Seed Magazine – “Nick Matzke, Legal Beagle”

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Well, this is probably a slight to revolutionary minds everywhere, but Seed magazine has seen fit to include me in their “Revolutionary Minds” series that they are starting in the October issue which just hit the newsstands. See the NCSE writeup for more. Here is Seed‘s description:

Revolutionary Minds: Portraits of young, visionary iconoclasts who operate in a world in which cross-pollination and the synthesis of ideas are the norm.

Check out the introduction to the “Nine Revolutionary Minds” article:

Every generation has its salon, its emblematic gathering of emergent thinkers. The 20s saw the likes of Matisse, Pound, Hemingway gathered in Gertrude Stein’s Paris apartment. The 50s saw Paul Bowles’ “Tangerinos,” with giants Allen Ginsberg, Truamn Capote, and William Burroughs taking up resident in Tangiers. In the 60s there was Andy Warhol’s Factory, the studio where his iconic silk screens were produced and where Bob Dylan, Lou Reed, and so many others could be found on any given New York night.

OK, OK, just what the heck is a guy like me doing here? Well:

Nick Matzke will gladly give a quick tutorial about evolution and history of creationism – even if it means lecturing at 3 a.m. while strolling along the banks of the Susquehanna River in Harrisburg, PA. It was there, last November, that Matzke helped the plaintiff’s lawyers cream for their final corss-examination of intelligent design (ID) proponents.

This is, in fact, a true story.

Pepper-Hamilton lawyer Steve Harvey remembers it more vividly than I – those lawyers really know how to function on no sleep – but being unable to find a cab at 3 am, several times we had to hike a mile and a half up the river from downtown Harrisburg to the apartments we were staying at, in the middle of the night. Evidently I said something profound about creationism then but we have trouble remembering exactly what it was. Basically we were discussing how all the events you read about in the history books on creationism were converging precisely on us in the last weeks of the Kitzmiller case. When Robert Gentry (final creationist witness in the 1981 McLean v. Arkansas trial) showed up in Harrsiburg in the last week of the trial, we pretty much decided that we should just accept the fact that we were reliving McLean.

With a background in biology, chemistry, and geography, 30-year old Matzke sharpened his expertise writing for The Panda’s Thumb, a leading evolution blog. There, he became an avid participant in online debates with proponents of ID – a hobby that transformed into a secret weapon for the legal team he later advised.

Note to PT writers and readers: this apparently means that PT is the 21st-century equivalent of Gertrude Stein’s Paris apartment.

He attributes part of the plaintiff’s edge to his careful study of ID tactics. “We knew that [we] could predict exactly what the other side was going to say in response to any argument,” he recalls.

Of course anyone very familiar with creationism knows this very well…but I was the lucky guy who got to be the conduit…

Matzke also assisted by searching archives and collecting evidence. In April 2005, after reading about the development of ID’s seminal text, Of Pandas and People, Matzke realized that early versions of the text might reveal its authors’ intentions and notified the legal team in what he calls his “Psychic Email about the Pandas drafts.” Sure enough, when five drafts of the text were subpoenaed and analyzed, they turned out to be the ID proponents’ smoking gun.

PT readers know the basic story of the drafts as it was unveiled in 2005 during the Kitzmiller case. And my contribution, which I admit makes me chuckle in astonishment every single day, has been recounted a few times. But because I don’t think this is on the web anywhere, I have posted a section of my essay on the Kitzmiller case that was published in NCSE’s special Dover issue of Reports of the National Center for Science Education. (Note to everyone: NCSE members receive this journal in the mail as their membership, instead of having to wait for the whim of a blogger. Join NCSE!) Here is the relevant section:

The Story of the Drafts

Barbara Forrest was the expert who would have to make the connection between the ID movement and creationism. She had, of course, coauthored Creationism’s Trojan Horse, on the origins and history of the Discovery Institute, the “Wedge document”, and the leaders of the ID movement. However, the Discovery Institute only established the Center for the Renewal of Science and Culture in 1996. Of Pandas and People, which is the first book to use the terms “intelligent design” and “design proponents” systematically, and which presents all of the modern ID arguments, was published in 1989. The creationist origin of Pandas and the “intelligent design” phraseology was not covered in detail in previous works on the history of ID, so my job was to dig up everything we could possibly find on the origin of Pandas and “intelligent design”. The NCSE archives contain several files on Pandas and on the publisher of the book, the Foundation for Thought and Ethics (FTE).

Because Frank Sonleitner and John Thomas had done significant work analyzing the book and tracking FTE’s activities in the 1980s and 1990s (see http://www.ncseweb.org/article.asp?category=21), I gathered advice and old files from both of them. I also rummaged through the relevant files in NCSE’s archives and looked up various books and articles published by the Pandas authors, working through NCSE’s collection of old creationist magazines and newspapers. Finally, I examined three recent books that give histories of the ID movement – Larry Witham’s By Design and Where Darwin Meets the Bible, and Thomas Woodward’s Doubts About Darwin: A History of Intelligent Design. Although the role of Pandas in the ID movement is minimized in these sources, they nevertheless contained various useful tidbits from interviews with the “academic editor” of Pandas, Charles Thaxton, and other early players in the ID movement.

Examination of all of these sources together – apparently something that no one had taken the time and trouble to do before – revealed some interesting facts about the history of Pandas: (1) Thaxton and the books authors were working on Pandas for about a decade before it was actually published in 1989; (2) in early references to the Pandas project in the 1980s, Thaxton and FTE’s president Jon Buell described themselves and their work as “creationist” and about “creation” – not “intelligent design”; and (3) the label “intelligent design” was chosen for Pandas very late in the evolution of the book, almost as the last change made before publication. This all built a nice circumstantial case that ID developed from creationism, and this case is made in Barbara Forrest’s first expert report, filed on April 1, 2005.

On about April 8, NCSE’s then-archivist Jessica Moran came across another document in a file in the NCSE archives: a prospectus for a book entitled Biology and Origins, sent to a textbook publisher in 1987. Somehow this ended up in the files of the late Thomas Jukes, a prominent molecular biologist and longtime NCSE supporter. In 1995, Jukes sent the page to NCSE with the handwritten note “I found this in an old file, but it is certainly fascinating!” The prospectus document indicated that Biology and Origins existed in draft form in 1987, and furthermore had been sent to school districts for testing as well as to prospective publishers. The existence of unpublished drafts of Pandas should have been obvious from the evidence mentioned in the previous paragraph, and references to Biology and Origins were known, but we thought of it as just a working title for Pandas. The prospectus document made it clear that Biology and Origins was an actual draft that was widely reproduced and sent out to publishers and reviewers, and also explicitly indicated that the book would “give students the scientific rationale for creation from the study of biology.”

This discovery shed light on a rather important historical fact that had somehow been omitted from all previous histories of the origin of the “intelligent design” movement. It has always been obvious that ID arguments derived from creationist sources, but never in the wildest dreams of creationism watchers had it occurred to anyone that the phrase “intelligent design” had quite literally originated as a switch in terminology in an actual physical draft of an explicitly creationist textbook.

I summarized the situation, as I understood it at the time, to the legal team as follows, in a discussion of Dembski’s expert report:

Dembski doesn’t mention the “version 0” of Pandas, Biology and Origins, which is mentioned in some of the 1980s FTE fundraising letters and other material. I am reasonably sure that the word “creation” would be substituted for “design” or “intelligent design” at many points within that manuscript. This would prove our point in many ways. We have a couple written sources indicating that picking the words “intelligent design” was one of the very last things that Charles Thaxton did during the development of Pandas.

We don’t know:

(a) Whether any copies of Biology and Origins still exist, e.g. at FTE in Texas or in the files OF Thaxton, Davis or Kenyon;

(b) Whether Dembski has seen them (based on the expert report, Dembski either doesn’t know the prehistory of Pandas, or is leaving that out).

At the time, it was far from clear that creationist drafts of Pandas still existed. But Eric Rothschild knew what to do. He immediately issued a subpoena to the Foundation for Thought and Ethics for any documents relating to the origin and development of Biology and Origins and Of Pandas and People.

After a failed attempt to quash the subpoena, FTE coughed up the documents in early July. To our amazement, five major drafts were uncovered, and we were able to trace the switch in terminology from creationism to “intelligent design” to just after the Supreme Court’s Edwards v Aguillard decision in 1987. Barbara Forrest included all of this in a supplementary expert report and in her testimony at trial, and it became a key piece of Judge Jones’s opinion.

Although the Pandas drafts were obviously important in the Kitzmiller case, it is only slowly dawning on everyone just how significant they are. The drafts are nothing less than the smoking gun that proves exactly when and how “intelligent design” originated. This was probably the biggest discovery in creationism research since the finding that the Coso Artifact was actually a 1920s sparkplug (see RNCSE 2004 Mar/Apr; 24 [2]: 26-30). They prove that the cynical view of ID was exactly right: ID really is just creationism relabeled, and anyone who thought otherwise was either naively misinformed or engaging in wishful thinking.

(pp. 40-41 of: Matzke, N. (2006). “Design on Trial: How NCSE Helped Win the Kitzmiller Case.” Reports of the National Center for Science Education. 26(1-2), 37-44.)

The now-famous word-count charts used by Barbara Forrest in her testimony, which showed how the “creation” and “creationist” terminology was systematically and suddenly changed to “intelligent design” and “design proponent” terminology, are available online exhibits page of NCSE’s Kitzmiller v. Dover documents archive. They are free for nonprofit educational use as long as the source page is cited.

The equally famous “missing link” between creationism and “intelligent design”, “cdesign proponentsists”, was discovered by Barbara Forrest. Discussion of this discovery is found here and here.

Another note to readers: Ponder these facts: No one knew anything about these drafts. They were completely unmentioned in the literature on the ID movement. They were discovered only because of a conjunction of factors: (1) NCSE existed, (2) NCSE has kept archives on creation/evolution since the 1980s, (3) NCSE awhile back hired an archivist to organize these files, (4) NCSE was involved in the Kitzmiller case and was in close contact with the lawyers, (5) NCSE was able to give a staffer (me) free reign to work on the case, dig through the archives, and eventually realize the big picture. If any of these factors had been missing the drafts would have remained completely unknown and as far as the judge and the world were concerned, they would not have existed. All of these factors existed and came together only because of the existence of NCSE. Did I mention you should join NCSE?

Like I said before, I am still amazed at how this part of the Kitzmiller case worked out. I was tremendously lucky to be in the right place at the right time. But they say that chance favors the prepared mind, and I think it is safe to say that PT and its predecessors such as TalkOrigins and TalkDesign, and particularly the small group of people involved in these projects, had a lot to do with preparing me. You are all revolutionary minds!

[Added in edit: The full reference is: Molly Wetterschneider (2006). “Nick Matzke: Legal Beagle.” Seed: Science is Culture. 2(7), p. 62. November 2006. Part of “Revolutionary Minds” series in Seed magazine, 2(7), pp. 54-63. Molly gets kudos for listening to my Kitzmiller stories for far too long.]

[I also forgot to mention that two other regulars are in this issue of Seed: PZ Myers reviews Dawkins’ new book, and Chris Mooney has a piece on science and the November election – “Scientists of the World, Unite!”.]

98 Comments

I was tremendously lucky to be in the right place at the right time.

no, most of us here at the ‘thumb recognized you made rather substantial and unique contributions; don’t sell yourself short.

It’s about time you got some props for that work, Nick.

congrats.

Kitzmiller Klobbered Kintelligent Design.

The Discovery Institute is so desperate that it’s director Mark Chapman is inventing fictitious research programs for the equally fictitious Darwinian Pressure Group, Delta Pi Gamma, to persecute. And persecute them we will, until the beer runs out at which time we’ll rest for a while.

Yes, Nick, your work is recognized and should Delta Pi Gamma ever realize their fraternity car (red BMW M-6) we’ll give you a ride. We are generous to a fault.

We salute you, Nick. And, the Discovery Institute salutes you, too, because without you they wouldn’t be nothing!

In regard to this comment: “Although the Pandas drafts were obviously important in the Kitzmiller case, it is only slowly dawning on everyone just how significant they are. The drafts are nothing less than the smoking gun that proves exactly when and how “intelligent design” originated. This was probably the biggest discovery in creationism research since the finding that the Coso Artifact was actually a 1920s sparkplug (see RNCSE 2004 Mar/Apr; 24 [2]: 26-30). They prove that the cynical view of ID was exactly right: ID really is just creationism relabeled, and anyone who thought otherwise was either naively misinformed or engaging in wishful thinking.”

Evidently, not everyone thinks that the Kilzmiller case is as significant as you would like to believe. The distinguished University of Chicago Law Professor Albert Alschuler has a slightly different view:

“If fundamentalism still means what it meant in the early twentieth century…accepting the Bible as literal truth - the champions of intelligent design are not fundamentalists. They uniformly disclaim reliance on the Book and focus only on where the biological evidence leads. The court’s response - “well, that’s what they say, but we know what they mean” - is uncivil, and illustration of the dismissive and contemptuous treatment that characterizes much contemporary discourse. Once we know who you are, we need not listen. We’ve heard it all already.”

According to Alschuler, Judge Jones’ believes “Dover is simply Scopes trial redux. The proponents of intelligent design are guilty by association, and today’s yahoos are merely yesterday’s reincarnated.” Alschuler also stated that “proponents of intelligent design deserve the same respect” as evolutionists in the evaluation of their arguments, something they did not get from Judge Jones. Their ideas should be evaluated on their merits, not on presumed illicit motives. As Alschuler put it, “[f]reedom from psychoanalysis is basic courtesy.”

[Albert Alschuler, The Dover Intelligent Design Decision, Part 1: Of Motive, Effect, and History, The faculty blog university of Chicago Law School, (-Dec. 21, 2005), last visited Jan. 21, 2006)http://uchicagolaw.typepad.com/facu[…]r_intel.html]

I’m sorry, FTK, did you have a point? It wasn’t clear.

Alschuler is wrong on so many points and his “opinion” has already been disected. Old news.

Reiterating the main thrust: intelligent design is creationism. intelligent design is dead.

And both points were demonstrated and proved by…wait for it…creationists! Thank you one and all.

“If fundamentalism still means what it meant in the early twentieth century…accepting the Bible as literal truth - the champions of intelligent design are not fundamentalists. They uniformly disclaim reliance on the Book and focus only on where the biological evidence leads. The court’s response - “well, that’s what they say, but we know what they mean” - is uncivil, and illustration of the dismissive and contemptuous treatment that characterizes much contemporary discourse. Once we know who you are, we need not listen. We’ve heard it all already.”

Of course, if Alschuler had actually read the rest of the testimony in the Kitmiller case, he wouldn’t have said something as dismissive and ignorant as what you quote him as saying.

to say that the entire case revolved around Pandas, as opposed to the tons of expert testimony provided (by both sides), and the lies and deceits perpetrated by the defendants in many instances, belies what actually constituted the bulk of the trial itself, and the basis for Jones’ decision.

If you doubt that, I highly suggest you read the trial transcipt and decision for yourself.

It’s not hard to find.

Forthekids Wrote:

The court’s response - “well, that’s what they say, but we know what they mean” - is uncivil, and illustration of the dismissive and contemptuous treatment that characterizes much contemporary discourse.

Are you seriously arguing that courts can’t decide people are lying, because it would be impolite?

What exactly are trials for, then?

Yeah, Alschuler is just one of several people who is in total denial of what happened at the trial.

1. ID wasn’t dismissed summarily by association with creationists, instead the top ID guys came and spent days making their best scientific case. The only problem was it was destroyed by the plaintiffs’ experts and on cross. The judge found that the ID arguments, on their merits, just didn’t hold up. Second-guessing the judge without even bothering to rebut the record of sworn testimony the judge based his decision on is basically completely naive.

2. But showing that ID isn’t science only destroys the Defense case. It doesn’t prove the plaintiffs positive case, which was that ID is a specific religious view. The Pandas drafts helped accomplish that, and made it crystal clear that ID is just one big attempt to scoot creationism around the 1987 Edwards decision. Once a judge sees the origin of ID, his job is easy, because the Supreme Court already made the decision for him and he just has to follow precedent.

(These points apply mostly to the “broad implications” part of the case, of course the events in Dover were the other half of the case and completely devastating on their own.)

1) What Rothschild did to Behe on the stand, was the legal equivalent of the kung-fu scene where the guy’s punch goes through the opponent’s stomach and out his back.

2) Anybody know if Denzel has signed on to play Nick yet?

I think you meant “cram” instead of “cream”.

Nick,

You wrote: “It doesn’t prove the plaintiffs positive case, which was that ID is a specific religious view.”

I realize that there will be no convincing anyone here that ID is anything other than a Christian fundamentalist attempt to push religion into the public schools.

But, there are those of us who are completely opposed to the notion of injecting religious beliefs into the public schools, yet we recognize that evolutionary mechanisms do not support human origins and science must consider other options.

The textbook that you are convinced is the smoking gun that will do away with ID is just another example that you are incorrect in asserting that religion is being inserted into the science class.

That textbook does not teach religion, it teaches scientific concepts. Neither does it support any particular religious group. And, no one has ever demanded that that particular textbook should be used to teach students the concepts of ID. If that particular book is repulsive to you, consider another source.

To reject ID because ~you~ tend to think that supporters of ID are creationists or fundamental Christians is not a valid reason for rejection. You should be focusing entirely upon the theory itself, not upon religious various beliefs of those who support it.

We certainly wouldn’t reject Dawkins work due to his atheistic viewpoint, and we should consider the theory of ID with an open mind and without bias against the faith beliefs of those who have formulated the theory.

Along with accepting thanks for the “kung fu” compliment, I want to add my congratulations to Nick for the Seed article, and to second his plea for support and recognition of NCSE. While the DI and Thomas More were squabbling, we had the best support possible from NCSE staffers and its extended community, as well as fabulous testifying experts.

And what specifically is scientific about Of Pandas And People? The glue that holds the pages together, maybe.

Forthekids said:

“You should be focusing entirely upon the theory itself, not upon religious various beliefs of those who support it.”

They did that also and systematically slaughtered the so called ‘science’ of ID.

“We certainly wouldn’t reject Dawkins work due to his atheistic viewpoint”

“We certainly wouldn’t reject Dawkins work due to his atheistic viewpoint”

1) Because , Dawkins beliefs aside, his science is good.

2) Atheism is not religious and has no bearing on science.

You seem to be implying that the reason ID was rejected by science because they don’t like religious people.

“But, there are those of us who are completely opposed to the notion of injecting religious beliefs into the public schools, yet we recognize that evolutionary mechanisms do not support human origins and science must consider other options.”

No, you FAIL to recognize that evolutionary mechanisms are just fine for explaining how humans along with other animals are descended from a common ancestor. You also fail to realize that the ‘other options’ you would consider offer no alternative other than a supernatural cause for life to occur. Supernatural ain’t scientific.

I just know I’m going to regret asking this, but honestly, FTK, how do you justify this:

The textbook that you are convinced is the smoking gun that will do away with ID is just another example that you are incorrect in asserting that religion is being inserted into the science class.

I mean, they did a search and replace on “creationism”, substituting it with “Intelligent Design”. Considering that the textbook in question has Intelligent Design as its main theme, it is the exact equivalent of saying Intelligent Design and creationism are the same thing. How can you possibly argue otherwise????

Nick:

Congratulations on some well-deserved publicity focusing on the laudable work that you and NCSE have and are continuing to do on behalf of science education in this country.

As a member of NCSE, let me take this moment to personally applaud you. Hurrah! .…Scott

Um, FTK, are you forgetting about the Wedge Document, wherein the DI basically stated they were aiming to institute Christianity as the basis for all science, culture and law? Was the DI lying or are they fundamentalist, dominionist nutjobs? Neither is really going to be a good answer.

Question:

Is the DI planning to ~force~ their views on the nation? Or, rather are they using persuasion through open discussion in order to relay their views on the subjects at hand?

From the wedge: “Without solid scholarship, research and argument, the project would be just another attempt to indoctrinate instead of persuade.”

There is a difference between persuasion and coercion.

I attended a lecture by Os Guinness last night at KU and I wish everyone in this debate took what he had to say at heart. His message was clear and extremely important.

My review of his lecture can be found here: http://reasonablekansans.blogspot.c[…]s-at-ku.html

Holy Fork…FTK did you really say?

The textbook that you are convinced is the smoking gun that will do away with ID is just another example that you are incorrect in asserting that religion is being inserted into the science class.

Just for the record FTK OPAP was proved in court to be a work promoting ‘creationism’ despite all the half arsed attempts to cover that up, every single person both before the case and in court understood that…you DO know that creationism is a religious world view don’t you? You seem to have missed the whole point. Why on earth would the self confessed creationists (or yourself) who wanted that book read by students taking a biology class, even promote it if that were not the case? Just suppose what would happen if one of Dawkins’ books were were promoted by a human secularist school board as an alternative view to the ‘god idea’ be compulsorily announced before a prayer group meeting. I know .….it’s a ridiculous idea, you’ve almost got the whole thing sewn up, except for that niggling final thorn… the ToE. Boo hoo hoo.

FTK

That textbook does not teach religion, it teaches scientific concepts.

Total BS and you know it. It posits creationism which has no evidence as a replacement for a scientific theory which does, by using the same old discredited creationist talking points; which essentially disparage the ToE…if you want to know why, you could read the judgment.

FTK

Neither does it support any particular religious group.

ooops .…..you didn’t mean to say that did you? Perhaps you could give us a list of the ones it doesn’t support.

FTK

And, no one has ever demanded that that particular textbook should be used to teach students the concepts of ID.

ah…then why was there a court case?

Oh the concepts of ID?.…please refresh my memory is that where one sits in a witness stand in a court and in from of the whole world ..as Behe did…and says “…I thought… wouldn’t it be wonderful if I could.…” cue the greatest interruption in history “read the mind of god?” .….Thank You Eric Rothschild

FTK

If that particular book is repulsive to you, consider another source.

Why don’t you? It might give Nick a head start, I personally would absolutely love to see a repeat performance, except next time with William A. Dembski, the so called ‘intellectual dear leader’ of ID, in the hot seat.

The first question I would ask him would be “Hey Bill, did you actually say that ID is just the Gospel of John restated in the scientific idiom?”

The Hero of the ID movement has left a snail trail so obvious his diary will be full on the day he is invited as an ‘expert’ witness.

That textbook does not teach religion, it teaches scientific concepts. Neither does it support any particular religious group. And, no one has ever demanded that that particular textbook should be used to teach students the concepts of ID. If that particular book is repulsive to you, consider another source.

A) That textbook teaches Intelligent Design. By the definitions used in successive versions of the book, Intelligent Design is synonymous with creationism. Creationism was ruled to be an unscientific and religious concept, most recently in Edwards v. Aguillard. If you believe that creationism is a scientific concept, your quibble is with Edwards v. Aguillard, not Kitzmiller v. Dover. (Oh, and also with almost the entire scientific community, who think it’s useless rubbish)

B) The whole basis of the lawsuit was that students were being directed to that book by government officials. This directly resulted in heartbreaking situations like plaintiff Julie Smith’s daughter telling her “Well, Mom, evolution is a lie, what kind of Christian are you, anyway?”

FTK

Question:

Is the DI planning to ~force~ their views on the nation? Or, rather are they using persuasion through open discussion in order to relay their views on the subjects at hand?

From the wedge: “Without solid scholarship, research and argument, the project would be just another attempt to indoctrinate instead of persuade.”

There is a difference between persuasion and coercion.

FTK I suggest you write to the DI and get them to change that to

“Without solid scholarship, research or argument, the project would be just another attempt to indoctrinate instead of persuade.”

Since they have failed the “solid scholarship, research” test for the truth of that statement…

then your statement (There is a difference between persuasion and indoctrination) will be true instead of false.

..and BTW cutting and pasting to cover up an inconvenient fact does not constitute “solid scholarship AND research”.

Forthekids wrote:

But, there are those of us who are completely opposed to the notion of injecting religious beliefs into the public schools, yet we recognize that evolutionary mechanisms do not support human origins and science must consider other options.

So where’s the disciplined research, peer-reviewed papers, and/or other corroborated observation to prove this?

To reject ID because ~you~ tend to think that supporters of ID are creationists or fundamental Christians is not a valid reason for rejection.

It is if there’s plenty of documented evidence to prove that what we “think” is actually true. (Care to explain the significance of the phrase “cdesign proponentsists?”)

We certainly wouldn’t reject Dawkins work due to his atheistic viewpoint, and we should consider the theory of ID with an open mind and without bias against the faith beliefs of those who have formulated the theory.

That’s exactly what the Dover trial did. Guess what – ID failed.

Show us an actual theory (as opposed to objections and questions that have been answered years ago), and we’ll consider it. No theory, nothing to consider. (And yes, many in your camp do indeed reject Dawkins because of his atheistic viewpoint, and, worse yet, deliberately pretend that ALL scientists are as atheistic as Dawkins.)

If you want to be taken seriously here, you can at least try to answer this question: how does ID “theory” determine the age of the Earth? And what, exactly, does ID “theory” say the age of the Earth is?

Forthekids Wrote:

Question:

Is the DI planning to ~force~ their views on the nation? Or, rather are they using persuasion through open discussion in order to relay their views on the subjects at hand?

Does it matter? Hitler was elected by a nation pursuaded that he made good sense. Bad is bad.

Besides, isn’t spreading lies coercion? They’ve certainly tried coercing schools into inflicting untruths on students.

Forthekids Wrote:

From the wedge: “Without solid scholarship, research and argument, the project would be just another attempt to indoctrinate instead of persuade.”

And since they don’t have solid scholarship, research or argument, they are an attempt to indoctrinate rather than persuade, aren’t they?

Forthekids Wrote:

There is a difference between persuasion and coercion.

Yes, and the DI is coercive.

Keep in mind, Abrahamson has stated, STATED mind you, that he wants to destroy the constitution and replace it with theocracy and old testament rule. The old testament is pretty big on killing people who don’t agree with aspects of the old testament. Isn’t killing people coercion?

There is a difference between persuasion and indoctrination.

That’s right: persuasion is when you argue your case honestly among adults of equal or superior competence to yours; and indoctrination is when you try to foist off a bunch of carefully-selected facts, bogus logic, word-salad and outright lies on a captive audience of minors. Guess which activity the ID crowd spend most of their time, money and energy on?

When you’re finished parroting lies “for the kids,” you might want to see if you have something to offer “for the grownups.”

FTK to quote from your blog link: “But, he is quick to remind us that when we are talking with people of various faiths, we should be focusing on the matter at hand and the common good. We should not be debating who’s faith beliefs are correct or how they affect the subject at hand. Neither should we be forcing our religious beliefs on others.”

- a statement on it’s own that I agree with (i.e in science class focus on science not faith, which is irrelivant)

I don’t want to belabor this point, but I don’t think it can be overemphasized. the “matter at hand” is the content of public school SCIENCE curricula. Teachers WILL BE talking with people of various faiths and the benefit to the common good would be to focus on what is relevant, i.e. SCIENCE. ID and Creationism ARE religous apologetics and NOT SCIENCE therefore discussing ID/creationism as if it was science is an irrelevant waste of time/resources at best and engaging in lying/deciet (EVIL) at worst. What part of this isn’t clear?

In the 14-20 years of schooling that Americans have the privelige to participate in, there are ample oppertunities to civilly discuss matters of faith and philosophy. 9th grade biology is NOT one of them

Nick: Congratulations on a well-deserved honor. Having read the NCSE Reports and all of the material from the Dover trial, etc., I know that your contributions were very important in the final outcome. Naysayers,such as FTK, can scream all they wish, but it is already clear that the Kitzmiller opinion has influenced local school boards to avoid creationist attempts and the importance of the precedent set by Judge Jones WILL be very influential in any future court cases.

Everyone interested in keeping ‘science only in the science classroom’ should join and support NCSE!

Nick: Congratulations on a well-deserved honor. Having read the NCSE Reports and all of the material from the Dover trial, etc., I know that your contributions were very important in the final outcome. Naysayers,such as FTK, can scream all they wish, but it is already clear that the Kitzmiller opinion has influenced local school boards to avoid creationist attempts and the importance of the precedent set by Judge Jones WILL be very influential in any future court cases.

Everyone interested in keeping ‘science only in the science classroom’ should join and support NCSE!

ooops Michael wrong Son of Abraham there did you mean

Christian Reconstructionist Howard Ahmanson Jr ?

more here

I realize that there will be no convincing anyone here that ID is anything other than a Christian fundamentalist attempt to push religion into the public schools.

Given that many, many ID proponents SAY EXACTLY THAT.…why shouldn’t we believe it?

Really, you can put words together coherently. You can do much better with your arguments.

k.e. Wrote:

ooops Michael wrong Son of Abraham there did you mean

Christian Reconstructionist Howard Ahmanson Jr ?

Yes. That’s what I said. This intelligent designed software clearly messed up what I wrote. That’s clearly the only explanation for why it got posted incorectly. *whistles innocently*

But your link doesn’t really say much about Ahmanson himself. The wikipedia article does a better job. I love how he says he hasn’t called for the stoning of homosexuals, but thinks people who did so wouldn’t be immoral for it.

Just finished reading your summary of Os Guinness’ lecture. I can’t help but notice that Os endorses religious expression in public (i.e., government, and schools by extension) forums. Do you agree with this view?

Also…

He believes that faith and reason are part of the same thing, and should intermingle. Faith is a part of who we are and it affects how we view the world. He believes that we should not keep our faith hidden in the private sector while only allowing a secularist point of view in the public square.

Is it your interpretation of his speech that he believes the “religious” views of “secularists” are being promoted in public schools? And do you agree with his opinion?

Also, seeing you post a lecture on religiosity immediately after posts declaring the non-religiousness of the ID movement begs the question: How is ID a-religious if your arguments for teaching it include denigrating “extreme secularists” who “[wrongly] put forth that there should be a strict barrier between church and state”?

Just finished reading your summary of Os Guinness’ lecture.

I somehow doubt that FTK will give you that analogous courtesy and actually respond honestly to your questions.

Aww, another creationist leaves with a dissonance-salving parting shot. Congradulations on your brilliant rhetorical move of calling us all too biased for discussion! Maybe next time you can actually answer a god-damned question when it’s posed to you: maybe, just maybe, it could prove to be the missing element in our one-sided attempts at dialogue.

Mr. Suttkus, I meant that your role and my role have been similar and the tactics are the same. Ask ask ask!!! No way are you like that Creationist. Good work.

Forthekids: Here’s something I’m stealing from wamba on another PT thread:

Intelligent Design Might Be Meeting Its Maker, Laurie Goodstein, NYTimes, December 4, 2005: The Templeton Foundation, a major supporter of projects seeking to reconcile science and religion, says that after providing a few grants for conferences and courses to debate intelligent design, they asked proponents to submit proposals for actual research. “They never came in,” said Charles L. Harper Jr., senior vice president at the Templeton Foundation, who said that while he was skeptical from the beginning, other foundation officials were initially intrigued and later grew disillusioned.

“From the point of view of rigor and intellectual seriousness, the intelligent design people don’t come out very well in our world of scientific review,” he said.

Any comment from the cdesign proponentsists on this?

Michael Suttkus II

Can it be virtual meat lovers pizza (no pepperoni, add onions)? Because virtual pizza is the only kind I’ll be able to eat anymore after my doctor gives me my blood test results today…

Well, I’m no particular fan of the pinheaded Steviepinhead, but–so long as his credit card company doesn’t reject him–his money’s as good as the next guy’s.

Besides which, I gotta agree with the pinhead on this one–Michael’s been rockin’ wailin’ on this thread (well, and kudos to Nick, too, obviously!).

So, one large-a pan-baked Panda pizza a-coming right-a up for Mr. Suttkus, lotsa onions, no pepperoni! Piping hot, always on time!*

——- *Of course, prompt delivery of virtual pizzas is a little bit easier than bikin’ across town to Lenny’s shack. Degas willing…

PS: I posted the same excerpt from the same article about the lack of ID research proposals on FTK’s blog. Comments there are subject to “moderation.” So far, my post has not appeared.

Aww, another creationist leaves with a dissonance-salving parting shot. Congradulations on your brilliant rhetorical move of calling us all too biased for discussion! Maybe next time you can actually answer a god-damned question when it’s posed to you: maybe, just maybe, it could prove to be the missing element in our one-sided attempts at dialogue.

And unless I missed something vital, despite having made many posts about how Intelligent Design is science not religion, no one should try to speculate on the Intelligent Design movement’s motives etc etc and we’re all terrible unserious people for being intolerant of “fundies”… after all this, FTK is running away without having said anything about the actual science of ID.

If there is some motive or substance to Intelligent Design beyond the simple religious promotion Judge Jones saw in it, then FTK has by her appearance on this blog not done anything to give us the slightest hint what that other motive or substance might be.

No, at this time, I won’t be attempting to carry on any type of serious conversation with you.

I don’t blame you.

But then, I will just contin ue to ask you questions, again and again and again. After all, my questions make their point all by themselves, and your silence just emphasizes that point.

I don’t need your cooperation. (shrug)

Now then, if, as you say, ID isn’t creationism, then, um, why does DI list defending “traditional doctrine of creation” as one of its “governing goals”?

(sound of crickets chirping)

As much as you’d like to believe that ID is dead, it’s quite obvious that it’s stronger than ever.

Just ask the folks over at Uncommon descent.

Whenever it’s back up again.

BWA HA HA HA !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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This page contains a single entry by Nick Matzke published on October 3, 2006 6:02 PM.

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