Analysis of Lousiana “Academic Freedom” bill

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This was just posted as a comment by “laminu” to the Help Louisiana post. I’m promoting it (with some minor editing for a few typos) to a full post because it deserves wider reading.

Notes from a lawyer and law teacher who’s been following this bill throughout the process:

1. About the discussion to this point:

a) Generalizations won’t do – you’ve got to read the bill, now Act 473, to see what the actual effect will be. (b) Louisiana NEVER adopted the Code Civil that is associated with Napoleon’s name: Louisiana’s original Civil Code was developed by three pretty darn good Louisiana lawyers from French (a projet of the Code Civil) and Spanish sources, to which they added provisions to cover the commercial laws dealt with elsewhere in French law. (Louisiana had been Spanish, not French, for decades when Jefferson sent Monroe to buy the Ile d’Orleans from Napoleon, such that it made sense to the redactors of the Louisiana code to follow Spanish legal traditions with respect to personal and family law issues.) Civil law reigns in most countries of the world outside the US and England, anyway, and to my way of thinking gives clearer guidance and quicker, more efficient justice in civil matters than the common law – much of which has already been replaced by clumsily written “codes” in the US. So, please, give the canard that “Louisiana is different in all legal respects because of the Napoleonic Code” a rest. The Civil Code has precisely NOTHING at all to do with the teaching of creationism in the public schools anyway.

Please try to control the ad hominem attacks. It’s no way to manage an issue. A insensitive ethnic remark on one visit to one part of one city is by no means grounds to condemn a whole state. Neither are the facts, inter alia, that (i) the plate on which the northern rim of the Gulf of Mexico sits is being deflected down (from Houston to Pensacola) by the weight of the delta-making sediment deposited on it since the retreat of the last continental ice sheets, (ii) channelization and flood-control levees keep the silt carried by the Mississippi River from building the delta back up, and (iii) dams, locks, and modern soil-conservation practices upstream have reduced the silt volume in the river by over 75%, such that (iv) we’re sinking. Somebody has to work and live in the last habitable spot on the Mississippi if water-borne commerce is to happen, and we don’t apologize for being willing to do so. Unlike those who endure the certain annual agony of feet of frozen precipitation, who build towns in dry wildernesses for no sustainable economic reason, and who must learn to suppress the daily fear that the ground under their feet may open up with no warning, we have good years, we have a reason to be here, and we can count on enough advance notice of an impending calamity to get the hell out of Dodge. We aren’t all yahoos. Don’t alienate your allies or antagonize your adversaries by making them defend themselves and their personal choices with irrelevant and –dare I say it – insensitive remarks.

2. And finally, to the law:

This thing started out in the Senate as a bill to guarantee the academic freedom of K-12 teachers, and students, in the public schools. [“Academic freedom” in a kindergarten class??] The principal supporters in committee were creationists from the Louisiana Family Forum (Tony Perkins’ group, before he left La for DC and the Family Research Council); Senator Cassidy, R-Baton Rouge, a physician with biochemistry and medical degrees from and a med-school faculty position at LSU and a Sunday school teacher; and the author, Senator Nevers, D-Bogalusa, an electrical contractor, a deacon in his church, and a former school board member who, according to the bio on the legislature’s web site, “keeps education issues at the forefront.” They urged passage because the textbook-approval cycle, seven years, puts outdated science in the schools. The selection of supplemental, corrective materials that the bill was to allow into the classroom was to be left to the discretion of teachers and – get this – students. [Consider that the First Amendment prohibits interference by the state with the free exercise of religion as well as the establishment of religion by the state, and that the free-exercise clause bars public school faculty and staff from interfering with student-initiated and -led prayer at certain school functions. The notion behind the original bill was to stretch the free-exercise clause precedents to permit the kids to introduce into the science classroom the YEC or ID notions that the establishment clause keeps their teachers from spouting. Okay, so that makes you hate lawyers. I’m just happy as a lawyer that the proponents went in a different direction, as I will explain directly.]

The original bill was replaced by a substitute, SB 733, which dropped the “academic freedom” facade and proposed to name the intended law the “Louisiana Science Education Act.” The new structure is – oddly enough – to require teachers to exhaust the old, outdated, error-filled content of the approved science textbooks and to permit them to use supplementary materials to “help students” understand and “critique” the theories being studied, but only such materials as the local school board has approved. Even then, the state board, the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, may rule certain supplementary materials out. The support group, apparently having not read the new bill, keeps insisting that the new law will help science teachers give their students the best of current science – whereas it hinders them in fact, by adding delay and bureaucracy to the job of staying up with their fields and updating their lesson plans accordingly.

Whoever called this law a “Dover trap” [that was me: RBH] was, therefore, on point. It’s main effect will be to encourage local boards to approve wingnut “science” for use in the classroom and so invite Kitzmiller II. The local boards that do so – in open meetings, on the public record, as Louisiana law requires – will have their decisions invalidated in federal court, where they will be hit for large fees and costs. Legislators who think the prospect is one of local interest only forget that Louisiana pays up to half of every local board’s costs by way of our Minimum Foundation grant system.

The legislators voted for SB 733, with no real debate on the floor of either house, because the wording is superficially innocuous, because the bill and its supporters explicitly renounce any intent to introduce religion into the classroom, and because nobody needed trouble from the LFF on an issue that the federal courts will be happy to handle anyway. Perhaps less than statesmanlike, but it’s near-term pragmatism that holds sway with legislators generally, in the Congress as well as in the states. Remember that Governor Jindal, who earned biology and public policy degrees from Brown in 1992 and was a Rhodes Scholar, had indicated during his campaign that he was in favor of exposing public school kids to ID. I don’t know if or to what extent he played an active role in the passage of the bill, but his public sympathy for the cause didn’t hurt.

If you’ve read this far, you have lots of patience. Thanks.

And thank you. RBH

279 Comments

I also thank you, laminu. I have one question about the bill as I’ve seen it, specifically the part that claims to deal with the promotion of religion. My understanding of the bill is that it says:

D. This Section shall not be construed to promote any religious doctrine, promote discrimination for or against a particular set of religious beliefs, or promote discrimination for or against religion or nonreligion.

This seems to me to be rather contradictory. Because of the nature of religious belief, it is not possible to be non-discriminatory when it comes to different religions. If you do not discourage or assail any one set of beliefs, then you are offending followers of other religions, and thus discriminating against them. (This seems to be the POV for many religious people, at least, and the position of fundamentalists.) IOW, religious neutrality in and of itself is discriminatory.

One of the typos you corrected was not a typo: “projet” – if I had had italics you wouldn’t have been misled – not “project” is the right French for the draft of a code.

And thanks for putting this out on the main page. I had parachuted right in to the end of a relatively old thread, not knowing that the newly minted law was getting better billing.

Thanks.

Art said:

I also thank you, laminu. I have one question about the bill as I’ve seen it, specifically the part that claims to deal with the promotion of religion. My understanding of the bill is that it says:

D. This Section shall not be construed to promote any religious doctrine, promote discrimination for or against a particular set of religious beliefs, or promote discrimination for or against religion or nonreligion.

This seems to me to be rather contradictory. Because of the nature of religious belief, it is not possible to be non-discriminatory when it comes to different religions. If you do not discourage or assail any one set of beliefs, then you are offending followers of other religions, and thus discriminating against them. (This seems to be the POV for many religious people, at least, and the position of fundamentalists.) IOW, religious neutrality in and of itself is discriminatory.

Art, you expect too much to expect consistency. The main author, Sen. Nevers, is an electrical contractor, not a lawyer or logician. Bill language is put together and reviewed by legislative staff who have no jurisdiction over the substance of what they write, even in this case, where, according to Sen. Nevers, the language is original to Louisiana. We are left to suppose that it was independently designed by an unknown designer, with no evolutionary debt to DI or LFF or other creo precursors.

I have to assume that (D) was thought necessary to deflect criticism from those of us benighted who still cherish the Establishment Clause. You must agree, even so, that (D) protests too much, given that the new law has, if the proponents are to be believed, nothing whatever to do with religion.

And there’s also the dig, just below the surface, that evolutionists are just indulging their own form of religious belief, that the religion of evolution is entitled to no more class time that YEC tenets.

Consider the unstated premise of (D), that discrimination for/against (non)religion is something that arises naturally in science class. Home-schooling is a choice for those who believe that classes based on the careful examination of observable regularity in the outside world threaten the religious beliefs of their children. Who else is afraid of high school physics? Biology? Would it surprise you to know that Gov Jindal’s chief of staff, Timmy Teepell, was home-schooled, doesn’t have a high school diploma or a college degree?

Laminu

One of the typos you corrected was not a typo: “projet” – if I had had italics you wouldn’t have been misled – not “project” is the right French for the draft of a code.

Fixed. (My doctoral languages were German and Fortran. :))

The whole intent of this bill is to adulterate the teaching of science, more specifically, evolution. No other discipline is addressed, no other academic domain is addressed (e.g., language, math, etc.). Only special consideration is given to evolution, and clearly the Dishonesty Institute is prepared to provide the arguments against evolution in their already waiting-in-the-wings materials. I would consider this their Achilles heel because it is not a general “academic freedom” bill, but focused on one purpose only.

The IRC’s intent had been to water down evolution so much with their contrary arguments and “evidence.” This theme has been appropriated and honed by the DI.

DavidK wrote

The whole intent of this bill is to adulterate the teaching of science, more specifically, evolution. No other discipline is addressed, no other academic domain is addressed (e.g., language, math, etc.). Only special consideration is given to evolution, and clearly the Dishonesty Institute is prepared to provide the arguments against evolution in their already waiting-in-the-wings materials. I would consider this their Achilles heel because it is not a general “academic freedom” bill, but focused on one purpose only.

Sure. That’s why it’s a Dover Trap for all those local school districts in Louisiana. An interesting note in laminu’s post is that apparently if a local district loses a suit, the state will be on the hook for half the cost to the local district.

.…more specifically, evolution. No other discipline is addressed, no other academic domain is addressed (e.g., language, math, etc.).

That is incorrect. Take another look.

.….promotes critical thinking skills, logical analysis, and open and objective discussion of scientific theories being studied including, but not limited to, evolution, the origins of life, global warming, and human cloning.

FL

laminu said:

D. This Section shall not be construed to promote any religious doctrine, promote discrimination for or against a particular set of religious beliefs, or promote discrimination for or against religion or nonreligion.

The main author, Sen. Nevers, is an electrical contractor, not a lawyer or logician. Bill language is put together and reviewed by legislative staff who have no jurisdiction over the substance of what they write, even in this case, where, according to Sen. Nevers, the language is original to Louisiana.

Bullshit! Section D appeared - word for word! - in Florida’s bogus “Academic Freedom Act,” Senate Bill 2692, introduced Friday, February 29, 2008 - see Section 1.(7) in http://www.flascience.org/wp/?p=484. (Those who forget Google exists are doomed to repeat the mistakes of the past.)

The Dishonesty Institute’s cloven hoofprints and sulfurous stench were all over that bill in Florida in February, just as they are now in Louisiana. It’s amazing that Louisiana’s resident exorcist didn’t detect them before he signed the bill.

A bill that allows teachers to present scientific evidence against a certain theory should be welcomed by everyone who loves the scientific process.

However, if a given “theory” can’t survive scientific criticism, then it’s time to discard it.

FL -

As you were gloating on the last thread about this bill, let me give you my opinion.

I was one of those who said this bill “could” stand up in court. In contrast to the author here, who clearly knows massively more about LA law than I do.

What I meant was that I could imagine a tiny chance of a “perfect storm”.

1) If the bill came before an exceptionally corrupt, partisan judge in a lower court. However, this is unlikely. There are a few bad judges everywhere; I didn’t mean to imply that LA judges are especially bad.

2) It would certainly be appealed. The most likely result again would be that the first competent court that saw it would kill it and drive a stake in its heart. This is its probable fate under any circumstances.

3) In the unlikely event that it made it to the supreme court, today’s court would rule against it by at least 5-4. It’s even possible that Roberts or Alito would use the cover of a sure defeat to take the dignified way out. They haven’t shown much in the way of “independence” from the commands of their masters yet, but they may have limits. This bill very clearly discriminates against Catholics (Catholic dogma does not require inaccurate teaching of science, and therefore there is no possible claim of spiritual benefit overcoming educational and intellectual disadvantage - the bill merely allows Catholic students, along with all others, to be taught someone else’s sectarian garbage instead of science).

4) However, in the unlikely event that John McCain is elected and is feeling friendly toward the wingnuts who have always undermined him and is even able to appoint a wingnut even if he wants to, a flawed, destined-to-be-overturned 5-4 decision might stand for a few years.

Meanwhile, your bill would just be an embarrassment to Louisianans. It wouldn’t compel anyone, not even in Louisiana, technically, to teach ID/creationism junk instead of science.

The fact that the bill is all about evolution says that it has primarily a narrow sectarian religious purpose. The creos reject most of modern science and history but their favorite target is usually evolutionary biology.

As such it should fail the “Lemon test” as it has clearly a religious purpose.

By narrow it is fundie protestant only and not even all fundies have a problem with evolution. The Catholic church which is one of the main denominations in Louisiana doesn’t buy into creationism either.

The whole intent of this bill is to adulterate the teaching of science, more specifically, evolution. No other discipline is addressed, no other academic domain is addressed (e.g., language, math, etc.). Only special consideration is given to evolution, and clearly the Dishonesty Institute is prepared to provide the arguments against evolution in their already waiting-in-the-wings materials. I would consider this their Achilles heel because it is not a general “academic freedom” bill, but focused on one purpose only.

A Holocaust denier needs to get on board with this and start promoting that idea in history classes, all the while claiming “academic freedom.” Or maybe the Klan can come into biology classes and discuss the inherent inferiority of non-Whites. Let’s see how much support these bills get after that.

harold said:

In the unlikely event that it made it to the supreme court, today’s court would rule against it by at least 5-4.

That’s a pretty optimistic viewpoint. If you’re counting on Kennedy as the swing vote, you may as well flip a coin. Scalia’s dissent in Edwards, where he argued strongly for teaching “creation science”, could well be the blueprint for a majority decision. And it may not be this Louisiana bill that reaches the high Court, but another better crafted one. Evolution cases seem to get to the Supremes in about twenty year cycles.

DavidK said:

The whole intent of this bill is to adulterate the teaching of science, more specifically, evolution. No other discipline is addressed, no other academic domain is addressed (e.g., language, math, etc.). Only special consideration is given to evolution, and clearly the Dishonesty Institute is prepared to provide the arguments against evolution in their already waiting-in-the-wings materials. I would consider this their Achilles heel because it is not a general “academic freedom” bill, but focused on one purpose only.

The IRC’s intent had been to water down evolution so much with their contrary arguments and “evidence.” This theme has been appropriated and honed by the DI.

Indeed. Take a look at Paul Nelson’s “Explore Evolution” to see what they’re up to. Same old Kreationist Krap, but they’ve removed words like Creationism, and, now, even Intelligent Design.

Mats:

>A bill that allows teachers to present scientific evidence against a certain >theory should be welcomed by everyone who loves the scientific process.

Teachers should present evidence for and against all theories; a bill that singles out a few particular theories for this treatment is obviously bogus.

>However, if a given “theory” can’t survive scientific criticism, then it’s time >to discard it.

Hence the discardment of intelligent design theory.

“Please try to control the ad hominem attacks. … and who must learn to suppress the daily fear that the ground under their feet may open up with no warning,”

Pot, meet kettle. Lawyer or no lawyer, failure understanding right-lateral strike-slip faults is no virtue.

“this bill shall not be construed…”

can a bill really say how it is to be construed?

sure, this is ok for construing in the sense of “how to interpret”, but this seems to be using construe in the sense of “how the bill will be judged”

this seems to me like a “bill for the immediate capture and gassing of Jews” stating “this bill shall not be construed as an attack on basic human rights”

Mats the Death Cult troll:

A bill that allows teachers to present scientific evidence against a certain theory should be welcomed by everyone who loves the scientific process.

It is already perfectly legal to present scientific evidence for and against any and all scientific theories in science classes or anywhere. Except a few cultist churches which are exempt from the truth under the first amendment. They didn’t need to pass a bill in any state to do that.

But that isn’t what they mean. Creos always lie and use a lot of Orwellian Doublespeak. Their “scientific evidence” will be standard creo lies and fallacies and it doesn’t take them long to toss in Genesis and claim “science leads you to killing.”

Mats the Death Cultist troll:

However, if a given “theory” can’t survive scientific criticism, then it’s time to discard it.

Sure we have tossed a lot of theories for lack of evidence. Apollo Helios no longer drags the sun across the sky everyday in a chariot. We no longer even allow priests to cut people’s hearts out on flat topped pyramids to keep the sun and rain gods happy. The earth now orbits the sun rather than vice versa. And Genesis as fact was in trouble 1600 years ago in the time of St. Augustine and educated people ceased to consider it anything but allegory over a century or two ago. Time to stop pretending that 2 pages of 4,000 year old mythology is a description of a huge, old universe.

Can somebody explain to me exactly how

D. This Section shall not be construed to promote any religious doctrine, promote discrimination for or against a particular set of religious beliefs, or promote discrimination for or against religion or nonreligion.

prevents the law from promoting or discriminating? If the previous sections of said law do in fact promote or discriminate, then how the heck does appending that clause change the fact that it does so? And if it doesn’t, then what’s the point of adding a clause that in that case wouldn’t do anything?

Henry

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raven said:

We no longer even allow priests to cut people’s hearts out on flat topped pyramids to keep the sun and rain gods happy.

Just to quibble, raven, but, the priests of Tlaloc did not cut out the hearts of the sacrificial children: at El Templo Mayor, they simply slit the victims’ throats after having a good cry, and simultaneously, at Tlaloc’s sacred mountain lake, the victims had their throats slashed before being cast into the center of the lake. Only men had their hearts cut out: women were either beheaded or strangled.

steve s said:

Mats | June 29, 2008 6:39 PM | Reply

A bill that allows teachers to present scientific evidence against a certain theory should be welcomed by everyone who loves the scientific process.

However, if a given “theory” can’t survive scientific criticism, then it’s time to discard it.

Not true. Newton’s “theory” didn’t ‘survive scientific criticism’, but it’s still used because it’s useful. In general, scientific theories are used until more useful one comes along. Since evolution generates thousands of papers per year, and ID generates none, you’d have to be some kind of idiot to want to replace evolution with ID.

Paul Burnett said:

laminu said:

D. This Section shall not be construed to promote any religious doctrine, promote discrimination for or against a particular set of religious beliefs, or promote discrimination for or against religion or nonreligion.

The main author, Sen. Nevers, is an electrical contractor, not a lawyer or logician. Bill language is put together and reviewed by legislative staff who have no jurisdiction over the substance of what they write, even in this case, where, according to Sen. Nevers, the language is original to Louisiana.

Bullshit! Section D appeared - word for word! - in Florida’s bogus “Academic Freedom Act,” Senate Bill 2692, introduced Friday, February 29, 2008 - see Section 1.(7) in http://www.flascience.org/wp/?p=484. (Those who forget Google exists are doomed to repeat the mistakes of the past.)

The Dishonesty Institute’s cloven hoofprints and sulfurous stench were all over that bill in Florida in February, just as they are now in Louisiana. It’s amazing that Louisiana’s resident exorcist didn’t detect them before he signed the bill.

Paul: Thanks, but the notion that the bill came from a national creo effort, even if Sen. Nevers says different, has not escaped us, or anybody else on this thread. What I meant to add to the discussion, in part, is that the deacon/author of the bill continues to deny that demonstrable fact. It’ll all come out in the inevitable trial. Laminu

Chayanov said:

The whole intent of this bill is to adulterate the teaching of science, more specifically, evolution. No other discipline is addressed, no other academic domain is addressed (e.g., language, math, etc.). Only special consideration is given to evolution, and clearly the Dishonesty Institute is prepared to provide the arguments against evolution in their already waiting-in-the-wings materials. I would consider this their Achilles heel because it is not a general “academic freedom” bill, but focused on one purpose only.

A Holocaust denier needs to get on board with this and start promoting that idea in history classes, all the while claiming “academic freedom.” Or maybe the Klan can come into biology classes and discuss the inherent inferiority of non-Whites. Let’s see how much support these bills get after that.

Chayonov: You raise a good point. There are usually two ways to overcome a bad law: challenge it directly or enforce it strictly. Direct challenges are, unfortunately, up to us lawyers. Good teachers should be all over the alternate approach, making lots of requests of their local boards, now and continually, for approval of solid science supplements. Laminu

What I meant to add to the discussion, in part, is that the deacon/author of the bill continues to deny that demonstrable fact. It’ll all come out in the inevitable trial. Laminu

There are academic freedom bills proposed or circulating in numerous states, Florida, Texas, Oklahoma, and many more.

We all know where they came from.

It would be interesting to get the various versions together, compare the wording, which is already known to be word for word in some cases. And do this in a court of law with authors and witnesses under oath. The Dover perpetrators flagrantly perjured themselves and that is a criminal offense.

Laminu wrote

Chayonov: You raise a good point. There are usually two ways to overcome a bad law: challenge it directly or enforce it strictly.

In the Navy a version of that last approach was known as a “white mutiny” – do exactly and only what is ordered. When I was an enlisted man aboard a missile ship back in the 1960s it took us less than 6 weeks to get a new assistant division officer, an ensign who was a smart-ass physics major fresh out of OCS who thought he knew everything there was to know about prepping and launching the birds, exiled to Deck Division using that approach. :)

Mats wrote

A bill that allows teachers to present scientific evidence against a certain theory should be welcomed by everyone who loves the scientific process.

However, if a given “theory” can’t survive scientific criticism, then it’s time to discard it.

Scientific criticism generated by high school science teachers? In 2003-2004, 42% of secondary science students in the U.S. were taught by teachers who do not have a degree in the subject they’re teaching. Do we really expect valid “scientific criticism” from non-degreed secondary school science teachers?

Mats plainly has not the slightest idea what the “scientific process” is, clearly has never worked in science, and denigrates those of us who have worked in science for all our professional careers. That’s what mainly grinds my gizzard: A bunch of ignoramuses telling me what I should do when they haven’t the faintest fucking idea of how to do it themselves.

RBH said:

Laminu wrote

Chayonov: You raise a good point. There are usually two ways to overcome a bad law: challenge it directly or enforce it strictly.

In the Navy a version of that last approach was known as a “white mutiny” – do exactly and only what is ordered. When I was an enlisted man aboard a missile ship back in the 1960s it took us less than 6 weeks to get a new assistant division officer, an ensign who was a smart-ass physics major fresh out of OCS who thought he knew everything there was to know about prepping and launching the birds, exiled to Deck Division using that approach. :)

:-)

On our submarine we had a young LtJG who had similar attitudes.

On the boats, qualification means everything, and officers and enlisted depend on each other to get through the process. This LtJG was fed constant bullshit when he attempted to learn from others. Then when he went before the CO for examinations, he flunked.

His final embarrassment came when it was his turn dock the boat at the pier. He rammed the pier with a shuddering CRUNCH which sent us to dry dock for repairs. For a couple of months after that his only designation from anyone on the boat was “Crunch”. Straitened him out though.

The only problem I see with “white mutiny” is that those students who want to learn real science will be the ones who loose before the system gets fixed. That may be several years’ worth of students.

I would hope that good teachers will be emboldened to face down ID/Creationist intimidation and press for good science; and make it a public spectacle in the process.

I had the good fortune to teach for ten years after I retired from life of research and before I decided to retire completely. It was fun; and those few ID/Creationist parents who did attempt to challenge me regretted it. I didn’t have any problems after that.

Mike, wouldn’t it be wonderful if science teachers were required to have actually done some science to be qualified?

Sadly, I think the vast majority are at the other end of the educational spectrum. As other commenters have pointed out, there are too many “science teachers” who don’t even have a science degree, never mind having done any actual science.

It is my understanding that science teachers in the UK are required to possess a science degree. Back in the days when biology, chemistry and physics were taught as separate subjects, a relevant degree would typically be demanded of the teacher. These days, with “combined science” and “21st century science” (like science has no history?), I believe that a degree in, say, biology is sufficient qualification to teach all sciences.

This entire fiasco illustrates some of the several problems with public schools in the US. First, inadequately qualified teachers. Second, text books that are plain wrong (Nobel laureate Richard Feynman was once asked to participate in a text book selection process, and discovered that all of the submitted books contained errors, some of which were fundamental). Third, text-book selection procedures that are corrupt and conducted by people with no relevant expertise. Fourth, education standards that are set by people with no expertise (or, at least, by people who possess the option to ignore the advice of the experts). Fifth, curricula set at local level by people who are not required to possess any relevant expertise. Are you seeing a theme here?

The net effect of all this is that misconceptions and ignorance are propagated within a community. Without the support of the community (who, after all, vote for the members of the local school boards), even the best science teacher cannot overcome these obstacles.

It seems the fear mongering of the evolander community, driven largely by some deeply entrenched physiological paranoia, is reaching new levels on the various posting sites.

People from all walks of life and various persuasions are on record as questioning the evolutionary paradigm, many quite technically qualified to do so. Any survey by qualified think-tanks on the subject reveals a majority of Americans fall into this camp and they include the secular as well as many faith-based groups..it’s simply a fact.… including the well educated and scientifically savy segments.

The hard core true believer types in the evolander camp seem to be very threatened by any query of their scientific convictions in direct opposition to all scientific principles requiring a constant examination of a theory designed to test its efficacy and if possible to disprove it entirely.

Instead they make irrational and mentally worrisome claims about the mere suggestion of alternative explanations, ID for instance, supposing that such is a leading effort to make America a theocracy (that such mentally disturbed minds have voice in our classrooms is a major cause of concern to the thinking citizen), that all science will be perturbed and America will return to the “dark ages” (Is that really the best you can do…such ignorance is astonishing.), and that all scientific progress will grind to a halt.

In my experience one way of detecting an unstable construct is to perturb it and see if it can process or absorb the perturbation and return to a stable equilibrium.

Apparently the theory of evolution and its most dedicated adherents are quite unstable and only by force, legal haggling, special interest group lobbying, and mob rule can they maintain their power and position…critical thinking, open dialogue, public debate, scientific investigation and observation seem to be off the table with the evolanders.

Americans usually smell these attitudes out over time and permit personal freedom, public discourse, and reexamination to prevail…we’ll see.

Keith didn’t cite some gems from the institute such as the fact that they have (embarrassingly) observed beneficial mutation happened right in their on lab. Contrary to creationist claim that beneficial mutation can’t happen.

Right from Panda’s thumb

Gunther Wagner congratulated Dr. Gauger on doing some great experimental work, but noted some logical inconsistencies in inference. The first is a phylogenetic comparative issue; it is necessary to know the ancestral state of the two proteins. If you are dealing with two proteins each derived separately from a common ancestor, then the experiment involves a minimum of two steps, backwards to the ancestral condition and then forwards to the alternative derived condition. It seems unlikely that you would be able to do that experimentally, especially if you have no idea of the environmental conditions under which the evolutionary diversification took place, and no idea if there were any intermediate forms that no longer survive. In response, Gauger admitted that the two proteins she studied are quite old and that studies of enzymes that are more recently diverged from each other report a lot of functional co-option, but only on a small scale.

She was then prompted by one of her colleagues to regale us with some new experimental finds. She gave what amounted to a second presentation, during which she discussed “leaky growth,” in microbial colonies at high densities, leading to horizontal transfer of genetic information, and announced that under such conditions she had actually found a novel variant that seemed to lead to enhanced colony growth. Gunther Wagner said, “So, a beneficial mutation happened right in your lab?” at which point the moderator halted questioning. We shuffled off for a coffee break with the admission hanging in the air that natural processes could not only produce new information, they could produce beneficial new information.

Or the fact that their pseudo scientific research led to the conclusion that God is.…..Chinese!!!

Are there universal principles of complex design? What are they? What stamp, if any, do they leave on things manufactured according to a complex design specification? Are any of these stamps present in living systems?

Model proteins based on analogy between the structure–function relationship in written Chinese and in proteins (D. Axe, B. Dixon, P. Lu, manuscript in press).

You are quite funny Keith, I’ll give you that ^________^

I hate to do this now that my favorite Granddaughter has joined, but this train wreck will be closed around midnight Eastern Time.

keith said:

The amusing thing is that every negative assertion about ID, the people, the science, the research , the publications can be stomped into dust particles by a simple web search.

Right, that’s why every time they get in an arena where lying is actually held against you, the IDer/creationists get killed, a la practically every major court case they’ve had, and of course, the scientific battle in the journals.

Of course we should expect such daft views from someone who thought the yawn that was Expelled was going to be Waterloo II.

RBH said:

I hate to do this now that my favorite Granddaughter has joined, but this train wreck will be closed around midnight Eastern Time.

No complaints. It was starting to get a bit tiresome.

White Rabbit (Greg Goebel) http://www.vectorsite.net/tadarwin.html

RBH said:

I hate to do this now that my favorite Granddaughter has joined, but this train wreck will be closed around midnight Eastern Time.

Go for it. Considering that, I think, the last on-topic post was on page three of ten, extra credit for early retirement.

bigbang said:

Eric asks bigbang: “Why don’t you post your opinion on the Louisiana Academic Freedom Bill, i.e. the subject of this thread … ”

.

No Eric, not until I see PZ and the other antitheists here behave more civilly. Anti-theism is as despicable as racism or any other form of bigotry, and those who indulge in such base behavior should not be tolerated, and certainly should not be allowed any authority, on this forum or anywhere for that matter, at least until they learn to behave more appropriately.

Oh no. We can’t go one more day without the opinion of the great Big bang.

What will we do?

“Etymology deals with the history of words - as someone else suggested above you should really look into the Etymology of “Intelligent Design”

Ah, but in the beginning was “The Word”! And from it, everything else evolved… (Or am I confused?)

Henry

RBH said:

I hate to do this now that my favorite Granddaughter has joined, but this train wreck will be closed around midnight Eastern Time.

I love you, sir! It’s the beard, I think. Teh sexy.

What better note to close on? :)

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Richard B. Hoppe published on June 29, 2008 3:21 PM.

Bad News, LA - Jindal Hops on Creationist Bandwagon was the previous entry in this blog.

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