:34 PM.

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