The South Carolina Friends List

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As I explained in my last post, the SC Board of Education met today to vote on the “critically analyze” (read: teach erroneous ID arguments) language that the Educational Oversight Committee wanted added. The BOE voted down the measure by a margin of 10-6 or 11-6, depending on whether or not you count the Chairman, whose vote apparently doesn’t count in the official tally (but being the cool guy he is, he wanted to make it clear where he stood).

Here’s the article from the AP: S.C. Schools Won’t ‘Analyze’ Evolution.

From what I hear, there were some excellent speakers who spoke out against the EOC proposal. They deserve major credit for this. Also, here’s a list of who voted for and against the proposal:

Voted to reject the EOC proposal: Woodall, Tindal, Burch, DuBard, Forrester, Mitchell, Pye, Sumter, Simpson, V. Wilson.

Voted support the EOC proposal: Curtis, Maguire, McKinny, Seckinger, Shoopman, R. Wilson.

If you are from SC, feel free to drop a letter of thanks to those board members who voted against the proposal. It’s important that they know they have support. And if you must send a missive to one of those who voted in favor of the proposal, please note that a) it won’t do you any good, and b) if you are anything other than super-polite, they will complain that they’re being persecuted. (Fair’s allies in the EOC have already made a habit of doing this.)

Rep. Bob Walker kicked things off this morning by presenting a petition in favor of the “critically analyze” language signed by 67 of 123 General Assembly members, and warned angrily that he’s going to take this in front of the legislature. Walker is probably the biggest ally of Sen. Mike Fair (who I hear appeared “discernibly turgid” after hearing the vote tally) in trying to get the pro-ID language added to the curriculum standards. Walker previously sent a letter (pdf) to the BOE explaining, among other things, that it was “unanimous” that the evidence for evolution had been fabricated.

While I suspect that a significant portion of those legislators who signed that petition didn’t know what they were signing, one way or another this is going to head to the State House floor. The Discovery Institute is going to have a lot of fun trying to keep 67 table-pounders from spilling the beans and admitting that this is all about the Bible and Jesus. Walker has already done that himself. Careful what you wish for guys.

43 Comments

Appreciate the link to the charleston.net article, which I had missed.

Yet another illustration of a key point: IDiots need to tell their supporters it’s about the Bible, while they need to tell the courts and scientists it’s not.

Unfortunately for them, their cronies don’t seem to understand why they’re expected to lie about it.

IDiots need to tell their supporters it’s about the Bible, while they need to tell the courts and scientists it’s not.

That’s true for now, but it’s probably only a matter of time before the Supreme Court erodes the separation of Church and State to the point where schools will be permitted to teach religion-based ideas.

Then the science professionals will have to rely on the argument that ID is vacuous non-science, which won’t get very far with many state legislatures.

which won’t get very far with many state legislatures.

why? because most state legislatures are also vacuous with a poor understanding of science?

Or did you mean to imply that ID is somehow NOT vacuous non-science?

which one of these did you mean to imply?

The University of California is confronting a lawsuit brought by creationist/Christian “high schools” that is attempting to force the university to accept the antiscience these student/victims are taught in place of biology, chemistry and geology.

Judging from the the attached curriculum standards proposed for South Carolina, if implemented they would not qualify a student for admission to the University of California, or the California Stae University either.

toejam, how about this rewording:

Then the science professionals will have to rely on the argument that ID is vacuous non-science, a concept that won’t get very far with many state legislatures.

I.e., the fact that ID is vacuous non-science won’t stop many state legislatures from permitting it. Or its less-vacuous non-science cousin, Creationism.

(That’s right - less vacuous. AiG is full of testable hypotheses.)

AiG is full of testable hypotheses

yeah, but they ain’t put up by IDiots.

kidding aside, let’s see em.

please make a list of scientifically testable ID hypotheses from AIG.

seriously, we’ve been asking for years for the IDiots to do ANY science to support their “position” without any luck so far.

Both Nelson and Dembski have clearly stated over and over that there is no ID hypothesis as yet.

did you find one they aren’t aware of?

but it’s probably only a matter of time before the Supreme Court erodes the separation of Church and State to the point where schools will be permitted to teach religion-based ideas.

Then the science professionals will have to rely on the argument that ID is vacuous non-science, which won’t get very far with many state legislatures.

When the US becomes a theocracy, science education will be the LEAST of our problems.

Dear Sir_TJ:

A very brief search found this at AIG (I’m afraid that staying longer would be too damaging to the few brain cells I have left): Belief in a world-wide Flood, as Scripture clearly indicates, has the backing of common sense, science and Christ Himself.

The tenet of a world-wide flood some few thousands of years ago is certainly a testable hypothesis. IDiots don’t have the guts to make any claim about the age of the earth. AIG at least has the gumption to make a lot of solid (albeit dumb) claims about evolution, history, geology, etc. IDiots basically claim that somehow, somewhere, somebody may have done something. Hard to believe, but the claims of AIG are less vacuous than the IDiotists.

COLUMBIA - His voice cracking with emotion, state Rep. Robert Walker left no doubt about his position on the adoption of new state biology teaching standards on the subject of evolution.

“Back when the Constitution was established, the Bible was our textbook,” the Landrum Republican said. “Somehow the Bible has become a point where it’s no longer any good, and that concerns me - it tears my heart apart.”

Casey Luskin’s probably burning up the phone lines to get to Walker. “Ixnay on the Esusjay!”

The tenet of a world-wide flood some few thousands of years ago is certainly a testable hypothesis.

Only superficially. Remember, testing is not done to determine IF there was a flood, testing is done to demonstrate the EFFECTS of the flood, which happened by unquestionable definition. Creationists have a very different meaning for the word ‘testing’, since what happened and how is not at issue. Perhaps “ratifying” would come closer to the common meaning. Or maybe “clarifying”.

‘Science’ itself is defined as ‘the process by which the inerrancy of (our preferred) literal Bible reading is shown to be true.’

Doing a wonderful, hypothetical impression of Not-Very-Mighty-Casey, Steve S cracked:

“Ixnay on the Esusjay!”

ROFLMAO! That really tickled my funny bone, steve. Thanks for that.

Rev Dr Lenny Frank Wrote:

When the US becomes a theocracy, science education will be the LEAST of our problems.

For you maybe, I will get to (or more likely be forced to) go home. (United Kingdom), where we may be relatively safe for a while (until the American Taliban has finished cleansing the nation anyway). Of course by that time the U.S population will be so miniscule, that crossing the Atlantic like a colossus and lighting up the Appalachians(or however that quote goes) might be possible (not attractive, but possible).

Walker said, “when the Constitution was established, the Bible was our texbook.”

Yup. ID is “all about the science.” Strange, though, how IDiots always, sooner or later, manage to sneak in a comment about the Bible when they’re talking about science.

Walker said, “when the Constitution was established, the Bible was our texbook.”

Yup. ID is “all about the science.” Strange, though, how IDiots always, sooner or later, manage to sneak in a comment about the Bible when they’re talking about science.

And don’t forget, the “critically analyze” language is all about objectivity in education.

What I don’t understand is that if we are going to critically analyze things, why don’t they propose a course critically analyzing every material/natural claim in the Bible. I mean, if we want equal representation for all viewpoints and the promotion of critical thinking skills, I can think of no better way than to take a belief that people already hold and critically analyze all the components.

Am I right?

Good point…or pass legislation forcing non-profit religious organizations to teach “critical analysis” of their material or lose their non-profit status.

AD,said “What I don’t understand is that if we are going to critically analyze things, why don’t they propose a course critically analyzing every material/natural claim in the Bible,am I right?Yes you are.What a great idea!!That has been my philosophy for years. Defenders of the Bible are not going to accept an alternative to the Bible until they first realize it’s not inspired, then, logically, they must be shown its weaknesses,which are many.I rarely go outside the Bible for evidence; I don’t make emotional appeals to the heart;I don’t throw rocks at a distance;I don’t propose an alternative, I try not to laugh at, or belittle the Bible and its defenders,or ignore the Bible’s proponents (Carol and David) or act as if the Bible weren’t a major force in society;I don’t discount the opposition with pity and contempt; Instead,I go within the Bible, make comparisons, and draws conclusions. I seeks to know the Bible and work with apologists on their own turf.I operate on the principle that more than enough information exists within the Book to undermine its foundation. The overriding problem with this approach, or any strategy appealing to rationality and common sense, however, is what do you do with those who say; “My mind is made up, don’t confuse me with any facts”? What do you do with people who won’t engage in any critical discussion of the Bible, whose minds are closed? When God assumes control, many seem to enter another dimension, which is not so much a twilight zone as one of pure darkness.

jonboy Wrote:

When God assumes control, many seem to enter another dimension, which is not so much a twilight zone as one of pure darkness.

“There once was a time when all people believed in God and the church ruled. This time was called the Dark Ages.” RICHARD LEDERER, “ANGUISHED ENGLISH”

What I don’t understand is that if we are going to critically analyze things, why don’t they propose a course critically analyzing every material/natural claim in the Bible.

Here’s a recent Washington post interview with Bart Ehrman. He doesn’t analyze the Bible’s material claims, just it’s textual history.

In the Bestseller ‘Misquoting Jesus,’ Agnostic Author Bart Ehrman Picks Apart the Gospels That Made a Disbeliever Out of Him

“Creationists have a very different meaning for the word ‘testing’, since what happened and how is not at issue. Perhaps “ratifying” would come closer to the common meaning. Or maybe “clarifying”.”

Which is why it’s important to try to stick to the scientific definition, and “teach the controversy” everytime someone outside science tries to redefine it.

One can also ask why biology should be treated differently from any other science.

“What do you do with people who won’t engage in any critical discussion of the Bible, whose minds are closed?”

I’m not sure that it helps, but if they wont concede to analysing the content of a religious belief, it’s fair to ask why one should pick their religion other any other. It’s fair to say that emotional content doesn’t go other or convince everyone.

If they are serious about their text being a special way to ‘truth’ in any way, even by faith, they should acknowledge analysing or at least comparisons.

If they don’t, I would prefer to refer them to an asylum. :-)

The overriding problem with this approach, or any strategy appealing to rationality and common sense, however, is what do you do with those who say; “My mind is made up, don’t confuse me with any facts”? What do you do with people who won’t engage in any critical discussion of the Bible, whose minds are closed?

In the case (as being discussed) where you are teaching them critical analysis in school and they repeatedly reject it, the answer is simple:

You fail them.

From the Bob Walker letter linked in the original post, I liked this passage the best:

S.C. State Rep. Bob Walker Wrote:

The [Education Oversight Committee] subcommittee met several times and ardently poured over every word in Standard B-5.

Which prompts the question: what, exactly, did Walker’s committee pour over the standard?

I’m thinking turkey gravy.

S.C. State Rep. Bob Walker wrote:

The [Education Oversight Committee] subcommittee met several times and ardently poured over every word in Standard B-5.

And Rieux asks:

…what, exactly, did Walker’s committee pour over the standard? I’m thinking turkey gravy.

Okay, I guess “turkey gravy” is an acceptable euphemism for what someone would “ardently” pour over something. A more specific answer would probably take us well into TMI territory.

“Back when the Constitution was established, the Bible was our textbook,” Looks as if S.C. may need to improve its American history standards.

Which prompts the question: what, exactly, did Walker’s committee pour over the standard?

Maurice Bessenger’s BBQ sauce would be my guess.

On the other hand, Walker is from the Upstate, where they don’t know jack about BBQ.

The pdf of Bob Walker’s letter lists his cell phone.

864-590-0409

I wonder if he’d like a call or two from PT-readers asking him if he actually knows of any evidence in support of evolution that has been “fabricated” by scientists.

Hey Bobbie…can you hear me now?

Re “ if he actually knows of any evidence in support of evolution that has been “fabricated” by scientists.”

He might. Weren’t there a few such stunts here and there over the years? Insignificant compared to the total amount of research, though.

Henry

I wonder if he’d like a call or two from PT-readers asking him if he actually knows of any evidence in support of evolution that has been “fabricated” by scientists.

First of all, I don’t suggest anyone trying to do that. Secondly, if someone did, I’m sure Walker would pull out Piltdown man, Haeckle’s embryos, or pepperd moths, things that either aren’t in textbooks or weren’t fabricated – and aren’t really that relevant anyway, since there are thousands more bits of evidence.

People like Walker have heard the whole Discovery Institute song and dance, and rather than look at their claims skeptically and conclude that they’re falgrantly dishonest, he’s bought right into them.

For you maybe, I will get to (or more likely be forced to) go home. (United Kingdom), where we may be relatively safe for a while

I wouldn’t be so sure of that. Bush and Blair seem to be joined at the brain. What little of it they each have.

Las for the IDers, the basic problem with all of their “critically analyze” and “empirical evidence” baloney is that, sooner or later, they are gonna have to produce an actual written lesson plan that points to the “evidence” that they want to have “analyzed”.

And lo and behold, it will be the same tired old crap that IDers and creation “scientists” have been pushing on us for fifty years already. All of which has already been ruled illegal.

People like Walker have heard the whole Discovery Institute song and dance, and rather than look at their claims skeptically and conclude that they’re falgrantly dishonest, he’s bought right into them.

Plus, it’ll feed his persecution complex, and gives him more ability to wrap himself in the christian flag to rally the fundies in the Greenville-Spartanburg area.

Plus, he’s not going to listen to anyone who can’t pull the lever in his district unless they come calling with $$$.

The concepts of science are unlikely to be found to be very important in state legislatures, if my experience in Louisiana is at all indicative of the norm. At the time that the state senate voted on repeal of the Louisiana law that became Edwards v. Aguillard, B. B. “Sixty” Rayburn stood up and said (I think I have it right, but the wording might have been ever so slightly different), “They told me when we passed this law] that it was unconstitutional and it was going to cost a lot of money. I didn’t care about that then and I don’t care about that now.”

sir toejam challenged my assertion that

AiG is full of testable hypotheses

asking

please make a list of scientifically testable ID hypotheses from AIG.

I didn’t say anything about ID having testable hypotheses. In fact, I think it’s remarkable how contentless it is compared to good old-fashioned creationism, which is full of testable hypotheses.

Two that I remember off the top of my head, are:

1) There was only one Ice Age, which happened after the Flood. It sequestered enough water that animals could cross the resulting land bridge from mainland Asia to Australia.

2) The so-called Neanderthals were really just modern humans with ricketts.

Perfectly testable.

This post-modern sissified ID movement has stayed away from the robust error of real Biblical Creationism into an effete realm where nobody really believes anything.

Sorry; my last sentence didn’t end up quite right; it should be

This post-modern sissified ID movement has *strayed* away from …

This post-modern sissified ID movement has strayed away from the robust error of real Biblical Creationism into an effete realm where nobody really believes anything.

Apropos of that.…

http://craptaculus.com/eac/ID/id-faq.shtml

Arden Chatfield provided:

A link to a very funny web page.

Has anyone explored whether ID supporters have passed the threshold where at least one example of each known type of logical fallacy has been posted publicly in favor of ID?

I would have thought that moving a whole bunch of comments to the Bathroom Wall would have made it obvious not to feed the troll, but some of you are amazingly thick-headed. One stupid comment does not ruin a thread. One stupid comment combined with 8 people who just can’t help but respond ruins a thread. Please, quit ruining my threads.

Okay, you’re right. I am about to move three posts that have no other purpose other than to complain about the previous posts that were moved. Now everyone knows.

On Topic:

Rep. Bob Walker kicked things off this morning by presenting a petition in favor of the “critically analyze” language signed by 67 of 123 General Assembly members, and warned angrily that he’s going to take this in front of the legislature

When people get angry, they start doing stupid things. It should be fun to see him say things like Jeeee…critical analysis. Fundies are a minority no matter how loud and dangerous they are. They are like a miniature cow with a poisonous stinger: stupid and mostly useless but dangerous. If there were a way to get them angry en masse and bring these kinds of things in front of lots of state legislatures, they would critically wound themselves and, even if they keep at it, at least the whack a mole game will be a little easier. /Topic

I would have thought that moving a whole bunch of comments to the Bathroom Wall would have made it obvious not to feed the troll, but some of you are amazingly thick-headed. One stupid comment does not ruin a thread. One stupid comment combined with 8 people who just can’t help but respond ruins a thread. Please, quit ruining my threads.

Steve,

With all due respect, I think there are 3 points one must consider when dealing with an individual such as Larry in a communal setting:

1) While there is a somewhat known group of posters here, there are many fly-by readers who will not have seen multiple previous threads to understand what is going on with Larrandy. There is no context with them. If people do not respond, his completely insensible arguments go unrefuted. If people do respond, we often end up on a complete and wild tangent because Larrandy cannot help but continue to respond constantly to this.

2) Were it the case that Larrandy only posted once in a thread, I would agree. This, however, is quite simply not the case. He will post repeatedly and incessantly, questioning every post in intellectually bankrupt ways.

3) Due to the fact that this is an open, public community, every time a new member joins we will have to “educate” them about Larrandy; this brings everything back to a thread as we demonstrate he’s a crank, and gives him the attention that he desperately craves, which is why he does this in the first place.

Let’s look at a slightly different example:

Say, at the start of every court hearing on the subject of tax evasion, a specific individual would stand up and go on a 15 minute rant about why you did not have to pay taxes. He would do this in every single hearing about taxes, all the time, without fail.

You could simply ignore a person like this and instruct others not to respond to him, but you’re wasting 15 minutes of time every time the subject comes up to hear the same nonsense you have always heard, and worse, you are irritating all of the people involved by allowing that lone individual to do this. This behavior could (accurately) be described as harassment. You also risk having people who do not have the expert basis to judge the legal argument believing the person might be right; do you teach a 1 hour seminar on why you have to pay taxes every time the person does this, further wasting time?

Or do you eventually shut them up?

The fundamental root of the problem is Larrandy, for the reasons I have described above. He thrives on attention. He is not interested in doing anything other than generating a reaction. He does not contribute. He causes us to have to waste time undoing his idiotic and damaging arguments. Lastly, he simply pollutes threads.

If you wish to fix this problem, remove him.

Thanks, and I won’t post on this topic again. That’s all I really have to say about it.

If this gets a Wall-bounce, that’s fine.

First, posts that get bounced to the wall are NOT banned. Harder to find, yes. At times, bereft of their context, yes. But banned or censored in the same sense as is entirely typical on Uncommon Descent, no.

Nonetheless, I have a concern that it can look like censorship to those who aren’t fairly familiar with PT, but I’m–tentatively–comfortable with allowing the various post-meisters to exercise their discretion: their post, their living room, their way or the Wall, within wide limits.

Here, however, something a little different has gone on: while offending posts of the “troll-feeders” may still be found on the Wall, the maroon’s troll-esicms themselves have apparently been excised entirely.

In the maroon’s case, there is arguable justification for that (repeated violation of the posting policies, plenty of notice: if anything, Larry has been consciously or unconsciously begging to be banned).

But it’s still troublesome. As tiresome as Larry is, he has still subserved some educational and humorous functions. Perhaps more importantly–unlike AD’s example of a crank who necessarily ties up a limited resource (the predictable 15-minute anti-tax rant every time the tax court opens for business), here Larry doesn’t necessarily tie up any resource in any meaningful way: no one is compelled to inflict Larry upon themselves.

You see one of Larry’s familiar alternate names, or one of his stock phrases, or such tip-offs as “maroon” or “shut up, Larry,” and your eyes remain perfectly free to roam on down the page until they encounter on-topic, sense-containing content.

So, I’m pleased in a way to see Steve Reuland take the bit between his teeth and crack down on our wing-butt friend. But I’m also concerned in a way that Larry’s comments–as moronic as they almost always are–are being excised rather than moved (I’m assuming that no more effort is involved for Steve to do one rather than the other, though maybe that’s an incorrect assumption).

Dissent presents challenges to an open society–there’s no perfect answer. But my vote is to err on the side of avoiding absolute removals whenever remotely palatable.

Well, I have fed the Larry troll once recently — but felt that I had a good reason to do it. While Larry’s crank trolling is just a waste of electrons, I did feel it necessary to respond to his “ID isn’t creationism” BS, since this is also being heavily used by the IDers. And it’s wrong. Dead wrong. Absolutely wrong. Every argument IDers have put forth in the past 15 years — every one of them without exception — are just rehashed versions of standard creation ‘science’ boilerplate from forty years ago. Everything that ID has done – its arguments, its reaction to court cases, its political maneuvering, its constant whining about how oppressed it is — has been done before, decades ago, by creation “scientists”.

There simply is no functional difference between the two.

And that should be pointed out as often and as loudly as it becomes necessary.

AD –

I do not have the ability to ban Andy H/ Larry/ whoever without the consensus of the other contributors. We try to ban people only as a last resort.

Trying to rebut the nonsense he posts is perectly fine, but almost no one who responds to him tries to do that. What they do instead is spew out a dozen or more responses consisting of rude name-calling, some of them simply saying “shut up Larry”. Why anyone thinks that’s going to work is beyond me. While doing nothing to shut him up, posts like that do serve to drag this blog down into the gutter. That’s precisely what Andy/Larry/whoever is trying to acheive, and our self-appointed troll cops just play right into his hands.

It wouldn’t surprise me if there are one or two reasonable comments in the torret of posts that invariably follows one of his random, inane anti-“Darwinist” rants, but I can’t be arsed to pick them out. The whole lot goes. If anyone wants to lodge a complaint about censorship, they can find someone who cares.

And with that, I’m closing this thread too.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Steve Reuland published on March 8, 2006 9:56 PM.

The South Carolina Enemies List was the previous entry in this blog.

Update on Alabama SB45/HB106 is the next entry in this blog.

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