Discovery Institute Lies about the Cobb County Disclaimer

| 69 Comments

With the appeal of the Cobb County disclaimer sticker being heard on Thursday, the Discovery Institute is trying to spin the case. Their spin contains obvious lies.

“Contrary to claims from the ACLU, the district court judge actually ruled that the sticker fulfilled a legitimate secular purpose,” said Dr. John West, Associate Director of the Center for Science and Culture at Discovery Institute.

I’m not going to beat around the bush. West is lying. As I documented earlier in the year, Judge Cooper in no way found that the sticker fulfilled a secular purpose. Judge Cooper ruled that the board had legitimate secular purposes, but he also ruled that the sticker did not fulfill those purposes, e.g.

the Sticker appears to have the purpose of furthering critical thinking because it tells students to approach the material on evolution with an open mind, to study it carefully, and to give it critical consideration. The other language on the Sticker, which states that evolution is a theory and not a fact, somewhat undermines the goal of critical thinking by predetermining that students should think of evolution as a theory when many in the scientific community would argue that evolution is factual in some respects.

(Selman v Cobb p24)

the Sticker also has the effect of undermining evolution education to the benefit of those Cobb County citizens who would prefer that students maintain their religious beliefs regarding the origin of life.

(Selman v Cobb p38)

See “For every setback, spin spin spin.” for more information.

Of course Casey Luskin can’t help but raise the polemics:

The decision is dangerous to democracy and has chilling implications for the free speech rights of scientists, educators, and citizens who are skeptical of Darwin’s theory. It needs to be overturned.

No one’s free speech is at stake here. The Cobb County School District and the Cobb County School Board are being sued in the case. Since both are entities of the government, neither have free speech rights. Private citizens do have free speech rights, and the only private citizens in this case are Jeff Selman and the other plaintiffs. Only in tin-foil-hat-land would the question of Selman v. CCSD affect the free speech of anti-evolutionists.

69 Comments

Y’know, not to get to political or anything, but isn’t that a tactic (originally called “the big lie” maybe) that is being used to push pretty much all of america’s national agenda?

BWE Wrote:

Y’know, not to get to political or anything, but isn’t that a tactic (originally called “the big lie” maybe) that is being used to push pretty much all of america’s national agenda?

Yes. It is now the central pillar of the GOP platform and the reason I recanted my party membership. Lies are now okay and no longer immoral when religion or politics are involved.

Luskin needs a legal education. It’s intelligent design that is a danger to democracy, asking to skip all the legitimate and productive hurly-burly of research and publication, to get a free pass into legitimacy, to bump legitimate science out of the kids’ schoolbooks and heads.

Truth wins in a fair fight, Ben Franklin said. That’s why we have evidence rules in federal courts, and that is also why creationism tends to lose cases in federal courts so handily.

Judge Overton noted in 1982 that the doors to the science classroom are not barred to legitimate science. If Luskin finds the doors barred, that’s a comment on what he’s pushing, and not a knock at all on the open, free and democratic methods of science.*

* Oh, yeah, I know: To the bizarre claim from creationists that non-scientists ought to get to vote on what science is, people supporting science often say ‘science is not a democracy.’ But that’s not really fair to democracy, or to science. To the extent that any person gets a hearing in science so long as that person has real data, science is very much a democracy, as opposed to a monarchy, or a hierarchy, or an oligarchy. Just as in our constitutional system the rights of the lowest citizen are equal before the law to those of the highest citizen, so any fact in science is equal to any other fact. Again, that creationism cannot cut it in this free-market of science ideas is commentary on the lack of real ideas in creationism.

I agree with Ed. Rather than “science is not a democracy”, I prefer “science is not a popularity contest”.

Yeah, it’s the sort of bald-faced lie favored by the current fragile, hollow charicatures who regurgitate, again and again and again, the indigestible remains of what was once a vibrant and honest, if simply wrong, Creationism, but, as a philosophical question, is West (like Luskin, Dembski, etc.) a liar? We have ample evidence on this forum, and even more in the ‘Comments’ section of talk.origins, that these people are like members of a cult and simply unable to comprehend information at odds, in the slightest way, with the fantasies sold by the masters of the cult (and their more cynical henchmen.)

If he, as are very many “creationists,” are honestly unaware of what a lie is, and why such lies are counterproductive even to themselves, I can only describe him as ill: far more than is typical (if they chose any other idiocy, they would simply be ignored as the obvious cranks they are.) I do not wish to have them cured against what they would claim is their will, but their delusions cannot be allowed to have power over others, especially given the aims, venal and yet often nearly inhuman, of the leaders of these false cults.

But the point that they are lying to claim victory goes beyond that. DOesn’t it demonstrate a degree of desparation? I am reminded of a brilliant young professor at MIT. The scientific community does not tolerate lying. It is the antithesis of science.

However, a little colorful speculation over some particular fundementalist’s closet gay sex with animals or history of crime isn’t without some merit.

Dembski makes big money off this remember. I’d lie and make a fool of myself for a couple hundred bucks an hour.

“Contrary to claims from the ACLU, the district court judge actually ruled that the sticker fulfilled a legitimate secular purpose,” said Dr. John West, Associate Director of the Center for Science and Culture at Discovery Institute.

No he didn’t. What he said was that EVEN IF IT DID, it STILL wouldn’t pass constitutional muster.

In many ways, the Cobb County case is even more lethal to ID/creationism than the Dover case will be. In Cobb, the judge ruled that EVEN IF he granted a secular purpose for the law, it STILL failed Constitutional tests, was STILL religiously motivated, and STILL acted to grant government support to religion.

I.e., it doesn’t matter WHAT “secular purpose” the IDers dream up for all their anti-evolution bills ——- the net effect is STILL to advance religion, and that is unconstitutional.

I can see why DI is trying so hard to spin this decision. It is utterly lethal to them, and they know it.

Some thoughts I had on the Cobb County case, immediately after the decision was made (I think all of them are still quite relevant to ID/creationism):

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

I think I would have gone with the simpler,

“we used to think magic made things happen but gradually we have come to understand that the universe is a closed system which obeys natural laws. Therefor all mythological propositions proposing magic or divine events, Christianity included, are relics of a different age where gods and magic created and influenced our universe in a personal way and as such are not useful as explanations for origins anymore.”

*YAWN* This ain’t news. Wake me up when those fools TELL THE TRUTH.

BWE, that commentary was one of the most obnoxious things I’ve ever read. I want to grab the writer by the collar and scream “Stop trying to convince me by beating me over the head with a stick!”

The author does manage to raise a couple of good points, though: poking at the Bible is not the way to fight this fight. There are better ways to do this. See my new favorite web page: http://koning.ecsu.ctstateu.edu/rel[…]cifaith.html

I believe the Bible to be divinely inspired (except for the Song of Solomon, which really has no place in there), and I believe there are better ways to undermine the legitimacy of their core document. Undermining their small-minded interpretation is the way to go.

And for the record: “We’ve been attacked by the intelligent, educated segment of the culture.” I thought that was a JOKE. I thought it was from The Onion. I think I shall go weep now.

Comment #62684

Posted by BWE on December 13, 2005 04:36 PM (e) (s)

Y’know, not to get to political or anything, but isn’t that a tactic (originally called “the big lie” maybe) that is being used to push pretty much all of america’s national agenda?

Which is why many moderate, socially-progressive Republicans such as myself have left the Republican Party.

93% OT, but on a site that rightfully prides itself on being anti-quote-mining I have to wonder how many persons referencing “The Big Lie” would continue to do so if they were aware of its provenance.

Yep. They’re entitled to whatever religious opinions they like. (shrug)

Which is why many moderate, socially-progressive Republicans such as myself have left the Republican Party.

Wrong move. I encourage everyone to STAY in the GOP and do whatever you need to do to take it back from the nutters. And yes, that means actively working AGAINST fundie candidates — and if that means the Republicats losing a whole bunch of elections, then so be it.

http://www.tektonics.org/af/flanksteak.html Have you seen this?

Yep. They’re entitled to whatever religious opinions they like. (shrug)

what was their point about the miraculous ‘talking donkey’ exactly Lenny?

sorry .. no don’t answer - lets not derail the thread..

93% OT, but on a site that rightfully prides itself on being anti-quote-mining I have to wonder how many persons referencing “The Big Lie” would continue to do so if they were aware of its provenance.

It made its debut in Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf, where he accused Jews influencing the press of misinforming people concerning Germany’s performance in World War I.

The problem with staying in the republican party is that, f’rinstance, you feel like government should not spend more than it brings in, well, that’s become a plank of the democrats; or say you think that government should stay out of our homes, well, that’s become a plank of the dems; or say that you believe that business should have a level playing field to encourage better and more efficient ways of doing some things, well, you get the point. What exactly is it we think is ok about the GOP now?

I know this seems off topic but I think it isn’t. If the GOP wants to have it so that we believe without evidence and the fundies want the same thing, and they are both lying -I understand that referencing the big lie is a reference to nazi germany but the tactic seems to work for those who employ it so it has broken that particular constraint.

It’s all part and parcel. Halliburton, Discovery Institute, 10 commandments, Dover, Barrick Gold, big oil Scooter libby (what’s up with that? sheesh) Tom DeLay et al.

The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well-meaning but without understanding. -Justice Louis D. Brandeis

93% OT, but on a site that rightfully prides itself on being anti-quote-mining I have to wonder how many persons referencing “The Big Lie” would continue to do so if they were aware of its provenance.

I believe the term for that is “argument ad nazium”. Besides, Hitler knew all about big lies, having told a few himself, so why shouldn’t we consult him on the subject of lies and propaganda?

Tice with a J said “so why shouldn’t we consult him on the subject of lies and propaganda?”

You should at least have a good look, particularly Goebbels’ speeches, the surprising thing is that the more things change, the more things stay the same. A fatalistic tautology promoted by Religion and politicians who hate truth and use every one of Goebbels’ simple tricks for manipulation of modern society.

The thing is that when you know it is a lie it is anathema to accept it. But, the other side of the education divide thinks it’s us that’r lying.

I feel like Zorro

Wrong move. I encourage everyone to STAY in the GOP and do whatever you need to do to take it back from the nutters. And yes, that means actively working AGAINST fundie candidates —- and if that means the Republicats losing a whole bunch of elections, then so be it.

I disagree. I think people who cannot morally agree with the GOP should simply leave the GOP and start voting Democrat. After 5 years of the Bush/Cheney/Rove/Rumsfeld/DeLay/Dobson cesspool, the Republican party is beyond redemption. They don’t deserve saving.

Eh, I keep telling people that I would be a Republican if there was still a Republican party… (Mostly for me it’s the ‘personal responsibility’ thing).

What can the fundies do to win right now? A thought I had was, they might relent the pressure for a while, then hit (stickers, new ‘science’ standards, whatever) simultaneously across a number of states. Then proclaim loud and clear, “see we are in the majority, this is a real issue”.

Seriously, what’s a possible plan for these people?

Arden Chatfield wrote:

I think people who cannot morally agree with the GOP should simply leave the GOP and start voting Democrat.

And if you can’t be a Democrat – consider creating a new political party or dragging the Liberterians more into the position you thought Republicans should occupy.

kay wrote:

Seriously, what’s a possible plan for these people?

Fundies could take over the military and then take over the government by military coup.

http://www.yuricareport.com/Dominio[…]arriors.html

http://www.wsws.org/articles/2005/a[…]rt-a09.shtml

On the day that the judge in the Kitzmiller case announces the decision, the Discovery Institute will announce they have been gifted a pony – or, at least, that’s what the evidence indicates to them.

Ooh Ooh, I want a pony. Bwaaahaaahaaaa

http://www.zwire.com/site/news.cfm?[…]61&rfi=9

The comment by bob rivers is exactly what i’ve been saying all along

2005 — DI passes around “400 Scientists Who Reject Darwin”

1931 – German Nazi Party passes around “100 Scientists Who Reject Einstein”.

Hmmmmmmmmmmm.

Einstein’s reply is just as valid today: “They wouldn’t need 100 scientists if they had just one simple fact”.

Einstein was attacked by some with anti-Jewish leanings. When a pamphlet was published entitled 100 Authors Against Einstein, Einstein retorted “If I were wrong, one would be enough.”

http://scienceworld.wolfram.com/bio[…]instein.html

Law.com article on the Cobb County case: http://www.law.com/jsp/article.jsp?[…]134554710835

Best quote: “‘From my perspective as a conservative, I think science education is important,” he added. “And I’m not religiously sympathetic to anti-evolutionists, who I think are lunatics.’”

Einstein’s reply is just as valid today: “They wouldn’t need 100 scientists if they had just one simple fact”.

I thought Einstein’s response was something like “Why do they have a hundred? If they’re right, they should only need one.”

Still, a splendid parallel.

Cobb county going to the dark side?

Appeals judges see errors in evolution sticker ruling

Three federal appeals court judges today indicated a lower court judge got key facts wrong in declaring unconstitutional an evolution disclaimer sticker put in Cobb County science books.

During oral arguments, all members of the federal appeals court panel noted that U.S. District Court Judge Clarence Cooper made incorrect findings as the basis for his decision that the stickers violated the First Amendment by endorsing a religious viewpoint.

Judge Ed Carnes dominated much of the 40-minute arguments by tearing apart sections of Cooper’s January ruling that ordered the stickers, which declared evolution “a theory, not a fact,” removed from almost 35,000 middle- and high-school science textbooks.

“The court gives two bases for its findings and they’re absolutely wrong,” Carnes told Atlanta lawyer Jeffrey Bramlett, who argued on behalf of five parents who sued the school board to get the stickers removed.

Link

http://www.uncommondescent.com/inde[…]archives/658

Here is the link to that entry on uncommonly indecent.

Ha Ha! It’s kind of a circle jerk here too. It’s just that PT lets strangers in. Very un-christian.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Reed A. Cartwright published on December 13, 2005 3:32 PM.

Courtroom sketch of Kitzmiller v. Dover was the previous entry in this blog.

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