Stuff to read on ID, Kitzmiller

| 8 Comments

In addition to watching the news on Kansas, we have been meaning to post these to PT but haven’t quite gotten to it, so here is a collection of recent commentary on ID/creationism, Kitzmiller, etc. Much of this has already been noted on the NCSE News page.

Coultergeist – Jerry Coyne reviews Ann Coulter’s book Godless in The New Republic, with about as much respect as she deserves (pass-through link, free registration required). I can’t claim responsibility for the science in Coyne’s essay like Dembski did for Coulter, but I did get to comment on a draft, and Coyne (who is personally targetted repeated by Coulter) did tell me that TNR wanted the review of Coulter’s book to be in the same style that Coulter herself wrote. So that explains the invective (although it appears to me that Coyne wasn’t able to turn his scientific side off completely, there are some low-invective zones). If you want to give the ol’ irony meter a spin, check out this post from an ID blogger who is defending Coulter from Coyne:

I think Coyne might have over-reacted just a tad to the part about Ann Coutler “attacking” him. But again, fact-distorting and insult-hurling have always been favorites for Coyne and the evolution community.

The “Vise Strategy” Undone: Kitzmiller et al. v. Dover Area School District – On the CSICOP website, Barbara Forrest recounts her experience during the Kitzmiller case, including the repeated efforts of hurricanes, the Thomas More Law Center, and the Discovery Institute to keep her off the witness stand, and the juvenile antics by Dembski and the Discovery Institute.

In the matter of Berkeley v. Berkeley – the Berkeley Science Review reviews the events of Kitzmiller, and interviews Kevin Padian and Phillip Johnson. Johnson even admits defeat, sort of.

Stanford Medicine: “The Evolutionary War” – Evolution and Medicine, commentary on the Kitzmiller case. Those folks at Stanford don’t like ID much, I have to say.

The Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review has an article by Brenda Lee on the Kitzmiller decision. The article is positive about the opinion, but dubious on whether or not it will have the intended impact:

Although the opinion was excellently written and reasoned, its broad conclusions will not have a great impact on the public debate about teaching evolution and thus will fail to fulfill its hope of preventing judicial waste. Given the vast divide in American society over the role of religion in public life, the influence of high profile individuals who favor creationist teaching, and the limited precedential value of a district court’s opinion, lawsuits will continue to serve as the primary check on new and improved methods of including creationism in the classroom. ID is representative of a huge cultural divide in America that a court, despite ambitious goals, cannot mend prophylactically. In fact, the opinion’s decisiveness in finding that ID was not science, based on the overwhelming evidence of the Board’s religious motivations, may encourage critics of evolution simply to repackage their next attack to avoid any mention of religion and thereby escape negative Establishment Clause analysis.

Like several lawyerly commentaries I’ve seen, this one does not quite fully appreciate how history came crashing down on ID during the trial, in the form of Barbara Forrest’s presentation on the Pandas drafts. We’ve always said that ID was just creationism relabeled. The ID movement denied it. The drafts proved that Pandas was originally creationist “two models” text intended for the public schools if the creation science “Equal Time” legislation passed constitutional muster at Appeals Court or Supreme Court, as the creationists were hoping from 1982-1987. That didn’t work out when the Edwards decision came down, and so they changed the name to “intelligent design” and went full speed ahead. That simply is the origin of the “scientific” movement of ID, and any judge who sees that evidence is going to conclude that his decision is easy, because the Supreme Court already made the decision for him, in the 1987 Edwards decision. Game over.

I suppose now would be as good a time as any to mention that the next issue of NCSE Reports, in press, is a special double issue devoted to the Kitzmiller trial. I give the “inside story” of my experience during the case, how we found the Pandas drafts, and just what kind of impact NCSE had on the case. Other NCSE staff, expert witnesses, etc., also comment. If you want to get the special issue as the first issue of your subscription, join NCSE now.

8 Comments

In fact, the opinion’s decisiveness in finding that ID was not science, based on the overwhelming evidence of the Board’s religious motivations, may encourage critics of evolution simply to repackage their next attack to avoid any mention of religion and thereby escape negative Establishment Clause analysis.

That’s what they tried with ID. Can’t work. You can’t communicate to the proles that it’s all about Jesus, and then succesfully hide all that communication from the courts. The inept DI couldn’t even communicate that in private memos to their financial supporters without it getting out. Trying to hide that mountain of Jesus is simply impossible.

The only chance the DI has is a frigging miracle, and I don’t even think there is one available that would do the job for them. Based on past performance, they need to choose: *Parting of the Red Sea? No good…might help Hezbollah, but N/G for votes in the USA. *Changing Water to Wine? At least they could get drunk, but knowing the idiots at the DI, it would be some cheap twist-off cap variety… * Loaves & Fishes? Just what they need - more calories! (Miracle of the hardened arteries anyone?) * Locusts and plagues? Not going to help overturn Dover, is it? *Killing all the firstborn? Counter-productive, not to mention slightly illegal… * Raise the dead? Sorry, DI, old hat. The dead vote in Chicago every election.BFD…

Bottom Line? Creos and DI puppets must be some BAD sinners! They haven’t got a prayer.

Trying to hide that mountain of Jesus is simply impossible.

And If by chance they actually managed to hide it by.…. oh lets see .…censoring? their promoters, then they would just be godless IDers promoting anti-evolution diatribes and disinformation…uh oh …creationism .…nothing to do with religion at all.

Too late. The horse has bolted.

The biggest success they had was that free bit of plastic that ran on a DVD player and has now been thoroughly debunked.

That simply is the origin of the “scientific” movement of ID, and any judge who sees that evidence is going to conclude that his decision is easy, because the Supreme Court already made the decision for him, in the 1987 Edwards decision. Game over.

In any responsive political system, the game is never over. The Kansas creationists didn’t give up because they were booted out once, and ignorance never sleeps. Does anyone think kicking them out a second time will discourage them? Despite international focus and ridicule, only 15% of voters bothered to turn out to successfully re-elect one of the Kansas creationists.

Remember that DaveScot confidently expected Judge Jones to rule for the ignorati, because that was supposedly his cultural allegiance. Granted, Jones didn’t meet DaveScot’s expectations - this time. But replace Jones with, for example, Roy Moore and how do we think the case might have gone? Probably, the pro-science people would have been ruled irrelevant, and TMLC would have won by default.

Sure, it would have been appealed - maybe all the way to Scalia, Alito, Thomas, Roberts and company. You know - the people who *dissented* in Edwards and their philosophical clones. Scalia can’t for the life of him understand why it’s any of government’s business why schools can’t teach that science has proved God. And these religious right-wingers on the Supreme Court are 20-30 years younger than the pro-science people. One more Alito, and Edwards is toast.

Meanwhile, as the Kansas-related (and Georgia-based, etc.) articles make painfully clear, evolution is not taught in public schools across the heartland, those big square red flyover states where nobody ever goes. The state school board produces only advisory opinions; the local schools are sensitive to angry parents showing up in herds to shout and wave their Bibles around. The teachers know: the state may nominally approve mainstream biology, but the textbooks conspicuously lack any mention of evolution, and the science teachers know better than to make waves and jeopardize careers.

Ignorance is contagious. The game is never over.

ID is representative of a huge cultural divide in America that a court, despite ambitious goals, cannot mend prophylactically.39 In fact, the opinion’s decisiveness in fnding that ID was not science, based on the overwhelming evidence of the Board’s religious motivations, may encourage critics of evolution simply to repackage their next attack to avoid any mention of religion and thereby escape negative Establishment Clause analysis.40 (Lee 2006:585)

There are a number of errors in the quoted text. The minor is the inappropriate use of the term “prophylactically” which is probably more irritating to those with a medical background. ID is symptomatic of a cultural division stretching back centuries, and so there is no room for prophylactic care. To extend the analogy, IDC is an opportunistic secondary infection at any rate. (To really beat it to death, one might wish that the IDC ejecta could have been collected up and flushed long ago).

More serious is the fact that Lee is clearly innocent of knowledge about creationism, IDC, and the last 30+ years of Evo/Creato legislation and case law. Intelligent Design Creationism was nothing more than (quoting Lee) “… their (creationists’ gh) next attack to avoid any mention of religion and thereby escape negative Establishment Clause analysis.” This is partricularly sad as this very point was made abundantly clear in the Dover Pandas Trial testimony of Prof. Barbra Forest.

PS: I see that this last point has already been raised, but it deserves reiteration.

Another board member solicited donations from his church congregation to purchase the textbook Of Pandas and People, a pro-ID account of the origin of life that was shown at trial to have replaced “creation” with “intelligent design” in its latest edition. Id. at 71; see also Kitzmiller v. Dover Area Sch. Dist., 400 F. Supp. 2d 707, 721 (M.D. Pa. 2005). Lee 2006: 586, Note 46

Lee makes another error exposing her lack of familiarity with the substance of the trial. The textbook “Of Pandas and People” was not a “pro-ID account of the origin of life” but a creationist biology book targeted at high school level students. It has chapters covering most of biology which are systematically filled with falsehoods. The origin of life is (mis)represented in “Pandas” but is in fact logically detached and not a core issue in evolutionary biology.

Jerry Coyne’s Coultergeist essay can be accessed without any registration at Talk Reason.

Mark Perakh Wrote:

Jerry Coyne’s Coultergeist essay can be accessed without any registration at Talk Reason.

You could also buy a copy of The New Republic issue in question. I don’t like on-line registering, but I am willing to put my money down for good stuff, and in fact I’ve purchased several books and various issues of magazines, journals, even law reviews, based on what gets posted here.

As it is, I’ll probably pass on this particular TNR, since Coulter is so utterly brainless that I couldn’t care less.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Nick Matzke published on August 2, 2006 2:35 PM.

Tangled Bank #59 was the previous entry in this blog.

Dembski and Darwinian fascists is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.

Categories

Archives

Author Archives

Powered by Movable Type 4.361

Site Meter