Journalists are beginning to get it

| 156 Comments

The Disco Institute’s Media Complaints Division (aka “Evolution News and Views”, a misnomer if I ever saw one) regularly rants about what they deem to be misrepresentations of Intelligent Design “theory”. In spite of Luskin’s and Crowther’s efforts, though, a growing number (!) of journalists are catching on to the Disco Institute’s scam. The most recent example is an editorial in today’s Akron Beacon Journal. The editorial writer, Steve Hoffman, clearly gets it. He writes

What might a judge eventually say about the state school board in Ohio, which this week refused by a narrow margin to revise its guidelines for teaching biology? Those guidelines create false controversy over Darwinian evolution, singling it out from all other scientific theories for critical analysis, indirectly but quite deliberately guiding students toward the conclusion that an intelligent designer (God) must have shaped each amazing, complex organism. Would the judge conclude that in the wake of the Dover decision, the state board in Ohio acted with breathtaking stupidity?

My answer, of course, would be no: the Board, or at least the thought leaders on it, Michael Cochran and Deborah Owens Fink, did not act in ignorance or breathtaking stupidity. In my opinion, they acted knowing full well what they were doing: perverting science education in Ohio schools in service of a religiously grounded socio-cultural movement. Robert Lattimer, a leader of ID troops in Ohio, told an ID conference in late 2003 that science would have very little to do with the development of science standards and education would have very little to do with it. Just so.

Hoffman went on

The Ohio board’s fundamental mistake was that a majority of its members were unable (or unwilling) to differentiate between scientific and political controversy. That mistake has now been compounded.

Again, I vote for “unwilling”. I do not believe this is the honest mistake of unwitting people, but is the intentional perversion of both science and education to further a sectarian agenda.

Catherine Candinsky of the Columbus Dispatch also “gets it”, as do others in Ohio. It remains to be seen whether the middle-of-the-road members of the Ohio Board of Education will get it. Will they realize that they’re allowing Cochran and Owens Fink to lead Ohio public education down an indefensible educational, scientific, and legal path? They still have a chance. The one parallel between Dover and Ohio that hasn’t occurred is that no member of the Ohio Board has lied to a federal judge under oath. Yet.

RBH

156 Comments

You’re completely right. Board members most certainly knew what they were doing. Statements like “If they think we are wrong — take us to court” and the guy reading a newspaper instead of listening to others speak on the day of the 9-8 vote in favor of ID prove the point.

No amount of “evidence” will get in the way of their ideology…

They want to be taken to court? Let’s take them up on that offer.

How many court cases do you think it will take to convince school districts (and state education boards) that they cannot use the law to mandate their religious beliefs? Clearly, it’s at least two…

The problem is, the people leading this charge into battle are not the ones that will suffer the consequences.

For the IDiots, this is a no lose proposition. If they win, they win. If they lose, it’s the taxpayers of Ohio that will have to shoulder the burden.

It would be nice if someone can find grounds to go after these nitwits personally (perhaps the State of Ohio can go after them for abuse of office or some such?).

It would also be *very sweet* if Dover can do the same.

It may be tricky to get standing to challenge the standards. Ohio may have to wait for someone to sue a district that implements the standards in an unconstitutional way.

For the IDiots, this is a no lose proposition. If they win, they win. If they lose, it’s the taxpayers of Ohio that will have to shoulder the burden.

They elected the Governor of Ohio, who appointed the people who voted in these new standards.

Yes, the people who voted for intelligent, honest candidates (if there were any) will be screwed over. But that’s the way the system works. If the only way to keep people from putting morons into positions of power is to let them reap the rewards of their poor choices… well, we may just have to take the extreme measures of letting people face the consequences of their actions.

Maybe the Ohioans will choose more rationally next time. As for those poor people who are being represented by people they really don’t want to represent them, well, that’s life.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: democracy simply doesn’t work.

democracy simply doesn’t work

And your suggested alternative is.…?

Technocracy would be an interesting experiment. It would certainly resolve the Culture Wars pretty quickly, don’t you think?

Globally, the world IS a technocracy. Manpower counts for little these days.

RBH said:

They still have a chance

What did you mean by this, Richard?

Do you mean there is still a chance to avoid a district court case?

I thought that was essentially a foregone conclusion after the last meeting.

Could you please clarify?

thanks

Somewhat along these lines, the most recent issue of Science has an article discussing (and quoting extensively from) the Dover decision. And the most recent Scientific American does a profile on Eugenie Scott.

Jim -

I’ve been saying the same thing for a long time.

Right now, these people pay no personal price for their conspiracies to violate civil rights.

ID loses, and taxpayers lose, but the individuals can win - they get to look like “defenders of the faith” to their own chosen companions.

Bringing some personal responsibility to bear might change all that.

“I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: democracy simply doesn’t work”

Democracy is the worst system - except for all the other systems.

Can you name a single undemocratic society that is doing especially well?

Any issues I may have with US society are most certainly NOT related to too much democracy.

What the Sam Hill is “technocracy”? Rule by “help desk” staff?

Any issues I may have with US society are most certainly NOT related to too much democracy.

Really? So you wouldn’t object if we took a vote to determine whether the idea that God specially-created man should be taught in school?

http://www.religioustolerance.org/ev_publi.htm

Hey, we could make it a worldwide vote! That’d make it even more democratic - all humans deciding together what the truth is.

Can you name a single undemocratic society that is doing especially well?

China.

You do recall that China owns a very large portion of our national debt, yes?

I wonder what will happen when they call that ticket in…

Right now, these people pay no personal price for their conspiracies to violate civil rights.

Indeed, that’s what dependents of the Discovery Institute are paid for. If, tomorrow, I am shown some absolutely irrefutable body of evidence that my basic understanding of biology has been completely flawed, I will probably slap my forehead, say something like “Well, I’ll be damned!” and get back to work.

If the Casey Luskins and Jonathan Wells’s were to recognize the scientific vacuousness of their project, they’d have to:

(a)get real jobs, or (b)lie a lot (to themselves and to everyone else).

Harold,

I’m with you on that thought. How would the DI be distinguished from a strip mall Psychic? You pays your money, you takes your chance.

As an advocacy group it’s the market that will determine whether or not the DI is successful. Behe’s book, for example, lay dormant for a decade. I have no idea if the recent publicity has given it stronger legs.

Sir T_J asked

What did you mean by this, Richard?

The motion to delete the lesson plan was ruled by the President of the Board to be a main motion. Thus a member who voted on the prevailing side (one of the 9 who voted “no”) could move to reconsider. If the motion to reconsider gets a majority, then the main motion can be voted on again. So procedurally it is not yet too late for the Board to clean up its act.

RBH

The Naked Emperor has some good insights on Luskin’s latest spinning.

What I find hilarious about the Discovery Institute’s letter to Mr. Wight is that Casey Luskin makes the assertion that “Under the current formulation, the course title “Philosophy of design” misrepresents intelligent design by promoting young earth creationism under the guise of intelligent design.” That is the proverbial pot calling the kettle black. Intelligent design proponents are trying to misrepresent science by promoting intelligent design under the guise of science.

Intelligent design is creationism. Refusing to name the creator doesn’t change that. It only demonstrates how disingenuous its advocates are.

The motion to delete the lesson plan was ruled by the President of the Board to be a main motion. Thus a member who voted on the prevailing side (one of the 9 who voted “no”) could move to reconsider. If the motion to reconsider gets a majority, then the main motion can be voted on again. So procedurally it is not yet too late for the Board to clean up its act.

rockin!

thanks, Richard, for clearing that up.

I guess that means: “Keep those cards and letters comin’ folks”

OTOH, part of me keeps thinking that it’s obvious that the IDiots want this to all the way to the Supremes (AGAIN), and I wonder if it wouldn’t be more expedient to get this over with now, rather than later when the majority (including the likely to be approved “Scalito”) are more likely to rule in favor of a more, dare i say it, “liberal” interpretation of the seperatiton clause in the constitution than the current court does.

What do you think Richard?

best to get this over with now, or best to avoid any more court cases?

will pacino play “scalito” in the film adaptation?

Let’s apply math to the Bible, not just biology.

2 Chronicles 4:2 states “He also made the molten sea. It was perfectly round, ten cubits in diameter, five in depth, and thirty in circumference.”

Pi times diameter gives us the circumference of a circle. 2 Chronicles gives us a diameter of 10 and a circumference of 30. So:

10pi = 30

Dividing each side by 10 we get…

pi = 3.

Three on the button ! Ain’t Biblical science grand ?

pi = 3.

Three on the button ! Ain’t Biblical science grand ?

well, it sure is simplistic, which is why i guess it appeals to so many.

will pacino play “scalito” in the film adaptation?

doubtful. He doesn’t match up well physically:

http://www.law.com/jsp/article.jsp?[…]136541915440

I vote for Eugene Levy to play Scalito…

Pi…a number that legislators of the past have argued should be “set” at the value of 3.14 so that there would be no confusion among architects and tradesmen.

It’s wonderful, the science education that some of our polticians had. Let’s support them in their crusade to include all points of view.

I vote for Eugene Levy to play Scalito…

hmm, yeah, if he puts on a few pounds, that might work.

who would play the weepy wife who sits behind him?

democracy simply doesn’t work.

Au contraire — it works very well. Indeed, it gives people EXACTLY the sort of government they deserve.

If they vote for simple-minded idiots, then that’s what they GET. (shrug)

It may be tricky to get standing to challenge the standards. Ohio may have to wait for someone to sue a district that implements the standards in an unconstitutional way.

How so? It seems to me that the Ohio board is a governmental body, no governmental body has the constitutional right to advance or endorse religion, the board is acting unconstituionally by doing so anyway, and any citizen of Ohio ought to have standing to enforce that provision. No?

Sir TY_J wrote

I guess that means: “Keep those cards and letters comin’ folks”

OTOH, part of me keeps thinking that it’s obvious that the IDiots want this to all the way to the Supremes (AGAIN), and I wonder if it wouldn’t be more expedient to get this over with now, rather than later when the majority (including the likely to be approved “Scalito”) are more likely to rule in favor of a more, dare i say it, “liberal” interpretation of the seperatiton clause in the constitution than the current court does.

What do you think Richard?

best to get this over with now, or best to avoid any more court cases?

Yes, for sure it means keep those cards and letters coming. I will have a longer post sometime next week describing the last Board meeting more fully – I’m waiting for the tapes of the meeting to be transcribed.

My preference would be for the Board to delete the offending lesson plan and delete or rewrite the benchmark that allowed it into the model curriculum. It’s my tax money that the Board would be pissing away defending a federal suit. But the documents we have already obtained from Public Records Requests made by Americans United for the Separation of Church and State paint a dirty picture of both the ID-pushing Board members and some of the senior staff in the Ohio Department of Education who reported to them. (Incidentally, the Ohio Department of Education was less than forthcoming in its response to the PRR. We know of relevant documents that ODE has that were not released. We know that because some of our people were involved in creating those documents.)

The documented trail is already broad and clear. While both internal and external ODE science consultants were telling ODE senior management that the “Critical Analysis” lesson plan contains “a lie”, is “oversimplified”, its author “doesn’t know what critical analysis means”, and that it is laced with ID, senior ODE management was assuring the Board and the public that they did their best to provide good science in the model curriculum. Those managers (Hi there, Dr. Bobby Bowers!) will be the ones under oath in a federal court, facing cross examination with the documents from the PRR and additional documents that will surely be turned up in discovery pushed in their faces. I don’t envy them.

RBH

hmm, your argument appears to be a bit philosophically divided.

after asking my initial question, I immediately thought, of course; why would anybody WANT to pay for yet another trial.

however, looking at the paper trail that seems to have gathered behind these folks like slime from a slug, combined with what you said here:

Those managers (Hi there, Dr. Bobby Bowers!) will be the ones under oath in a federal court, facing cross examination with the documents from the PRR and additional documents that will surely be turned up in discovery pushed in their faces. I don’t envy them.

one wonders whether another court case that brings this trail to light might actually be worth the expense? Especially if the media attention could be focused on these slime devils, where it belongs, rather than on Ohio in general.

hmm.

i guess do both would be the appropriate response?

keep the public pressure on, AND continue to gather evidence for use in the likely court case.

another thought:

If there is a considerable and obvious paper trail, why isn’t that enough evidence to convince the board members to change their minds on the curriculum?

strange indeed.

mynyn, Look at the date the claim was made and responded to.

Claim CA320: Scientists are pressured not to challenge the established dogma. Source: Watchtower Bible and Tract Society. 1985. Life—How Did It Get Here? Brooklyn, NY, p. 182. Response:

Now, next time you think you have a new ant-evolution idea, it would be a good idea to check on talk origins first. Otherwise you will look stupid.

As for scientific consensus: How many scientists can you name? What are they famous for? Is it for just fitting in with their current consensus?

Now, are you going to learn, run or spout of some more ignorant lines?

Comment #72129 posted by Paul Flocken on January 15, 2006 12:33 PM Larry, I have mostly ignored your ignorance because, to me, it’s not even humorous, but:

LaLaLarry wrote in Comment #72065:

Anyway, I think that you raised an interesting point. Maybe the myth of unequal rates of descent in free fall was maintained by performing the experiment you described of letting objects descend down an incline,

I was sort of kidding when I said that – I didn’t think that anyone would take me seriously. From now on, when I am kidding I will say that I am kidding so everyone will always know when I am kidding.

Larry, the myth was broken by Galileo with just this experiment. I won’t go into his reasoning why it would work, only say that Galileo chose to do the experiment this way because he did not have any kind of clock which could measure time accurately enough to time a falling body.

You don’t need a clock – you can just drop the two objects simultaneously and see or hear if they both hit the ground at the same time.

Galileo’s cleverness lay in figuring out that all those other factors either canceled or were irrelevant and that free fall represented the limit of an inclined plane inclined completely to the vertical.

No, those other factors do not necessarily cancel out and are not necessarily irrelevant. On an inclined plane, there can be a significant difference in descent rate between a sliding object and one that is rolling or both rolling and sliding. See my discussion in comment #72065.

And even Galileo didn’t perform that particular experiment.

I wonder if Mr. Jim Loy would appreciate his work being misrepresented in your efforts to demonstrate how ignorant you really are.

OK, I didn’t read the whole article. I never before saw anything questioning that he did the experiment. I did not mean to misrepresent the article.

mynym said:

People have to put their careers on the line to go against the proto-Nazi tendencies of Darwinists and modern day Darwinists have worked fervently against any careful examination of Darwinian theory being promoted.

You slept through the Nobels this year? The Medicine or Physiology Nobel went to two guys who went against the common consensus of science, did not put their careers on the line, and by the grace of hard research with solid results, changed the way we treat ulcers.

The claim you repeated, mynym, is ignorant of the science involved and of the history of science.

mynym burbled:

That’s bull and you know it. People have to put their careers on the line to go against the proto-Nazi tendencies of Darwinists and modern day Darwinists have worked fervently against any careful examination of Darwinian theory being promoted.

If mynym calls ‘Darwinists’ ‘Nazis’ one more time, I’d vote for his disemvowelment. This is no better than the crap that gets DaveScot disemvowelled.

Paul,

The real reason the myth of unequal falling rates for heavier vs. lighter objects endured for so many centuries is no mystery at all. The idea was part of Aristotelian philosophy which was, as a whole, very strongly supported by the Catholic church. To question that idea, or even perform experiments that might repudiate it, risked bringing down the wrath of the church upon your head and the consequences were not pleasant. As the case of Galileo himslf amply demonstrated.

The reason the Catholic church so strongly supported Aristotelian philosophy is another interesting question, I will delve into right now. It does show, however, how science, philosophy and theology have been so intertwined for so long.

Godwin’s Law rules. This thread is closed. If people want to continue this line of argument (irreducible complexity in particular), I invite them to the Internet Infidels Evolution/Creationism Forum.

RBH

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This page contains a single entry by Richard B. Hoppe published on January 13, 2006 2:26 PM.

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