I guess ID really was “Creationism’s Trojan Horse” after all

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Of Pandas and People, coverIt seems like a lifetime ago now, but it was only December 7, 2004 when I posted the original “Panda-monium” post on PT, linking to NCSE’s new webpage of resources on Of Pandas and People. At the time, I was relatively new to Pandas. However, even back then it struck me that Pandas was a particularly important work, because it was published in 1989 and thus substantially predated the rest of the “intelligent design” corpus. At the time, I remarked that:

[Pandas] was the first book to frequently use now-common buzzwords such as “intelligent design,” “design proponents,” and “design theory.” As such, Pandas represents the beginning of the modern “intelligent design” movement.

My primary source for this was the Preface that Jon Buell had written for the fabled “third edition” of Pandas, to be published as The Design of Life. In the Preface, Buell (head of the Foundation for Thought and Ethics, the group that produced Pandas) wrote,

A decade has passed since Of Pandas and People‘s second edition appeared in print. Written by Percival Davis and Dean Kenyon, this book was the first intelligent design textbook. In fact, it was the first place where the phrase “intelligent design” appeared in its present use.

(This Preface was freely online at William Dembski’s DesignInference.com website for much of 2004, but was taken down about the time Kitzmiller v. Dover was filed in December 2004 – see Wayback archive, where it can still be downloaded, and a May 2004 blog post quoting the beginning of Buell’s Preface.)

In 2004, one would have thought that everything that could be said about Pandas had already been said, between 15 years of negative reviews, Jay Wexler’s law review article, and Frank Sonleitner’s epic book-length critique of Pandas. However, over the course of the Kitzmiller case, a great deal of new information was learned about the origin and evolution of Pandas.

The first sentence of the Acknowledgements section of Pandas states cryptically that “Of Pandas and People went through an evolution of its own” (Pandas, 1993, p. iii). However, it was not realized how literally true this was until unpublished drafts of Pandas were subpoenaed by the Kitzmiller plaintiffs during the discovery period in the case. The basics hit the Wall Street Journal and other newspapers before Barbara Forrest testified in the trial: Pandas was conceived and written as a classic creationist “two models” text, and only later was converted into an “intelligent design” book.

Strangely, just a few days before Forrest’s testimony, the Discovery Institute released an article purporting to be a “Brief History of the Scientific Theory of Intelligent Design.” It included brand-new interviews with Charles Thaxton and other ID pioneers, and was obviously intended to rebut Forrest’s expert report. But both interviewers and interviewees neglected to mention the minor facts that Pandas was the first book to systematically use the term “intelligent design”, and that the book evolved directly from a creationist book.

When Forrest testified, many more details came out, including the names and dates of unpublished drafts of Pandas, and the fact that the switch from creationism to ID involved little change in content, and instead was merely a crude word switch between variants on “creation” and variants on “intelligent design.” Furthermore, the switch apparently occurred after the Edwards v. Aguillard decision against “creation science” was handed down by the U.S. Supreme Court on June 19, 1987. Forrest’s testimony is now online, but the short version is summarized in this New Scientist article, “Book thrown at proponents of Intelligent Design”.

Since I don’t think it has been blogged, for posterity, here is the list of the known drafts of Pandas that were introduced in the Kitzmiller case last Wednesday:

Creation Biology (1983) Biology and Creation (1986) Biology and Origins (1987) Of Pandas and People (1987, version 1, creationist version) Of Pandas and People (1987, version 2, “intelligent design” version) Of Pandas and People (1989, published 1st edition) Of Pandas and People (1993, published 2nd edition)

Only after after Forrest testified did the ID movement finally bring itself to acknowledge, in a vague way, the existence of this skeleton in their closet. On October 6 the Discovery Institute put out “ Dover Trial Witness Plays Misleading Word Games In Effort to Redefine Intelligent Design.” Make sure you are not drinking anything before you read the article.

“It was only in that very generic sense that the book used the notion of “creation” – that is, that signs of plan, purpose, and intelligence in nature point to an intelligent cause,” added Luskin. “Pandas makes it explicitly clear in many instances that they are not postulating a supernatural cause, because to do so would go beyond the limits of science. No ‘word-processor-conspiracy-theory’ from Forrest can change the fact that Pandas’ arguments were always distinct from those of traditional ‘creationism’.”

The “word-processor-conspiracy-theory” bit is apparently a reference to this sequence of quotes that Forrest displaying from the Pandas drafts during her testimony:

Creation means that the various forms of life began abruptly through the agency of an intelligent creator with their distinctive features already intact–fish with fins and scales, birds with feathers, beaks, and wings, etc. (Biology and Creation 1986, FTE 3015, p. 2-10)

Creation means that various forms of life began abruptly through the agency of an intelligent Creator with their distinctive features already intact–fish with fins and scales, birds with feathers, beaks, and wings, etc. (Biology and Origins 1987, FTE 3235, p. 2-13)

Creation means that various forms of life began abruptly through the agency of an intelligent Creator with their distinctive features already intact–fish with fins and scales, birds with feathers, beaks, and wings, etc. (Pandas 1987, creationist version, FTE 4996-4997, pp. 2-14, 2-15)

Intelligent design means that various forms of life began abruptly through an intelligent agency, with their distinctive features already intact–fish with fins and scales, birds with feathers, beaks, and wings, etc. (Pandas 1987, intelligent design version, FTE 4667, p. 2-15)

Intelligent design means that various forms of life began abruptly through an intelligent agency, with their distinctive features already intact – fish with fins and scales, birds with feathers, beaks, and wings, etc. (Pandas 1989, 1st edition, published, pp. 99-100)

Intelligent design means that various forms of life began abruptly through an intelligent agency, with their distinctive features already intact – fish with fins and scales, birds with feathers, beaks, and wings, etc. (Pandas 1993, 2nd edition, published, pp. 99-100)

Well, I guess “intelligent design” really is creationism after all. Can anyone seriously argue that this refers to anything other than special creation?

But perhaps this change was isolated, just one instance in hundreds of pages? Forrest was asked about this in court. In response, she put up the following two charts. (These charts have been put up on the ACLU-PA blog, so they are released to the public. Hat-tip to Red State Rabble for noticing the blogpost. I happen to have less blurry versions that I am posting here.) Each chart contains word counts for each draft.

The first chart shows the number of times the character strings “creation” and “design” appear in the drafts. These strings can appear in a number of contexts (“creationism”, “creation means…”, “design theory”), but nevertheless there is one obvious, dramatic change across the drafts:

Forrest testimony, Word Count Chart #1 showing how Pandas drafts switched from 'creation' to 'design'.

However, there are a few contexts in the drafts where the words “creation” and “design” might not refer to creationism and intelligent design. So, a second search was done on the more specific strings “creationis” (catches “creationism” and “creationist”, etc.) and “intelligent design”:

Forrest testimony, Word Count Chart #2 showing how Pandas drafts switched from 'creationis' to 'intelligent design'.

As you can see, the results are even more dramatic.

There is more to say both about the drafts (this just scratches the surface!), about the story of how their existence was uncovered (This is why NCSE is important. Join NCSE!), and about the implications (many of the top ID proponents must have known about this, and have been hiding it for over 15 years). But much of it will have to wait until after the trial, and in any event this is a stunning enough development that it will take awhile for the significance to sink in. For the moment it is enough to say that any future writing on the history of the ID movement will have to take these facts into account in order to be credible.

5 TrackBacks

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35 Comments

Nick Matzke Wrote:

(This Preface was freely online at William Dembski’s DesignInference.com website for much of 2004, but was taken down about the time Kitzmiller v. Dover was filed in December 2004 — see Wayback archive, where it can still be downloaded, and a May 2004 blog post quoting the beginning of Buell’s Preface.)

What is also intersting is to go into the Wayback machine to look at the logos for the Center for Renewal of Science and Culture.

Firs, the logo was the painting of the Sistine Chapel. Feb 02, 1998 see web.archive.org/web/19980202212340/www.discovery.org/crsc/crsc1.html

Then is was God the Designer touching a DNA helix. Jun 20, 2000 see web.archive.org/web/20000815072330/www.discovery.org/crsc/index.php3

Then there was none.

Well, we’ve seen many name changes come out the little think tank that thought it could over there in Seattle. Maybe one final one is in order before they go off into the sunset and camp down with the rest of the creationist groups.

How about from Discovery Institute to Discredited Institute. That way they can still be called the DI, only much more accurately.

Reference the above post about the changing banners at the Center for Whatever the Hell it’s Calling Itself Now, NCSE has a nice post on that topic that makes for entertaining reading.

http://www.ncseweb.org/resources/ar[…]_29_2002.asp

I predict the effort to create deliberately false impressions in the service of strong preferences contrary to reality will go on forever. It is simply not possible to discredit the DI, because the sort of credit they trade in exists in the minds of those who WISH their position were the reality. That sort of credit is inexhaustible. Becoming a laughingstock to anyone not too far gone to think, only boosts contributions from the target audience. The DI certainly recognizes this. They’re milking the Dover trial for every penny they can extract from the paranoid right-wing fundamentalists who comprise their core constituency. And that money might conceivably be argued is being spent on science, if political science counts. Their PR is really quite admirable – they know their sound bites need not be consistent or accurate, only memorable.

I predict this trial will boost sales of Of Pandas And People beyond any rational estimate. Every pulpit in the bible belt will be used to push it – “read what the controversy is all about. Free copies at the door!” I further predict that Frank Sonleitner’s book won’t be mentioned or found anywhere.

Will the next, Dembski-edited version, “The Design of Life”, excise the numerous factual and logical errors found in earlier versions? If so, how much are they going to charge for a book with no pages?

Also, I’m guessing they’ll want to find a different picture for the cover, since Dembski probably doesn’t have good feelings for pandas.

Given Dembski’s penchant for off-color imagery (anybody remember the Darwin doll in a vise?) I propose for the cover a picture of Dembski in full mad-scientist mode (lab coat, tinfoil hat) standing in front of a Frankenstein rig with a panda strapped to it.

“IT’S ALIIIIVE!!!”

Bayesian Bouffant Wrote:

Also, I’m guessing they’ll want to find a different picture for the cover, since Dembski probably doesn’t have good feelings for pandas.

How about a picture of Bill Clinton, since it’s official position on both the designer’s identity and how and when the designs were actuated will be “don’t ask, don’t tell.”

Hah. Typical Darwinian dogmatism! Claiming lineage between Pandas 1987 versions 1 and 2 when your own chart shows a huge gap in word count. Where are the transitional forms??? Isn’t it far more likely that these were independently cre^H^H^Hdesigned works?

PaulC wrote: “Typical Darwinian dogmatism! Claiming lineage between Pandas 1987 versions 1 and 2 when your own chart shows a huge gap in word count. Where are the transitional forms??? Isn’t it far more likely that these were independently created and designed works?”

Not necessarily. Perhaps the printed letters began to mutate and change and natural selection operated so that better books would survive and reproduce in the fundamentalist mind. I predict we will find more transitional forms… perhaps in old computer files not yet deleted, in trash cans of the publishers…

The best evidence against ID in this case is to consider who wrote these books. Do they really qualify as intelligent?

Not necessarily. Perhaps the printed letters began to mutate and change and natural selection operated so that better books would survive and reproduce in the fundamentalist mind. I predict we will find more transitional forms… perhaps in old computer files not yet deleted, in trash cans of the publishers…

We may never find transitional manuscripts here… looks like 1987.1 was converted to 1987.2 by about three minutes worth of global search-and-replace commands.

… looks like 1987.1 was converted to 1987.2 by about three minutes worth of global search-and-replace commands.

Computer-assisted intelligent design? Perhaps “CID,” for short, with a hard “c.”

In other words, just CIDding.

As the icing on the cake, I’d like to see the date of the Edwards vs. Aguillard court case added to that graph!

See the spiffy PDF of a screen capture of Forrest’s timeline over at the ACLU-Pennsylvania blog.

The ACLU-PA blog post “A Rose By Any Other Name…” has several such PDFs posted.

I will try to get better copies of those graphics up for posterity.

I should add that at trial, Barbara Forrest testified that Edwards v. Aguillard is cited in the text of the 1987 drafts labeled “Of Pandas and People”, but not the 1987 draft “Biology and Origins”.

So, the inference is that the two Pandas drafts came after June 19, 1987, when the Edwards decision was handed down.

(Edwards is also cited in both published versions of Pandas, 1989 and 1993.)

Nick Matzke wrote:

(This Preface was freely online at William Dembski’s DesignInference.com website for much of 2004, but was taken down about the time Kitzmiller v. Dover was filed in December 2004 — see Wayback archive, where it can still be downloaded, and a May 2004 blog post quoting the beginning of Buell’s Preface.)

What is also intersting is to go into the Wayback machine to look at the logos for the Center for Renewal of Science and Culture.

Firs, the logo was the painting of the Sistine Chapel. Feb 02, 1998 see web.archive.org/web/19980202212340/www.discovery.org/crsc/crsc1.html

Then is was God the Designer touching a DNA helix. Jun 20, 2000 see web.archive.org/web/20000815072330/www.discovery.org/crsc/index.php3

Then there was none.

They don’t seem to be very creative in their strategy of dealing with their past screw ups.

Creationists first tried the Scientific Creationism scam. Compared to today’s ID scam scientific creationism was fairly honest or at least open about what it wanted to teach (basically Genesis) in the classroom. But when that failed they tried the scientific creationism, but dropped the biblical specifics. When that failed in Louisiana they dropped mention of creation, and tried the ID scam. When they came to the conclusion that ID was too bogus to use as the Wedge they came up with the teach the controversy scam that doesn’t even mention ID or creationism.

You can joke about their use of negative arguments, but all they seem to be able to come up with is the repeated use of the lie of omission to try and push their religious and political goals. The lies and deception just have to keep piling up. Whenever they get caught they just become more dishonest. No one can deny that the same guys that tried to perpetrate the ID scam are the ones trying to perpetrate the teach the controversy scam.

It will be interesting to see what they come up with to replace the teach the controversy scam. Their goals haven’t changed, so it doesn’t look like they can omit much more about their beliefs and still run a scam.

I forgot to mention that someone already mentioned how they dropped “renewal” from the name of the science wing (CRSC) of the Discovery Institute. Seems to be some kind of pattern of omission to keep themselves in denial. Is this some type of known psycho pathology?

It will be interesting to see what they come up with to replace the teach the controversy scam.

I think we’re already seeing the shift in strategy. A few ID folks have started pushing “evidence against evolution”. That seems like the next logical step to me: sowing doubts about evolution while omitting any positive claims or references to “alternatives”.

My instinct is that we need to be preparing for that next fight, which will be waged on different legal grounds. In our next fight, they may not give us an alternative theory which reveals its religious roots– they may just be saying false or misleading things about the facts. We may have to show that evolution is being taught in a misleading fashion, or omitted from science classes, without being able to point to an explicit religious motivation.

This seems more difficult to me, from a legal standpoint. It could be argued that there can’t really be a secular purpose for teaching science in a way that the scientific community rejects, but proving that in court might not be easy. Keeping evolution in the science classroom will be more difficult than keeping religion out.

Personally, I feel that we’ve relied too much on making our stand in court. Ultimately, bad science is going to keep evolving new guises until we win over enough of the population–intellectually and emotionally– to sap it of its grass-roots support.

–B

Is this some type of known psycho pathology?

It happens in the UK too. The DHSS (Department of Health and Social Security) became the DSS - showing they were ditching any responsibility for or interest in the health of citizens. Since then they’ve been increasingly incompetent at co-operating with the NHS (National Health Service) in dealing with chronic health problems and issues such as bed-blockers. These are patients who need home-based care that no-one is willing to take responsibility for having on their budget allocation, who then end up stopping other people from getting into hospital for operations and investigations which really do require admission. Note that both these organisations are government owned/run ones. So the incompetence is purely of the government’s own internal making. Although the government then made things even worse by privatising some aspects of hospitals to ensure they are even more incompetent and corrupt while allowing the government to deny responsibility again.

It will be interesting to see what they come up with to replace the teach the controversy scam.

Already in the works:

Antievolution legislation in Michigan again

On September 29, 2005, Michigan House Bill 5251 was introduced and referred to the House Committee on Education. If enacted, HB 5251 would require the state board of education to revise the state science standards to ensure that students will be able to “(a) use the scientific method to critically evaluate scientific theories including, but not limited to, the theories of global warming and evolution [and] (b) Use relevant scientific data to assess the validity of those theories and to formulate arguments for or against those theories.” .…

http://www.ncseweb.org/resources/ne[…]slation_in_m\ _10_4_2005.asp

Clever of them, isn;t it, to add “global warming” to “evolution” as scientific theories that should be “critically evaluated”. Not only does it lump two of the lunatic right’s biggest boogie into the same bill, but it lets them argue in court “See? It’s NOT just our anti-evolution religious motives behind this”.

Alas, I think this approach will bite them squarely in the ass. The LAST thing they should want is to teach kids how to apply the scientific method to scientific issues . … They might, uh, start applying it to things that the loonies don’t WANT them to. “Careful what you wish for, you might get it.”

Heck, if they’d just amend this bill to require students to be able to apply the scientific method to ANY scientific theory, I’d be all in favor of it. (shrug)

Personally, I feel that we’ve relied too much on making our stand in court. Ultimately, bad science is going to keep evolving new guises until we win over enough of the population—intellectually and emotionally— to sap it of its grass-roots support.

Well, good luck with that. Me, I have too much faith in the ability of the American public’s capacity and willingness to remain utterly pig-ignorant about virtually everything that goes on around it. As a society, the US has already indicated, repeatedly, that it simply doesn’t care about educating its citizens. (shrug)

And I wouldn’t badmouth those “stands in court”, if I were you. They are the ONLY thing that has kept ID/creationism out of schools so far. All of our “science education” hasn’t done diddley doo to stop ID. Or even slow it down. But a mere handful of lawyers in Dover are going to kill ID. Dead. We should be thanking them, not castigating them.

BTW, ID isn’t “bad science”. It’s a theocratic political program *pretending* to be science. It won’t be beaten by science education because, at its core, it’s not about science. What will beat ID (and all its derivatives) is a public that makes it crushingly clear to everyone that it does not want a right-wing christian theocracy, won’t support it, won’t allow it, and will do whatever it takes to prevent it.

Alas, I fear the US is much more akin to the Weimar Republic than to the Thirteen Colonies.

My instinct is that we need to be preparing for that next fight, which will be waged on different legal grounds. In our next fight, they may not give us an alternative theory which reveals its religious roots— they may just be saying false or misleading things about the facts.

They’ve already tried that approach, in Cobb County (the “disclaimer stickers” didn’t mention anything at all whatsoever about ID, creationism, religion, god or any sort of “alternative” – all it said was that evolution should be “critically examined”).

They lost.

Really Lenny.… You mean the fall of the Roman empire… be careful what you pray for. Just imagine a 1000 more years of a total theocracy.

If they switch to Evidence Against Evolution that will be a lot less of a threat. But sadly it might be legal.

If they switch to Evidence Against Evolution that will be a lot less of a threat. But sadly it might be legal.

They already tried it.

They lost.

Anyway, there IS NO “evidence against evolution”. They can’t teach creation “science”. Soon they won’t be able to teach ID “theory”. Those are the only “arguments against evolution”, and they *can’t* teach any of them.

Kinda makes things difficult for them, doesn’t it.

Anyway, there IS NO “evidence against evolution”. They can’t teach creation “science”. Soon they won’t be able to teach ID “theory”. Those are the only “arguments against evolution”, and they *can’t* teach any of them.

Well, they can’t legally teach them. Unfortunately, there will still be places where those arguments get taught, legal or not, in whatever new disguise gets invented for them. And there will still be lots of places where evolution is watered down or not taught at all.

Don’t get me wrong– I think stopping them in court is a lot better than not stopping them in court. What frustrates me is how much damage they can do before the law can be brought down on them. Evolution education has a fine defensive squad. I can’t help but wonder if we can’t run a better offense.

–B

Well, they can’t legally teach them. Unfortunately, there will still be places where those arguments get taught, legal or not, in whatever new disguise gets invented for them. And there will still be lots of places where evolution is watered down or not taught at all.

That is OUR fault, no one else’s. It’s already illegal to either teach creationism (and, soon, ID), or to not teach evolution or water it down out of deference to religious beliefs.

If the fundies get away with it anyway, that’s because WE are not getting off our collective asses and stopping them.

My instinct is that we need to be preparing for that next fight, which will be waged on different legal grounds. In our next fight, they may not give us an alternative theory which reveals its religious roots— they may just be saying false or misleading things about the facts.

They’ve already tried that approach, in Cobb County (the “disclaimer stickers” didn’t mention anything at all whatsoever about ID, creationism, religion, god or any sort of “alternative” — all it said was that evolution should be “critically examined”).

They lost.

Cobb County wasn’t a fair test of the “teach the controversy” scam. The creationist screwups admitted that religion was the reason that they did what they did. In places like Ohio and Kansas they haven’t admitted their religious motivations even though some of them are trying their best to make it look like the scam that it is. They will have a hard time defending their new scam because it is obvious that they have the same motivations, and it is perpetrated by the same guys that perpetrated the ID scam.

It is also sad that the current scam is just an obfuscation scam, and they can’t even mention why they are obfuscating. That in itself should tell any judge that education isn’t their goal.

Cobb County wasn’t a fair test of the “teach the controversy” scam. The creationist screwups admitted that religion was the reason that they did what they did.

The court decision doesn’t mention anything anywhere about any pro-religious statements made by anyone in Cobb County. Indeed, the very first sentence of the judge’s decision states explicitly: “There is no evidence in this case that the School Board included the statement in the Sticker that ‘evolution is a theory, not a fact’ to promote or advance religion.” The decision deals solely with the text of the “teach the controversy disclaimer” itself – which does not mention anything about god or religion or even ID “theory” — and concluded that the whole “evolution is controversial” thingie was religiously motivated.

See:

http://www.geocities.com/lflank/cobbcase.htm

In places like Ohio and Kansas they haven’t admitted their religious motivations

Of COURSE they have:

– Kansas board member Kathy Martin: “Of course this is a Christian agenda. We are a Christian nation. Our country is made up of Christian conservatives. We don’t often speak up, but we need to stand up and let our voices be heard.”

–Board member Connie Morris wanted to see a list of potential pro-evolution witnesses before hand so she could “pray over it”.

The Kansas Kooks may have shut their mouths more often than the Dover Dolts did, but they still managed to spill the beans.

As I’ve always said, IDers will NEVER be able to hide their religious motivations. It requires that they shut up, indefinitely, about the one thing they care about most in the whole world – their religious opinions. They can’t do it. They don’t WANT to do it. It is their entire reason for being. Try to stop fundies from preaching? Pfft. Might as well try to stop a dog from barking. No matter HOW clandestine the theocrats try to be, there will always be enough of their brain-dead supporters popping up in public forums to scream “Goddidit!!”, and give the game away. It’s why they will always fail – until and unless the Supreme Court decides to ALLOW them to teach religious opinions in public schools.

And if the Supreme Court opens the door to the fundie agenda, then science education/evolution will be the LEAST of our problems.

Cobb County was where the board members admitted their religious motivations in their depositions. If you don’t count court depositions as evidence, what are they? How did the judge figure out that it was religious motivation? Without evidence he would need a pyschic. The board members told him what their motivations were. I don’t recall if they specifically admitted that they put the stickers in for religious reasons, but unlike the Dover defendants the Cobb board members didn’t suffer the “I can’t recall” syndrome.

Do I have Cobb county mixed up with somewhere else? I don’t think so, but it is possible.

Cobb County was where the board members admitted their religious motivations in their depositions.

No, they didn’t.

How did the judge figure out that it was religious motivation? Without evidence he would need a pyschic.

No, he would just need to understand the history of creationism/ID, the verbiage it has always used, and the motives it has always had.

If you read the decision, you can see precisely how he figured it out.

The board members told him what their motivations were.

No, they didn’t. They never mentioned ID or religion, not even once.

I don’t recall if they specifically admitted that they put the stickers in for religious reasons

I will once again quote the very first sentence of the judge’s decision: “There is no evidence in this case that the School Board included the statement in the Sticker that ‘evolution is a theory, not a fact’ to promote or advance religion.”

Do I have Cobb county mixed up with somewhere else? I don’t think so, but it is possible.

I think you are thinking of Dover.

Cobb County did its best to avoid bringing up either religion or ID. And they still lost.

Ron Okimoto Wrote:

Cobb County wasn’t a fair test of the “teach the controversy” scam. The creationist screwups admitted that religion was the reason that they did what they did.

Whether it was “fair” or not, it upholds and enlarges the collection of legal precedents, as will the Kitzmiller decision. This is gonna make it tougher for IDC proponents including the Discovery Institute, whether they participate in these cases or not.

Mike Argento of the York Daily Record covers Kevin Padian’s testimony about “Of Pandas and People”

And the book isn’t all bad. It has a nice picture of a panda on the cover. Actually, the panda appears to be in the throes of clinical depression, probably brought on by his inclusion in this volume that purports to answer, according to the subtitle, “The Central Question of Biological Origins.”

Lenny:

I googled “Cobb County ACLU deposition” and got a bunch of hits stating that the board members were up front about why they put the sticker in, and that it had to do with teaching creationism.

This one has a specific paragraph on the subject about the middle of the article.

http://www.law.com/jsp/article.jsp?[…]099528822690

I recall an even worse one that had the actual quotes from the depositions that someone put up at talk.origins or somewhere else that made the board members look like dolts, but I can’t find it with simple searches and it isn’t worth the time.

Ron Okimoto

I googled “Cobb County ACLU deposition” and got a bunch of hits stating that the board members were up front about why they put the sticker in, and that it had to do with teaching creationism.

That may be (it certainly would be shocking to NOT see fundies preaching at every opportunity). However, as I noted, all of that counted for ZERO in the decision. The judge concluded that there was NO religious motive behind the sticker (“There is no evidence in this case that the School Board included the statement in the Sticker that ‘evolution is a theory, not a fact’ to promote or advance religion.”), and therefore that the stickers PASSED the first prong of the Lemon test. But, he concluded, the stickers had the EFFECT of advancing religion, and therefore failed the SECOND prong of the Lemon test.

And THAT is what makes it so significant and lethal to ID. The judge concluded that it DOESN’T MATTER what motive the law’s supporters have, or say they have, or don’t want to say they have. All that matters is if the law has the EFFECT of advancing religion, it’s dead, whether the law’s supporters intended it to do so or not. The Lemon test has three prongs. The IDers have been whining and bitching about the first one. But the point is if that a bill fails ANY of the three prongs, it is dead. So, under the Cobb decision, even if we grant the IDers their silly/dishonest “secular purpose”, they STILL lose because they can’t pass the second prong of the Lemon test – their “teach the controversy about evolution” has the EFFECT of advancing religion (indeed, just as the IDers *intend* it to have). They lose.

Which makes all of DI’s whining about “we don’t have any religious motives; honest, we don’t”, completely irrelevant. It also renders irrelevant any arguments over whether the “legislative intent” of a bill had or didn’t have a “secular purpose”.

In that way, the Cobb decision is far more lethal to ID than Dover will be.

We may never find transitional manuscripts here… looks like 1987.1 was converted to 1987.2 by about three minutes worth of global search-and-replace commands.

Obviously a copy error mutation of some kind occurred before mitosis.

We may never find transitional manuscripts here… looks like 1987.1 was converted to 1987.2 by about three minutes worth of global search-and-replace commands.

Remember, computers were slower back then.

Sadly, the folks committed to Creationism…err…Intelligent Design will teach it. What do think is one of the main motivators behind the move away from public schools and a preference for home schooling?

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This page contains a single entry by Nick Matzke published on October 13, 2005 9:18 AM.

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