The Pseudo-Science Amicus Brief in Kitzmiller

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Allies of ID creationism have filed a friend-of-the-court brief in the Kitzmiller case which you can read here. It essentially argues that the court should not address the scientific validity or invalidity of ID; "[T]he scientific theory of intelligent design [sic] should not be stigmatized by the courts as less scientific than competing theories," the brief argues. (p. 5) Of course, determining that a set of assertions is not scientific is not necessarily to "stigmatize" those assertions, but simply to understand their nature; it's not stigmatizing a duck to say that if it quacks and waddles and has feathers, it's a duck. ID is not science because it is not a testable explanation of natural phenomena in terms of other natural phenomena. Instead, it's an assertion that phenomena can only be explained by invoking non-rational, non-testable, non-repeatable magical phenomena.

Nevertheless, the amici claim that ID is a "theory based upon a scientific evaluation of the empirical evidence." (p. 6). Where are the testable theories? Where are the explanations of phenomena in terms other than a juvenile assertion that "Such-and-So is just so complicated that it must have been designed"? Well, the brief admits there are none: "the current formulation of intelligent design theory," it says, "is still in its youth.... For that very reason it is premature to conclude that one side has triumphed and the other has lost." (pp. 6-7) Premature? It is senseless to wait for ID to "triumph": it is an interpretation based on untestable, supernatural phenomena. ID proponents may dress up their claims with sophisticated names, but they truly consist of nothing more sophisticated than the assertion that things are just too complicated to have come about through natural processes.

This assertion cannot bear scientific fruit, no matter how much time is given it. It's noteworthy, for example, that the brief cites not a single scientific paper; nor does it attempt to describe any theoretical insights of ID. Instead, it admits, as it must, that ID consists of nothing but an emotionalistic appeal to a general feeling that something must have been designed: "Even critics of design concede that the possible conclusion of design influences their thinking," the amici contend. It quotes Francis Crick, Richard Dawkins, and Bruce Alberts; Alberts, for example, "has acknowledged that cells resemble human-designed machines." (p. 10). Sure---as have we all. But the difference between science and nonsense is that science explains that this resemblance is due to a natural mechanism of selection between random variables; it does not appeal to the whim of some ineffable Mind that has chosen that it Shall Be This Way. Nonsense looks at an array of data and concludes that it must have been intended to be that way---an answer which provides nothing useful, and which is entirely arbitrary, since it could equally "explain" any set of data.

The brief makes no scientific argument at all, and gives no indication of where the court might look to find a scientific argument. Instead, the amici contend that the scientific community ought to welcome debate. "The scientific enterprise advances when scientists make new discoveries correcting or overturning previously held theories." (p. 7). Well there's no denying that, and certainly nobody would be more pleasantly delighted than I, if proponents of ID were ever able to come up with a new discovery. But the classrooms of government-operated elementary and high schools are simply not the place to make new discoveries! The place to make new discoveries is in the laboratory, in the field, and in the pages of peer-reviewed scientific journals, in none of which have the proponents of ID produced a single workable idea. If it is "premature" to expect ID proponents to produce the evidence with which to "advance" the scientific enterprise, then it is way too premature to allow ID proponents into the classroom. ID proponents seem to be asking for a "general warrant": let us into the classroom first, and we'll give you the evidence to justify our admission later! And if you point out that they're skipping a step, then you're "stigmatizing" them.

For a second, let's apply this analysis to a hypothetical: let's say Matt Hale of the World Church of the Creator wants to teach children in a government-run school that God made white people smarter than black people and Jews. Don't you go calling him an anti-Semite, now, because that's just an "ad hominem attack." (Cf. p. 12). And don't go demanding that he prove his claims before teaching it to children---he'll get to that later, you know? For now, it's important to teach children to keep an open mind about all sorts of different ideas. After all, Hale could be the bellwether of a new scientific paradigm!

Fortunately for us all, the First Amendment stands in the way of at least some of these attempts to co-opt the schools for the benefit of particular interest groups. It forbids government from teaching religion. Reference to a Supernatural Designer as the origin of species is religion; it does not belong in the classroom---a point which the authors of the brief nowhere discuss. Instead, they characterize it as "bigoted" (p. 12) to point out that these proponents are motivated by a desire to teach children the existence of a Diety in taxpayer-supported classrooms. And attempts to keep religion out of the classroom? Why that's nothing but the goal of a bunch of atheist scientists trying to corrupt our youth: Eugenie Scott is a Humanist (p. 15), Steven Weinberg (correctly) describes religion as superstition (p. 16); Barbara Forrest is a member of a secular humanist society (p. 16), and 95 percent of the biologists in the National Academy of Sciences are atheists or agnostics (p. 17). "Amici detail these affiliations not because religious (or anti-religious) beliefs are relevant to scientific argument,"---oh, of course not!---"but to demonstrate that the legal rule proposed by the plaintiffs would jeopardize the scientific contributions of many critics of intelligent design." (p. 18). What is the "legal rule" proposed by the plaintiffs? Why, nothing but that allowing a group of people who openly admit or badly disguise their religious intention to get into a classroom and teach children that science doesn't explain things, but that a Supernatural Divine Creator of All is instead an equally valid hypothesis---now with State Approval!---is unconstitutional.

This remarkably similar to a rhetorical device we've been hearing more and more recently from religious conservatives: that any attempt to keep the government out of the religion business is somehow to positively violate the freedom of religion. In their eyes, religious liberty includes the "right" to use taxpayer money to propagate their religious views, and to use the state's authority to put a seal of approval on their religious beliefs. And when someone denies them the opportunity to use the state in this way, they cry that their freedom is being violated. Well, I'm sorry, but that isn't how religious freedom works. Freedom means, you stay on your side and I'll stay on mine, and you can do what you want in your yard and I can do what I want in mine. It doesn't mean your freedom to take my things and put the state's Seal of Approval on your religious beliefs. The rhetorical trick of painting enforcement of the Establishment Clause as somehow actual persecution of religious freedom is deeply misleading and, if it works, quite dangerous.

I will say this for the AC brief: it is a masterpiece of ID thinking. It brilliantly encapsulates the entire ID movement: skip over the problem of providing a theory or evidence, call your opponents names like "bigoted" while simultaneously playing the victim of an international conspiracy of atheists; rely on non-scientific books and press releases, and appeal to the supposed "fairness" of teaching "competing" theories---no matter how baseless. And all along, insist that ID is "science," despite its inherent appeals to supernatural, inexplicable, unrepeatable, useless notions of the Will of a Divine Creator: a Creator to Whom we never, ever characterize more thorougly, or name explicitly.

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Fisking the DI Scientist's Brief from Dispatches from the Culture Wars on October 5, 2005 10:35 AM

I mentioned the brief filed by 85 scientists asking the judge not to rule on the question of what is and is not science, a brief written by DI fellow David DeWolf. Over on the Panda's Thumb, Timothy Sandefur has... Read More

On Panda's Thumb, Timothy Sandefur does a good job of digging into the meat of the argument made in the brief (as do some of the commenters), but I wanted to take a look at the people who signed it. Read More

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It is interesting to see this DI organized and promoted brief blatantly lie to the Court. The brief claims that all amici are practicing scientists despite the fact that the list contains mathematicians, engineers, and physicians. Furthermore, for a large percentage if not majority of the amici, the DI lists only their terminal degree and no affiliation that demonstrates that they are practicing scientists. More than likely these people are not practicing scientists, and just creationist with PhDs.

The brief also blatantly lies about the OSC investigation of Sternberg’s complaint. There are no findings from the OSC about Stenberg’s complaint because the OSC dropped the investigation without ever issuing a final, official report. In fact, the OSC never issued a single report. Sternberg was sent the personal opinions of a politically appointed lawyer who admits that he never complete the investigation. Therefore, amici are clearly lying when they claim that the OSC investigation found anything about Sternberg’s relationship with NMNH.

Tim Sandefur has written about the recent Amicus brief filed by 85 scientists in the Kitzmiller case.

I also have read the brief and am appalled by the many errors in the brief.

Also the juxtaposition of statements seems rather ill chosen. Such as:

Leading design theorist William Dembski was banned from teaching at Baylor University and forced into a five year sabbatical. (53) This followed after Barbara Forrest wrote letters to dissuade scholars from associating with Dembski’s Polanyi center at Baylor becuase it was the “most recent offspring of the creationist movement”.

While not necessarily causally linking the two occurrences, and anyone familiar with the history of Dembski’s short lived Waterloo victory would know, the real reason for Dembski being placed on ‘sabattical’ was his ‘victorious’ comments.

Forrest indeed wrote a letter to Simon Blackburn which I have included at the end. First I would like to place some additional quotes from the brief in their context

Footnote 16 A movement based on religion does not need the credibility afforded by scientific evidence P 314 Forrest and Gross

In context But no matter: in his more candid moments, Johnson admits that this purportedly scientific/academic movement is religious to the core. A movement based on religion does not need the credibility afforded by scientific evidence. At the reclaiming America for Christ Conference, Johnson highlighted again the Wedge’s driving religious purpose

The objective, he said, is to convince people that Darwinism is inherently atheistic, thus shifting the debate from creationism versus evolution to the existence of God versus the non-existence of God. From there people are introduced to “the truth’ of the Bible and then “the question of sin” and finally “introduced to Jesus”.

And

This effort to deny academic freedom to intelligent design proponents is fostered by the rethoric from the leading critics of intelligent design. In Creationism’s Trojan Horse for example, Forrest and Gross express a “final hope [] that readers will consider seriously the question of what they ought to be doing about it” the supposed threat from intelligent design Ibid p 315

In context the statement is quite a bit more constrained however

In the story of the Wedge to date, we see a demonstration of the power of public relations to shape public opinion and policy on the largest scale - in ways that have nothing to do with the true state of scientific knowledge.

Then we have the statement that:

The OSC found that the pro-evolution NCSE helped devise a strategy to have Sternberg “investigated and discredited” (References to Sternberg’s website)

Rhe statement based on the OSC letter to Sternberg presents the ‘findings’ in an incorrect light. No official findings or conclusions were presented as far as I can tell. The OSC lacked jurisdiction and the museum was never given a chance to respond.

Desperate times seem to have asked for desperate measures indeed. I hope that people will read the brief, its claims are quite interesting. What I find interesting is that the brief asks the judge to not rule on the scientific nature of ID since such should be decided in the journals and academia. And yet ID has been pushing for a place inside our schools. A bit self contradictory. And in fact, if the plaintiffs want to argue that the lack of scientific relevance of ID is evidence of other motivations for the school board to have it ‘discussed’ then the court should allow such arguments.

Since the lack of scientific merrit is essential in establishing the case that it was religious motivations and not scientific status that caused the school board to make the claims, I find it hard to see how they can argue that the court should reject this approach.

Some samples of statements relevant:

They did everything you would do if you wanted to incorporate a religious point of view in science class and cared nothing about its scientific validity, said Eric Rothschild, an attorney representing eight families who are challenging the decision of the Dover Area School District.

School board member William Buckingham, who spearheaded the change as leader of the board’s curriculum committee, has said previously that he proposed the change as a way to balance evolution with competing theories that raise questions about its scientific validity.

In other words, the scientific relevance of ID is central to the issue. Is ID a competing theory or not? Why are ID proponents afraid to have such being decided in court?

Of course the claim that ID is vigorously being debated by scientists is plainly wrong. Scientifically speaking ID has already been found wanting and vacuous.

Interesting in its absence on the list are the following names

Dembski Behe

Of course, Dembski is on the record that he would love to cross examine Darwinists on the record. I guess it’s ok to have a court reject Darwinian theory as scientific… But when it comes to ID, where there really is a case…

I’m waiting for the day when the hearings are not voluntary but involve subpoenas in which evolutionists are deposed at length on their views. On that happy day, I can assure you they won’t come off looking well.

So far Dembski’s batting average seems to be quite poor.…

The recent attacks on Forrest, however ill guided, seem to underline how fearful ID proponents must be of her testimony. After all, she and Gross have presented in much detail the underlying Wedge strategy of Intelligent Design.

From: Barbara Forrest

To: Simon Blackburn [invited speaker to Nature of Nature conference]

Date: March 2000

This letter concerns the conference, “The Nature of Nature,” hosted by the Michael Polanyi Center at Baylor University, which you will be attending in April. The title of this conference and the list of participants conceal the fact that the Polanyi Center is the most recent offspring of the creationist movement, the agenda of which is the destruction of evolutionary theory as the central principle of biology.

Even though I think that the participation–witting or unwitting–of reputable scholars in the Baylor conference plays into the hands of Dembski, Gordon, and the CRSC in that it lends them an undeserved academic legitimacy, I am not trying to dissuade you from going because I have no right to do that. You are already committed. I do, however, believe you have a right to know the nature of the atmosphere into which you are walking.

The director of the MPC is William Dembski, and the associate director is Bruce Gordon. Although they insist on calling their brand of creationism “intelligent design theory,” its true nature is evident to anyone who has followed the development of creationism. For a thorough examination of creationism, including intelligent design, I refer you to /Tower of Babel/: The Evidence Against the New Creationism (MIT Press, 1999), an excellent book by a fellow philosopher, Prof. Robert Pennock of The College of New Jersey. Prof. Pennock critiques the work of Dembski, as well as the intelligent design movement as a whole.

Both Dembski and Gordon are members of the Center for the Renewal of Science and Culture, the creationist arm of the Discovery Institute, a conservative think tank in Seattle. It is significant that the CRSC recently received $1.5 million from wealthy businessman Howard Ahmanson. See Walter Olson’s article at http://www.reason.com/9901/co.wo.da[…]fellows.html. For over twenty years, Ahmanson has served on the board of Chalcedon, Inc., an extremist Christian organization run by R.J. Rushdoony. See Jerry Sloan’s article, “The Man Behind Knight” at http://www.frontiersweb.com/sfv18is[…]/feat_1.html. You can view the CRSC site from the Discovery Institute page at http://www.discovery.org. The page has an announcement about the Baylor conference and other activities in which Dembski is participating. You will find links to CRSC articles, including Dembski’s.

The establishment of the Polanyi Center at Baylor has aroused the anger of Baylor science faculty since it was accomplished with no prior knowledge or input from them. However, the faculty’s anger stems primarily from their recognition that this organization and its founders, Dembski and Gordon, are creationists with a religious/political agenda, and they fear that the prominence and influence of such creationists at Baylor will severely damage the good reputation the faculty has worked so hard to build there. In fact, the faculty senate at Baylor scheduled this matter at the top of its agenda for its March 2 meeting with Baylor University President Robert Sloan. The first two questions on the agenda, addressed directly to Sloan, were these:

1. By creating the Polanyi Center has Baylor not institutionalized the propagation of a position, Intelligent Design Creationism, which is contrary to the prevailing assumptions of the majority of the world’s scientists, specifically the scientific commitment to methodological naturalism? Arguing for a controversial position is one thing, but institutionalizing it is another. Moreover, that those associated with the center are described by their own colleagues outside of Baylor as part of a “new generation of creationists” constituting a “coalition to bring down evolution” is creating serious problems for the reputation of Baylor’s science and pre-medical programs? It is the belief of some of us that the center was established by the administration without an awareness of these implications, and it is the hope of others of us that you will step in and preserve the integrity of the university and its science programs. Please comment?

2. Since the establishment of an institution such as the Polanyi Center has far-reaching implications for areas of the university such as the biology and psychology departments, shouldn’t faculty members from those departments be consulted when such an institution is being considered?

Some history leading up to the Baylor conference:

In 1996, Phillip Johnson, a law professor at Berkeley who has taken it upon himself to cleanse American education and culture of “naturalistic evolution,” initiated a conference at Biola University called the “Mere Creation” Conference. Johnson recruited Dembski and a host of others to help him do this. Dembski was one of the most active organizers of this conference. You can find a 1996 article about the conference at http://www.worldmag.com/world/issue[…]tional_2.asp. You can also view the web site for the Mere Creation conference at http://www.origins.org/mc/menus/index.html. Please follow the links to the off-site web pages as well. The nature of intelligent design as “mere creationism” is unmistakable.

If you go to Dembski’s “virtual office” at “Leadership University,” sponsored by the Christian Leadership Ministries, you can see Dembski’s list of the most important creationist books in the movement, “The Intelligent Design Movement: A Brief Catalog of Resources,” at http://www.leaderu.com/offices/demb[…]us/reso.html. Among them is Of Pandas and People, which creationists around the country have tried to get local school boards to adopt in public school science classes and which Dembski has defended as a legitimate science text. You can read the National Center for Science Education’s analysis of Pandas at http://www.natcenscied.org/mianal.htm#pandas. I have also attached a critique of this book by Dr. Gary Bennett of Idaho, who recently spoke to Idaho legislators, urging them not to adopt this anti-evolution text. You can also see at http://www.aclu.org/news/n100298a.html an ACLU press release regarding the use of this book by Roger DeHart, a public school teacher in Burlington, WA, where a full-fledged fight against creationism has developed and is ongoing at this moment. According to the Burlington-Edison Committee for Science Education, several CRSC members have become involved in the controversy there on the pro-creationist side. Dembski recently traveled to the University of Washington to promote his latest book. While there, he conducted a book-signing to help Skagit Parents for Scientific Proof in Education, a parents group working on DeHart’s behalf. See http://www.skagitvalleyherald.com/d[…]reation.html.

Reflecting its agenda of getting intelligent design creationism into American schools, the CRSC recently added to its web site intelligent design lesson plans for teachers. Until sometime near the end of February, they could be viewed at http://www.discovery.org/crsc/scied[…]dex.html.Now, however, the CRSC has restricted public access to them and they are in a “Secured Administration Area” requiring a name and password. I have found nothing else on the CRSC site which requires this. The reason is obvious: restricted access prevents the lesson plans, which are unconstitutional, from being scrutinized and evaluated, and it allows the CRSC to know who is getting them. You can, however, see the CRSC document, written by Gonzaga law professor and CRSC member David DeWolf, outlining the legal aspects of trying to get ID into public schools, at http://www.discovery.org/crsc/artic[…]ontrove.html. The ID creationists are looking for loopholes in Edwards v. Aguillard, a 1987 Supreme Court ruling on a case which originated in my state of Louisiana and which outlawed creationism in public schools.

The agenda of the intelligent design movement is spelled out in a CRSC document which surfaced last year and is commonly referred to as the “wedge document” because of its enunciation of the creationists’ “wedge strategy,” the brainchild of Phillip Johnson, who has spoken openly about this strategy. This document outlines the intelligent design movement agenda from 1999-2003. My analysis of CRSC’s planned activities as stated in the document shows that they are systematically enacting every part of their agenda except the only one which would gain them the legitimacy they so crave: the production of scientific research using their “theistic science.” As I stated earlier, Johnson, Dembski, and their associates have assumed the task of destroying “Darwinism,” “evolutionary naturalism,” “scientific materialism,” “methodological naturalism,” “philosophical naturalism,” and other “isms” they use as synonyms for evolution. (You can see Dembski’s articles on a creationist web site, “Access Research Network,” at http://www.arn.org/dembski/wdhome.htm. One of them is “Teaching Intelligent Design as Religion or Science?”) The wedge document is available at http://www.humanist.net/skeptical/wedge.html and also at http://www.infidels.org/org/aha/ske[…]l/wedge.html. You can also find an article on the wedge strategy written by Jim Still, manager of the Internet Infidels web site, at http://www.infidels.org/secular_web[…]9/wedge.html. Another article written on the wedge document at the time it surfaced is at http://www.freethought-web.org/ctrl[…]s_wedge.html. This was done by Keith Lankford, past president of the Sagan Society at the University of Georgia.

The wedge document specifically includes as one of its goals the following: “[W]e will move toward direct confrontation with the advocates of materialist science through challenge conferences in significant academic settings.… The attention, publicity, and influence of design theory should draw scientific materialists into open debate with design theorists, and we will be ready.” So the plan of the ID proponents is to lure legitimate, respected scholars into conferences they organize. Not only have they managed to “wedge” themselves into the “significant academic setting” of Baylor, but the MPC web site shows that they have long-term plans there.

Very important with respect to the MPC and the Baylor conference is an article on intelligent design’s move into the higher education mainstream (which is the purpose of the newly established Polanyi Center) at http://www.natcenscied.org/scot171.htm. This was written by Eugenie Scott, director of the National Center for Science Education in Berkeley, CA. And at http://www.au.org/cs4995.htm is an article by Americans United for the Separation of Church and State in which Johnson asserts that the wedge strategy “enables us to get a foothold in the academic world and the academic journals. You have to prepare minds to hear the truth. You can’t do it all at once.” This remark in itself explains the reason for the establishment of the MPC at Baylor and the naturalism conference you will be attending.

It is interesting to note the following information about the Baylor conference listings as they appear to date on the Polanyi Center web site at http://www.baylor.edu/~polanyi. Of the 31 confirmed participants, at least 10 appear to be part of Dembski’s network of creationists. Of these 10, 7 are members of the Center for the Renewal of Science and Culture. Of the 11 plenary sessions, 8 have participants who are creationists (not always as presenters, but with some serving as moderators). The only plenary sessions without creationists participating in some way are the one hosted by Stuart Rosenbaum (a Baylor philosopher), the one in which Simon Conway Morris is listed as the sole speaker, and the last session, for which the moderator is still to be announced.

A similar conference was held in 1997 at the University of Texas-Austin, organized by Robert Koons, a philosophy professor and also a CRSC member. The title was, like that of the Baylor conference, academically innocuous: “Naturalism, Theism, and the Scientific Enterprise.” See Koons’ web site at http://www.dla.utexas.edu/depts/phi[…]s/main.html/, which has a link to information about this conference. You can read Koons’ assessment of the conference at http://www.leaderu.com/real/ri9701/koons2.html. However, Koons’ assertion of the high degree of consensus reached on the feasibility of and need for “theistic science” was not shared by all attendees. Legitimate scholars and students sent papers, only to find after they arrived that they had been lured into an event dominated by creationists and clearly organized as a platform for them.

I know several people who attended the UT conference in 1997. I have asked one of them, Wesley Elsberry, to attest to its nature. You may contact him at [Enable javascript to see this email address.]. Wesley is one of the most knowledgeable people in the country about the intelligent design movement and has extensively critiqued Dembski’s work, as has philosopher Elliot Sober. You will find Wesley’s writings, and a link to Sober’s, at http://inia.cls.org/~welsberr/evobi[…]bski_wa.html.

Cordially, Barbara Forrest, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Philosophy Department of History and Political Science

Southeastern Louisiana University

The scientific enterprise advances when scientists make new discoveries correcting or overturning previously held theories

yeah, but it doesn’t advance a hell of a lot when a correct theory gets overthrown

As evidence of the NAS’s religious motivation, the IDists point out that 95 percent of the biologists in the NAS are atheists or agnostics. Of course, even atheism is not necessarily evidence of religious motivation (any more than theism is). But agnosticism? The mind boggles.

Go to shovelbums.org in order to sign a statement opposing the teaching of “intelligent design” in public schools. It would be most useful if all signatures were from practicing scientists with real degrees, preferably in the Biological Sciences. The list is already much more extensive than the DI list and perhaps more persuasive than the Project Steve list. The list has been established by word of “mouth” alone, so that also shows how effective communication between real scientists can be.

What the brief tells us is this: the DI has conceded the Dover case has no leg to stand on. They still try to play their double step, supporting the defendants’ legal strategy while denying they agree with their policies, but at this point they are just going through the motions (legal pun - ahahah). Behe’s testimony will be very interesting is this respect.

What they are truly terrified of is that the judge will explicitly rule ID is creation science part deux, which the evidence from the ID supporter themselves at the proceedings already shows rather unequivocably. That, and not the Kitzmiller case, is what this brief is about. These people know full well that if the court is not a place to debate and rule about budding scientific theories, the classroom certainly isn’t either: they are basically dumping the district here. If the judge rules that ID is Creationism, they can hope to fight it all the way to the Supreme Court, but until then, assuming they get a (rather unlikely) victory there, it’s lights out. I am sure the DI also fears they are going to lose a lot of their Creationist financial sponsors, and much of the grassroot support from the YECs.

That said, I don’t think this is a desperation act, but a strategic retreat to a more defendable position: it is quite possible that the judge will rule strictly on the case, rebuking the Dover school district policies but leaving the large issue of ID as creationism unresolved. Hopefully, however, he’ll try to leave a more significant legal mark.

If we were to ignore the fact that this brief is based on demonstrably incorrect (and wildly dishonest) assumptions, the underlying argument might sound plausible – IF the presiding judge is inclined in the necessary religious direction. So I wonder if there is any danger that a devout Christian judge, ignorant of how science works or even what it is (and we’ve all noticed that the concept of “evidence” is incomprehensible to creationists) might sense that his faith is under attack (and clearly anyone not sharing Christian beliefs is ipso facto attacking them). If that’s true, the judge might simply tune out all this scientifical mumbo jumbo and rule for the DASD on the grounds of “fairness”.

Even if the judge senses that such a finding risks being overturned as “clearly in error” on appeal, he’d surely be motivated to decide on the narrowest possible grounds as Andrea Bottaro predicts. If the only available way to “leave a more significant legal mark” is to deny Christ (a view that seems to be held by a majority of Christians according to some polls), this is surely a mark such a judge wouldn’t want to be associated with.

This is a case where the legal issues can be crystal clear, but can’t squeeze through the eye of a judge’s religious beliefs. What comes out the other side may not be recognizable.

The brief said something that I thought was interesting. It claims that the courts are not properly equipped to rule on the nature of science.

“The nature of science is not a question to be decided by the courts”

I would agree with this statement on its face, but the courts are very well equipped to hear expert testimony on the nature of science. This testimony would come from a wide variety of scientists with expertise in a wide variety of scientific fields.

The courts would then be well equipped to rule as to whether or not the methods used by ID proponents fit within the definition of science as it has been provided by the scientific community.

Evolution scientists admit that design is a scientifically valid counterpoint to evolution? Dembski was “banned” from teaching at Baylor?

These are whoppers that, if relevant to the case, should merit a Rule 11 slap at the attorneys vouching for the accuracy and validity of the claims in the document, no?

Is this piece just so far from reality, such a cartoon exercise, that it’s not worth pursuing official sanctions?

The issue of academic freedom is an intresting one, over at telic thoughts there’s a disscusion of the parrallels ( actually more the disanalogies) between the anti-physicalist revolution in the philosophy of mind and the anti-materialist revolution in biology ( which ID supporters are trying to pull off). He claims that the academic freedoms of ID supporters are threatened, and there is much chaos in the whole debate, while the debate between philosophers over materalism in the philosophy of mind is far more genteel, and both sides are respected by each other, does anyone else here have any thoughts on the disanalogies between the physicalist revolution and the ID revolution, and it’s relation to academic freedom? Argugably the implications of dualism are as theistic as those of ID (i.e, neither, if true, strictly implies god, but both make him seem just that little bit more possible.)

The issue of academic freedom is an intresting one, over at telic thoughts there’s a disscusion of the parrallels ( actually more the disanalogies) between the anti-physicalist revolution in the philosophy of mind and the anti-materialist revolution in biology ( which ID supporters are trying to pull off). He claims that the academic freedoms of ID supporters are threatened, and there is much chaos in the whole debate, while the debate between philosophers over materalism in the philosophy of mind is far more genteel, and both sides are respected by each other, does anyone else here have any thoughts on the disanalogies between the physicalist revolution and the ID revolution, and it’s relation to academic freedom? Argugably the implications of dualism are as theistic as those of ID (i.e, neither, if true, strictly implies god, but both make him seem just that little bit more possible.)

As far as I am concerned no one is qualified to “rule” on the nature of science, I don’t think anyone understands the scientfic method 100% If there is a “scientfic method” ( I think the scientfic method is a lot more changeable then we acknowledge, it used to be thought that positing action at a distance was a violation of “the scientfic method.” It’s argugably that, in a sense, Aristotle thought actually checking results empirically was a violation of the “scientfic method.”)

The bottom line is this: The Dover School board ruled that intelligent design is science, without benefit of scientific review or scientific analysis, or consensus of opinion among scientists. Challenged on that action, ID advocates now claim that governments shouldn’t make such rules. ID advocate defend the Dover board’s “suppression” of science by arguing that to end the suppression would be suppressing the board’s contrary views.

I hope Dave Barry comes back from his sabbatical soon, but even then he won’t be able to make up stuff like this.

Syntax Error: not well-formed (invalid token) at line 1, column 62, byte 62 at /usr/local/lib/perl5/site_perl/5.12.3/mach/XML/Parser.pm line 187

News reports are out now about Dr. Forrest’s testimony, and it is now clear why the crude attacks on her and her scholarship contained in the (misnamed) amicus brief by Discovery Institute and its minions.

Dr. Forrest’s testimony clearly demonstrates that intelligent design is, historically, the unacknowledged offspring (dare we say “illegitimate?”) of creationism. Her testimony, based on the perhaps-unintenionally released drafts of the “intelligent design” text Of Pandas and People, is quite devastating. She did not waver or waiver in cross examination. One can imagine the gloom that must hang over certain parts of Seattle today.

Michael Behe will be the only real scientist for the defense, if I read the witness list correctly. The defense was unable to find any expert to counter Dr. Forrest, nor were they able to sully her reputation. The history of the scam, to just change the phrase describing their activities in an effort to evade the Supreme Court’s ruling in the 1987 case, is now in the court record.

ID advocates complain about calling things “facts” of evolution. They should worry more about the facts of intelligent design. “Facts are stubborn things,” a couple of presidents have been fond of saying. They’re in a real courtroom in Pennsylvania, and ID advocates have been awakened with the cold water of reality: ID is not in Kansas any more.

Ed Darrell Wrote:

News reports are out now about Dr. Forrest’s testimony, and it is now clear why the crude attacks on her and her scholarship contained in the (misnamed) amicus brief by Discovery Institute and its minions. …

I have put some fresh comments in the The DI’s Dishonest Attacks on Barbara Forrest thread. I think the usual procedure here is to start a new thread for new developments, though. Be sure to check out the October 6 Mike Argento column in the York Daily Record.

Ed Darrell Wrote:

Evolution scientists admit that design is a scientifically valid counterpoint to evolution? Dembski was “banned” from teaching at Baylor?

These are whoppers that, if relevant to the case, should merit a Rule 11 slap at the attorneys vouching for the accuracy and validity of the claims in the document, no?

That’s a really good question, Ed. Any attorneys want to chime in on this?

I’ve never heard of Rule 11 sanctions against an amicus curiae—which is certainly not to say it can’t happen, but I doubt a court wants to spend the time and energy on such a thing. I certainly would never want to be the party moving for sanctions against an amicus. The proper response would just to be to point out the lies, or have an amicus on your own side to point out the lies, in the amicus brief. Since most amicus briefs are ignored anyway, sanctions seem a little extreme.

The courts would then be well equipped to rule as to whether or not the methods used by ID proponents fit within the definition of science as it has been provided by the scientific community.

Does neo-Darwinian evolution fit that definition?

We exist. What are the options to that existence? There are 3 that I know of:

1) Unintelligent, blind/ undirected processes 2) Intelligent, directed processes 3) A combination of 1 & 2

A simple viewing of the video The Privileged Planet demonstrates the evidence for a designer outside of biology.

One more thing. To equate ID to religion or to say ID is promoting religion exposes ignorance of both.

As Justice Lewis Powell wrote in his concurrence to Edwards v. Aguillard, “(A) decision respecting the subject matter to be taught in public schools does not violate the Establishment Clause simply because the material to be taught ‘happens to coincide or harmonize with the tenets of some or all religions’.”

And as Einstein once said- “Science without religion is lame; religion without science is blind.”

Why do the nutters always quote Einstein?

One more thing. To equate ID to religion or to say ID is promoting religion exposes ignorance of both.

Wow, you mean ID isn’t religion after all? It’s really SCIENCE?????

Cool.

Glad to hear it.

Please tell me what this scientific theory of ID is.

What did the designer do, according to this scientific theory of ID.

What mechanisms did hte desigenr use to do it, accoridng to this scientific theory of ID.

Where can we see the designer today using these mechanisms do to . . well . . anything.

Or is “POOF!! God – er, I mean, The Unknown Designer – dunnit !!” the best ID has ot offer, and are IDers (like you) just lying to us when you claim ID isn’t religion?

Fortunately for you, ID has the opportunity of a lifetime, right this very minute, in a courtoom in Dover, to show that ID is NOT religion, and to present all the evidence it wants, to bring out all the witnesses it can think of, to present any and all data that it has, to show us this wonderful “scientific alternative” it says it has.

But, ID won’t. It can’t. It doesn’t have any.

(shrug)

I delve into the people who signed the amicus brief here.

Executive summary:

–38 of 85 do not list a current institutional affiliation

–9 of them are on the faculties of evangelical or Bible-centered Christian colleges

–73 of 85 also signed the DI’s “Dissent from Darwinism”

–3 are Fellows of the DI’s Center for Science and Culture (one a Senior Fellow) and another is the Program Director for the CSC

I delve into the people who signed the amicus brief here. …

One of them (Theodore W. Geier, page 33) has a Ph.D. in Forrest Hydrology. You don’t suppose they were pre-occupied with something else when they were assembling this document?

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This page contains a single entry by Timothy Sandefur published on October 4, 2005 11:27 PM.

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