Harriet Miers and Carl Baugh … Connecting the Dots

| 154 Comments

Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers has

given 10 percent to 12 percent of her earnings – “if not more” – to the evangelical Valley View Christian Church in Dallas, where she has been a congregant for about 25 years

according to Judge Nathan Hecht of the Texas Supreme Court, who has dated Miers. This Newsday article has the details.

What has this to do with Panda’s Thumb? A lot!

It so happens that the “Useful Links” page for Miers’s Valley View Christian Church links prominently to the Creation Evidence Museum, run by Dr. Carl Baugh, a creationist who is so far out as to have been strongly criticized by Answers in Genesis and the Creation Science Foundation. Baugh is perhaps most famous for his fakey “Paluxy Mantrack” footprints, specifically the “Burdick Print,” and his fossilized human finger.

A YEC on the Supreme Court? Connect the dots, people … connect the dots.

154 Comments

Ugh. I hope the republicans stand up against her, I doubt it but I can hope. A YEC? On the highest court? I don’t see how thats possible.

But yet I’m not so surprised.

I don’t know why bush has to pick the most half-assed people to do stuff. But then again, she is one of his best friends. I hate politics.

I hope this ID issue is settled in PA, and its not settled in the supreme court with a YEC…

That could be bad.

Dave Thomas wrote: “A YEC on the Supreme Court? Connect the dots, people … connect the dots.”

Dot 1: Polls show that a lot of Americans reject the Darwinian theory of evolution.

Dot 2: Part of George W. Bush’s base of support base is evangelical Christians who tend towards creationism in some variety. Bush himself shows signs of being a YEC.

Dot 3: It’s not surprising a YEC president would nominate a YEC judge whose electorial base is primarily YEC voters who think throwing YEC views out of science class is not what YEC founding fathers and constitution writers had in mind.

Any chance that’s a paid advertisement? (What gives me hope is that it’s not in the main box with most of the other links; it’s a banner down at the bottom right where you might expect to find an ad. Probably wishful thinking.)

Maurile… It’s wishful thinking. N. Doering has it correct in the post just above.

These people are ideolog’s who don’t care about knowledge and truth. They care about religion and faith and power to wield both.

Guys,

I suppose that this is might be horribly optimistic, but maybe Judge Miers attends this church but does not endorse everything they endorse. I certainly do not endorse everything my church endorses. Has anyone actually asked Judge Miers what she thinks about the age of the earth or common descent? What do we know about what Judge Miers actually thinks on this issue? Anyone know anything about her actual views on the matter?

MB

Michael Buratovich asked: “What do we know about what Judge Miers actually thinks on this issue? Anyone know anything about her actual views on the matter?”

Not yet. You do have a point - we don’t know for sure… At least I don’t. However, we know Bush himself as endorsed ID and said “the jury was still out on evolution.” We know she does attend a church that indicates by its links an endorsement of YEC views.

It is reason enough to ask. I’m waiting for that question and I don’t have the power to ask it myself and get an answer.

Suspecting a hidden YEC agenda is prefectly reasonable. Remember the preacher (forgot his name - Dobson?? I read it on AMERICABlog I think but the post has dropped off my horizon) who recently said he had a private conversation with Bush, and says that Bush gave him some “confidential information”, and is now convinced that Miers is the right choice after all.

What sort of secret information would make a fundy preacher suddenly enthusiastic about a formerly suspicious choice? Add to that her “finding God” and her choice of churches. The dots sort of connect themselves.

If this is true, having her on the SC would be one of the biggest political disasters of the century.

I do hope the Senate pursues this - her personal affiliations and the causes they endorse are relevant material.

It would be good if Orrin Hatch would ask Ms. Miers if she endorses junk science in the courtroom. It is highly likely that issues of science experts will come before the Supreme Court. It is incredibly important to patent law that Supreme Court justices be open and educable about science, or at least defer to experts where the judge are neophytes.

It would be good if Hatch, a former bishop in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, a very successful trial lawyer, and a graduate of Brigham Young University (where evolution is taught, in accordance with church doctrine), were to pursue this issue with Ms. Miers. Of course, other trial attorneys, like Joe Biden and Arlen Specter, should feel free to push for answers, too.

America’s economic future depends on science and technology. We really cannot afford to have a junk science advocate on the Supreme Court bench.

Not another one, anyway.

There’s already at least one YEC on the court–Scalia, correct?

The article I read seems very focused–perhaps a little too focused–on just how much money Miers was making here and there. She’s clearly not vying for the Supreme Court to make more money, at least in terms of salary (now, if someone wants to allege kickbacks, that’s going to take some effort).

As for the YEC views, if they’re resting on Carl Baugh so much the better–watching a justice of the Supreme Court give the nod to YECism based on the work of a charlatan would be a nightmare, but the silver lining would be that it gives us a bloody shirt to wave.

Dave Cerutti wrote:

There’s already at least one YEC on the court—Scalia, correct?

I think it’s very unlikely that Scalia is a young earth creationist. He is a well-educated Catholic, not a fundy redneck. In his dissent in Aguillard, he wrote “I wish to make clear that I by no means intend to endorse [the] accuracy [of the testimony favoring creation science]. But my views (and the views of this Court) about creation science and evolution are (or should be) beside the point.” He also mentioned during oral argument in that case that it’d be a shame if a legislature full of ignoramuses required geography teachers to teach that the earth is flat, but it wouldn’t be unconstitutional. I wouldn’t infer anything about Scalia’s scientific views from his interpretation of the Establishment Clause.

Maurile: I don’t think it’s a paid ad, although it looks like one. I think the YEC institutions just give you banners to use if you want.

However, I think Michael Buratovich may well have a point. I know an awful lot of contraception-using Catholics and therefore I wouldn’t assume that she’s a YEC merely because she goes to a YEC church.

I think she should definitely be questioned on it though.

Oh god, you mean some of the opinions of actual everyday citzens might be represented in the highest court in the land! Batten the hatches, defend the orthdoxy, democratic represenation in the supreme court is a violation of our fundamental civil liberties!!!!!!!!!!!!!! As an Australian, mind you, I don’t really give a… over here we don’t really have political appointee’s, right wing governments seem to appoint left wing justices at much the same rate left wing governments appoint left wing justices, and vice versa, our high court is fairly powerless, certainly it’s never done anything as big as say, Roe v Wade or Bakker v some university, it’s stopped a few things mind you, i.e it declared the banning of the communist party to be unconstitutional, but it’s never itself really done anything to change things ( not that I can think of, and I must stress I am no expert), it’s probably because our constiutions so powerless that we rarely get around to changing it.

If the IDist’s get their wicked way with the court, so what? It doesn’t matter whether or not ID is taught in school, it’s not going to change anyone’s opinions on the issue ( students will either believe it or they won’t) and it’s certainly not going to change the opinions of scientfic academics, heck, if it were done correctly it could even be an exercise in independent thinking.

The thing is, the Supreme Court shouldn’t be a place of democratic representation. That’s what the two other branches of government do, and the Supreme Court shouldn’t be subject to popular opinion in the same way. Otherwise there’s no point having an appointed ‘independent’ branch.

Hiya’ll wrote: “If the IDist’s get their wicked way with the court, so what? It doesn’t matter whether or not ID is taught in school, it’s not going to change anyone’s opinions on the issue…”

It’s not just the opinions, it’s the education that’s lost. Those high school kids grow up and use what they learn. That starts having an effect on everything.

You should read a little more about it on this site.

Oh god, you mean some of the opinions of actual everyday citzens might be represented in the highest court in the land! Batten the hatches, defend the orthdoxy, democratic represenation in the supreme court is a violation of our fundamental civil liberties!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This is a misrepresentation. The Supreme Court is not regarded as an ordinary jury of normal citizens pulled off the street, but as a branch of government containing the most powerful legal minds the US has produced. Sure, those are still people and still have preferences and beliefs. But nonetheless, selecting someone incompetent and/or ignorant has ramifications almost surely negative.

Nothing we can do about the people electing morons, and this was recognized from the outset. That’s why these Justices are appointed – the idea is that a whole group of morons will cancel one another out, and a few of them will be truly capable leaders. Usually, this works. My take is that Bush is aware that he lacks the political captital to fund a bitter and divisive debate by nominating a known bible-pounder, so he’s trying to slip an unknown bible-pounder under the radar, hoping she’ll be approved before anyone can really figure out her position on religious issues.

Meanwhile, I notice that John Roberts seems opposed to Oregon’s right-to-die assisted death policy. States’ rights are good and fine, says Roberts, just so long as all states are alike. But where they differ, he finds this too messy and too hard to enforce, so it’s the Supreme Court’s job to bring them into line. In other words, he grounds his position on administrative convenience. His religious faith’s position had absolutely nothing to do with this, oh no…

Oh god, you mean some of the opinions of actual everyday citzens might be represented in the highest court in the land! Batten the hatches, defend the orthdoxy, democratic represenation in the supreme court is a violation of our fundamental civil liberties!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Flint latched onto this just a little faster than I but I think his explanation lacks an essential element: Just like it is for science, the opinions of actual everyday citizens is IRRELEVANT in the justice system. In theory, the law is applied as written and as evaluated on a case-by-case basis by judges that interpret the law and evaluate the evidence. If citizens want their opinions represented in the justice system, they must elect lawmakers (politicians) that will try to pass laws that are in line with their constituents’ views.

Anyway, I have to be honest, but I think for a well-informed and educated person, being a YEC shows an obstinate blindness in the face of evidence which I personally don’t think is the sort of character trait one wants in a judge.

Michael Buratovich Wrote:

… Judge Miers …

Keep in mind, though, that she’s not even any kind of judge yet.

I hope John Paul Stevens’ health is good.

I agree with Fernmonkey.

Willfull ignorance or rejection of evidence because of pre-conceived notions is NOT a desirable trait in a Supreme Court justice.

I know nothing about Harriet Miers, but I hope Bush isn’t savvy enough to try sneak a closet Creationist onto the court but rather picked her for convenience.

Fernmonkey wrote: “… I think for a well-informed and educated person, being a YEC shows an obstinate blindness in the face of evidence which I personally don’t think is the sort of character trait one wants in a judge.”

Except for your qualifier “well-informed and educated” I’d say it’s not always an obstinate blindness but it sometimes is a sincere lack of information and trust in the wrong people who misinform them.

The first time I read about “irreducible complexity” I thought maybe there was something to it besides incredulity and lack of imagination. It took me awhile, probably a couple weeks of part time reading, to figure who really had the goods.

In the end there is simply no way for us at this time to know for sure that there are no gradual steps that can produce any example system Behe might toss out. We can only know that there are gradual pathways by finding them. Once found, the whole concept is shot down.

Once presented with that evidence, the rest of ID should fall too in an honest and open mind, except for the question: Is there even the possibility of a truly irreducibly complex system? How would you know it if you saw one?

But I don’t think the evidence is common. I don’t think everyone cares to look for it. I think people who want such information are rare and they will always come to evolution.

That’s where I am now and after doing some work on Dembski’s evolved technology challenge (looking at how steam engines evolved) and I’m thinking there really is no such thing as an irreducibly complex system except maybe measured against historical situations. There are just too many possible ways to make a simple steam engine. The fitness landscape of human and biological invention is too rich in possibility for irreducible complexity.

Given the potential importance of the Supreme Court in all sorts of science-related issues, not just cases involving creationism, it seems as though we need a member of Congress to ask about it point-blank during confirmation hearings. I personally want to hear her answer the question: “How old do you believe the Earth is?”

It seems as though it’s time to start writing letters to our reps in Congress. Better yet, can anyone suggest a member of Congress who could probably be persuaded to make this an issue during confirmation hearings? That member of Congress should get letters from every scientist in the country, urging him/her to grill Miers about science in general and creationism in particular.

–Brian

for a well-informed and educated person, being a YEC shows an obstinate blindness in the face of evidence which I personally don’t think is the sort of character trait one wants in a judge.

While I certainly agree, I would be astonished if this issue were brought up by any senator during the upcoming hearings.

Oh god, you mean some of the opinions of actual everyday citzens might be represented in the highest court in the land!

The Supreme Court is not a representative body. Opinions don’t count, especially when they are contrary to the Constitution and laws of the United States.

The Court is supposed to protect us from mob rule, not be a part of mob rule.

In the Nixon administration, one of Nixon’s nominees was found to be not highly qualified – mediocre, in fact. Nebraska Sen. Roman Hruska found that not to be a problem, saying “Mediocre Americans have a right to be represented, too.”

The nominee was rejected. I would note that, as Sen. Hruska so amply demonstrated, America already has its quota of mediocrity in representative places. We don’t need any more mediocrity.

HPLC_Sean:

Just like it is for science, the opinions of actual everyday citizens is IRRELEVANT in the justice system. In theory, the law is applied as written and as evaluated on a case-by-case basis by judges that interpret the law and evaluate the evidence.

A little reflection should show that even this theory is unreachable. At the trial court level, it’s quite true; whether a law is broken is generally clear, what the law was intended to prevent or require is equally clear.

But the job of the Supreme Court is somewhat different. The fact situation is no longer in doubt, there’s typically a strong legal argument for both sides, and legitimate differences of opinion lie at the core of what’s being contested. It’s not possible to write law capable of covering every possible unforseen fact situation, law is typically not written after an extensive study of existing law to ferret out any potential conflicts, and precedent decisions are almost invariably ambiguous, because *some* of the facts will overlap and some won’t, from many different existing cases. Which overlapping facts are most salient?

The Constitution itself was written by people who didn’t all agree, and who compromised with lots of weasel words. Just how DOES a “well regulated militia” relate to the right to bear arms? When those powers not appropriate at the Federal level are left to the states or to the people, which powers are those? Should the right to die be entirely a personal decision, or should it vary state by state, or should there be a national legal policy? In cases where all direct parties to a transaction are satisfied and the interests of indirectly influenced parties are tenuous at best, does the state have the legal authority to step in and regulate?

At the highest level, interpreting the law is far from obvious or trivial. Presuming the high court DOES consist of powerful legal minds (even if political considerations meant that the very best minds were ipso facto disqualified), all of these 5-4 decisions show that opinions matter, and MUST matter. Politicians are well aware that even the best legal minds are actually applied in the interests of supporting individual preference with solid research to find the best rationalizations, and with clear writing in deploying precedents, etc.

No question Scalia is a brilliant man, the intellectual guiding light of the Rehnquist/Thomas/Scalia voting bloc. He supports his decisions with consistently high quality written opinions. But I seriously doubt that I personally find his decision pattern abhorrent simply because I lack legal training. I also doubt that if I spent the rest of my life acquiring that legal training, my decisions would be any different from what they are today. They’d just be expressed in better legal writing.

Norman Doering Wrote:

Dot 2: Part of George W. Bush’s base of support base is evangelical Christians who tend towards creationism in some variety. Bush himself shows signs of being a YEC.

I doubt that GWB knows YEC from OEC from ID. OTOH, the smarter politicians, and that may or may not include Scalia, know that YEC is nonsense, and privately think that it’s “something like evolution,” but hide behind the “don’t ask, don’t tell” strategy for political reasons. Heck, even liberal politicians often waffle on this issue.

Frank J wrote: “I doubt that GWB knows YEC from OEC from ID.”

He may not know the acronyms for Old Earth and Young Earth. He probably doesn’t care if it’s old or young. But he sure seems to think God designed it all and he knows enough not to get too specific about his beliefs in public and just drop hints in all directions.

Frank J wrote: “… smarter politicians, and that may or may not include Scalia, know that YEC is nonsense,…”

I’m not so sure. I’m usually amazed at the level of ignorance of non-scientists about scientific knowledge. I’ve met people who can’t quite remember if it’s the sun that revolves around the Earth or Earth ‘round the sun. And they’re not stupid, they run businesses and have college degrees. They just don’t care.

Frank J wrote: “… even liberal politicians often waffle on this issue.”

Because they read the polls. The polls are not good.

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Stefan wrote: “Suspecting a hidden YEC agenda is prefectly reasonable. Remember the preacher (forgot his name - Dobson?? I read it on AMERICABlog I think but the post has dropped off my horizon) who recently said he had a private conversation with Bush, and says that Bush gave him some “confidential information”, and is now convinced that Miers is the right choice after all.”

I heard that broadcast of FOTF and from what Dobson said (he really said he wouldn’t say what he was privy to) I got the impression it was related to the Roe v Wade/abortion issue. Nothing he said on that program had to do with ID/Creationism.

i think what’s really getting to me about this comment string is how that hiya’ll guy back there doesn’t know how to spell “y’all”.

more to the point, i’m in the early childhood education program at a major southern university, and what i’ve seen in the elementary classrooms i’ve been in do not bode well for the future of popular opinion (or better, awareness) on science issues. children across the board don’t seem to give a durn about their own educations, and that’s largely because their parents don’t care and their TEACHERS don’t care.

the 5th grade teacher i’m placed with now (i’m sort of an intern at this point in the program) just got her specialist degree in science education, yet she generates a continuous stream of factual inaccuracies and fantastical speculation for her students. other teachers i’ve observed do the same.

this is all likely tied to the poor professional and cultural status of teachers in the united states, and the correlative low pay. low pay and no respect beget poor job commitment, as we all know. that’s a whole ‘nother can of worms.

what i’m getting at is that we probably should not expect a major improvement in popular appreciation or understanding of science anytime soon. the nomination of harriet miers indicates rather an active and ongoing degradation of that understanding.

Just answer my simple questions, Donald.

Just answer them.

Quit waving your arms and just answer them.

Lenny:

Just answer my simple questions, Donald.

Just answer them.

Quit waving your arms and just answer them.

Well, there you go again. As anyone who’s followed this thread can plainly see, I have answered your questions. But for some reason, you just seem total unable to grasp that simple fact. I’ve given you answers to all three of your questions in clear, precise english. But because you are incapable of answering the simple challenge I laid before you, you now are desparately trying to make it appear as if I haven’t in a very transparent and pitiful attempt to avoid having to fess up that YOU have no answer to the very direct questions I put to you. This is, of course, your usual modus operandi when the logical fallacies of your own claims have been exposed as I have done here. You simply have no argument to make and you know it. But instead of being honest enough to admit it, you continue to try and use rhetorical sleight of hand to make it appear as if I’m the one dodging the questions, which is, of course, demonstrably false by just scrolling up the thread.

The only one making claims here that need to be justified is YOU. The ball is in your court to supply the answers we’re all waiting for. But I know you won’t, because I know that you’re smart enough to know that you have NO argument. You just want to pontificate and expect everyone to just take your word for it…the very thing you accuse “creationists” of doing all the time.

But, once more for clarity. Your three questions were:

“(1) tell me who you think knows any more about God than anyone else, (2) tell me what it is that this person knows about God that nobody else does, and (3) tell me how this person knows.” (see comment # 51990)

To which I replied:

#1) The answer is Lenny, because.… #2) …in stating that ““everyone knows zero about God”, Lenny has demonstrated that he knows several things about God, namely: a)That whatever God may be, he/she/it is suffiently remote such that knowledge of him/her/it is inaccessible to human beings b)That whatever other characteristics God may posses, he/she/it is either powerless to make him/her/itself known to human beings, unwilling to make him/her/itself known, or perhaps unconcerned with whether he/she/it is known by humans. c)That because of (b), God has not provided the means for humans to know anything about him/her/it. d)That whatever other characteristics might be true about God, he/she/it is not at all like the God portrayed in the Juedo-Christian scripture, who is anything but remote or inaccessible, and has indeed provided the means for humans to know him. e)That whatever else may be true about God, he/she/it desires to remain unknown to humans and no avenue to knowledge of him/her/it will ever be forthcoming.

#3)…I challenge Lenny again to tell us exactly how he comes by all this knowledge of God. (see comment #52053)

You’ve managed to reiterate your questions at least twice since and tried vainly to pretend that I hand’t answered them, even though this post is plainly there with my answers. But it is clear that YOU are the one not answering. The answer to your third question is YOU NEED TO TELL US HOW YOU COME BY ALL THIS WONDERFUL KNOWLEDGE. For some reason you seem total unable to do that. Is there a problem? This will be the 5th time I’ve challenged you to tell how you KNOW any of the following claims, MADE BY YOU AND ONLY BY YOU, are true:

1.”No one alive knows any more about god than anyone else” 2.”Everyone knows zero about god.” 3.”No one can point to any source of knowledge about god that is different than anyone else’s” 4.”No one can demonstrate that they have any knowledge of god”

You see, Lenny, these are all claims that YOU have made and for which you haven’t provided us with ONE SINGLE REASON to accept any of them as true knowledge. Why is that, Lenny? What’s the problem?

I predict that once again you will desparately pretend that your questions haven’t yet been answered, which is plainly false. I also predict that you will not tell us how you know that any of the claims listed above, made by you, are true knowledge. And I also predict, that even though you have dodged and weaved to avoid answering these questions, you will still claim “victory” in this discussion. But you can prove me wrong right here in front of everyone, Lenny, by just answering the simple question put to you: how do you know any of these claims are true knowledge?

Your word games and sophistry are fun, Donald.

Now just answer my questions. Who knows more about god than anyone else, what do they know that no one else does, and how do they know it.

Any time you are ready, Donald, just let me know.

Lenny:

Your word games and sophistry are fun, Donald.

Now just answer my questions. Who knows more about god than anyone else, what do they know that no one else does, and how do they know it.

Any time you are ready, Donald, just let me know.

Right on cue and exactly as I predicted.

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This page contains a single entry by Dave Thomas published on October 6, 2005 8:02 PM.

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