How West got Lost

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On EvolutionNews, John West attempts in 2nd part of a multipart series (does anyone remember the multi-part series that was going to address the criticisms of Meyer’s Hopeless Monster paper?) to argue why the Judge in the Kitzmiller case was wrong. West still seems to misunderstand some of the relevant issues.

For an earlier article in which I discuss West’s similar flaws see Activist Judge or just poor reading skills and Sandefur’s Why Kitzmiller is Not An “Activist” Decision and Further Thoughts on West’s Attack on Judge Jones

He focuses on four particular “facts” which the Judge got wrong. Now, as is the case with all ‘facts’ they are open to interpretation. As I will show, the Judge hardly got the facts wrong, he merely disagreed with the interpretation of the Discovery Institute’s Amicus Brief.

Fact 1: Judge Jones wrongly claims there are NO peer-reviewed scientific articles favoring ID.

Note that the Judge actually claims

Judge Jones Wrote:

A final indicator of how ID has failed to demonstrate scientific warrant is the complete absence of peer-reviewed publications supporting the theory.

The difference between favoring and supporting should be self evident.

While the Discovery Institute is quick to claim a list of so-called scientific articles favoring ID, on closer examination it becomes quickly self evident that none of these actually support such a theory, mostly because any such theory is lacking and no attempt is made to explain the data using this so-called theory of ID.

The Judge observed from the testimony by Padian and Forrest as well as by Minnich and Behe that:

Judge Jones Wrote:

The evidence presented in this case demonstrates that ID is not supported by any peer-reviewed research, data or publications. Both Drs. Padian and Forrest testified that recent literature reviews of scientific and medical-electronic databases disclosed no studies supporting a biological concept of ID. (17:42-43 (Padian); 11:32-33 (Forrest)).

On cross-examination, Professor Behe admitted that: “There are no peer reviewed articles by anyone advocating for intelligent design supported by pertinent experiments or calculations which provide detailed rigorous accounts of how intelligent design of any biological system occurred.” (22:22-23 (Behe)). Additionally, Professor Behe conceded that there are no peer-reviewed papers supporting his claims that complex molecular systems, like the bacterial flagellum, the blood-clotting cascade, and the immune system, were intelligently designed. (21:61-62 (complex molecular systems), 23:4-5 (immune system), and 22:124-25 (blood-clotting cascade) (Behe)). In that regard, there are no peer-reviewed articles supporting Professor Behe’s argument that certain complex molecular structures are “irreducibly complex.”17 (21:62, 22:124-25 (Behe)). In addition to failing to produce papers in peer-reviewed journals, ID also features no scientific research or testing. (28:114-15 (Fuller); 18:22-23, 105-06 (Behe)).

and the following footnote

Judge Jones Wrote:

The one article referenced by both Professors Behe and Minnich as supporting ID is an article written by Behe and Snoke entitled “Simulating evolution by gene duplication of protein features that require multiple amino acid residues.” (P-721). A review of the article indicates that it does not mention either irreducible complexity or ID. In fact, Professor Behe admitted that the study which forms the basis for the article did not rule out many known evolutionary mechanisms and that the research actually might support evolutionary pathways if a biologically realistic population size were used. (22:41-45 (Behe); P-756).

West Wrote:

A number of the peer-reviewed articles supportive of design were referenced by biologist Scott Minnich during his testimony at trial. Was Judge Jones asleep during that part of Dr. Minnich’s testimony?

From Minnich’s testimony:

Q. Have you authored any articles appearing in peer reviewed science journals that make intelligent design arguments?

A. Not directly.

Q. You say not directly. Are there articles that provide support for intelligent design arguments that you’ve published?

A. I think so. I think all of them do. I think they’re, you know, dissecting intricate components of subcellular organelles that support the general contention of irreducible complexity and design.

The DI also tries to peddle its ‘peer reviewed’ books. Funny that Behe’s book is not mentioned anymore. The fiasco with the level of “peer review” of this book show how meaningless peer review is as it comes to books.

In conclusion, while the DI may argue that many or several relevant peer-reviewed examples exist supporting both Behe’s irreducible complexity as well as Intelligent Design, Behe himself seems to be unaware of such papers. And in fact, on closer scrutiny none of these papers provide any support for Intelligent Design in any scientifically relevant manner.

Fact 2: Judge Jones wrongly treats theologian/philosopher Thomas Aquinas as the ultimate source of the argument to design.

Again West seems to be having a reading comprehension problem since the judge stated and West even quotes this

Judge Jones Wrote:

He traced this argument back to at least Thomas Aquinas in the 13th century, who framed the argument as a syllogism: Wherever complex design exists, there must have been a designer; nature is complex; therefore nature must have had an intelligent designer.

What part of ‘at least’ causes West problems?

West again finishes with an ad hominem

Judge Jones Wrote:

Judge Jones either didn’t read the brief, which is part of the official record of the case, or he again ignored the evidence simply because it didn’t fit his predetermined conclusions.

Fact 3: Judge Jones wrongly claims that intelligent design “requires supernatural creation.” (p. 30, emphasis added)

West complains that since ID proponents at times have stated that ID does not rely on the supernatural, that therefor the Judge must be wrong. However, simple logic shows that ID is all about the supernatural. West seems for instance to be rejecting the work by Dembski in this area. While ID’s claims have evolved, its foundation on the supernatural cannot be denied.

As the Judge points out

Judge Jones Wrote:

Prominent ID proponents have made abundantly clear that the designer is supernatural.

So while the DI may have submitted examples of ID proponents arguing now that ID is not about the supernatural, it’s hard to put the ‘genie back into the bottle’.

Again, the people who actually testified disagreed with West’s interpretation, and remarkably this includes the defense witnesses as well. These include Behe, Minnich and Fuller

Judge Jones Wrote:

Defendants’ expert witness ID proponents confirmed that the existence of a supernatural designer is a hallmark of ID. First, Professor Behe has written that by ID he means “not designed by the laws of nature,” and that it is “implausible that the designer is a natural entity.” (P-647 at 193; P-718 at 696, 700).

Minnich is quoted:

Judge Jones Wrote:

Professor Minnich testified that for ID to be considered science, the ground rules of science have to be broadened so that supernatural forces can be considered. (38:97 (Minnich)).

And defense witness Fuller

Judge Jones Wrote:

Third, Professor Steven William Fuller testified that it is ID’s project to change the ground rules of science to include the supernatural. (Trial Tr. vol. 28, Fuller Test., 20-24, Oct. 24, 2005).

It’s hard to argue with defense witnesses now is it… But perhaps West considers their testimony to be a misrepresentation?

But the Judge did not stop with the defense witnesses, he also looked at public statements made by ID proponents

Johnson: Turning from defense expert witnesses to leading ID proponents, Johnson has concluded that science must be redefined to include the supernatural if religious challenges to evolution are to get a hearing. (11:8-15 (Forrest); P-429).

Dembski: Additionally, Dembski agrees that science is ruled by methodological naturalism and argues that this rule must be overturned if ID is to prosper. (Trial Tr. vol. 5, Pennock Test., 32-34, Sept. 28, 2005).

The Judge also observes that

Judge Jones Wrote:

Although contrary to Fuller, defense experts Professors Behe and Minnich testified that ID is not creationism, their testimony was primarily by way of bare assertion and it failed to directly rebut the creationist history of Pandas or other evidence presented by Plaintiffs showing the commonality between creationism and ID.

Seems the Judge considered the evidence to be more convincing than the ‘just so stories’.

Well, that’s enough so far. It should be no surprise that the Judge’s findings based on the actual evidence presented disagrees with how ID is presently ‘sold’ to the unaware public. However there is sufficient testimony and evidence to lay to rest most of the claims made by West.

Okay just for fun some quotes of ID proponents showing how the supernatural is required for ID:

Dembski:

The view that science must be restricted solely to purposeless, naturalistic, material processes also has a name. It’s called methodological naturalism. “So long as methodological naturalism sets the ground rules for how the game of science is to be played, (intelligent design) has no chance (in) Hades.”

Original Quote Here

Or see the article I wrote Ayn Rand Institute: The Bait and Switch of “Intelligent Design”

ID and Dembski have attempted to conflate the issue of the supernatural. Since they claim that science, because of its adherence to methodological naturalism, cannot address design, they must thus hold that criminology and archaeology for instance, are unable to address design. Thus, the conclusion that design must be supernatural becomes self evident. Although at other times ID proponents argue that science succesfully applies design detection. Such a confused argument. Depending on the circumstances ID argues either that design cannot be detected by science and on other occasions that science an in fact detect design. Now it is self evident that Dembski’s portrayal of methodological naturalism is flawed but at the same time his arguments reveal a deeper issue namely the inability of science to deal with an unembodied designer who resides outside nature.

Another great example

Ah, but we have experience with radio transmitters. At least with extraterrestrial intelligences we can guess what might have happened. But we don’t have any experience with unembodied designers, and that’s clearly what we’re dealing with when it comes to design in biology. Actually, if an unembodied designer is responsible for biological complexity, then we do have quite a bit of experience with such a designer through the designed objects (not least ourselves) that confront us all the time. On the other hand, it is true that we possess very little insight at this time into how such a designer acted to bring about the complex biological systems that have emerged over the course of natural history.

Link

As Answers.com informs us

Un·em·bod·ied a.

1. Free from a corporeal body; disembodied; as, unembodied spirits. Byron.

2. Not embodied; not collected into a body; not yet organized; as, unembodied militia.

And

The reason that attributing specified complexity to intelligence for biological systems is regarded as problematic is because such an intelligence would in all likelihood have to be unembodied (though strictly speaking this is not required of intelligent design–the designer could in principle be an embodied intelligence, as with the panspermia theories).

http://www.leaderu.com/offices/demb[…]meta098.html

Strictly speaking ID is not about the supernatural but practically speaking we are not interested in natural designers. After all, science already deals with such designers quite adequately. As Wilkins and Elsberry show in The advantages of theft over toil: the design inference and arguing from ignorance ID is concerned with rarefied design.

22 Comments

Nice article. Just a couple of nitpicks: the second quote after “Fact 2” is from West, but it wrongly states “Judge Jones wrote:”, and in the paragraph after the link to your article “Ayn Rand Institute…”, you write “on other occasions that science an in fact detect design”. You meant “science *C*an in fact…”

What can I say? I was bored. Don’t shoot the messenger.

(Perfection is a b*tch, but like all b*tches, it can produce some really cute puppies…)

Didn’t Jones finally accept the amicus from the Discovery boys?

I think it bears noting that West, the Discovery Institute, and other creationists up in arms over the Kitzmiller decision have focused on the “ID is not science” portion of the decision while conveniently overlooking what may be its most damning aspect: the judge’s conclusion that the alleged “secular purpose” advanced by the school board was a sham. in doing so, the judge did not rely on the “science” offered by defendants in support of ID. instead, he spent over thirty pages detailing the extensive bullying by religious zealouts on the board who ignored the advice and pleas of their science teachers (nd their own lawyer, and refused to approve a high school biology text unless “creationism” was also taught. (they switched to “ID” only after the Discovery Institute and the Thomas More center gave them advice, and the judge points out the DI’s advice was of a legal not scientific nature.)

this final section of the decision should be obligatory reading for West and his cohorts. make no mistake about what was going on in Dover: there was a conscious plan by a few religious zealouts to get evolution out of the schools (including by burning an evolution mural in one of the biology classes three years ago). when their anti-evolution crusade hit obvious roadblocks (including a rebellion of the districts science teachers), they switched to Plan B, which was to include creationism alongside it. when they got advice from the Discovery Institute that this was also illegal, they switched to Plan C, which was to teach “Intelligent Design,” believing, however, that it was really a form of creationism. the decision reports one board member as repeatedly referring to ID in her testimony as “intelligence design”. in other words, they didn’t care what it was called - intelligence, intelligent, ID - at the end of the day, it was all creationism to the board, and it was all part of a plan to get religion in and take evolution out. in fact, the creationists on the board even called the dissenters “atheists” and told them they were “going to hell” for defending the teaching of evolution.

so, being cynical, I guess I have to say I am not surprised the DI spokesmen are focusing on the trouncing the received on the “science” instead of the horrible religious bullying the judge says they helped foment. this portion of his decision is factually-based and so well-written that it would have withstood an appeal in any court in the country, so perhaps it also withstands even the ability of the DI to “spin” or distance themselves from it.

all the same, it is just disgusting to see such bullies attempt to claim the role of victims.

Just as an aside, they did write a response to Meyer’s Hopeless Monster. A couple of them if I recall correctly.

Sorry about the self-reference, but anyone who is interested can read me covering similar ground at Frankenstein Journal or at the permalink here.

Blah blah blah. IDers sot their load. They lost. Get used to it. (shrug)

Here’s the money quote from Keith Lockitch’s ARI piece:

“Any natural being capable of ‘designing’ the complex features of earthly life would, on their premises, require its own ‘designer’.”

In other words, if the Designer isn’t God, who designed the Designer?

Minor error in article that needs correcting:

Judge Jones wrote:

Judge Jones either didn’t read the brief,

Obviously that should be “West wrote:”

West just put Part III of this crap. He must be very desperate, as this latest installment is dedicated to defending Pandas.

The more I read from this guy, I think he’s attempting to convince himself of what he’s saying more than anyone else.

From West part III

If this case were being argued in 1989, Pandas might be more dispositive as an authoritative guide to the theory of intelligent design. But there is now more than 15 years of scholarship by scientists and philosophers of science who think there are empirical means to detect design in nature. Pandas predates most of the major works of the contemporary design movement in science, including monographs by Cambridge University Press, and technical articles in peer-reviewed science and philosophy of science journals. The primary guide to the beliefs and views of intelligent design scholars today should be this record of scholarly and scientific and technical articles, not a supplementary high school textbook written more than a decade-and-a-half ago.

15 years of scholarship, peer-reviewed science? Is the man mad?

Alan Fox wrote:

15 years of scholarship, peer-reviewed science? Is the man mad?

It certainly seems to be heading into the delusional. Like Dembski’s promise of (www.)overwhelming evidence(.com), one has to ask why all this good stuff wasn’t brought up at the Dover trial, and why Behe in particular appears utterly unaware of any of it.

More and more, the reaction of IDers to Kitzmiller reminds me of classic web kook denial. Not that this is particularly new, but when you put these claims next to the court case the disconnect is stark.

When you look at Dembski’s April 1st posting (and other hints he’s dropped), it’s easy to get a little spooked by the thought of what games these people are playing with themselves.

R

PvM Wrote:

West still seems to misunderstand some of the relevant issues.

So give the guy a break. Lots of people misunderstand lots of things. Does that make them bad? Does that mean that those elite scientists have to muzzle them? Shouldn’t students hear both sides? This is a free country, you know, not a scientific tyranny. (end imitation of typical nonscientist scammed by ID).

Let’s try it this way:

West has been eating, drinking and sleeping anti-evolution pseudoscience for years, and is surrounded by all the major scammers. So he probably misunderstands none of relevant issues. But he is more than willing to misrepresent them.

West just put Part III of this crap. He must be very desperate, as this latest installment is dedicated to defending Pandas.

PvM: now you get to title a thread “How the West was Lost”.

Bob

Let’s try it this way:

West has been eating, drinking and sleeping anti-evolution pseudoscience for years, and is surrounded by all the major scammers. So he probably misunderstands none of relevant issues. But he is more than willing to misrepresent them.

The old Freudian slip there bob :0 .….see even you can’t lie ;)

West I think is well aware that the only way he can get his lies flying is to fix the Supreme Court.

The old Nuremberg defense.

West and the ID/Cre crowd don’t seem to understand the purpose of peer review. One does not submit to peer review in order to seek out a blessing, “please bless this mess.” Submission to peer review is a challenge, “here, poke holes in this if you can.” Scientific papers are not peer reviewed by a bunch of people trying to shore each other up in order to mutually support a dogmatic position (which is what the DI does). Peer review is a trial by fire, and is often conducted by one’s rivals, not by one’s supporters or lackeys.

Bill said “ bunch of people trying to shore each other up in order to mutually support a dogmatic position (which is what the DI does)”

You have described theology and politics in general

”…the creationist history of Pandas” So Panda history is creationist? Poor Professor Steve Steve. It must be lonely to be a good scientist in a species of fundamentalists. ^-^

Pandas predates most of the major works of the contemporary design movement in science,

Good heavens, does anybody really talk like this? Are these people building oddly-shaped dinette sets?

Are there other “contemporary movements in science”? Is there a “contemporary combinatorial organic synthesis movement” over in the Chem. Department? A “contemporary condensed matter movement” in Physics? Sounds like I’ve been missing out on some really good pre-seminar cookies…

Are there other “contemporary movements in science”? Is there a “contemporary combinatorial organic synthesis movement” over in the Chem. Department? A “contemporary condensed matter movement” in Physics? Sounds like I’ve been missing out on some really good pre-seminar cookies…

It’s their dishonest way of saying that they’re different than creation ‘scientists’.

Apparently when Di loses an argument, their response isn’t to change their arguments – it’s just to repeat them over again, only louder this time.

I sincerely hope they follow that, uh, successful strategy in Kansas.

Apparently when Di loses an argument, their response isn’t to change their arguments — it’s just to repeat them over again, only louder this time.

just like Lalalarry. coincidence? i think not. common psychological dysfunction? much more probable.

I sincerely hope they follow that, uh, successful strategy in Kansas.

Now that the Dover Dolts are finished with, it’s time to move on to the next fight, the Kansas Kooks and the Ohio Halfwits. The IDers had already, even before the Dover Dolts introduced their “statement”, dropped the “teach our alternative scientific theory of design” in favor of “OK, *don’t* teach our alternative scientific theory of ID – teach the controversy about evolution instead”. And this is the argument they are presenting in Ohio and Kansas. The Dover decision, DI is arguing, doesn’t apply to the “teach the controversy” approach, since, they say, “teach the controversy” doesn’t mention ID and doesn’t attempt to teach it.

To beat this strategy in court, we therefore need to demonstrate that (1) teach the controversy is nothing but the same old creation “science” and “design theory” under a different name, and (2) it has the same religious motivation and effect that creation ‘science’ and ID did.

Fortunately for us, this is not difficult to demonstrate, using the IDer’s own statements.

A short history of the “teach our alternative theory/ don’t teach our alternative theory” switch: The IDers were forced into this position by their loss in Ohio, where they tried to push for the insertion of “ID theory” into the state science standards. The Ohio officials were unimpressed with the Discovery Institute arguments, and instead of including ID in the state standards, they BANNED it. Specifically. By name. “The intent of this indicator does not mandate the teaching or testing of Intelligent Design.” (Ohio Board of Education, December 10, 2002)

This forced the DI into an abrupt change, which was spelled out by DI fellow Stephen Meyer during a presentation sponsored by the Ohio Board:

“Finally, and most importantly, Meyer offered a “compromise” on the issue. This was, of course, accompanied by a slide labeled “compromise” showing cartoon people smiling, shaking hands, and slapping one another on the back. Compromises, apparently, make people very happy. The compromise was that his side was willing to drop its insistence that ID be placed in the State standards — if, of course, the standards made it clear that individual teachers should be free to teach the scientific controversy about Darwinism.” (Kenneth Miller, Ohio Citizens for Science website)

As part of the new strategy, members of the Ohio Board of Education proposed a “model lesson plan” that was largely written by Discovery Institute members and supporters, entitled “Critical Analysis of Evolution”. The model lesson pointed out the same supposed “scientific problems with evolution” that the Discovery Institute had been preaching for years. Included in the model lesson plan were “goals” such as:

“Describe one piece of evidence used to challenge evolution and explain why it is important.

Compare and contrast the supporting and challenging information regarding the aspect of evolution you studied.

Evaluate the scientific data supporting and challenging areas of evolution in light of the scientific method. In other words, is the data that is used to support or challenge evolution consistent or inconsistent with the scientific method? Are there any limitations? (NOTE: steps of scientific method: Observation, hypothesis, test, retest and conclusion)”

The model lesson plan included links to several Internet websites from the Discovery Institute and other supporters of intelligent design “theory”. These websites were later dropped after heavy criticism. Also dropped was a direct reference to the anti-evolution book “Icons of Evolution”, written by Discovery Institute member Jonathan Wells.

In March 2003, the Board passed a modified version of the lesson plan which, while erasing all of the references to intelligent design “theory”, nevertheless accepted most of the Discovery Institute’s “teach the controversy” strategy and included many of the supposed “scientific criticisms of evolution” that have been trotted out for years by the Discovery Institute and other creationists.

Meanwhile, in August 1999, a group of creationists on the Kansas State Education Board, led by veterinarian Steve Abrams, tried to cut evolution from the state standards. The action failed, but caused so much outrage that most of the board members were kicked out of office in the next election.

In 2004, however, riding on Bush’s coattails, the fundamentalists again captured a majority on the Education Board, and once again made plans to advance a creationist agenda. A routine periodic evaluation of the state’s science curriculum led to a majority report, written by 17 scientists, listing evolution as the core concept of modern biology, and a minority report, written by the 8 creationists/IDers, who rejected evolution. The Education Board, with its new fundie majority, rejected the majority report and adopted a minority report that followed the Discovery Institute’s new “teach the controversy” line. Board Chairman Steven Abrams stated; “The Minority Report does not mandate the teaching of Intelligent Design. Intelligent Design is not a code word for creationism. Teaching the arguments against evolution is not a code word for creationism. It is simply good science education. At this point, however, we do not think it’s appropriate to mandate the teaching of Intelligent Design. It’s a fairly new science, it’s a modern science of Intelligent Design, it’s a maturing science and perhaps in time it would be there, but at this point we think mandating it is inappropriate.” (Kansas Hearings transcript)

In order for DI’s “teach the controversy” policy to survive court challenges in Ohion and Kansas, it must survive two different questions. First, is “teach the controversy” different in any substantial way from either intelligent design ‘theory’ or creation ‘science’, both of which have already been ruled illegal by the courts? And second, is “teach the controversy” religiously motivated, does it imply state endorsement of religion, or does it have the effect of advancing religion?

If the answer to the first question is “no”, or if the answer to the second question is “yes”, then “teach the controversy” fails.

So, is “teach the controversy” different in any substantial way from either ID or creation “science”? No. In fact, they are all identical. In the case of Ohio, this was made obvious by the fact that all of the “scientific evidence against evolution” listed by the proposed “teach the controversy” curriculum was lifted intact, word for word, from standard ID books and websites. Indeed, the standards even attempted to list these ID resources themselves as part of the lesson plan. All of the “controversies about evolution” listed by the proposed curriculum are standard ID boilerplate, and most of them have already been presented as part of the “scientific theory of intelligent design” and/or creation ‘science’. None of these ‘arguments against evolution” has appeared in any peer-reviewed science journal with any supporting data or evidence. All of them are found in ID/creation ‘science’ texts, and ONLY in ID/creationist texts. The arguments are not substantially changed, in form or in substance, from the very same previous arguments made in support of ID and/or creationism.

In the case of Kansas, the absolute unity between ID/creationism and “the scientific arguments against evolution” were spelled out, in great detail, during the “hearings” that were held by the Board before adopting the “teach the controversy” policy. During these hearings, 23 witnesses testified in favor of “teach the controversy”. Every “scientific argument against evolution” presented by these 23 witnesses had already been made previously by creation ‘scientists’ and/or intelligent design “theorists”. In addition, several of the witnesses testified to their belief that science should not be “limited” to “naturalistic” or “materialistic” explanations, that humans and apes have a separate ancestry, that the earth is relatively young, that evolution can occur only within narrowly fixed limits, and that life made a sudden appearence through the actions of a designer. All of these are tenets of creation ‘science’ as defined in the Arkansas Act 590 bill, thus establishing that the arguments made by creation “science” and “teach the controversy” are in fact identical and have not changed at all in the intervening 25 years.

In both cases, “teach the controversy” is based upon the same false “two models” approach already used by both creation “scientists” and IDers. Under this view, any evidence against evolution must necessarily be viewed as evidence for creation/design. The intention of the “teach the controversy” approach is thus made apparent – any “evidence against evolution” is viewed by both creation “scientists” and intelligent design “theorists” as support for their “alternative model”, even if that “alternative model is un-named. The intent and aims of both “teach the controversy” and ID/creationism are therefore one and the same — to attempt to discredit evolution in favor of a religious model of origins.

Not only are the aims, intent and arguments presented in the Ohio “teach the controversy” approach identical in every way with ID and/or creation “science”, but it is the very same people presenting them as ID and/or creation science. In the case of Ohio, the “teach the controversy” policy was itself proposed by the Discovery Institute, as a “compromise” over teaching intelligent design “theory”. As a matter of public record, the Discovery Institute introduced its “compromise” only after it became apparent that the Ohio Board would not only not approve teaching intelligent design “theory”, but would actually ban it, by name. At a hearing about the “teach the controversy” policy in March 2002, leading ID “theorists” Jonathan Wells and Stephen Meyer both spoke in favor of the policy. Ohio Board member Deborah Owens-Fink, who asserted that the policy contained nothing from ID, had nevertheless herself introduced measures in 2000 and in 2002 that would have presented ID in class as a scientific theory. Board members Robert Lattimer and Michael Cochran both also spoke in favor of including ID “theory” in the standards, before supporting the “teach the controversy” policy and declaring that it did not contain any ID theory.

The fact that IDers themselves introduced and supported the “teach the controversy” policy in Ohio indicates clearly that “teach the controversy” and “intelligent design” are one and the same, with the same supporters, same financial/political backers, and same framers.

In the case of Kansas, the continuity between the supporters/framers of “teach the controversy” and Creationism/design are apparent from the witnesses who testified in support of “teach the controversy” at the hearings. Among those who spoke in favor of “teach the controversy” were Stephen Meyer, William Dembski, and Jonathan Wells, all of whom were fellows at the Discovery Institute, all of whom were recognized as leading figures in the intelligent design”theory” movement, and all of whom had written extensive ID materials that were being offered as part of the “scientific arguments against evolution”. Another witness was Charles Thaxton, who was one of the chief architects of the intelligent design movement’s Wedge Strategy. Even more clearly than in Ohio, Kansas shows us that “teach the controversy”, far from being substantially different than intelligent design ‘theory”, is in fact written, produced and directed by the very same people, and makes the very same arguments. There simply is no substantial difference between ID/creationism and the “teach the controversy” policies in Kansas and Ohio.

Quite aside from the fact that “teach the controversy” is indistinguishable in any substantive sense from creation ‘science” and ID, if it can be shown that the policy has religious motivations, has the effect of advancing religion, or implies governmental endorsement of religion, it will independently fail on church/state grounds. And this is not difficult to show.

In Kansas, the religious motives behind the “teach the controversy” policy are explicit and obvious. The Chairman of the education board, Steve Abrams, who played a pivotal role in getting the “teach the controversy” policy adopted, has made open statements to the press pointing out his religious motivations: ““At some point in time, if you compare evolution and the Bible, you have to decide which one you believe. ThatÂ’s the bottom line.” (Lawrence Journal- World, Sept 24, 2005) Board member Kathy Martin, when asked if ID had a religious agenda, Martin declared, “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. (Pitch.Com, May 5, 2005) Prior to the hearings, Board member Connie Morris asked for a list of witnesses that those opposing the policy planned to call, explaining that she would be “praying over” the witness list. (Kansas Star, April 20,2005)

In Ohio, the board members were more careful not to speak openly of any religious motives. The Discovery Institute members and other IDers who introduced the “compromise”, however, have been publicly vocal about their religious motivations. One of the early IDers to show up in Ohio was John Calvert (who was also the lawyer who questioned the 23 witnesses in the Kansas hearings). The Kansas City Star reports (June 14, 2005): “Ohio began work on its standards in 2001. It was the same year that Calvert retired early from the Lathrop & Gage law firm to devote his time to the Intelligent Design Network of Shawnee Mission, which he had co-founded. On a cold January night in 2002, Calvert was in Columbus, Ohio, to address the standards committee of the Ohio Board of Education. The committee is comprised of about half of the state boardÂ’s 19 members. One of them, evolution defender Martha Wise, remembers Calvert well. “I sat through his half-hour presentation and thought, ‘What is he talking about — a higher power?Â’ During a break, I remember going over to some people who are recognized as our Ohio Academy of Science and I said to them: ‘It sounds like he is talking about GodÂ’ and they said: ‘You got it.Â’ I was flabbergasted.”

The conclusion seems clear and inescapable, in both Ohio and Kansas. The “teach the controversy” policy is identical in every substantive way with creation “science” and/or ID “theory, both of which have already been ruled illegal on church/state grounds. “Teach the controversy” and ID/creationism both depend on exactly the same “scientific arguments” – none of which have ever been published in any scientific journal, none of which are accepted as valid by the scientific community, and all of which are lifted, word for word, from creation “science” and ID texts. The identical nature of the “controversy”/ID arguments is matched by a similar identity in supporters, backers and framers. The people who have put together and are pushing for adoption of “teach the controversy” are the very same people who were earlier putting together and pushing for adoption of creation “science” and/or ID “theory”. And public statements from both board members and from the individuals who helped formulate and implement the “teach the controversy” policy make it clear that they are still motivated by the very same religious motives that fuled their earlier efforts to introduce creationism/ID into classrooms.

In short, “teach the controversy” *IS* creationism/intelligent design. There is no substantive difference between them. “Teach the controversy” is, transparently, nothing more than an attempt to respond to court rulings banning creationism/ID by dropping the words altogether, while leaving the arguments the same.

PvM: now you get to title a thread “How the West was Lost”

How could I be so lucky…

Defending Pandas… Well, West should have chosen more carefully perhaps which ‘Pandas’ he was going to defend :-)

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This page contains a single entry by PvM published on December 27, 2005 10:25 PM.

Analysis of Utah Anti-Evolution Bill was the previous entry in this blog.

Pandas and Part Three is the next entry in this blog.

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