The Discovery Institute says it, they believe it, that settles it

| 59 Comments

I have been reading some of the responses to the Kitzmiller decision from the Discovery Institute and essays they have linked to. There are some interesting contradictions between the various current essays, and between the current essays and past statements from ID advocates. But before we get to that, be sure to check out the Discovery Institute’s new “Judge Jones said it, I believe it, that settles it” bumper stickers. I bet that attitude will go over great the next time ID advocates end up in federal court!

With that said, let’s compare some statements. All bolds added.

Was the scientific status of ID constitutionally relevant? Part I

“The Scientific Status of ID has Nothing to do with Endorsement of Religion.”

The Missing Legal Basis in Kitzmiller)

vs.

“The [Edwards] Court continued, “We do not imply that a legislature could never require that scientific critiques of prevailing scientific theories be taught.” (Edwards at 594) Much of the ID Policy that Kitzmiller ruled on can fairly be considered scientific critiques of the prevailing theory.”

(The Missing Legal Basis in Kitzmiller)

. Was the scientific status of ID constitutionally relevant? Part II

“It is not immediately obvious why the constitutional analysis would even consider the nature of science, since what is prohibited is establishing a religion.”

(The Missing Legal Basis in Kitzmiller)

vs.

“The controlling legal authority, the Supreme Court’s decision in Edwards v. Aguillard, explicitly permits the inclusion of alternatives to Darwinian evolution so long as those alternatives are based on scientific evidence and not motivated by strictly religious concerns. Since design theory is based on scientific evidence rather than religious assumptions, it clearly meets this test.”

(Intelligent Design in Public School Science Curricula: A Legal Guidebook)

. Was the scientific status of ID constitutionally relevant? Part III

With this post we continue our examination of Judge Jones’ much acclaimed opinion which he handed down in Kitzmiller v. Dover, and turn to his discussion of whether ID is science sensu strictu. Parenthetically, this is a question we find largely irrelevant to whether it should be permitted in science classes, for reasons we’ll explain below.

(The Dover Decision by Richard Cleary)

vs.

“As a legitimate scientific theory about biological origins and development, design theory passes every test set by the Court for inclusion in public school science curricula.”

(Intelligent Design in Public School Science Curricula: A Legal Guidebook)

. To put ID in science curricula, or not to put ID in science curricula?

“Discovery never claimed that we do not ‘support putting ID into science curricula’”

Response to Matzke and Padian’s Revisionist History and Gloat Parade by Casey Luskin

vs.

“Discovery Institute’s science education policy has been consistent and clear. We strongly believe that teaching about intelligent design is constitutionally permissible, but we think mandatory inclusion of intelligent design in public school curricula is ill-advised.

The Truth About Discovery Institute’s Role in the Dover Intelligent Design and Evolution Trial

“Instead we are misleadingly cited as part of a movement to insert intelligent design into school curricula across the nation. While we support academic research and writing on intelligent design, we do not advocate requiring intelligent design to be taught in public schools.”

Local PA Paper Gets DI Position Right, Washington Post and Major Media Don’t by John West

. Creationism relabeled, or not?

“[Critics of design theory] charge that design theory is indistinguishable from scientific creationism – that it is just another name for scientific creationism.”

(Intelligent Design in Public School Science Curricula: A Legal Guidebook)

vs.

“[A]lthough the authors of the textbook did use the term creationism in pre-publication versions, the Pandas textbook promotes a theory of ID which is conceptually distinct from creationism in some of the very characteristics which caused creationism to be declared unconstitutional: creationism postulates a ‘supernatural creator’ while the theory intelligent design abstains from engaging in such religious discussions”

Another Excellent Response to the Dover Decision – Casey Luskin

. Creationism repackaged, or not?

“Critics of the theory of intelligent design often assert that it is simply a repackaged version of creationism, and that it began after the Supreme Court struck down the teaching of creationism in Edwards v. Aguillard in 1987.”

The Origin of Intelligent Design” by Jonathan Witt

vs.

The first claim, that ID must be religious, even though it doesn’t appear to be, because it evolved from (forgive me) creationism, is silly. Because one theory emerges from the embers of another doesn’t entail that it necessarily bears all or even many of the traits of the other.*

The Dover Decision I: Endorsing Religion? by Richard Cleary, quoted favorably by Casey Luskin

There we have it. The Discovery Institute says it, they believe it, that settles it In different ways, depending on the day of the week.

* Unless, of course, the theory emerges as simple word switch in otherwise identical sentences, in which case one “theory” actually does necessarily bear all of the traits of the other.

59 Comments

That bumper sticker might come back to haunt them. The normal version is “God said it. I believe it. That settles it.” So, they’ve explicitly set up the Jones/Evolution vs. God/ID dichotomy. Pretty strange behavior for a bunch of (supposed) scientists.

Sometimes I really wonder if the Disco Institute has staff meetings at which they slap their foreheads and cry in Homeric chagrin, “Doooh!” For instance, after Behe on the stand at Dover, or after one of many “about face”-s on their policy towards El Tejon, testifying in Dover, etc. etc.

Obviously, even if they do recognize the amount of stupidity that overtly comes across to even the general public, they immediately throw it in the spin cycle of the Media Complaints Division, print up flyers, and pray that the Designer covers it with grace.

It must be either an American thing or I am thick (both a possibility with the latter being more likely) but this seems to me to be saying that they agree with the Dover decision. Is this sarcasm from an institute that REALLY doesn’t get sarcasm?

Was I reading a different decision? The Dover decision basically said that the Dover School Board could not teach ID in science classes (a DI cop out of convenience I note), that ID was religiously motivated despite protestations, that ID is the latest guise of creationism, and that ID was not science.

If I were an IDCist I would want people to forget that Judge Jones (a judge not a scientist) noticed the religious underpinnings and scientific vacuity of ID. Isn’t this bumper sticker reminding them? Are they merely trying to insinuate that Jones is acting as god and that all us ID critics are the moronic followers of an authoritarian mandate? Do these people have NO sense of irony at all?

louis:

They are using the tactics of all fundies. deny and deny.

No, they have no sense of humor.

Because they are followers they assume everyone is.

I would like to propose to the faculty that we promote “the dr rev lenny flank’ the the high honor of pope.

ts Wrote:

No, they have no sense of humor.

My irony meter’s flickering a little. Alternatively Lennie for contributor; it would be interesting to see how his moderating policy would pan out.

I love those Judge Jones bumper stickers! I can’t help but feel that the DI haven’t quite grasped the concept of subtle irony there.

I constantly struggle with myself over the distinctly antisocial tendency I have to roll around on the floor laughing and pointing at people and writing sarcastic and satirical rants about ridiculous behavior, and my understanding that I am not without sin and probably shouldn’t throw any stones.

I sometimes feel like they are my children making silly mistakes and I should feel empathy and allow them their moments of utter stupidity and lack of understanding.

But in the midst of my search for common ground, they speak. Or write. And I realize that there is no common ground. So, until I can find some common ground, Judge jones said it, I believe it, that settles it.

Hee Hee.

Michael Francisco Wrote:

As a law student, I have been amazed that this most important of Kitzmiller holdings is unsupported by any legal reasoning.

And yet, the Discovery Institute’s own amicus brief argued that since ID is science it serves a secular purpose and cannot violate the establishment clause.

Perhaps Michael is onto something, namely that the DI’s own amicus brief is unsupported by any legal reasoning?

I’d like to offer a more accurate bumper sticker:

The School Board believed it. Kitzmiller didn’t. Judge Jones settled it!

“The breathtaking inanity of the board’s decision is evident when considered against the factual backdrop which has now been fully revealed through this trial.”

Actually, isn’t the “Judge Jones said it, I believe it, that settles it” bumper sticker rather ironic? I gather it’s supposed to be facetious, but that’s actually the attitude fundamentalists profess about the Bible. So even at this level they’re two-faced. I guess that’s what happens when you’ve convinced yourself that any idea is a good one as long as you believe it. I guess that’s why they don’t like science because it requires rigor, empirical data, clear thinking and precludes the use of dogmatic assumptions.

http://us.internationalreporter.com[…]d.php?id=840

” The scientists recent finding on the chimp that it has stunning similarities with man having a difference of 3 to 4% in DNA test has revived the controversy. It has not only made it live but also set a proper battle to be fought between the champions of ID and supporters of Darwin’s theory of Man’s evolution.

Dr. Raj Baldev, Cosmo Theorist from India, the head of SAROUL (Scientific Advance Research of Universe and Life) is quite confident that the discipline of ID is a scientific reality. He said, “It is the strongest of the strongest, and I want all the champions of Intelligent Design (ID) to come on one platform to counter them with a proper argument so as to save the people from being misled by Darwinism.

I guess there are nutters everywhere. Dija catch the part with a battle between champions and supporters? Wonder who’ll win?

oops, published that last one in the wrong thread. Sorry.

Once again, Matzke sees controversy and contradiction where none exist. He’s grasping at straws here. For example the supposed “contradictory” quotes under the heading To put ID in science curricula, or not to put ID in science curricula?, are not at all contradictory. Supporting the inclusion of ID in science curriculum is not the same as supporting that the teaching of ID be (pay close attention now Matzke), mandated. Sure the DI would favor the former, but they have not and do not support the latter. These are two completely different things. One seeks to remove obtacles to the inclusion of ID, the other would seek a regulatory mandate.

The same thing is true of every one of the other supposed “contradictions”. The supposed “contradictions” that Matzke sees are vapor.

Posted by Donald M on January 29, 2006 03:24 PM (e)

Once again, Matzke sees controversy and contradiction where none exist. He’s grasping at straws here. For example the supposed “contradictory” quotes under the heading To put ID in science curricula, or not to put ID in science curricula?, are not at all contradictory…

Why would an ID proponent want it taught in a classroom? Shouldn’t they do some research first?

Bury your head in your ass if you wish. Just do not expect people here to agree with you burying their children’s heads the same way; Especially at taxpayers expense.

Comment #76030 posted by PvM on January 27, 2006 12:10 PM

Michael Francisco wrote: “As a law student, I have been amazed that this most important of Kitzmiller holdings is unsupported by any legal reasoning.”

And yet, the Discovery Institute’s own amicus brief argued that since ID is science it serves a secular purpose and cannot violate the establishment clause.

Perhaps Michael is onto something, namely that the DI’s own amicus brief is unsupported by any legal reasoning?

DI submitted two amicus briefs, not one. One of the briefs, from 85 scientists, actually asked Judge Jones to not rule on the scientific merits of ID. See “Amicus curiae filings” in http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kitzmi[…]al_documents This brief was admitted to the case file by Judge Jones. DI’s own amicus brief was excluded from the case file by Jones. See – http://www.aclupa.org/downloads/Ord[…]usbriefs.pdf .

I don’t know anything about the excluded DI amicus brief except for the fact that it contained the ideas of Dembski and an appendix with the expert witness report of Meyer. Suppose that this brief argued as you said, that ID is science and hence serves a secular purpose and hence cannot violate the establishment clause. So what is wrong with that argument, considering that the plaintiffs were arguing the opposite ? Should this DI brief have not answered this argument of the plaintiffs just because the other DI brief asked Judge Jones to not rule on the question of ID as science ?

Judge Jones had the following choices – (1) throwing the case out as moot because the original school board members had been replaced by members who promised to repeal the ID rule, (2) ruling only on the religious motivations of the school board members, and (3) also ruling on ID as religion and/or ID as science. He unnecessarily chose the 3rd option. This was contrary to the concept of “judicial minimalism,” which is often practiced by the Supreme Court.

The question of whether ID or irreducible complexity is science does not necessarily have a simple answer. Some of the possible answers are as follows – good science, bad science, so-so science, unproven science, disproven science, pseudoscience, and non-science.

Also, there is the question of the level of scrutiny of the scientific merits of an alleged scientific idea. Should this level of scrutiny be as high for ID as for, say, a scientific idea where billions of dollars in liability are at stake ? All that is at stake in the case of ID is just the possible corruption of the impressionable minds of students.

Finally, there is obviously a big double standard operating here — the idea that it is OK for Judge Jones to condemn ID and irreducible complexity but not OK for the proponents of ID and irreducible complexity to condemn his Dover opinion.

Stephen Elliot writes:

Why would an ID proponent want it taught in a classroom? Shouldn’t they do some research first?

This misses the point entirely. What the DI has consistently supported is the removal of outright bans on even mentioning let alone teaching ID in science class. What they do not support or advocate is that the inclusion or teaching of ID be mandated. This goes directly to Matzke’s point in the OP that there’s some supposed “contradiction” in the DI’s position, when there is not.

The status of ID research is of no consequence to this point. I see no reason why the scientific challenges that the ID paradigm has posed to Darwinian evolution can not be discussed or mentioned in a science classroom…even at taxpayer expense. No one is suggesting, let alone advocating that such discussions include religious content. They have no need to. Behe’s concept and examples of IC systems can easily be discussed without ever mentioning anything but the science. What would be so horrible if students were to learn that no evolutionary explanation for the orgin of these IC systems exists anywhere in the scientific literature? Oh, wait, I know the answer to that…we have “dozens” (or is it “hundreds” or perhaps “thousands”) of such studies. Except for the small problem that they aren’t anywhere to be found and students might figure that out, so best to ban any mention of ID altogether under the ruse of some bogus religious association.

Perhaps we could have a lesson where students are taught how it is we know scientifically that the structure of biological systems throughout planet earth is such that none of the apparent design they observe in example after example in their biology textbooks can be actual design, even in principle. Perhaps we could have a scientific lesson on how students must “tell themselves that what they are observing was not designed.”

Donald,

You seem, most unusually for a multiple poster, sincere in asking your question. Do take your question and approach it as objectively as you can. If you try at all, you are sure to find why you were warned about having your head in the sand: nothing about “I.D.” is composed of even the smallest percentage of honest scientific inquiry, or directed toward educating children about the present state of what is known about science. It is entirely the position of a powerful minority of fanatics (and charlatans) perhaps entirely UNABLE to present more than that selected, most-untruthful and dishonest, half portion of “truth.”

The Discovery Institute says it, they believe it, that settles it Nick Matzke posted Entry 1947 on January 27, 2006 02:53 AM. (opening comment in thread)

I have been reading some of the responses to the Kitzmiller decision from the Discovery Institute and essays they have linked to. There are some interesting contradictions between the various current essays, and between the current essays and past statements from ID advocates.

Isn’t the collection and comparison of these quotes a form of what the Talkorigins website calls “quote mining” ? See – http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/quo[…]project.html Almost all of these quote comparisons compare quotes from two different articles written by different authors. So why should these compared quotes necessarily be consistent ? And many of these compared quotes are not inconsistent.

Donald M:

I see no reason why the scientific challenges that the ID paradigm has posed to Darwinian evolution can not be discussed or mentioned in a science classroom…even at taxpayer expense. No one is suggesting, let alone advocating that such discussions include religious content.

You carefully avoid the slam-dunk observation that ID is religious doctrine, entirely religious doctrine, and *nothing but* religious doctrine. It has no science associated with it at all. None.

As such, ID poses absolutely no scientific challenge of any kind, to anybody. It is not science. Not even a little bit. It is religion. It is pure religion.

Now, just how would you propose mentioning this religious doctrine in a science class? By lying and saying it’s science when it isn’t? By saying “OK, class, I’m not talking about science here and I’m not preaching any religion, OH NO!, but Goddidit anyway. Just thought I’d mention that. Now back to science”?

Who do you think would be fooled? As Judge Jones pointed out, it is not possible to “mention, but not teach” that Christian fundamentalists are pretending that Goddidit is scientific, as though this is a valid “alternative scientific theory.” To be blunt, it is NOT POSSIBLE to mention Goddidit (a direct synonym for ID) without turning science class into a pulpit.

Re “One of the briefs, from 85 scientists, actually asked Judge Jones to not rule on the scientific merits of ID.” A bunch of people asked the judge to not rule on the matter that was being brought to court for a ruling? Did I miss something here?

Henry

This misses the point entirely. What the DI has consistently supported is the removal of outright bans on even mentioning let alone teaching ID in science class.

This is just nonsense. Nobody has “banned the mention” of ID in science class. What has been “banned” is teaching ID - or its cleverly repackaged reincarnation, “teaching the controversy” - as if it were science.

Please explain where you got the idea that “mentioning ID” was banned.

Russell:

I don’t have the decision handy, but I could’ve sworn Jones said that the request to “mention but not teach” was disingenuous, because ID is a religious doctine and not science. So he said something essentially meaning that a “non-religious” mentiion of a religious doctrine is neither possible nor permitted, and that even mentioning *as potentially scientific* a religious doctrine is not constitutional.

What Jones made clear (to me, at least) that he was concerned about was that some high school biology teachers ARE creationists, the distinction between “mentioning” and teaching creationism is certainly not at all clear, and that anything along the lines of Donald M’s “permitted but not mandated” constitutes a loophole through which one could march a small army of preachers, if one were (as too many are) so inclined.

And so I’ll ask you just what I asked Donald M: Just how would you go about mention ID (or reincarnation, for that matter) in science class, without lending the weight of the venue to whatever doctrine you mention? What is mentioned in science class IS SCIENCE ipso facto. Jones knows it, I know it, and you can bet Donald M knows it too. The DI RELIES on it.

I don’t have the decision handy,…

I do. What the judge ordered appears, in its entirety, on the last page of the decision:

NOW, THEREFORE, IT IS ORDERED THAT: 1. A declaratory judgment is hereby issued in favor of Plaintiffs pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 2201, 2202, and 42 U.S.C. § 1983 such that Defendants’ ID Policy violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States and Art. I, § 3 of the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. 2. Pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 65, Defendants are permanently enjoined from maintaining the ID Policy in any school within the Dover Area School District. 3. Because Plaintiffs seek nominal damages, Plaintiffs shall file with the Court and serve on Defendants, their claim for damages and a verified statement of any fees and/or costs to which they claim entitlement. Defendants shall have the right to object to any such fees and costs to the extent provided in the applicable statutes and court rules.

Further, I searched the entire 139 pages for the occurrence of “mention”, and didn’t find it in the context you describe.

Russell:

OK, maybe my memory is playing tricks. But nonetheless, I wonder how you would go about “mentioning but not teaching” ID in a science class. How would you make it clear that this is not science? How would you justify mentioning it in the context of a science class? How would you word it? How would you field any questions about it?

When you get right down to it, having the administrators read that now-disallowed statement before the class, surely constitutes the sort of “mention but not teach” the ID advocates were trying to accomplish. If that wasn’t a mention-without-teaching, what is? And it was STILL held unconstitutional.

Pages 45-46 of the decision explains why the judge rejected the ridiculous argument the defendants made that their policy was “not teaching” ID

Second, the administrators made the remarkable and awkward statement, as part of the disclaimer, that “there will be no other discussion of the issue and your teachers will not answer questions on the issue.” (P-124). Dr. Alters explained that a reasonable student observer would conclude that ID is a kind of “secret science that students apparently can’t discuss with their science teacher” which he indicated is pedagogically “about as bad as I could possibly think of.” (14:125-27 (Alters)). Unlike anything else in the curriculum, students are under the impression that the topic to which they are introduced in the disclaimer, ID, is so sensitive that the students and their teachers are completely barred from asking questions about it or discussing it.[footnote 7]

[footnote 7:] Throughout the trial and in various submissions to the Court, defendants vigorously argue that the reading of the statement is not “teaching” ID but instead is merely “making students aware of it.” In fact, one consistency among the Dover School Board members’ testimony, which was marked by selective memories and outright lies under oath, as will be discussed in more detail below, is that they did not think they needed to be knowledgeable about ID because it was not being taught to the students. We disagree. Dr. Alters, the District’s own science teachers, and Plaintiffs Christy Rehm and Steven Stough, who are themselves teachers, all made it abundantly clear by their testimony that an educator reading the disclaimer is engaged in teaching, even if it is colossally bad teaching. See, e.g., Trial Tr. vol. 6, C. Rehm Test., 77, Sept. 28, 2005; Trial Tr. vol. 15, Stough Test., 139-40, Oct. 12, 2005. Dr. Alters rejected Dover’s explanation that its curriculum change and the statement implementing it are not teaching. The disclaimer is a “mini-lecture” providing substantive misconceptions about the nature of science, evolution, and ID which “facilitates learning.” (14:120-23, 15:57-59 (Alters)). In addition, superintendent Nilsen agrees that students “learn” from the statement, regardless of whether it gets labeled as “teaching.” (26:39 (Nilsen)). Finally, even assuming arguendo that Defendants are correct that reading the statement is not “teaching” per se, we are in agreement with Plaintiffs that Defendants’ argument is a red herring because the Establishment Clause forbids not just “teaching” religion, but any governmental action that endorses or has the primary purpose or effect of advancing religion. The constitutional violation in Epperson consisted not of teaching a religious concept but of forbidding the teaching of a secular one, evolution, for religious reasons. Epperson, 393 U.S. at 103. In addition, the violation in Santa Fe was school sponsorship of prayer at an extracurricular activity, 530 U.S. at 307-09, and the violation in Selman was embellishing students’ biology textbooks with a warning sticker disclaiming evolution. 390 F. Supp. 2d at 1312.

Russell:

OK, here’s some of what I’m referring to:

Accordingly, we find that the classroom presentation of the disclaimer, including school administrators making a special appearance in the science classrooms to deliver the statement, the complete prohibition on discussion or questioning ID, and the “opt out” feature all convey a strong message of religious endorsement.

In summary, the disclaimer singles out the theory of evolution for special treatment, misrepresents its status in the scientific community, causes students to doubt its validity without scientific justification, presents students with a religious alternative masquerading as a scientific theory, directs them to consult a creationist text as though it were a science resource, and instructs students to forego scientific inquiry in the public school classroom and instead to seek out religious instruction elsewhere. Furthermore, as Drs. Alters and Miller testified, introducing ID necessarily invites religion into the science classroom as it sets up what will be perceived by students as a “God-friendly” science, the one that explicitly mentions an intelligent designer, and that the “other science,” evolution, takes no position on religion. (14:144-45 (Alters)). Dr. Miller testified that a false duality is produced: It “tells students … quite explicitly, choose God on the side of intelligent design or choose atheism on the side of science.” (2:54-55 (Miller)). Introducing such a religious conflict into the classroom is “very dangerous” because it forces students to “choose between God and science,” not a choice that schools should be forcing on them. Id. at 55.

Our detailed chronology of what a reasonable, objective student is presumed to know has made abundantly clear to the Court that an objective student would view the disclaimer as a strong official endorsement of religion or a religious viewpoint.

Russell:

OK, hopefully we’re together on this. “Mentioning (or “making students aware”) but not teaching” seems to be explicitly identified and disallowed. So that answers the question you asked Donald M. It’s a no-no. Can’t do it.

Oh, Russell, by the way let me mention to you that if you’re chopping jalapeno peppers be sure to wash your hands very thoroughly afterwards, and even then I’d suggest that you don’t rub your eyes for a day or so.

OK, I just mentioned in passing some lore. If you heeded my advise you learned about how to handle peppers. If you didn’t heed my advice then you would experience some pain before comprehending what I mentioned. In passing.

Was that teaching? I’d say so.

I think there’s a big difference between the school administration announcing “The football game will start at 8pm on Friday” and announcing “Darwin’s theory of evolution is wrong and you can read all about it in that book at the back of the classroom.”

Get my drift?

What the DI has consistently supported is the removal of outright bans on even mentioning let alone teaching ID in science class. What they do not support or advocate is that the inclusion or teaching of ID be mandated. This goes directly to Matzke’s point in the OP that there’s some supposed “contradiction” in the DI’s position, when there is not.

The status of ID research is of no consequence to this point.

How stupid.

The status of ID research has EVERYTHING to do with this “ban” (which is restricted to the science class, by the way).

Given the past history of challenges to evolution, any challenge will probably have to reach much higher level of scrutiny, particularly when such a challenge as ID has been SHOWN to have mimicked so closely previous, religious based arguments.

No research? Then the position is not going to pass constitutional muster, given that past challenges, with similar wording and rhetoric, was explicitly religion based. One of the key ways to show that it was different was to point at actual work and evidence ID has generated.

doc bill:

I get your drift, but your drift somewhat misses the point here. Context is critical. Your advice about peppers is generically good advice. But your statement “The football game will start at 8pm on Friday” might be a neutral announcement in some classes, but it would NOT be neutral in a course teaching the dangers of violent contact sports. In THAT context, it would be a way for the school to say “we don’t really mean this stuff about danger, you know.” Remember, the entire goal of “mention” is to undermine the substantive content of the remainder of the lessons.

OK, hopefully we’re together on this. “Mentioning (or “making students aware”) but not teaching” seems to be explicitly identified and disallowed.

Well, no. That’s not the way I read it. Jones goes to considerable length to refute the defendants’ contention that they weren’t teaching ID, and that the board’s ID policy consisted of something significantly beyond “a mention”.

I really don’t see how you could construe what the judge wrote to forbid a science teacher making a comment like “there was an article in the newspaper this morning about evolution and ID”. That would be a “mention”. Requiring science teachers to read an Official Statement about ID, or worse, marching administrators in to do it, is not a “mention”.

oops. Sloppy writing. I Meant to say:

Jones goes to considerable length to refute the defendants’ contention that they weren’t teaching ID, and to show that the board’s ID policy consisted of something significantly beyond “a mention”.

Russell

I really don’t see how you could construe what the judge wrote to forbid a science teacher making a comment like “there was an article in the newspaper this morning about evolution and ID”. That would be a “mention”.

While you may be right, I can assure you I certainly wouldn’t want to have to make this argument. Let’s reword that to say “You all might wish to read an article in the newspaper this morning about evolution and ID.”

Now, does that very tiny change make any substantive difference? Or, using your version of “mention”, does the CONTENT of that article matter? If the article was placed by the DI, and the teacher takes careful, visible pains to *point out* the article, does that matter? Would it be acceptable to substitute “the bible” for “an article in the newspaper this morning”? What if the article quotes the bible?

I really don’t think you want to go there.

Russell:

Come to think of it, the DI was pimping for *precisely* the sort of mention you just related. The only difference was, instead of an article in the newspaper, they were intending to “just mention in passing” a book of which they had 60 copies in the school library!

Not taking any position at all, oh no! Just mentioning.

Sheesh.

DI submitted two amicus briefs, not one. One of the briefs, from 85 scientists, actually asked Judge Jones to not rule on the scientific merits of ID.

From the Opening Statement in the case, made by TMLC lawyer Patrick Guillen:

Defendants’ expert will show this Court that intelligent design theory, IDT, is science, a theory that’s advanced in terms of empirical evidence and technical knowledge proper to scientific and academic specialties. It is not religion. … Indeed, the evidence will further show that intelligent design theory is really science in its purest form, the refusal to foreclose possible explanations based on the claims of the dominant theory or the conventions of the day, to proceed from the same sort of perspective that led Newton to explore and ultimately explicate gravity.

Gee, I can’t imagine why the judge felt it necessary to decide whether the Defendant’s expert witnesses really DID show the Court that intelligent design theory is science — in its purest form.

You seem, most unusually for a multiple poster, sincere in asking your question.

He’s not.

Donald shows up once in a while, does a “drive-by” by whining and weeping about (1) how unfair science’s “philosophical naturalism” is, and (2) how unfair the Dover judge was.

Then Donald runs away.

Particularly when I ask him questions, like this:

Here, Donald, let me repeat my questions for you once more, just in case you missed them the first dozen times:

What, again, did you say the scientific theory of ID is? How, again, did you say this scientific theory of ID explains these problems? What, again, did you say the designer did? What mechanisms, again, did you say it used to do whatever the heck you think it did? Where, again, did you say we can see the designer using these mechanisms to do … well . . anything?

Or is “POOF!! God — uh, I mean, The Unknown Intelligent Designer — dunnit!!!!” the extent of your, uh, scientific theory of ID .… ?

How does “evolution can’t explain X Y or Z, therefore goddidit” differ from plain old ordinary run-of-the-mill “god of the gaps?

Here’s *another* question for you to not answer, Donald: Suppose in ten years, we DO come up with a specific mutation by mutation explanation for how X Y or Z appeared. What then? Does that mean (1) the designer USED to produce those things, but stopped all of a sudden when we came up with another mechanisms? or (2) the designer was using that mechanism the entire time, or (3) there never was any designer there to begin with.

Which is it, Donald? 1, 2 or 3?

Oh, and if ID isn’t about religion, Donald, then why do you spend so much time bitching and moaning about “philosophical materialism”?

(sound of crickets chirping)

You are a liar, Donald. A bare, bald-faced, deceptive, deceitful, deliberate liar, with malice aforethought. Still.

I see no reason why the scientific challenges that the ID paradigm has posed to Darwinian evolution can not be discussed or mentioned in a science classroom

Alas for you, the judge did see reasons why, and explained them in a 139 page ruling.

And alas for you, his opinion counts. Yours doesn’t. (shrug)

But don’t weep too loudly —- you’ll get another chance soon, in Kansas and Ohio.

Good luck there.

What the DI has consistently supported is the removal of outright bans on even mentioning let alone teaching ID in science class. What they do not support or advocate is that the inclusion or teaching of ID be mandated. This goes directly to Matzke’s point in the OP that there’s some supposed “contradiction” in the DI’s position, when there is not.

Since ID has been ruled illegal to teach, it doesn’t matter a flying fig whether or not DI is in favor of mandating teaching it. (shrug)

Comment #76259 posted by ‘Rev Dr’ Lenny Flank on January 30, 2006 12:08 AM

Andy H. wrote: DI submitted two amicus briefs, not one. One of the briefs, from 85 scientists, actually asked Judge Jones to not rule on the scientific merits of ID.

From the Opening Statement in the case, made by TMLC lawyer Patrick Guillen:

“Defendants’ expert will show this Court that intelligent design theory, IDT, is science.…..”

The defendants were represented by the Thomas More Law Center (TMLC), not by the Discovery Institute (DI), and there is no reason why the positions of DI and TMLC should always be the same. Anyway, the plaintiffs were bringing their own expert witnesses to argue that ID is not science, so TMLC was compelled to respond by bringing its own expert witnesses to argue the opposite. Also, there seems to be a notion here that DI is forever barred from arguing that the courts should not rule on the scientific merits of ID because DI argued in court that ID is good science. That is a very strange notion indeed.

Comment #76262 posted by ‘Rev Dr’ Lenny Flank on January 30, 2006 12:22 AM

Donald M. wrote: What the DI has consistently supported is the removal of outright bans on even mentioning let alone teaching ID in science class. What they do not support or advocate is that the inclusion or teaching of ID be mandated. This goes directly to Matzke’s point in the OP that there’s some supposed “contradiction” in the DI’s position, when there is not.

Since ID has been ruled illegal to teach, it doesn’t matter a flying fig whether or not DI is in favor of mandating teaching it. (shrug)

You missed the point entirely. The issue here is whether DI’s position is consistent, and not whether DI’s position matters. And if DI’s position does not matter, then there is no point to this whole thread.

The defendants were represented by the Thomas More Law Center (TMLC), not by the Discovery Institute (DI), and there is no reason why the positions of DI and TMLC should always be the same. Anyway, the plaintiffs were bringing their own expert witnesses to argue that ID is not science, so TMLC was compelled to respond by bringing its own expert witnesses to argue the opposite.

And they lost. (shrug)

Also, there seems to be a notion here that DI is forever barred from arguing that the courts should not rule on the scientific merits of ID because DI argued in court that ID is good science. That is a very strange notion indeed.

What is strange is your simultaneous argument that (1) ID is science and (2) no one should decide whether or not ID is science.

How about you make up your friggin mind.

Comment #76274 posted by ‘Rev Dr’ Lenny Flank on January 30, 2006 07:50 AM

“Also, there seems to be a notion here that DI is forever barred from arguing that the courts should not rule on the scientific merits of ID because DI argued in court that ID is good science. That is a very strange notion indeed.”

What is strange is your simultaneous argument that (1) ID is science and (2) no one should decide whether or not ID is science.

How about you make up your friggin mind.

There is absolutely nothing inconsistent with arguing that the courts should not decide whether ID is science and at the same time arguing that ID is science just in case the courts decide that issue.

A quick question:

If ID is science, can you please provide me with links to studies with clearly spelled out laboratory procedures, methodology, data sets, and results?

Failing that, I’ll take legitimate statistical analysis and real-world observational studies, but again, please make sure they have a properly constructed and referenced data set.

I’ve never seen any of these things from ID, and it appears to me to fail at a very fundamental level with regard to being science because:

- ID has not published/performed any science. They have “opinion” articles, but those are a dime a dozen. I’ve never seen a legitimate testable study.

- ID does not posit a non-supernatural, falsifiable, or testable theory. If this is clearly spelled out somewhere and used to predict, please let me know. Again, I’d really like to see it.

- ID always seems to be inherently religious, thanks to attributing supernatural cause to things. Regardless of what CAUSE that is, it’s always supernatural. That’s religion, one way or another.

But, as I said, if I’m wrong and ID is science, you should have no trouble referencing those things, so please post the links. I would like to see actual evidence for this.

There is absolutely nothing inconsistent with arguing that the courts should not decide whether ID is science and at the same time arguing that ID is science just in case the courts decide that issue.

Huh?

This is mind boggingly stupid.

It IS inconsistent; there’s no two ways around that. If it’s science, YOU WIN THE ARGUMENT IN COURT. You pass Go, you collect $200 and you start teaching your concepts in the classroom.

It’s the ultimate winning argument—and when you argue that the judge shouldn’t decide that, you raise HUGE questions in the mind of that judge, as well as everyone else’s. If you had that legal/rhetorical point in your, why in hell are you throwing it away???? It looks more like you know that ID isn’t science, and—ah.……hm.….

Posted by Andy H. on January 30, 2006 08:47 AM (e) … There is absolutely nothing inconsistent with arguing that the courts should not decide whether ID is science and at the same time arguing that ID is science just in case the courts decide that issue.

If ID was science there would be no need to go to court in the first place.

ID scientists would be in the field or laboratory collecting data, performing experiments and writing papers for scientific revue.

They would not be spending all their time peddling an idea through PR and opinion polls or writing profitable books.

The whole ID thing stinks. Not because uninformed people are trying to shill it (although that is bad enough). But because people who should know better are making good money by being duplicitous.

If ID was science there would be no need to go to court in the first place. ID scientists would be in the field or laboratory collecting data, performing experiments and writing papers for scientific revue.

Particularly if it were the Discovery Institute, homes to the foremost “thinkers” of ID.

And even if they weren’t, their best strategy, if ID were a science, would be to point to ID research and argue THAT in court.

As it is, their charter is a bit of a muddle, with a rather confusing mission statement with respect to ID–if it were a legitimate scientific enterprise.

Ya know, back when I was younger, I used to work part-time in a pet shop. One day, a guy came in to buy a fish tank, and I walked him through all the equipment he’d need (filters, gravel, heaters, etc) and explained to him what all his options were. When we got to the light hood, I explained that there were two basic types – one used a fluorescent lamp, and the other used an incandescent light bulb.

Whereupon the guy turned and asked me, “Won’t the heat from the light bulbs dry out the fish’s scales?”

This remained, through all the decades since then, the single most spectacularly stupid thing I ever heard another human being say.

But this:

There is absolutely nothing inconsistent with arguing that the courts should not decide whether ID is science and at the same time arguing that ID is science just in case the courts decide that issue.

comes pretty damn close.

arguing that the courts should not decide whether ID is science

I’ll repeat once more for you, since you don’t seem to be too terribly bright:

From the Opening Statement by TMLC attorney Patrick Guillen:

Defendants’ expert will show this Court that intelligent design theory, IDT, is science, a theory that’s advanced in terms of empirical evidence and technical knowledge proper to scientific and academic specialties. It is not religion.… Indeed, the evidence will further show that intelligent design theory is really science in its purest form, the refusal to foreclose possible explanations based on the claims of the dominant theory or the conventions of the day, to proceed from the same sort of perspective that led Newton to explore and ultimately explicate gravity.

Which part of that, exactly, are you failing to understand?

This misses the point entirely. What the DI has consistently supported is the removal of outright bans on even mentioning let alone teaching ID in science class. What they do not support or advocate is that the inclusion or teaching of ID be mandated.

If by “consistently” you mean “for the last couple of months, intermittently, since in light of the Dover trial it became advantageous to start claiming that this was their position”…

Comment #76287 posted by gwangung on January 30, 2006 10:40 AM

“There is absolutely nothing inconsistent with arguing that the courts should not decide whether ID is science and at the same time arguing that ID is science just in case the courts decide that issue.”

This is mind boggingly stupid.

It IS inconsistent; there’s no two ways around that. If it’s science, YOU WIN THE ARGUMENT IN COURT. You pass Go, you collect $200 and you start teaching your concepts in the classroom.

It’s the ultimate winning argument—-and when you argue that the judge shouldn’t decide that, you raise HUGE questions in the mind of that judge, as well as everyone else’s.

You also get to start teaching your concepts in the classroom if the courts don’t rule on the scientific merits of ID and irreducible complexity (IC) but simply rule that ID or IC is not a religious concept. There is only a constitutional separation of church and state – there is no constitutional separation between the state and bad science, pseudoscience, unproven science, etc.. The constitutional issue here is whether ID and/or IC are religious concepts, and not whether they have any scientific merit. Judge Jones could have simply ruled that IC in particular is non-religious because it makes no mention of a god, creationism, an intelligent designer, etc., and not considered the scientific merits of IC. The judge did not even have to rule that far – he could have thrown out the case as moot because the pro-ID school board members had been replaced by anti-ID school board members, or he could have ruled strictly on the basis of the religious motivations of the former school board members. There was no reason for further rulings unless the ruling on the religious motivations was not airtight, but it was airtight. The courts have no business “traipsing” (Judge Jones’ term) into areas of scientific controversy unless it is absolutely unavoidable, and it was avoidable in this case.

If one argues that the courts should not rule on the issue of the scientific merits of ID or IC, then the fallback position is to argue that ID and IC are good science just in case the courts rule on that issue. No good general leaves himself without a second line of defense if he can help it. Anyway, since the plaintiffs in Dover were arguing that ID is not science, the defendants had no choice but to argue that ID is science.

ID and IC have a lot to lose and little or nothing to gain by court rulings on their scientific merits. If Judge Jones had ruled that ID and/or IC have scientific merit, a lot of people would have simply thought, “that stupid judge – that is just his personal opinion, and he is not even a scientist.” (I wonder – what would have happened if Judge Jones had not believed such far-fetched notions as jawbones evolving into middle-ear bones ? LOL).

The first amicus brief submitted by the Discovery Institute (submitted on behalf of 85 scientists), the one admitted to the case file by Judge Jones, asked him to not rule on the scientific merits of ID. Unfortunately, I am unable to bring up a copy of that brief – I have a lot of trouble with pdf files (they often don’t appear and they often cause my computer to freeze up). Here is a brief description of that brief from Wikipedia – “The brief was written by institute fellow David DeWolf. The brief argues that the court should not address the scientific validity or invalidity of ID; ‘intelligent design should not be stigmatized by the courts as less scientific than competing theories,’ and that if the court rules on the validity of ID it could destroy careers and have other far-reaching effects.” From “Amicus curiae filings” on http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kitzmi[…]al_documents

Many evolutionists who complain about evolution theory being “singled out” for criticism see nothing wrong with asking the courts to “single out” irreducible complexity for condemnation and censorship. As a result of Jones’ Dover decision, it may be even harder now for articles on irreducible complexity to be accepted by the mainstream peer-reviewed scientific journals. What kind of a level playing field is that ?

Comment #76350 posted by ‘Rev Dr’ Lenny Flank on January 30, 2006 06:52 PM

“arguing that the courts should not decide whether ID is science”

I’ll repeat once more for you, since you don’t seem to be too terribly bright:

Your above post is a virtual repetition of your Comment #76259 and the second part of your Comment #76274. My answers are in Comment #76276 and Comment #76382.

Posted by Andy H. on January 31, 2006 03:01 AM (e) .… You also get to start teaching your concepts in the classroom if the courts don’t rule on the scientific merits of ID and irreducible complexity (IC) but simply rule that ID or IC is not a religious concept. There is only a constitutional separation of church and state — there is no constitutional separation between the state and bad science, pseudoscience.…..

Same old, same old.

The school board wanted to mention ID (and direct students to a book) in a biology class. The board was sued by parents claiming ID was not science and had no justification being brought up in a science class.

The defendants argued ID was a valid scientific theory (hehe). How could the judge not rule on the scientific validity of ID?

Say it was moot as the defendants had been ousted from the board? But it was the board that was being sued, not individual members.

ID/IC is not religious because it mentions no designer? Check out the wedge document.

For something to be taught in a science class at high school, it should first be established science.

Anyhow. Judge Jones ruling only stops ID being taught in school because it is not science. It would not stop a serious ID scientist from doing ID research and getting papers published. Until he/she/they established a working theory of ID, thus toppling evolution as the best explanation for life as we observe it. Then ID will be science and as such, schools would automatically start teaching it.

Andy H wrote: …it may be even harder now for articles on irreducible complexity to be accepted by the mainstream peer-reviewed scientific journals

Shame. But you forget that they tried to get ID taught in schools without any peer-review from the scientific community. It dishonest. Because of their dishonesty they made things harder for themselves. Don’t blame the judge for it. Anyway, getting stuff published in peer-review journals was never their focus point (please show me a sample, ANY sample), just like experimentation was never done. They don’t even have a theory for ID yet.

So what exactly are you whining about?

You also get to start teaching your concepts in the classroom if the courts don’t rule on the scientific merits of ID and irreducible complexity (IC) but simply rule that ID or IC is not a religious concept.

Um, in case you didn’t notice, the courts HAVE ruled on the scientific merits of ID.

They ruled it has none.

You lost.

Get used to it.

I’ll repeat once more for you, since you don’t seem to be too terribly bright:

Your above post is a virtual repetition of your Comment #76259 and the second part of your Comment #76274. My answers are in Comment #76276 and Comment #76382.

Wow, can’t sneak anything past YOU, huh. Mind like a steel trap.

See those words “I’ll repeat once more for you, since you don’t seem to be too terribly bright”? I bet that’s what makes it “a virtual repetition”, huh.

We’ve all already laughed at your, uh, answers.

Many evolutionists who complain about evolution theory being “singled out” for criticism see nothing wrong with asking the courts to “single out” irreducible complexity for condemnation and censorship. As a result of Jones’ Dover decision, it may be even harder now for articles on irreducible complexity to be accepted by the mainstream peer-reviewed scientific journals. What kind of a level playing field is that ?

This has got to be the stupidest statement Larry has ever made. All points completely unfounded. 100% Larry conjecture.

Many evolutionists? Name one who has asked the courts to condemn and censor IC.

Harder to publish IC? Nonsense. No papers have even been submitted. Ever. None have ever been rejected because none have ever been submitted.

The level playing field is called an open society, Larry. Try living in one for a change.

Comment #76396 posted by ‘Rev Dr’ Lenny Flank on January 31, 2006 08:17 AM “You also get to start teaching your concepts in the classroom if the courts don’t rule on the scientific merits of ID and irreducible complexity (IC) but simply rule that ID or IC is not a religious concept.”

Um, in case you didn’t notice, the courts HAVE ruled on the scientific merits of ID.

They ruled it has none. You lost. Get used to it.

Um, in case you didn’t notice, that ruling is binding upon just one tiny school district in Pennsylvania. Duh.

Get used to it.

OK, since this is just Larry the Crank, I will no longer respond to him.

This is somewhat off-topic, but in honor of LAndy Hman proving beyond a shadow of a doubt that he is violating Rule 6 (just like Of Pandas and People!), I thought I’d bring attention to an article in the York Daily Record. Basically, Judge Jones has ordered the plaintiffs’ attorneys to submit their claims by February 15th, and the board has until March 10th to respond. So we should know the actual costs by mid-month - which just happens to be my birthday. Just 15 days until we can determine just how “inflated” (snicker) those attorneys fees really are, in a case the good judge described thus: “This is – if it’s not the largest trial that’s been heard in the Middle District of Pennsylvania, it equates with the largest trial, certainly in recent memory.”

Oh and btw, Larry/Andy/John (who would you like to be today?), the ruling is binding on not just the Dover Area School District, but the entirety of the Middle District of Pennsylvania.

One last aside, while I’ve got your attention, B.H.man - I’ve uncovered a bit more information about the email from the solicitor. If you admit to posting as Larry, Andy, and John, I’ll let you know what I discovered. As an added bonus for you, I will even admit to an error I made.

Comment #76642 posted by W. Kevin Vicklund on February 1, 2006 12:58 AM The ruling is binding on not just the Dover Area School District, but the entirety of the Middle District of Pennsylvania.

It is well known that federal courts of appeals follow their own precedents, but I never heard of a federal district court following its own precedents. The idea of treating a single judge’s unreviewed opinion as binding precedent sounds too far-fetched to be believed. In fact, a few years ago, the 9th federal appeals court circuit, the largest in the USA, had a rule prohibiting citations of federal district court opinions, even as nonbinding precedent.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Nick Matzke published on January 27, 2006 2:53 AM.

Charles Haynes on the Lebec, CA case was the previous entry in this blog.

Lonnig’s “Dynamic Genomes” paper: A quick critique. is the next entry in this blog.

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