Legal eagles flutter on

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Following the Dover shipwreck, frantic salvage P.R. work is going on at the Discovery Institute, much of it at the expense of lucidity. Can the slightly different ID tactics in Kansas, Ohio and Georgia escape the precedent set by Judge Jones’s decision? In Ohio in particular, things may be reaching a critical point as we speak. Instead of reassessing their approach, in a last-ditch attempt to stave off another defeat the DI resorts to some good old-fashioned disinformation tactics.

In the wake of a judge’s ruling banning intelligent design from the Dover, Pennsylvania school district, special interest groups opposed to teaching the controversy about Darwinian evolution are trying to pressure the Ohio State Board of Education to repeal an Ohio state science standard which requires students to be able to “describe how scientists continue to investigate and critically analyze aspects of evolutionary theory.” The standards clearly state that they “do not mandate the teaching or testing of intelligent design.”

“The Dover ruling clearly has no relevance for Ohio,” said Luskin. “Ohio is not teaching intelligent design, making this a completely different issue.”

“The sad truth is that there are some Darwinists out there who want to impose dogmatism in the curriculum, and don’t want students to know all there is to know about Darwinian evolution,” Luskin added. “It is critically important that students learn about all the most current scientific evidence both for and against the theory.”

Alas for Luskin and the DI, this is not a “completely different issue”, and putting on the “controversy” tutu isn’t enough to make the ID warthog look like a ballerina.

Judge Jones already explicitly recognized and exposed this strategy in the Kitzmiller ruling:

Moreover, ID’s backers have sought to avoid the scientific scrutiny which we have now determined that it cannot withstand by advocating that the controversy, but not ID itself, should be taught in science class. This tactic is at best disingenuous, and at worst a canard. The goal of the IDM is not to encourage critical thought, but to foment a revolution which would supplant evolutionary theory with ID. Kitzmiller v DASD, Memorandum Opinion, p 89

Quite obviously, the “teach the controversy” approach, and its close cousin the “critical analysis curriculum”, are all one and the same with Intelligent Design: same arguments, same proponents, same sources. As Jones notes, ID and “teach the controversy” also share the same ultimate goal: to introduce in science classes, as if it were a valid scientific hypothesis, the (explicit or implicit) possibility that a putative, empirically undetectable supernatural agent is a better explanation for biological diversity than known naturalistic mechanisms.

If there is one thing that the Kitzmiller case should have taught ID advocates, is that clumsy cosmetic surgery operations do not change the substance of ideas, and that it is wishful thinking that these stratagems would fool an attentive and objective observer. Just like the history and track record of ID linked it inexorably to Creation Science, so are these new school-targeted anti-evolution strategies linked to ID in both spirit and content. Jones could see right through it, and so can pretty much everyone else.

168 Comments

Jones could see right through it, and so can pretty much everyone else.

I remain convinced that the proximate goal here isn’t to fool the courts, but rather to provide as well-greased a set of plausible deniability skids as possible to a judge who knows exactly what ID is intended to do, and his faith tells him God likes it.

And so we have Judge Carnes saying things like, well, evolution IS a theory, and keeping an open mind IS a good idea, and critical thinking IS what school is all about.

Does anyone seriously think that Carnes doesn’t understand the religious agenda?

Or Alito? How about Roberts? Will thomas sign on without comment?

Voltaire Wrote:

Lord, please make my opponents ridiculous.

Flint,

I agree, the evidence is pretty plain and it’s available to anyone that cares to perform even a quick background check.

Of course, they’re pandering to an audience for whom questioning any aspect of the agenda is grounds for exclusion (witness Dave Scott at UC).

After following the link to DI about their Ohio tactics, I found the January 9th posting about the American’s United response to a ID philosophy class in Frazier Mountain High School outside of Bakersfield, CA.

Does anyone know what was the actual text of the AU letter sent to the district superintendent that DI described as follows:

Instead, the school district is issued with an ultimatum according to the Bakersfield Calfiornian which reports that the districts superintendent received a nasty letter from Americans United for Separation of Church State saying in part:

“Pull the intelligent design class at Frazier Mountain High School,” was the letter’s ominous message, “or we file an injunction.”

Weren’t the Ohio standards drafted by the guy who tried to stack his thesis committee at OSU with creationists, in contravention of the rules of the school?

Won’t all this come out in any court discovery, just like the evidence in the Dover case about the editorial hijinks with Pandas and People in Dover, and all the religious motivation evidence on the Dover school board?

A classic case of the Rev. Dr.’s “Extend Foot - Pull Trigger” Syndrome.

Here are the thoughts I have on Ohio/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. That’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 board’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?’ 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 God’ and they said: ‘You got it.’ 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 fueled 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.

American’s United would do well to offer a copy of the letter they supposedly sent and not let another day go by where this school district keep portraying them as bullies.

Also, I just went by there web site. No obvious mention of this riff raff in California.

Only slightly off-topic:

Why isn’t there more emphasis to the other side’s potential converts about viewing the issue backwards. In other words, what are the theological implications if the ID argument is correct? I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, if ID is right and God left fingerprints in the bacterial flagellum or some such that we’re just now becoming sophisticated enough to recognize, then it signals the end of faith. If you can prove objectively that God exists, then faith becomes superfluous, and according to Christian doctorine (if I’m not mistaken; I’m no expert), that’s a heresy.

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Lenny–

Keep a copy of your post #69807. A little editing, and you could practically submit it as an amicus curae.

There’s nothing wrong with teaching basic evolutionary science in a philosophy class. I’d recommend using something like Elliott Sober’s _Philosophy of Biology_ for that very subject.

You can’t do philosophy of biology without knowing something about biology and evolution. I don’t see that this denigrates evolution or biology.

Note: the “editorial” in the Bakersfield California was written by Marylee Shrider, “the conservative take on life in Kern County”. So it makes sense the piece’s spin on the issue and why the DIers would refer to it on their website. This is not an objective piece of reporting.

I agree with Mr. Christopher that the AU needs to respond.

Here are links to information about the course syllabus:

http://www.mountainenterprise.com/I[…]us051209.htm

http://www.mountainenterprise.com/I[…]h_markup.htm

http://www.mountainenterprise.com/I[…]-051229.html

As you can see, it’s all SOS (the Same Old S**t). Anything to sneak creationism into the public school curricula, by any means necessary.

Note the bit of backpedalling in the “revised” course syllabus (last link above).

Jim Lippard Wrote:

You can’t do philosophy of biology without knowing something about biology and evolution. I don’t see that this denigrates evolution or biology.

Fair enough. But can you do high school philosophy without knowing about biology? It’s the match-up of the subjects that seems suspect to me.

I imagine it depends how they’re using “Philosophy,” and whether they teach “the philosophy of biology” or (as Dictionary.com puts it - probably not great, but it’s handy) “Investigation of the nature, causes, or principles of reality, knowledge, or values, based on logical reasoning rather than empirical methods.” If the latter, then does Darwinian evolution still fit?

Thanks for the recommended reading. I’ll check it out.

Comment #69800 posted by Liz on January 10, 2006 06:09 PM

Instead, the school district is issued with an ultimatum according to the Bakersfield Calfiornian which reports that the districts superintendent received a nasty letter from Americans United for Separation of Church State saying in part: “Pull the intelligent design class at Frazier Mountain High School,” was the letter’s ominous message, “or we file an injunction.”

Isn’t this Frazier Mountain HS course the kind of course that KU professor Paul Mirecki said would be a “nice slap in the big fat face of the fundies”?

Comment #69809 posted by Mr Christopher on January 10, 2006 06:32 PM American’s United would do well to offer a copy of the letter they supposedly sent and not let another day go by where this school district keep portraying them as bullies.

Doesn’t the quote from the letter say it all ? The quote does not ask that the course be modified; the quote just asks the school district to “pull” the course – or else.

Apparently Americans United has been emboldened by its little “victory” in the Kitzmiller v. Dover case. But even the Dover opinion did not say that ID could not be taught in a philosophy class.

Lenny,

Excellent read. I agree with B. Spitzer. You should keep a copy of this for later. Perhaps forward a copy to Mr. Rotheschild, see if he’d like to carry the banner just a little further?

A Law suit has been filed by AU against El Tejon (ie. Frazier Mountain) …

See the AP article.

Jim Lippard Wrote:

There’s nothing wrong with teaching basic evolutionary science in a philosophy class. I’d recommend using something like Elliott Sober’s _Philosophy of Biology_ for that very subject.

You can’t do philosophy of biology without knowing something about biology and evolution. I don’t see that this denigrates evolution or biology.

That’s a lovely strawman, but it has no relevance to a high school philosophy class that offers “Darwin’s theory of evolution” as one of several alternative views on the origins of life.

Liz thanks for that update. Ok, warm up chief intelligent deign creationism theologian William Dembski for the defense and bring on the Discovery Institute!

Lenny—

Keep a copy of your post #69807. A little editing, and you could practically submit it as an amicus curae.

Or he could market it as a cure for insomnia. ;>)

Larry Fafman: Doesn’t the quote from the letter say it all ? The quote does not ask that the course be modified; the quote just asks the school district to “pull” the course — or else.

As I read it, that quote is from Wight describing what the letter says, no the letter itself. It seems rather unlikely that AU has lawyers who say, literally: “Pull the intelligent design class at Frazier Mountain High School, or we file an injunction.”

As far as the specifics of the case go, of course the crucial issue is whether this is a course in Creation science/ID under the guise of a philosophy course, or if it is a genuine course in the philosophical issues underlying ID/Creationism vs science controversy.

From the little I can gather from the syllabus, especially the supporting material, this looks suspiciously just like an attempt to expose students to the usual, discredited Creationist material under false pretenses (i.e. teaching philosophy). If so, it clearly goes against the spirit of the many rulings against teaching Creationism, as well as the Kitzmiller decision, if not their letter. However, I’d like to read the actual lesson plans and see what the teacher has to say before making a final judgement.

Having evolution discussed in a philosophy class would be good IF:

It was examining different ways of “knowing” about the world, in this case the diversity of species and human origins, i.e. ID = faith driving logical reasoning, evolution = empirical evidence driving logical reasoning, greek mythology = faith driving logical reasoning. Then asking the questions such as ‘Which should carry more weight, and why?’, and ‘why is there no longer a belief in the Greek pantheon of gods?’

Or

It was discussing the philosophical implications of the reality of evolution on personal and/or religious beliefs regarding one’s place in the world.

It could be quite confronting for some.

However I have a sneaking suspicion that in this class evolution will be relegated (denigrated) to a belief system that one can choose to believe or not, rather than an empirically demonstrated reality.

Isn’t it nice that Sharon (the teacher) is planning on presenting a balance of treatment of ID and evolution.…

(As exerpted from her syllabus)

2. What is Intelligent Design? @ 5 days

3. What is Darwinism/ Evolution? @5 days

There is actually 5 days of materials to present on ID?

Ha!

And as biblical creation begat natural theolology and that begat creation science and that begat intelligent design and that begat teach the controversy so will teach the controversy inevitably beget? its own spawn and so ad infinitum wasting scarce taxpayer resources and the eager contributions of countless minions of the faithful with nothing else to do with their hard earned wages while waiting for the rapture. Meanwhile Philip Johnson is crying all the way to the bank. James Dobson should take a lesson from this boy.

This comes from the syllabi

Students will prepare a position paper supporting their beliefs on the subject of evolution or intelligent design

This is the exact forcing students to choose one over the other that Judge Jones wrote about.

I wonder if the ACLU is going to participate in this one?

Comment #69822 posted by B. Spitzer on January 10, 2006 06:57 PM

Lenny—

Keep a copy of your post #69807. A little editing, and you could practically submit it as an amicus curae.

When did Lenny become a lawyer ?

Just giving him some of his own medicine. He said the same thing about me in response to a comment of mine consisting of an extensively researched legal analysis which — believe it or not – supported his position !!!!!!

By the way, you don’t have to be a lawyer to write an amicus curiae brief.

It’s interesting that the syllabus pretty much identifies the conclusion of each component of the course. For example, under What is ID? the question is asked whether it is based on science, and under What is darwinism/evolution? the question is asked whether it is based on a religion.

The course answers will of course be Yes and Yes, based on such seminal scientific works as (imagine Troy McLure speaking here) Of Pandas and People and Icons of Evolution.

The real answers are of course No and No. But we should never let the facts get in the way of the “Truth”!

From the Americans United press release about their suit against the El Tejon Unified School District:

Americans United, representing parents of Frazier High students, sent a Jan. 4 letter to Superintendent John Wight and school board members advising them that teaching a particular religious viewpoint in a public school class violates the constitutional separation of church and state. …

The “Philosophy of Design” course description, which was given to students and their families in early December, stated that it would “take a close look at evolution as a theory and will discuss the scientific, biological, and Biblical aspects that suggest why Darwin’s philosophy is not rock solid.… Physical and chemical evidence will be presented suggesting the earth is thousands of years old, not billions.” …

In its order seeking to block the high school from teaching the course, Americans United noted that teacher Sharon Lemburg proposed the course for overtly religious reasons. Lemburg wrote the course description and also prepared a course syllabus showing that intelligent design would be the primary topic of discussion. ID maintains that life is so complex that an intelligent entity, likely God, must have created it.

For example, Lemburg’s syllabus asks why ID is “gaining momentum” and why it is “so threatening to society, the educational system and evolutionists.” The original syllabus for the class listed 24 videos for potential use, virtually all of them produced by religious organizations and centered on attacking evolution and advancing intelligent design. One video, called “Chemicals to Living Cells: Fantasy or Science,” is produced by a Christian ministry called Answers in Genesis.

Keep a copy of your post #69807. A little editing, and you could practically submit it as an amicus curae.

I think one has to be invited by someone involved in the case to submit an amicus brief … ? (nudge nudge) ;)

Really, it seems like an open and shut case to me. Both of them.

Well, I have to agree that just using the phrases would be helpful, STJ, but I was a bit hesitant to suggest that on top of all my other requests–reasonable as they were!–because, well, I have to admit that my relationship with, um, our retired teenage “friend” has perhaps not gotten off to the very smoothest start.

Thinking about it though, the little feller has really been the recipient of a lot of effort here, for which he has not properly appreciative.

Returning to the Dembski thread–where his presence is really wanted, where in fact the whole thread has now been dedicated to him, and where he would feel ever so much more “at home”!–and, once there, trying to restrain the length of his comments just a teensy tiny bit–not the number, young feller, just the length!–doesn’t seem too much to ask, after all we’ve done for him.

The reference you gave above, a pro-evolution article written by a scientist, is titled, “29+ Evidences for Macroevolution — The Case for Common Descent” (emphasis added), and gives definitions of microevolution and macroevolution in its introduction. So here is an example of an evolutionist who maintains the micro-macro distinction.

I conceded this point to you. I offered that site as proposed look at what macroevolution is. A definition of sorts. And to be quite honest, I’m still touching in the dark on this one (though thanks for the chip AC! ;) Is macro-micro a usable distinction at all? I remain unconvinced.

OK, theories are based on facts, but facts cannot be based on theories.

No, theories EXPLAIN facts and propose mechanisms by which those facts came to be. In other words, they predict facts. If you do not like their prediction of the facts, find a fact that should follow from the predictions but does not or find a prediction that should materialise into a fact and does not. If either is achieved, theories must be changed. If change is no longer possible, it is replaced by a superior theory (Theory of Newtonian gravity –> Einstein).

ID has given us no mechanisms (heck, Behe and Dembski say we don’t even need one!) so it is no valid alternative for Evolutionary theory. It may be true, for all we know, but the fact of the matter is that it is not science. And THAT is what the ID-ists are continually obscuring. When stripped away of science it is of course not strange at all that the judge decided that it is religion, though this is the only arguable point of the ruling. The (un)scientificality of ID was never in doubt.

Evolutionists accuse ID proponents of lacking inquiring minds, saying that once ID proponents have decided that something is irreducibly complex, they can just throw up their hands, say “the intelligent designer did it,” and not investigate any further. But the evolutionists are the real ones lacking inquiring minds —- once they have decided that they have refuted a particular criticism of evolution, the refutation is final for all time and they need not consider that criticism ever again, even if plausible new evidence and/or plausible new arguments supporting that criticism are presented.

*sighs* Larry, Larry. A ‘tu quoque’ fallacy does not validate your argument: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tu_quoque (and I’m sorry for using Wikipedia again but it’s late and I’m lazy :P)

Even barring that, you are gravely misinformed. ID makes a strong claim through its mechanism IC. The nature of a strong claim is that once one fact is found that is fallacious to this claim, the strong claim itself is fallacious.

And the first thing the evolution did was combat this strong claim of ID, succesfully. Blood clotting and the immune system come to mind. So their claim is fallacious.

What you are gravely misinterpreting here is that evolutionists leave a criticism lying even if new evidence is found. That, my friend, is a very bold claim, a strong one even. I urge you to back that up with an example. And, failing that, you might want to consider the ‘plausible new evidence’ the ID movement has given us. You’ll find there is none since IC was first defined by Behe.

Remember Larry, evolution is a theory with a 100 year history, it has changed and taken a new shape in those years with lots of evidence backing its mechanisms. The burden of proof is on you, since you wish to contest it. So please, enlighten me with research. If you either bring a new definition of IC to the fore or dispute Evolution’s answer to the IC of blood clotting, we will reconsider your arguments. And quite frankly, you making claims that we would ignore it hurts my scientist’s pride.

My lawsuits concerned a $300 California car tax called the “smog impact fee,” which was a tax on some out-of-state vehicles newly registered in the state. The tax was eventually declared unconstitutional by the state courts. I sued in federal court, arguing for various reasons that the federal government was a necessary party to the suit because the tax was entirely based on federal auto emissions regulations and owed its existence to those regulations. I persisted because I was very annoyed that my suits were thrown out without the judge(s) giving a reason. An attorney acquaintance of mine told me that my district court judge had a bad reputation for issuing decisions without opinions. My work was all pro se, performed without the assistance of an attorney. Anyway, it was definitely good experience, which is helping me do the legal research I have done for some of the comments I have posted here. For example, it is important to know that the federal district courts and the federal appeals courts have their own separate sets of rules (for example, there is nothing about amicus briefs in the district court rules). People should be taught in high school or college how to sue the government on their own.

OK, so you’re a crank.

Got it.

Comment #71478 posted by ‘Rev Dr’ Lenny Flank on January 13, 2006 08:00 PM

OK, so you’re a crank.

OK, I’m a crank – just like the plaintiffs in the Dover, Cobb County, and El Tejon, Calif. cases. The only difference was that they had big sugar daddies behind them – the ACLU, Americans United, and Pepper Hamilton. I was on my own. Anyway, as I said, it was good experience.

Comment #71443 posted by W. Kevin Vicklund on January 13, 2006 07:19 PM The error from which all your other errors flow in regards to Buckingham - Buckingham was not a defendant during the trial because he was no longer on the Board. Technically, Bonsell and others ceased to be defendants when they lost their positions on the Board due to the election. They were not individually named as defendants - rather, they were the agents of the defendant entity known as the Dover Area School District Board

Whatever. The board members were popularly believed to be defendants – at least those board members who voted for the ID rule. And the incumbent board members were not voted off the board until around the end of the trial hearings.

Trust us, we’d love to be able to sue them directly.

The ones you should be suing are the plaintiffs’ legal representatives — Pepper Hamilton, the ACLU, and Americans United — for driving up the legal bill by having an excessive number of attorneys of record, 9-10.

But in exchange for us not being able to sue them as individuals, they can’t act as individuals to advance the case to appeal.

The reasons why the case could not be appealed are (1) the defendants lost and (2) the new board voted to repeal the ID rule, rendering any appeal moot. It has nothing to do with whether or not the former board members could be sued as individuals.

Let’s take a look at this again. The relevant quotes:

“When a party calls a hostile witness, an adverse party, or a witness identified with an adverse party, interrogation may be by leading questions.” (FRE Rule 611 ( c ) )

The adverse party here is the Board. Buckingham was an officer of that board during the period in question. Therefore, he is “a witness identified with an adverse party” that is “automatically regarded and treated as hostile”.

OK, so he wasn’t an “adverse witness,” he was “a witness identified with an adverse party” — but according to FRE Rule 611 ( c ), that still could be regarded as officially different from being a “hostile witness.” According to the dictionary definition of hostile witness that I gave, a hostile witness is a witness who is declared to be a hostile witness by the judge at the request of an attorney during testimony. As I said, the reason for declaring a witness to be a “hostile witness” is so that leading questions can be asked when they are normally not allowed, but that did not apply to Buckingham. I checked the trial transcripts for the day that Buckingham testified (Oct. 27), and could find no mention of the word “hostile” or even the word “adverse.” So even if he was unofficially a hostile witness, he was never officially declared to be a hostile witness. Yet the media covering the trial called Buckingham a “hostile witness,” so people could start taunting, “na-na-na-na-na, Buckingham is a hostile witness!” I wonder who told the media that Buckingham was a “hostile witness” — it wasn’t mentioned in the Oct. 27 hearings.

Hostile witness and adverse party is a distinction without meaning.

– to you. But to me, only the judge can declare a witness to be an official “hostile witness,” under the circumstances I stated. The Federal Rules of Evidence gives no definitions of terms, so we are all free to come up with our own definitions if we can justify them – and I have. You have your definitions and I have mine.

Based upon these facts, the most likely candidate for your alleged attempt to assert privilege would be during the Jen Miller deposition. Do you actually disagree with my assessment? In any case, any such attempt must have occurred prior to the beginning of the trial.

We really have no idea. For example, privilege for the memo might have been asserted by a written motion, particularly if the assertion was made before the start of oral hearings. I just thought that some explanation was in order in the Dover opinion because it is so unusual to see an attorney-client message in an opinion and because the message was used against the defendants.

We really have no idea

HEY! use your pronouns correctly, would ya.

I find your use of the word “we” to be more than mildly offensive in this context.

YOU are the only one here who has no idea.

let’s at least be clear on that.

Comment #71463 posted by Edin Najetovic on January 13, 2006 07:41 PM

No, theories EXPLAIN facts and propose mechanisms by which those facts came to be. In other words, they predict facts.

The only “facts” that evolution theory can predict in regard to macroevolution are likely future discoveries of more circumstantial evidence of macroevolution. For example, the fossil record can be used to predict likely future discoveries of “missing link” fossils.

ID has given us no mechanisms (heck, Behe and Dembski say we don’t even need one!) so it is no valid alternative for Evolutionary theory.

In my opinion, ID is not – or should not be – a proposed scientific alternative to evolution theory. I see ID as just a collection of criticisms of evolution theory (irreducible complexity is the best known). A lot of people have this strange idea that a scientific theory may not be criticized unless a plausible alternative scientific theory or hypothesis is introduced at the same time.

Larry, Larry. A ‘tu quoque’ [ad hominem] fallacy does not validate your argument

An ad hominem attack is a personal attack that has no bearing on the issue at hand. I said that evolutionists lack inquiring minds because they refuse to ever reconsider criticisms of evolution theory that they consider to have been refuted (I should have said “some evolutionists”). That statement bears upon the issue at hand.

The nature of a strong claim is that once one fact is found that is fallacious to this claim, the strong claim itself is fallacious.

As I said, that is true in the case of scientific laws like gravity – once an exception is found, the law must either be scrapped or rewritten. But in the case of irreducible complexity, if one bad example is chosen (and I am not conceding that the examples chosen have been bad), then another example can be chosen. We will never run out of potential examples.

Often a disproof of an alleged example of an irreducibly complex system is claimed when it is shown that one of the many components of the system has some function outside the system, or something like that, but I don’t buy sort of thing.

When big flaws in evolution theory are pointed out, the evolutionists claim, “we don’t have all the answers now, but we may find more answers in the future.” They’ve had only about 150 years to find the answers. Meanwhile, in the case of irreducible complexity, which has been around for only about 10 years in its current form, the evolutionists are insisting, “we want all the answers right now, this very minute, or else! Everything must be absolutely perfect ! No mistakes are allowed ! If you make a single mistake, we will reject irreducible complexity forever !”

Whether or not the irreducible complexity concept is valid, it has raised and will continue to raise questions leading to important scientific research. Just the efforts to disprove alleged examples of irreducible complexity are contributing to our scientific knowledge.

========================================

Dear National Science Foundation,

I would like a research grant of one billion dollars to conduct a scientific study to show that the concept of irreducible complexity is so absurd that even a five-year-old can see through it.

Sincerely,

Prof. Charles Darwin

oooooooooooooouuuuuuuu Larry now signs as the Anti-God

Larry rhubarb rhubarb rhubarb rhubarb rhubarb rhubarb Sincerely,

Prof. Charles Darwin

Larry is tearing his panties off to REVEAL

Ta DAH!

Lala says statements are just theories, not facts.

Lala says OK, theories are based on facts, but facts cannot be based on theories.

Lalalalalalnahanahnaha I’m not listening says But I am a fast learner.

Larry knows That the educated cultured section of society is nibbling at the self created wet paper towel that is over his head, the ego of an idiot.

Damn those nibblers

Larry what you are 60 years old now?

You really don’t have much time left to catch up do you ?

Well get yourself a copy of “Lolita” by Nabokov and weep because he was writing not about a dirty old man but a proto-Ayatollah who uses language to relieve his fear of death and his hatred of women.

Or if that is too tough for you get “The heart of Darkness” By Conrad (Some people may claim .…that a Women is to Blame .….but i know…) or if that is too tough for you

read “Don Quixote” by Cervantes the second most popular book in the world after the Bible

They are all about EXACTLY the same thing Fallen angels …woe is me.… all is suffering .….who dream up a counter reality for their own pleasure and who only want to f**k the truth.

re-read the box.… that my friend is tautological solipsism Dembski’s, Behe’s, and Larry’s Windmill.

larry defines the age level of his critical thinking skills:

…even a five-year-old can see through it.

..or at least someone who’s intellect is the equivalent of a 5 year old’s can refuse to see through his own BS.

Apparently now there is a last-minute effort on the part of the El Tejon district to avoid the AU’s lawsuit by reaching some sort of settlement . …

I see ID as just a collection of criticisms of evolution theory (irreducible complexity is the best known). A lot of people have this strange idea that a scientific theory may not be criticized unless a plausible alternative scientific theory or hypothesis is introduced at the same time.

and

But in the case of irreducible complexity, if one bad example is chosen (and I am not conceding that the examples chosen have been bad), then another example can be chosen.

You make me smile. You have just said ID is marginal and that it is NOT a scientific criticism of evolution, so scientists can ignore it. Thank you very much, QED. The rest of your post was more misunderstanding on your part and I’m getting tired of it, consider revealing this self induced demasking my final contribution to this thread.

K.E.

Larry what you are 60 years old now?

Approximately 60, mind you :P

Larry Wrote:

(..)60 years (my own approximate age (…)

Comment #72114 posted by Edin Najetovic on January 15, 2006 11:46 AM ****I see ID as just a collection of criticisms of evolution theory (irreducible complexity is the best known). A lot of people have this strange idea that a scientific theory may not be criticized unless a plausible alternative scientific theory or hypothesis is introduced at the same time.*****

and

*****But in the case of irreducible complexity, if one bad example is chosen (and I am not conceding that the examples chosen have been bad), then another example can be chosen.*****

You make me smile. You have just said ID is marginal and that it is NOT a scientific criticism of evolution, so scientists can ignore it. Thank you very much, QED.

What is this ? NOWHERE in your quotes of my comment did I say or imply that ID is marginal or that it is not a scientific criticism of evolution. In fact, so far as it being a scientific criticism of evolution is concerned, I said the exact opposite.

I may make you smile, but you make me laugh. LOL

The rest of your post was more misunderstanding on your part and I’m getting tired of it, consider revealing this self induced demasking my final contribution to this thread.

I am not just “getting tired” of you, I am tired of you. So this is your “final contribution to this thread” ? Good riddance.

Scary Larry

======================================

“I’m from Missouri. You’ll have to show me.” — Willard Duncan Vandiver

======================================

Dear National Science Foundation, I would like a grant of one billion dollars to conduct a scientific study to show that irreducible complexity is so absurd that even a 5-year-old can easily see through it.

Sincerely, Prof. Charles Darwin

I am not just “getting tired” of you, I am tired of you. So this is your “final contribution to this thread” ? Good riddance.

NOW, Lalalarry’s starting to sound like JAD.

you’re starting to bore us lalalarry.

LaLa (16 going on 60, apparently!), it escapes me why you are wasting your time on THIS thread–and getting people ticked off at you–when you could be accomplishing something productive on your very “own” thread.

But then, once a maroon, always a maroon.

k.e. Wrote:

that my friend is tautological solipsism

k.e. you certainly have a unique posting style! You’ve lost me completely with the statement above.

tautology - the unnecessary and usually unintentional use of two words to express one meaning solipsism - the belief that only one’s own experiences and existence can be known with certainty

Tautological solipsism? Damned if I know what you mean by that! Please explain!

Just out of interest - what is your field?

Larry (#71513) wrote:

Yet the media covering the trial called Buckingham a “hostile witness,” so people could start taunting, “na-na-na-na-na, Buckingham is a hostile witness!”

I’d like to nominate this quote as the most childish thing ever written on The Panda’s Thumb. Apparently since the media mischaracterized him, Buckingham is now wide open to wedgies, purple nerples, and wet willies.

The fun part is that Buckingham wasn’t the only witness reported as hostile by the media during the trial. Why oh why isn’t Larry jumping to the defense of poor Robert S. Linker?

Why oh why isn’t Larry jumping to the defense of poor Robert S. Linker?

Because Larry has never read any of the trial transcript, and therefore doesn’t know Robert Linker from Art Linkletter. (shrug)

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This page contains a single entry by Andrea Bottaro published on January 10, 2006 5:05 PM.

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