McCreary Ruling Good News for Science Education

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After reading the majority opinion in the McCreary case, involving the posting of the Ten Commandments in a county courthouse, I am convinced that the ruling is extremely good news for those of us who are active in fighting the attempts of creationists (in whatever form) to weaken science education in public schools. But in order to understand why, some background is required. We've been waiting with great anticipation for this decision because it would involve the Lemon test, the set of criteria that the court has used (sometimes) for the last 35 years or so to determine whether a policy violates the Establishment Clause. The Lemon test has three prongs - purpose, effect and entanglement. In order to meet the test, a policy must have a clear secular purpose, have the effect of neither advancing not inhibiting religion, and must not unnecessarily entangle church and state.

In the battle against creationism in science classrooms, the purpose prong is very important because those who advocate putting creationism into classrooms invariably make pronouncements of religious intent. In the Dover case, for instance, the school board member who proposed putting "intelligent design" into science classrooms announced he was doing so because "someone died on a cross 2000 years ago" and it was time for someone to "take a stand for Him." But in the course of the last few years, there have been many voices on the court for either modifying or even doing away with the Lemon test, particularly the purpose prong, and many of us feared that the McCreary case might be used to renounce the test, in part or in whole. The appellants in McCreary specifically asked the court to do away with the purpose prong, arguing that it was nebulous and impossible to truly understand the purpose of a person or governing body.

That would have been a serious blow to the legal strategy in the Dover case as well as potential future cases and would have deprived our side of a major legal rationale in our favor. Alas, our fears were for nought. Not only did the majority of the court not accept the arguments of the county's attorneys, the majority opinion, written by Justice Souter, explicitly and resoundingly reasserts the validity of the purpose prong and its importance in adjudicating Establishment Clause cases:

The touchstone for our analysis is the principle that the “First Amendment mandates governmental neutrality between religion and religion, and between religion and nonreligion.” Epperson v. Arkansas, 393 U. S. 97, 104 (1968); Everson v. Board of Ed. of Ewing, 330 U. S. 1, 15–16 (1947); Wallace v. Jaffree, supra, at 53. When the government acts with the ostensible and predominant purpose of advancing religion, it violates that central Establishment Clause value of official religious neutrality, there being no neutrality when the government’s ostensible object is to take sides...

Indeed, the purpose apparent from government action can have an impact more significant than the result expressly decreed: when the government maintains Sunday closing laws, it advances religion only minimally because many working people would take the day as one of rest regardless, but if the government justified its decision with a stated desire for all Americans to honor Christ, the divisive thrust of the official action would be inescapable...

Despite the intuitive importance of official purpose to the realization of Establishment Clause values, the Counties ask us to abandon Lemon’s purpose test, or at least to truncate any enquiry into purpose here. Their first argument is that the very consideration of purpose is deceptive: according to them, true purpose” is unknowable, and its search merely an excuse for courts to act selectively and unpredictably in picking out evidence of subjective intent. The assertions are as seismic as they are unconvincing.

The ruling even goes on to note many cases in the history of such findings of purpose or intent, and specifically mentions the 1987 ruling that removed creationism from public school science classrooms as a model for both the importance and validity of attempting to discern legislative purpose:

The cases with findings of a predominantly religious purpose point to the straightforward nature of the test. In Wallace, for example, we inferred purpose from a change of wording from an earlier statute to a later one, each dealing with prayer in schools. 472 U. S., at 58–60. And in Edwards, we relied on a statute’s text and the detailed public comments of its sponsor, when we sought the purpose of a state law requiring creationism to be taught alongside evolution. 482 U. S., at 586-–588.

Even O'Connor, who has often preferred an "endorsement test" instead of the Lemon test, wrote in her concurring opinion that determining purpose was important in this case because it "conveys an unmistakable message of endorsement to the reasonable observer." Bottom line: We could not have asked for a clearer endorsement of the Lemon test, or the purpose prong specifically, than this decision. It appears that the rumors of Lemon's demise have indeed been premature, and that is very good news for the future of sound science education in America.

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This article over at The Panda’s Thumb is an insightful analysis of the application of the recent McCreary SCOTUS ruling to the separation of church and state, particularly as it applies to the evolution/intelligent-design (non)debate. The McCre... Read More

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Well, the decision was 5-4, and this is important. Specifically, it means that we could indeed “have asked for a clearer endorsement.” My reading is that the 4-judge minority find the US “Christian enough” to justify inserting its doctrines into our Pledge, onto our money, into prayers that start judicial and legislative sessions, into many of our laws, onto the very frieze over the door of the Court. Their claim is that so many Christians have said and done so many Christian things in our history, that it would be fatuous to pretend that the Christian religion has played no historical role. And that plastering Christian doctrine all over government institutions “only recognizes history” and takes no religious sides!

And so we get some rather imaginative tap-dancing:

the purpose apparent from government action can have an impact more significant than the result expressly decreed: when the government maintains Sunday closing laws, it advances religion only minimally because many working people would take the day as one of rest regardless, but if the government justified its decision with a stated desire for all Americans to honor Christ

Uh, come again? Most people take Sunday off fore purely religious reasons, either directly (because their faith requires it), or indirectly (because the faith of so many others requires it that it wouldn’t be cost-effective for many businesses to keep their doors open with so few workers on the job). And don’t tell me it’s OK to prohibit alcohol sales on Sunday because “most people wouldn’t drink on Sunday anyway.”

This position skates on very thin ice. The whole purpose of ID is to introduce what is effectively a religion by omitting the references to Jesus Christ. Omitting the references to Christ no more makes Sunday-specific laws non-religious than makes ID in schoos non-religious. I think it’s a lousy precedent to say that laws enforcing religious doctrine become non-religious by leaving out certain words. Souter has just endorsed Philip Johnson’s basic strategy.

I was in Global Village this morning, and could have hit the roof when I read this about the case, in my local paper:

Jackie Davis, of Aberdeen, said the government should display the Ten Commandments.

“It would make a difference to people who believe in God,” said Davis, 62, a devout Baptist, interviewed at Starbucks in Cameron Village. And “it would be good for it to be displayed where people who don’t believe in God could see it, ‘cause it might start ‘em to thinking.”

But then I calmed down. That seems to be the majority christian opinion, so its no use getting mad.

SCOTUS Wrote:

And in Edwards, we relied on a statute’s text and the detailed public comments of its sponsor, when we sought the purpose of a state law requiring creationism to be taught alongside evolution. 482 U. S., at 586—588.

TMLC on their web site, a.k.a. a public comment Wrote:

Our ministry was inspired by the recognition that the issues of the cultural war being waged across America, issues such as abortion, pornography, school prayer, and the removal of the Ten Commandments from municipal and school buildings, are not being decided by elected legislatures, but by the courts.

Ministry? Implies a religious purpose, no?

it would be good for it to be displayed where people who don’t believe in God could see it, ‘cause it might start ‘em to thinking

I’d say (and already have elsewhere) that it would evidently be too little too late for the commandments to be on display in courts where criminals go after committing an offence. It’s too little (or rather woefully ineffective and even counter-productive compared with developing internal morality and responsibility) because supposed knowledge of commandments and afterlife penalties doesn’t seem to stop the religious committing horrendous crimes. Rather, their religion seems to encourage them.

So, to start those inclined to religion thinking properly instead, they would be better off being exposed to scientific ideas (and atheistic ones): evolution of social orders and development of personal responsibility for a moral code. Good science and good non-religious morals need to be in schools because not all the religious can be trusted to instil such good values at home.

Of course, the final irony is…

The Ten Commandments, in and of themselves, are at odds with the greater goal of those who push ID (as well as being a straightforward condemnation of most of their tactics).

Don’t get me wrong - I don’t want the Ten Commandments anywhere near a court room. They tell people to honor a particular God, but the courts are for the protection of everyone, no matter how or if they worship.

But they (the Ten Commandments) do make a mockery of the version of Christianity being served up by fundamentalist hypocrites. In their own words, the problem is “issues such as abortion, pornography, school prayer” (quoted from a post above). As we all know, “such as” essentially refers to insufficient bigotry and harassment of homosexuals, another major complaint of these people.

Take a look at the Ten Commandments. They reflect priorities - these are the things you REALLY shouldn’t do. Is there anything there about pornography or the rest of the phoney “moral crusade” that ID is a branch of? Don’t kill, don’t steal, don’t resent, don’t cheat one someone who trusts you, don’t lie. At least two of these are more or less violated by the mere act of being an “ID advocate”. All the other five about honoring God, with the possible exception of the “Sabbath day” one, are violated when they deny that God is their designer. Think about it - it’s designed, but maybe not by God. That’s idolatry (space aliens as the creators)! Unlike just noting how things happened naturally, without involving God one way or the other.

Their first argument is that the very consideration of purpose is deceptive: according to them, true purpose” is unknowable, and its search merely an excuse for courts to act selectively and unpredictably in picking out evidence of subjective intent.

How often are the basic tenets of postmodernism &/or deconstructionism used as the mainstays of legal argument?

And why are these viewpoints considered “leftist”?

The 5-4 ruling offers me little comfort. The dissenting opinion, fulling joined by 3 of the 9 and written by Scalia who is likely to be the next CJ, begins:

JUSTICE SCALIA, with whom THE CHIEF JUSTICE and JUSTICE THOMAS join, and with whom JUSTICE KENNEDY joins as to Parts II and III, dissenting.

I would uphold McCreary County and Pulaski County, Kentucky’s (hereinafter Counties) displays of the Ten Commandments. I shall discuss first, why the Court’s oft repeated assertion that the government cannot favor religious practice is false; second, why today’s opinion extends the scope of that falsehood even beyond prior cases; and third, why even on the basis of the Court’s false assumptions the judgment here is wrong.

I don’t think Scalia has a prayer (!) of being the next CJ, say nothing of it being “likely”.

RBH

The second commandment is typically written:

Thou shalt have no other gods before Me.

I would like to see a convincing explanation of how this is somehow foundational to the constitution.

The way I read it, the first five Commandments are administrative, and the second five are substantive. The substantive commandments are embodied in the practices of every culture I’ve ever heard of. The administrative commandments are strictly religion, no ambiguity at all.

I think the Court has basically split between those justices who regard Christianity as a religion, and those who regard it as Truth.

It seems to me that one of the greatest parts of the constitution is quite the opposite of the second commandment. One can have whatever god one wants to.

I think most people who believe the government is founded on christianity, just want to believe it, and don’t know any better.

Pierce,

I’m not a legal scholar but I’ll take a stab at your question.

I don’t think that the courts have ever really embraced deconstruction in any major legal precedent I can think of. At a stretch, one might make an argument that in some of the landmark cases of sexual harassment, some version of moderate post-modernism was tacitly accepted by the courts-or that at least some of the legal theory underlying it was buttressed by some feminist post-modern arguments.

Why is PoM0/Deco considered “leftist”? Primarily because most of the Pomo-Deco crowd tout themselves as “leftist” and people believe them.

That’s the short answer. I fear the longer answer ties up PT and derails us from the main topic.

I might point out that there is speculation that Rehnquist will be announcing his retirement in the next few days. That could start the fighting over the court justices. Though it might not make that much difference: any Bush nominee and Rehnquist will not be all that different. When the less conservative justices retire, then the fire really begins. (I am assuming that they will try to hold out for an other president but that given their ages it might be difficult to do.) I would not be surprised if Bush does what Reagan did: nominate an associate justice (almost certainly Scalia in this case) for chief justice and of course nominate someone to take the place of the promoted justice.

Actually as much as Scalia scares me, I do respect him. Sure his legal philosophy is a bit crazy, but it is consistent and not a mere hodge podge of justications for whatever view the justice liked at the time.

And Douglas Theobald is quite right: a 5-4 decision is not a victory to be confortable with. It was one vote from an outright loss. And if Bush replaces any of the 5, a similiar case coming to the court will reverse it. I don’t think this is unlikely.

– Anti-spam: Replace “user” with “harlequin2”

Re “according to them, true purpose” is unknowable,”

If that’s true, then there’d be no way to determine that evolution conflicts with the true purpose. That contradicts the frequent claim that evolution implies a lack of purpose in the universe.

Henry

This case, as with many church-state cases going back to the Scopes trial, involves the question of whether majoritarianism is going to be allowed to replace freedom of religion. One can look at any poll of the U.S. population or local populations to see what a ruling for majoritarianism would result in being taught in the public schools. Since we are one Justice away from a majoritarian ruling it might be a good idea to discuss what would result from such a circumstance. For example, I would expect a dehomogenization of the population into local factions capable of controlling local politics to their benefit at the expense of those not of the group. In other words, a disastrous Balkanization of the U.S. If you want your child to learn about evolution, etc., you will have to move to a school district where people like you are the majority (and vice versa, though you won’t have to move as far). Obviously this goes against the very essence of what has made America successful. Five to four is not a ringing endorsement and never will be. Five to four is as scarily ambivalent as it gets. After all, in the Texas case it was five to four the other way, and I don’t see the code of Hammurabi among the dozens of monuments there. What I see is “I AM the LORD thy GOD”. The Ten Commandments are a hybrid between a summation of what is neccessary for society to exist and a declaration of one religion’s supremacy over all others, and the U.S. Supreme Court is a heart attack away from being the same.

Wow.. I never thought I’d see the word “seismic” in a Supreme Court Opinion..

But there you go..

I don’t think Reinquist wants to retire. I think he detests the anti-judicial politics of the current Republican majority and worries about giving such people the chance to pick a new head justice.

Don’t be surprised if Bush nominates Thomas to be the new CJ if Rehnquist steps down.

This ruling went 5-4, but the court also held pretty narrowly on the issue. Perhaps if the issue were ID, they might hold differently?

Might not the Court’s two 5-4 decisions yesterday, taken together, in fact represent a shrewd political compromise by Justice Breyer, who was the swing vote? Might the pair of decisions not represent a better overall outcome than two hypothetical decisions with lopsided votes in the same direction would have been?

Had the Court, for example, upheld both displays of the Ten Commandments by a 7-2 vote, that would certainly have represented a dangerous outcome for those who believe that the division between church and state should be respected.

However, a hypothetical 7-2 decision in the other direction in both cases might have been a case of winning the battle but losing the war. Such a clear “defeat for the Ten Commandments” could have galvanized the religious right into actions with greater long term consequences.

As it is, the Court upheld displays of the Ten Commandments by the government, at least in limited circumstances. Thus it will be harder to rally those Christian soldiers against the latest Court ruling. It’s harder to get oneself worked into a moral outrage about a pair of decisions that split the difference, offering something to both sides. Moral outrage works better when an issue can be painted as black-and-white.

Given the limited scope of the holding that upheld the Texas display (based on what I’ve seen in the news), as a practical matter it may be difficult to concoct any new, permissible intertwinings of church and state (e.g, Intelligent Design).

A 5-4 decision, although close, is nevertheless stare decisis. Even Supreme Court justices are more respectful of the Court’s own precedent than the fiery language of their opinions may sometimes suggest.

These two decisions may, in the long run, represent a shrewd political compromise crafted by Justice Breyer, defusing the situation, without really granting much of substance to those who would infuse religion into government.

Caveat: I have not read these opinions yet. These preliminary views are based only on what I have gleaned from reports in the news.

Chip -

Thanks for the analysis.

I don’t think that the courts have ever really embraced deconstruction in any major legal precedent I can think of. At a stretch, one might make an argument that in some of the landmark cases of sexual harassment, some version of moderate post-modernism was tacitly accepted by the courts-or that at least some of the legal theory underlying it was buttressed by some feminist post-modern arguments.

Uh-oh - is this more havoc wrought by Hurricane Catherine (MacKinnon)?

It’s rather surprising that, given the nature of legal wrangling, the perspective of “this is all just word games” hasn’t gained a lot more popularity among the ambulance-chasing tribe. Let’s hope we’re not seeing the dawn of a new gestalt.

Why is PoM0/Deco considered “leftist”? Primarily because most of the Pomo-Deco crowd tout themselves as “leftist” and people believe them.

Thereby proving that “people” haven’t really grasped the PM/D concept, no?

Michael -

Sure his [Scalia’s] legal philosophy is a bit crazy, but it is consistent and not a mere hodge podge of justications for whatever view the justice liked at the time.

If only. Please read Vincent Bugliosi’s The Betrayal of America for a clear & devastating take on the way Scalia’s part in the election/coup of 2000 violated most of his own supposedly sacrosanct principles (federalism, precedent, anti-“activism”, etc), for the purely partisan sake of putting a fellow opportunistic fanatic in the presidency.

My reading of the political scene is that Scalia is very unlikely to be nominated for a promotion, for two reasons: a) His record is so blatant that even the Democrats would probably be compelled to put up a major fight, which they might even win, and the White House strategists greatly prefer for their opponents not to have a chance. b) A Scalia nomination for supreme Supreme would mean two confirmation processes, one for A.S. & one for his replacement as Associate Justice, which is twice the political hazard to the Busheviks so long as they don’t have firm control of the Senate.

Wikipedia has a good section on Modernism, Postmodernism, etc.

Post Modernism is a joke. No really, literally. The definition that I remember is “ an incredulity to metanarratives”, But Post Modernism IS a metanarrative. It’s a recursive jape.

Its a bit like Nihilsm, I mean, why bother?

I think FitzRoy said it pretty well. With the same caveat that I haven’t read the decisions, I see the cases as a wash. Nothing has really changed on the church/state landscape.

There will be innumerable more cases brought that will need further clarification because no “bright line” was drawn. They’ll all be decided by the subjective test of “overtly religious” or not. In a sense, that just continues Lemon, which isn’t bad, but if Scalia has his way on the purpose prong, it will take a mere statement of secular purpose by the Legislative body to satisfy that test. One of his earlier dissents (Stone v. Graham?) said the court can’t second-guess what’s in the Legislature’s mind.

The other two prongs (effect & entanglement) are mere formalities to Scalia as he saw no problem with any display. As he said during oral arguments, “If it offends you, avert your eyes.”

I’m not sure Breyer was as astute as FitzRoy credits him. He has hopped the fence in the past. The danger lies in Scalia’s view becoming dominant with just such fence-hopping or a Thomas/Scalia clone replacing the likes of Stevens. That would portend an wide floodgate being opened through the church/state wall.

fun discussion involving “modernism”, etc. here:

http://davidbrin.blogspot.com/

Pierce,

Yes, I am pretty sure McKinnon either argued, or was instrumental in the initial case(s)that allowed “hostile environment” interpretations of sexual harassment.

The courts did not accept in full, and have not yet accepted in full, McKinnon’s argument that the definition of sexual harassment is purely subjective and up to the interpretation of the woman. It did however, accept the premise that different standards of behavior or interpretation can be applied to interpreting sexual harassment depending on the gender of the complainant.

It’s not clear to me, btw, that McKinnon is really a post-modernist nor is it clear to me that she was entirely wrong on this case. Many people who disagree in general principle with McKinnon recognize her contribution to sexual harassment law as having been mostly positive.

I’m about as anti-Pomo as anyone (well, OK, not as “anyone”) and McKinnon is not my favorite person. But let’s not go hunting for demons where they don’t exist.

Hostile environment has problems, but it does make sense to some degree.

Anyway, my apologies here for being so far off topic. I’m not quite sure how Pomo and McKinnon even got roped in here.

Many people who disagree in general principle with McKinnon recognize her contribution to sexual harassment law as having been mostly positive.

My quarrel with CM has more to do with her pro-censorship views (and how those have reportedly been implemented in Canada & elsewhere) than her harassment work. (In that area, the emphasis on subjectivity & gender seem inescapable, hardly grounds for pomophobia.)

I’m not quite sure how Pomo and McKinnon even got roped in here.

My fault on McKinnon, but the Kentuckians’ “first argument … that the very consideration of purpose is deceptive: according to them, true purpose” is unknowable, and its search merely an excuse for courts to act selectively and unpredictably in picking out evidence of subjective intent.”, apparently drawn from that ol’ bluegrass philosopher Derrida, elicited the PM query.

That approach could well have been the resort of some lawyer desperate for any argument at all for an assignment to defend the plainly unconstitutional, but it seems to me to run parallel with the ID-creationists’ approach to science as an arbitrary power game. That’s clearly how the christocrats view US legal processes, as shown in the Christian Coalition’s McCreary-related complaints about “over 40 years of tyrannical decisions emanating from the United States Supreme Court … the nation’s top court is completely out of step with the American people.” (Christian Coalition of America press release, 6/27/05): from their subjective perspective, they’ve been unfairly oppressed since at least the O’Hair decision.

I’ll leave off the discussion about McKinnon for now.

I guess now I get your point, and I take it to be: post modernism is a theory (that among other things) states that we can never know the true intent of the author, and therefore we cannot have a definitive ruling of the text.

You see a correlation between this idea and the argument by the critics of Lemon that we cannot know the intent of the backers of an idea. I’ll grant you a vague relationship, though I doubt the argument was drawn from a reading of Derrida. It strikes me as more of a desperation argument.

There have however been some interesting overt parallels between Post-modernism and general relativist theories of knowledge. Of course, Feyerabend (who was a relativist though I am not sure a post-modernist) saluted Creation Science on the grounds that there was no grounds to call it unscientific. Feyerabend’s argument is that science really had no set, precise standards-so anything was acceptable.

Critical legal studies was overtly post-modernist and argued that interpretations of law were more or less made up for the convenience of judges.

Phillipp Johnson is well known for his advocacy of both Feyerabend and critical legal studies. So there might be the explicit connection you are looking for. In my own discussions with ID advocates I have run up against implicit repetitions of standard relativist canards about science-though equally quickly, these same individuals deny being relativists.

Relativism is a two edged sword for ID advocates. Relativism implies pluralism and that is really not what they are after. They are after hegemony. Of course, their problem is that they face a hegemonic research tradition, so it is currently in their interest to argue for pluralism.

And applying a postmodern textual interpretation approach–that we can never have a definitive reading of a text–to the Creationists’ “handbook” would spell the end for literalist fundamentalists, so there can’t ultimately be much consonance between these two streams of thought.

But, hey, maybe this is yet another “wedge” to drive between the cohabitants of ID’s Big Tent.

Critical legal studies was overtly post-modernist …

“Was”? Has this branch of the pomo tree already fallen? Have we entered the popomo era?

Relativism is a two edged sword for ID advocates. Relativism implies pluralism and that is really not what they are after. They are after hegemony.

Mere logical consistency is no greater barrier to christocrats than it is to creationists. I try to keep my imagination supple by reading lots of science fiction, but it far surpasses Lafferty, Rucker, Tiptree & Wolfe put together that these people would even “tolerate the controversy” if they gained power… :-O

The next time a case like this comes up, the lawyers acting for the defense of science and state might like to have Demski’s own response archived. To quote Dembski, as published on his own website:

“June 28, 2005 “Intelligent Evolution” — If the courts rule against ID … There are now a number of initiatives nationally in which evolution is being challenged and ID promoted. What would happen if the courts rule against ID, declaring it religion? In the long term, this prospect is of little consequence because the momentum is now with ID and the inertia with evolution. Don’t be distracted by the “thousands” of articles being published in the research journals that purport to support evolutionary theory — this is an artifact of overfunding an underachieving theory. Throw enough money at an inherently flawed idea, and people will write thousands of articles about it showing that the flaws really don’t exist.

I therefore offer the following proposal if ID gets outlawed from our public schools: retitle it Intelligent Evolution (IE). The evolution here would be reconceived not as blind evolution but as technological evolution. Nor would it be committed to Darwin’s idea of descent with modification. But, hey, it would still be evolution, and evolution can be taught in schools. In fact, I think I’ll title my next book Intelligent Evolution: The Mindful Deviation of Evolutionary Pathways. Perhaps this book has already been written.

Filed under: Evolution, Intelligent Design, Darwinism — William Dembski @ 10:39 am”

Evidently young Bill has no capacity for recognizing intellectual dishonesty. What a mind!

The next time a case like this comes up, the lawyers acting for the defense of science and state might like to have Demski’s own response archived. To quote Dembski, as published on his own website:

“June 28, 2005 “Intelligent Evolution” — If the courts rule against ID … There are now a number of initiatives nationally in which evolution is being challenged and ID promoted. What would happen if the courts rule against ID, declaring it religion? In the long term, this prospect is of little consequence because the momentum is now with ID and the inertia with evolution. Don’t be distracted by the “thousands” of articles being published in the research journals that purport to support evolutionary theory — this is an artifact of overfunding an underachieving theory. Throw enough money at an inherently flawed idea, and people will write thousands of articles about it showing that the flaws really don’t exist.

I therefore offer the following proposal if ID gets outlawed from our public schools: retitle it Intelligent Evolution (IE). The evolution here would be reconceived not as blind evolution but as technological evolution. Nor would it be committed to Darwin’s idea of descent with modification. But, hey, it would still be evolution, and evolution can be taught in schools. In fact, I think I’ll title my next book Intelligent Evolution: The Mindful Deviation of Evolutionary Pathways. Perhaps this book has already been written.

Filed under: Evolution, Intelligent Design, Darwinism — William Dembski @ 10:39 am”

Indeed, this gem from Dembski will come in handy in a few years when the “Intelligent Evolution” “theorists” will be vehemently arguing that “we’re NOT Intelligent Design advocates !!!!!!!!!”

I’d sure like to hear Big Bill explain to us, though, how evolution is *wrong* if it’s so goddamn “intelligent” . … . … .

Regarding the O’Connor retirement: it seems pretty certain that her replacement will have a role to play when the Dover and/or Kansas cases get to the Court.

During the Congressional debate over the invasion of Iraq, the Democrats proved that they don’t have any balls.

I hope they’ve grown a pair in the meantime.

I hope they’ve grown a pair in the meantime.

Why - so you can knee them? Or so they’ll be more tempted to be unfaithful to the electorate? Brains might serve them better - and whatever body part it is in which Americans imagine they keep their integrity and courage (traditionally and inaccurately the heart).

I wouldn’t say democrats had no balls, I’m sure at least some of them have courage. I’d say that over a period of many years, the Right has done an effective PR job of characterizing the left as both disloyal and pacifistic. So when dems argued against war, a lot of people perceived it in that preexisting context of disloyalty and/or pacifism, and didn’t support them.

So when dems argued against war

They all voted for it.

Every one of them.

I hope they don’t collapse into a spineless mass of jelly THIS time, too.

Brains might serve them better - and whatever body part it is in which Americans imagine they keep their integrity and courage (traditionally and inaccurately the heart).

No — a little lower . … . . ;>

So when dems argued against war, a lot of people perceived it in that preexisting context of disloyalty and/or pacifism, and didn’t support them.

Well, if the Democans collapsed into jelly when they were accused of “disloyalty” and “pacifism”, just IMAGINE how quickly they’ll turn into a spineless lump when they get accused of (gasp) godless atheism !!!!!!

If we have to depend on the Democans to prevent theocracy, we are doomed.

Fortunately, the corporados don’t want a theocracy. And, whether it’s Democans or Republicrats occupying the hallowed halls of Congress and the White House, it’s the corporados who really run things. Theocracy is bad for business. In any fight between God and Mammon, bet on Mammon. Every time.

I take hope in that.

They [Democrats] all voted for it [war].

Every one of them.

You’re not specific as to which measure you mean, but it’s worth noting that Rep. Barbara Lee from Oakland, CA was the only member of Congress to vote against the war on Afghanistan, and was one of 133 who voted against the conquest of Iraq. (Sorry, I don’t have data on the equivalent Senate votes to hand.)

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This page contains a single entry by Ed Brayton published on June 27, 2005 12:11 PM.

Some thoughts on the Moore amicus brief was the previous entry in this blog.

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