Iowa Gives The Thumbs Down to the Discovery Institute

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By Hector Avalos, Ames, Iowa

Count this as another loss for the Discovery Institute in Iowa—right behind its failed efforts to portray intelligent design as legitimate research in Iowa universities. The “Evolution Academic Freedom Act,” based on the model language promoted by the Discovery Institute, never even made it out of the relevant subcommittee in the Iowa legislature. March 13 was the deadline for any further action.

The bill was introduced by Rod Roberts, a Republican legislator, in early February. By mid-February, the faculty at Iowa institutions of higher learning launched a petition that eventually gathered some 240 signatories from about 20 colleges, universities, and research institutions in Iowa.

Glenn Branch of the National Center for Science Education told the Chronicle of Higher Education (February 25, 2009) “that the new Iowa statement is apparently the first organized response to such a bill by college faculty members throughout a state.”

Although the bill was given little chance of passing from the start, the petition helped to inform legislators and the public of the depth of resistance to such a bill within the academic and scientific community. Iowa faculty wanted to nip this bill in the bud before we had another Louisiana on our hands.

After the faculty petition was published, Casey Luskin, a lawyer working for the Discovery Institute, was sent scrambling for airtime on Iowa radio in order to help salvage the bill. But Luskin’s arguments on Iowa’s airwaves did not convince anyone that counted and Luskin’s performance only exposed the truth that this bill was mostly the product of the DI and its Iowa sympathizers.

The fact that the bill was meant to protect Intelligent Design was clearly evident to those who have followed the ID controversy. First, much of its language was cut-and-pasted from the model bill from the Discovery Institute. Compare the DI version here with the Iowa bill here.

Second, Rod Roberts said he was motivated by the Guillermo Gonzalez case at Iowa State University, which he regarded as infringing on Gonzalez’s academic freedom because of his advocacy of Intelligent Design.

The bill would have allowed the “full range of scientific views” concerning evolution in science classrooms. What Roberts did not divulge is that the DI regards Intelligent Design as a scientific viewpoint, and so it now could be included in the full range of scientific viewpoints, especially when discussing supposed alternatives to evolution.

Although the bill stated that it was not intended to promote religion, the bill did not divulge that the Discovery Institute does not see Intelligent Design as “religion.”

The fact that the proposed bill is working with different definitions of “scientific” and “religion” is the tricky part of the bill. Most laypersons or legislators not familiar with the intelligent design controversy may assume that the bill was using definitions common within the scientific community.

One only finds the truth by asking the bill’s sponsors whether they specifically regard Intelligent Design as a scientific theory or as religion.

This is precisely the type of question that Luskin refused to answer directly when he debated the bill with me on the Jan Mickelson show (WHO Radio 1040 AM) in Des Moines on Wednesday, March 4, 2009. The debate is available as a podcast here.

The lessons for those fighting these bills in other states are these:

-Large collective faculty petitions can help to bring attention to the depth of rejection of intelligent Design within the local scientific community.

-Yes, there can be the danger that a bill may receive more attention from such petitions, but, without them, the only voices heard by legislators may be those who support these bills.

-Yes, there may be backlash from university administrators who fear that legislators may retaliate. But we also find new legislators and administrators who support faculty efforts.

-Ask supporters of such bills directly whether they define Intelligent Design as “science” or as “religion.” Often they get away with such bills because they rely on the readers not knowing the definitions of these terms.

-Ask legislators if they would be willing to insert a statement that clarifies that “Intelligent Design shall not be regarded as a scientific viewpoint for the purpose of this bill.” If they resist, then you have more evidence of the true intent of the bills.

Overall, the Discovery Institute keeps losing in Iowa because it continues to underestimate the vigilance and willingness of Iowa faculty to fight these bills.

On the other hand, we cannot not become complacent despite the DI’s repeated losses in Iowa. The DI is always trying to find new ways and new uninformed legislators who will do their bidding.

2 TrackBacks

Over at PT, Hector Avalos is reporting that the deadline has passed for the DI-inspired "Evolution Academic Freedom Act” (HF 183) to move out of committee in Iowa. This one is now officially dead. Thus the scorecard so far looks... Read More

JISHOU, HUNAN — Yet another attempt to weasel creationism/Intelligent Design into public schools has died after an “academic freedom” bill failed to leave a subcommittee in the Iowa legislature yesterday. The bill purportedly would ha... Read More

150 Comments

I wonder if this is as much a victory for science as it is a product of the fact that legislators don’t have much time for/interest in legislating on science or education. In other words, if we did a study on all the bills that died in committee, would the probablility of advancing to the next step be primarily a function of how profitable the bill might be to the members’ chances of having big-issue talking points in the next election?

I have no legislative experience, so I am just speculating…

I heard the Luskin v. Avalos tape, and I was disappointed. Avalos totally botched the key question asked to him: If the legislature shouldn’t define science, why is he quoting the judge from the Dover trial regarding the scientific status of ID? Frankly, I don’t think people in the pro-evolution side have a good handle on this problem. When the NIH gets a budgeted mandate to fund scientific research, does the Congress really mean anything that so-called scientists want to do with the money or does it have a more specific understanding?

So long as scientists are going to be reliant on public funding for their work, this tension between accounting to the public and public education is going to exist. If science is the consensus view of the scientists, then is this view subject to review by the public sponsors who fund them? Therein lies the notion of academic freedom. History has taught us that permitting sponsors to screen scientists inhibits the progress of science. This history of sponsor-tampering has been well documented regardless of the nature of the sponsor.

The DI bill is the exact opposite of academic freedom, precisely because it reintroduces more tampering into science. It implicitly suggests that all scientific views are held to be equal so long as the patrons of science deem them so, regardless of the evidentiary support for each view. Why do the anti-evolutionary views so deserve such protection above all other scientific theories?

On the other hand, the Dover trial was explicitly about 1st amendment issues. The key finding of Dover wasn’t that ID was not science. It was that ID was religion. Pro-evolution supporters should rejoice even if Judge Jones found ID was partially scientific in nature. Avalos botched this point. We should teach ID scientifically, if only to point all the scientific problems with ID. ID is after all scientifically bankrupt. Teachers teach about bankrupt ideas all the time. Remember the theory of spontaneous generation? Remember phlogiston?

The reason Judge Jones’ decision has anything to do with the DI templated bill is that we cannot trust all teachers as honest reviewers of science. As such, Judge Jones was completely right to explore the motivations of the DI in his judicial ruling. ID supporters want to insert religion, not science. Avalos got it right when he rebuked Casey for calling non-science scientific. We can’t take the DI at their word. The Dover trial was explicit about that point. But yet, it was not discussed.

So, overall I think this showing was a total disappointment for the pro-evolution side despite the outcome.

Great news, Hector! I can’t find anything about the bill’s demise in the press yet, so it looks like this blog gets the scoop.

A concern troll wrote

Avalos totally botched the key question asked to him: If the legislature shouldn’t define science, why is he quoting the judge from the Dover trial regarding the scientific status of ID?

Possibly because that judge heard 6 weeks of sworn testimony, much of it on that very question, and was specifically asked by both sides to rule on that question.

RBH said:

Possibly because that judge heard 6 weeks of sworn testimony, much of it on that very question, and was specifically asked by both sides to rule on that question.

Specifically, both sides agreed that Jones should decide the case using the Lemon test, which required the court to determine if the school board had a secular purpose in recommending ID. Jones was required to determine if ID is creationism under that test, and when it became obvious that it was, a string of US Supreme Court cases required Jones to rule against the school board.

wad of id said:The key finding of Dover wasn’t that ID was not science. It was that ID was religion.

what? its in the verdict

“a mere re-labeling of creationism, and not a scientific theory” found to be non-scientific on several grounds: They are: (1) ID violates the centuries-old ground rules of science by invoking and permitting supernatural causation; (2) the argument of irreducible complexity, central to ID, employs the same flawed and illogical contrived dualism that doomed creation science in the 1980’s; and (3) ID’s negative attacks on evolution have been refuted by the scientific community.

it not less important then finding ID to be religion

if you CANT make this understanding there is a profound problem with your reason behind science

if ID = Religion and ID != Science then Religion != Science

“We should teach ID scientifically” NO! we shouldn’t and until you can see that you will be doomed to make the same mistake in logic over and over. You are misrepresenting the theory and more importantly all the facts/evidence within that theory by doing this

You are ruining the POINT/USE/CAPABILITY of science.

“if only to point all the scientific problems with ID.” NO again, we are not going to teach controversy for the sake of controversy, that is a poltical strategy of arbitration, a bureaucratic and legal attempt to justify precedent in a arbitrary system of social justice with “reasonable doubt”.

“Teachers teach about bankrupt ideas all the time. Remember the theory of spontaneous generation?” ah good point however they are teaching historical content.

ID is still alive and well, worse believable to the faithful, but this is not the problem evolution is controversial because it seems “anti-god” and that is why people refuse to listen to its data. it is that reason people want to thrown in; “don’t forget about god cause we don’t want public school science to say the world is more likely atheistic”

“So, overall I think this showing was a total disappointment for the pro-evolution side despite the outcome.”

every battle science fights is a good battle imo bc science wins :)

[quote]“Teachers teach about bankrupt ideas all the time. Remember the theory of spontaneous generation?” ah good point however they are teaching historical content.[/quote]

That’s an arbitrary delineation. And in no way, saves ID from public scrutiny that it deserves, since IDiots like to claim that ID goes all the way back to ancient Greeks. Bankrupt theories deserve to be discredited. Why is that so difficult?

If ID is creationism, then it cannot be taught in public schools for its religious point of view. But, that does not mean that it cannot be discredited as a science in public schools.

[quote]Possibly because that judge heard 6 weeks of sworn testimony, much of it on that very question, and was specifically asked by both sides to rule on that question.[/quote] What does that have to do with Avalos’ rejection of legislature defining science? He outright contradicted himself. And fuck the troll labeling.

the timeline of belief in supernatural causation is not the issue, its the fact that ID is a re-packaged contemporary and going-strong PR campaign

i remeber spontanous generation, some hypothosis says that maggots appear on meat (insert link to the old test about it)

and let me make the point again it ID CANT be discredited because there is no testible hypothosis.. it construeds, it infers…design and purpose

SCIENCE CANNOT MEASURE PURPOSE! please think on that. we have NO way to discredit it bc it is NOT theory

sorry to see people refere to you as troll but im thinking maybe it is deserved.

irreducible complexity on the other hand,

hmmm that could work.. infact maybe that would be nice, it could be put into the text book; stating something like.

“In the xx’s a hypothesis suggested that certain biological systems are too complex to statistically occur because without the large amounts of parts assembled to begin with there is no function for natural selection to favor it. It was quickly discredited by science because Evolution clearly shows many complex biological systems have simplified version that are capable of doing other functions. In essence the randomness that leads to evolution also sets up functional changes of an existing biological system that alters an organisms behavior or routine. (insert the mouse trap tie clip and then bacteria flegellum references)

hmm that seems in order from my perspective.. am i missing anything? that was fun

wad of id said:

If ID is creationism, then it cannot be taught in public schools for its religious point of view. But, that does not mean that it cannot be discredited as a science in public schools.

If ID is creationism? If?

It is creationism, so it can’t be taught in state-run schools. Period.

And why should teachers take the time to discredit it? “Today, class, we’ll waste an entire hour discussing an utterly unscientific idea about how a mysterious designer, from somewhere, somehow did some mysterious designing, at some unknown time, in some unknown way, for some unknown purpose.”

Your proposal that ID deserves enough recognition to be “discredited” is just a re-packaged effort to “teach the controversy.”

nope.. it again makes no testable prediction, it only assumes.. sorry about that guys i let science down :(

Science and education for the win!

wad of id said:

We should teach ID scientifically, if only to point all the scientific problems with ID. ID is after all scientifically bankrupt. Teachers teach about bankrupt ideas all the time. Remember the theory of spontaneous generation? Remember phlogiston?

The problem here is that ID is empty by construction, “someone did something somewhere and somethen, and the result is, dunno, but all what we happen to see must be it”, no theory despite your claim, so there is nothing to teach. We can as well teach astrology as explaining the stars and tarot cards as explaining the economy - and we don’t do that.

Why do the anti-evolutionary views so deserve such attention above all other pseudoscience scam?

wad of id said:

What does that have to do with Avalos’ rejection of legislature defining science? He outright contradicted himself.

What has a definition of science to do with his or others use of Dover as an excellent analysis of the ID scam, an analysis based on direct scientist participation moreover?

Oops, should have updated. Now I look just as another Curmudgeon. :-)

Torbjörn Larsson, OM said:

Oops, should have updated. Now I look just as another Curmudgeon. :-)

There can be only one!

The problem here is that ID is empty by construction, “someone did something somewhere and somethen, and the result is, dunno, but all what we happen to see must be it”, no theory despite your claim, so there is nothing to teach. We can as well teach astrology as explaining the stars and tarot cards as explaining the economy - and we don’t do that.

The phlogiston had more content than ID?? Again more arbitrary distinctions. We should teach children what bad science is. And we do. ID is perfect as an example of bad science. And it is timely. It prepares children to understand why scientists of today reject it.

Why must we always take such a fucking passive approach to this science education business. Why hasn’t anyone introduced in a school board an amendment to expose pseudoscience??

Anyway..

What has a definition of science to do with his or others use of Dover as an excellent analysis of the ID scam, an analysis based on direct scientist participation moreover?

Because he rejected governmental interference in science on the one hand, and then outright appealed to it in the other. Can’t have it both ways. And he was called out on it by the IDiots.

This problem is fundamental. In fact, just the other week you had two Pandasthumb regulars debating a similar facet of this problem: should the Feds fund science? The only recourse is to stick with the 1st amendment issues regarding religion. The opposite of religion is not science, as someone above implied. In fact pro-evolution people have said as much. ID is illegal only because it has a clear religious agenda, regardless of its secular merits.

wad of id Wrote:

What does that have to do with Avalos’ rejection of legislature defining science? He outright contradicted himself.

No, he didn’t. Judge Jones didn’t define science; he accepted the definitions given to him by expert witnesses, who were scientists and philosophers of science. Mr. Luskin objected that the pro-ID side had expert witnesses too, but failed to mention that by their own testimony they did not speak for mainstream science. Behe admitted that his definition of science would include astrology, and Steve Fuller “testified that it is ID’s project to change the ground rules of science to include the supernatural,” in the judge’s words. All Jones had to do was accept the characterization of science provided by the scientific community itself; ironically, both sides’ witnesses agreed on that.

In the case of Iowa’s bill, on the other hand, Representative Roberts was arguing that the scientific community was wrong about the nature of science. In fact, he explicitly said (on that same radio program, a couple of days earlier) that he was motivated by Guillermo Gonzalez’s tenure decision, and hoped that the bill would have an impact on any similar cases in the future. Evidently Roberts doesn’t think that university science departments have a right to judge the academic work of their own members.

wad of id Wrote:

Because he rejected governmental interference in science on the one hand, and then outright appealed to it in the other. Can’t have it both ways.

On the contrary, you have to have it both ways. Scientists are not lawmakers, but laws must be based on science. It’s not just research funding, it’s public health initiatives and public education and environmental regulations and all that stuff. The scientific community has to be able to come to the legislature with their best understanding of the relevant issues; the legislature has to be willing to accept their expertise on those issues.

The Constitution, of course, doesn’t guarantee this. That’s why we have to push for it all the harder.

The only recourse is to stick with the 1st amendment issues regarding religion.

But “academic freedom” bills, like ID itself, are designed to skirt around the 1st Amendment–and because the text of “academic freedom” bills is even hazier than ID is, they’re more likely to succeed. Remember, they usually say nothing whatsoever about ID or creationism (although often the bills’ sponsors can’t keep from talking about that stuff), and they explicitly swear not to discriminate for or against any religious viewpoint.

This is what the Discovery Institute does for a living: they keep designing vaguer- and vaguer-sounding language to get around that pesky Constitution, while making sure that the outcome will still be the teaching of full-blown creationism if that language makes it into law. We can’t fight this on purely constitutional grounds forever; we have to talk about the scientific and educational issues as well.

From the Jan Mickelson show:

Luskin @37:00 “This bill expressly prohibits the teaching of evolution.”

It sounds as if Luskin was spinning so fast that he forgot which way was up.

It was already stated in the media (this was in a previous PT thread, I believe), that the Iowa bill appeared very likely to die in committee. So it’s hardly surprising to read that it did in fact die therein. No surprises there.

***

Texas and Louisiana continue to be where the action is. If the proposed Texas improvements pass the final vote in March, as all pro-science people pray they will, then THAT will be the real news, along with the Louisiana Science Education Act.

We’ll have more science and less censorship, more education and less indoctrination. The only way to restore science to its rightful place in society, is to restore critical thinking to its rightful place in science.

FL

Behe admitted that his definition of science would include astrology…

Well, no, that is not true Anton.

Here is the truth on that issue:

Behe was asked (at his Dec. 7, 2006 lecture at Kansas University), if he believed astrology was science because he had been quoted all over the media as saying astrology would fit in with his definition of science.

Behe stated that at that point in the trial they were discussing the definition of science. He was asked if astrology was science and Behe said he stated astrology was considered science in the 13th and 14th century and that it in part led to astronomy. He was referring to historical times, not current times.

But, the media only picked up his reference to astrology being acceptable in his definition of science.

Source: “FtK”, Reasonable Kansans weblog, 12-08-2006 http://reasonablekansans.blogspot.c[…]ture_07.html

RE: (wad of id)– “Avalos totally botched the key question asked to him: If the legislature shouldn’t define science, why is he quoting the judge from the Dover trial regarding the scientific status of ID?… [2nd post] He outright contradicted himself.”

I disagree. As stated previously by Anton Mates, Jones simply determined that ID did not meet the scientific community’s definitions. Jones neither changed the definition of science nor issued a new one.

I also did point out on the radio show that Jones became involved because he was asked to rule on a first amendment issue relating to the separation of church and state, and this was germane because scientists define ID as religion, and not science.

Another reason I cited the Dover decision is to establish what the legal status quo of ID creationism is in America. Whether or not you agree with Jones’ decision, his decision establishes the first federal precedent in which ID was declared to be religion and not science. Legislators should work with that fact, whether you think the judiciary should be defining science or not.

The Dover decision also explains the surreptitious language these academic freedom bills are using. Any pro-ID legislator worth his salt knows better than to put “Intelligent Design” explicitly in the bill because of the Dover decision. I tried to explain that this is the reason that pro-ID legislators are now just using “scientific viewpoint” and “religion” in a vague way in order to hide the fact that intelligent design is included.

As even Casey Luskin noted, we both prefer that government not be in the business of defining science. But that does not eliminate the fact that a legal precedent is in place in regard to the status of ID as religion.

On the other hand, Rod Roberts is a legislator who is trying to redefine science. He is trying to force the academic community to violate its own standards and definitions. This violates a whole idea of academic freedom that reaches at least as far back as the Supreme Court case of Sweezy v. New Hampshire (1957) in which Justice Felix Frankfurter declared that academic freedom means that universities, in particular, have a right to determine for themselves (1) who may teach; (2) what may be taught; (3) how it shall be taught; (4) and who may be admitted to study.

Therefore, my answer was neither botched nor contradictory. I pointed out the very items (e.g., Jones was asked to rule on a first amendment issue) you said should have been pointed out, and I did give specific reasons, even if brief, why Jones’ actions were different from that of the legislator. Lack of time on the radio program also meant that I could not elaborate as much as I have here.

RE: (FL) “the Iowa bill appeared very likely to die in committee. So it’s hardly surprising to read that it did in fact die therein. No surprises there.”

That is not quite how Rod Roberts, the legislator who introduced his bill, portrayed the situation on his appearance on WHO-Radio on Monday, March 2. He thought that faculty speaking against the bill actually would now make it more likely that it would go forward. Casey Luskin was not sent to speak on its behalf if the DI did not think he could help the cause. I think the DI was surprised again by the extent and depth of organized resistance by Iowa faculty.

RE: (KP) “I wonder if this is as much a victory for science as it is a product of the fact that legislators don’t have much time for/interest in legislating on science or education.”

A legislator who communicated with me explicitly said that a member of the relevant subocommittee cared about science education and gave that as one reason that this bill would not succeed. So, it looks as if the bill did not succeed precisely because at least some legislators do have an interest in good science education. That subcommittee member also asked for our petition, which made it even clearer why that bill was trying to introduce creationism.

RE: (FL) On Behe and Astrology

Why is FL citing Reasonable Kansans as a source for Behe’s statements on astrology? A better source is Judge Jones’ decision and the transcripts of the Dover trial. This is what Judge Jones’ decision says on p. 68: “Professor Behe admitted that his broadened definition of science, which encompasses ID, would also embrace astrology.”

This conclusion is based directly on the testimony Behe gave, and the trial transcripts make it clear that Behe was referring to current times and not just the past.

Behe apart from getting the time line wrong - astronomy is way older than astrology - believes in really kooky stuff - astrology is the least of his problems. By the evidentiary standards of organized religion, astrology is rocket science. But that is a v.low bar.

FL said:

We’ll have more science and less censorship, more education and less indoctrination. The only way to restore science to its rightful place in society, is to restore critical thinking to its rightful place in science.

FL

Please explain to us again how Intelligent Design is scientific, and why it should be taught in science classrooms.

On the contrary, you have to have it both ways. Scientists are not lawmakers, but laws must be based on science. It’s not just research funding, it’s public health initiatives and public education and environmental regulations and all that stuff. The scientific community has to be able to come to the legislature with their best understanding of the relevant issues; the legislature has to be willing to accept their expertise on those issues.

And what then if the legislature does not accept the expertise on certain issues? You all keep dancing around this key issue. You can’t simply bite off the fucking hand that feeds you.

This is the fundamental problem of appealing to a judicial review as a “legal precedent” on the scientific status of crankery. If that were the case, then Darwinian evolution should have died in the courts a long time ago.

All Jones had to do was accept the characterization of science provided by the scientific community itself; ironically, both sides’ witnesses agreed on that.

If Judge Jones accepted a viewpoint from the scientific community, what force does it have for law? According to Avalos, it shouldn’t. We should not appeal to the legislature for guidance on scientific issues. Judge Jones could not have settled whether ID was science. We the scientists did. He “accepted” it. He did not “decide” it. His primary decision was that ID had severe religious agenda, regardless of its scientific merits.

Another reason I cited the Dover decision is to establish what the legal status quo of ID creationism is in America. Whether or not you agree with Jones’ decision, his decision establishes the first federal precedent in which ID was declared to be religion and not science. Legislators should work with that fact, whether you think the judiciary should be defining science or not.

Your strategy was to pin Casey to a position on ID as science, then to demonstrate that it would therefore be permissible under the Iowa bill, and then to point out that it contradicts a federal ruling that establishes a “precedent.” First of all, the precedent did not make it to the Supreme Court. Secondly, is Iowa under the jurisdiction of that federal court? I don’t think so. So, there is no ground rule to enforce legislatures to follow this “fact”.

Therefore, my answer was neither botched nor contradictory. I pointed out the very items (e.g., Jones was asked to rule on a first amendment issue) you said should have been pointed out, and I did give specific reasons, even if brief, why Jones’ actions were different from that of the legislator. Lack of time on the radio program also meant that I could not elaborate as much as I have here.

Well, I honestly don’t think you were prepared at all for the exchange. And this is a pervasive problem with pro-evolution people during key PR moments. The IDiots have spent dedicated their whole lives to studying this. We have not. There were other gaffes, too, I thought. For instance, when you complained that the Iowa bill was a copy of the DI template, they retorted that the ACLU wrote Judge Jones decision. You totally let Casey run all over you, speaking nearly 2-3x longer on every exchange and spilling his talking points. This is ineffective PR.

So we won this little skirmish. But I guarantee you that your antibiotic was not strong enough to prevent the next resistant strain of ID from evolving. That is why I thought you botched the debate.

FL lied:

Well, no, that is not true Anton.

Here is the truth on that issue:

Citing FtK as a source, how pathetic. Let’s go instead to the direct source, the Dover trial transcripts of trial day 11, Behe under cross examination. (The line of questioning actually starts a bit before the point where I linked to.)

Q But you are clear, under your definition, the definition that sweeps in intelligent design, astrology is also a scientific theory, correct?

A Yes, that’s correct. […]

Read the entire transcript, and you’ll see why IDiots are so eager to try to marginalise Behe’s testimony, or to lie about it. Behe’s testimony was a disaster for them.

Short “wad of id”

I am totally on your side. Oh my I didn’t mean to hit you I support you, oh I really didn’t mean to kick your legs out from under you.

Shorter: concern troll

“Those who say a thing can’t be done should get out of the way of those that are doing it”

At this point I’ll let the readers decide where things stand. I have presented my evidence and my analysis of it.

I’d like to do that as well, Jack. I think the appropriate portions of the TalkOrigins transcripts have been quoted and examined sufficiently to establish a serious ethical breach on the part of Pedro Irigonegaray. You will continue to disagree with that assessment, of course.

***

Jason Mitchell apparently wants to return to the topic of Iowa, which is alright by me. Still, there’s not much left to discuss. The bill died in committee as expected, and the folks that you expect to oppose such a bill in the first place, indeed opposed it. Furthermore, according to one media source, it’s been at least 10 years since any bill considered to be “anti-evolution” has been proposed in Iowa. So, no surprises: the fledgling bill died in committee. C’est la vie.

By the way, it was a pretty good bill. Enjoyed reading it. If you’ve never read it for yourself, take time to do so now.

http://coolice.legis.state.ia.us/Co[…];hbill=HF183

***

Restoring critical-thinking to its proper place in science education, and protecting the right of science teachers to do just that, often takes much time and multiple attempts. Can’t git all flustered on things. Just gotta be patient about it and let the cake bake.

Besides, the fact remains that if Texas goes through, Iowa can wait. Texas and Louisana are the big enchiladas at this time and their influence will spread, and spread, over time.

I know that Dr. Avalos and company are happy that they “nipped this bill in the bud” this time around, but honestly folks? There’s more than one bud out there. It’s just that simple.

I can only smile as I sample a small spoonful of vanilla frosting and occasionally glance at the oven door. Free slices for all of you when it’s finally done!!!

FL :)

Another thing about FL that’s beginning to bother me, in the sense of actual concern, as opposed to mere irritation: his expression.

He’s always used odd phrases, peculiar constructions that are a poor fit to his discourse. Formal argument, which he is attempting, (with conspicuous lack of success, but still) should be conventionally and sparsely phrased, for clarity. But FL continually uses tropes and slogans taken from popular culture, often of little utility. “The real meal deal”; “bizness”; “cat got your tongues”; “there ya go”; “mm-mmm”; “mondo” and so on. Anybody reading his posts would be struck by this.

I’m enough of a writer to recognise a false tone in another. FL isn’t using these prefabricated expressions because they illuminate his thought. They don’t. Generally, they only obscure it. He might be trying to sound trendy and connected, decorating his threadbare arguments and trying to veil them with what he thinks are modernisms. If so, he fails. The affect is slightly addled, a little fractured, indefinably but unmistakeably odd.

It’s that which bothers me. It reminded me of Captain Queeg in the witness box, retreating into stock phrases and cliches that eventually come close to gibberish. And with it FL shows the same insistence on irrelevancies, the same drawing of conclusions that don’t follow, the same ideational rigidity, the same fixation on minutiae from years - decades - ago. The details he seizes on are disputable and dubious at the very least, and his interpretation of them is strained to a ludicrous degree, but what is more important is that they don’t matter, and are utterly irrelevant to his own purpose. Queeg could not command a ship; he could not lead men in battle. He was reduced to making them tuck in their shirt-tails and searching for non-existent keys to the wardroom pantry. FL can’t dent evolution; he can’t find a single fact. He is reduced to quibbles about courtroom behaviour and untruths about high school biology textbooks. And to garbled non-sequiturs larded with that reliance on prefabricated (and obscuring) phrases.

It was only when Mike remarked that it’s watching a mind deteriorate in real time that this struck me, though. Because that was what was happening to Queeg. He was losing it. A mind that never had been adequate for command was failing under stress.

I really do wonder.

FL said:

Restoring critical-thinking to its proper place in science education, and protecting the right of science teachers to do just that, often takes much time and multiple attempts. Can’t git all flustered on things. Just gotta be patient about it and let the cake bake.

Besides, the fact remains that if Texas goes through, Iowa can wait. Texas and Louisana are the big enchiladas at this time and their influence will spread, and spread, over time.

And I repeat myself, please tell us how Intelligent Design is science, and please explain why we should teach it in classrooms.

Furthermore, please demonstrate how the educational systems of states like Texas, Kansas and Louisiana have prospered since they became pro-Creationism and anti-science. Last I heard, they happen to be along the lines of educational hellholes, producing students that are not only scientifically illiterate, but also rank as among the lowest scoring students in the entire nation. I mean, thanks to the efforts of the Discovery Institute and like-minded politicians, being a science teacher in Kansas has been regarded as among the most odious, most abominable jobs in the US.

Stanton, you are being unfair to Kansas. We voted out the bad standards two years ago, and voted for a pro-science state Board again last summer. I don’t believe that we rank among the lowest scoring states, and I don’t think that being a science teacher here is an odious job. Of course we have our fair share of science teachers afraid to fully teach evolution, but that’s common and is not a result of bad science standards.

As with lots of news, people remember the bad news when we are fighting the creationists but the good news that we won doesn’t get the press, so people are left with false negative impressions.

Dave Luckett said:

He might be trying to sound trendy and connected, decorating his threadbare arguments and trying to veil them with what he thinks are modernisms. If so, he fails. The affect is slightly addled, a little fractured, indefinably but unmistakeably odd.

It’s that which bothers me. It reminded me of Captain Queeg…

FL looks pretty much like a creepy stereotype wannabe lead preacher in a personality cult church. I’ve seen a number of them over the years, and they all fit into a fairly standard pattern.

If I were to make some guesses from what I have observed of FL’s shtick, I would say from his “hipster language” that he is in charge of some of the youth in his church. He likes to try to impress the teenage girls, and seem macho to the teenage males. I know just such an individual from one of these churches. He is starting to go bald, and he talks almost exactly like FL. The young girls under his tutelage find him extremely creepy and are uncomfortable with the way he talks to them and looks at them.

His excessive hyper-analysis, exegesis, hermeneutics, and other word games have to do with trying to impress the senior religious handlers in this church. If he wants to become a top dog in the church, he has to appear serious and scholarly to the members of his church. He wants the rubes and teenagers in his church to be in awe of his prowess as a sword-wielding warrior of the faith.

There appear to be some deep psychological issues that are manifested in his obsessive compulsive need to continuously battle with people he resents.

Your Queeg comparison seems apt; he has been coming all apart as we have been watching. I suspect that he is not making such a good impression on the senior staff at this church.

If I were to make some guesses from what I have observed of FL’s shtick, I would say from his “hipster language” that he is in charge of some of the youth in his church. He likes to try to impress the teenage girls, and seem macho to the teenage males.

Now THIS was an unexpected response. Is this one of those “Profiler” episodes or something? Gotta quietly chuckle on this one.

.….I know just such an individual from one of these churches. He is starting to go bald, and he talks almost exactly like FL. The young girls under his tutelage find him extremely creepy and are uncomfortable with the way he talks to them and looks at them.

Gosh, sounds like an old Jethro Tull number. It’s one thing to be pegged as a “Captain Queeg”, but then to be pegged as an “Aqualung” on top of it? Looks like I done hit rock bottom, and it only took me one thread to git there.

I can only guess with bated breath what dubious character I will next be compared to. (Probably won’t be homo sapiens.) Thanks guys!

FL :)

Jack Krebs said:

Stanton, you are being unfair to Kansas. We voted out the bad standards two years ago, and voted for a pro-science state Board again last summer. I don’t believe that we rank among the lowest scoring states, and I don’t think that being a science teacher here is an odious job. Of course we have our fair share of science teachers afraid to fully teach evolution, but that’s common and is not a result of bad science standards.

As with lots of news, people remember the bad news when we are fighting the creationists but the good news that we won doesn’t get the press, so people are left with false negative impressions.

If it were up to people like FL, teaching science would be considered an odious and abominably thankless job in any state. And they’re trying to do this, too.

FL said:

If I were to make some guesses from what I have observed of FL’s shtick, I would say from his “hipster language” that he is in charge of some of the youth in his church. He likes to try to impress the teenage girls, and seem macho to the teenage males.

Now THIS was an unexpected response. Is this one of those “Profiler” episodes or something? Gotta quietly chuckle on this one.

You go out of your way to sound smarmy, pompous and insufferably condescending, and this isn’t even counting the fact that you take pains to dodge our questions with your annoying word-lawyering. So, why should you be surprised that we are left with an extremely negative impression of you?

I mean, after all, you not only refuse to explain why you claimed that the miraculous birth of Jesus Christ miraculously refutes Evolutionary Biology, but, you also refuse to explain how students will benefit from being taught unreasonable doubt, as well.

You go out of your way to sound smarmy, pompous and insufferably condescending, and this isn’t even counting the fact that you take pains to dodge our questions with your annoying word-lawyering.

This is true, FL.

Now that I stop to think of it, the way that you assiduously avoid answering questions and endlessly parse the simplest statements does remind me of those guys in church, trying to be pertinent Sunday school teachers to a somewhat jaded youth, but trying too hard to make the “hip” connection.

FL Wrote:

Now THIS was an unexpected response.

More evidence of FL’s being out of touch with reality. He doesn’t even understand how he is perceived by others. This is the case with most of these narcissists. FL apparently believes his word games are the same as scholarship.

Imagine spending your entire life writing endless “analytical” screeds over a partial phrase or the article a.

One almost expects to start hearing insane laughter coming out of him.

… and of course he will go back to his handlers with all these negative comments and say “See? I’ve got them on the run!”

Just to sum it up: Krebs wins, FL loses - no surprise there…

Wow, some more armchair profiler posts. Needless to say, I have no psychic abilities like you fellas do, so I’m unable to return the favor. My apologies.

But honestly? I think this Iowa thread is exhausted.

Essentially you’re just talking about me instead of talking about Iowa, (or Texas, or Louisiana, or Kansas, all states in which significant science-education events have occurred or are occurring.) Didn’t even have any responses about the actual text of the Iowa bill when I offered it and commented a littleon it.

I think I’ve made some of you upset, perhaps. (If not, I’ll just keep working on it!!) But in the meantime, the significant trend is clear enough. Simply stated, there’s going to be MORE Texas’s and Louisiana’s, not less. Maybe more Kansas’s as well, hopefully.

How many more? Don’t know. How long will it take? Don’t know. Will Iowa be among them in the short term? Don’t know.

But I think you’ll have to get used to it sooner or later. Better make it sooner, yes?

FL :)

gregwrld said:

Just to sum it up: Krebs wins, FL loses - no surprise there…

Not only does Krebs make an epic win, but FL then tries to change the subject.

FL said:

Simply stated, there’s going to be MORE Texas’s and Louisiana’s, not less. Maybe more Kansas’s as well, hopefully.

These two sentences were understandable but suffered from a grammatical error:

In English, plurals are formed by adding “s” or “es”. Possessives are formed by adding “‘s”.

The other sentences were complete gibberish.

fnxtr said:

… and of course he will go back to his handlers with all these negative comments and say “See? I’ve got them on the run!”

FL Wrote:

I think I’ve made some of you upset, perhaps. (If not, I’ll just keep working on it!!)

Oooo. Spooky! :-)

Not really. Doesn’t take a Kreskin to figure this guy out.

Looks like I done hit rock bottom, and it only took me one thread to git there.

What? You’ve been working on your lame shtik for years. And it’s not like you haven’t been similarly diagnosed here before.

Just to sum it up: Krebs wins, FL loses…

Pick your own winner, of course. The important thing is that the Talk-Origins transcript (and the Access Research Network videotape) will be around for a very, very long time. People can check the 2005 Kansas Science Standards Hearings for themselves, and draw their own conclusions. Works for me.

http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/kan[…]angaroo.html

http://www.arn.org/arnproducts/php/[…]em.php?id=75

FL :)

FL said:

The important thing is that the Talk-Origins transcript (and the Access Research Network videotape) will be around for a very, very long time.

He still doesn’t get it.

Nature has been around a lot longer and will be here long after anything he has read disintegrates.

Nature = Reality.

Compulsive deadheadedness is out of touch with reality.

FL said:

Just to sum it up: Krebs wins, FL loses…

Pick your own winner, of course.

Notice, yet again, the style of FL. Evidence counts for nothing. Reasoning counts for nothing. Truth counts for nothing. Correct grammar counts for nothing. Anyone can just “pick your own winner” … I can pick my own winner in the 2008 US Presidential election, in the 1995 Superbowl, in the second world war. In FL’s world, it’s all a matter of opinion.

And how does FL support this absolutely bizarre triumph of opinion over reality? He doesn’t! He just says “of course”!

FL said: Simply stated, there’s going to be MORE Texas’s and Louisiana’s, not less. Maybe more Kansas’s as well, hopefully.

How many more? Don’t know. How long will it take? Don’t know. Will Iowa be among them in the short term? Don’t know.

So, in other words, not only does FL refuse to explain exactly how Iowa’s students will benefit by having the political cronies of the Discovery Institute creationists turn the state’s educational system into an academic hellhole, or how Texas and Louisiana’s students are benefiting now that their educational systems are academic hellholes, but he doesn’t care that he reinforces the stereotype of the smarmy and arrogant Christian.

Morton’s Demon lives deep in FL. He could be a case study…

Well, this is really late to the show but I’d like to respond to something wad of id said.

Phlogiston and spontaneous generation are used in science classes because they were, at the time, the prevailing explanations of observed phenomena until they were disproven by properly designed experiments.

ID has NEVER been an explanation of anything.

Don Smith, FCD said:

Well, this is really late to the show but I’d like to respond to something wad of id said.

Phlogiston and spontaneous generation are used in science classes because they were, at the time, the prevailing explanations of observed phenomena until they were disproven by properly designed experiments.

ID has NEVER been an explanation of anything.

You are wrong about ID in this respect. Intelligent Design was the default explanation of Western Science when we didn’t know any better. That is why the Discovery Institute’s ID scam outfit (the CRSC) was called the Center for Renewal of Science and Culture. Centuries ago when astrology was practiced by some scientists, intelligent design was the first explanation put forward for the unknown. Western science stopped doing that for the simple reason that the assertion has had a 100% failure rate. It has never been found to be the explanation for a single thing that we can study in science. Not only that, but it is an untestable notion in that we can’t test the assertion directly, but we have to do the hard work to find the actual answer and shove ID out. There has been no benefit for having ID as a place holder, so we just ignore it and simply claim that we don’t know everything. We have to work just as hard to discover the explanations, but we just don’t bother claiming that we already have one.

If ID had just one success in all the history of science we would have already been teaching it in the science class. The reason that the Discovery Institute is currently running the bait and switch scam on their own creationist supporters instead of teaching the “science” of intelligent design is because the ID perps know that they have no scientific successes to teach.

Ron Okimoto

bang on, Ron.

Jeez, how many nails does this coffin need, anyway?!?!

fnxtr said:

Jeez, how many nails does this coffin need, anyway?!?!

“The internet is a strange place where you see people flogging a piece of mud where, eight years ago, a dead horse lay.”

Maybe ID is the old guy on John Cleese’s shoulder.…

Dan said:

fnxtr said:

Jeez, how many nails does this coffin need, anyway?!?!

“The internet is a strange place where you see people flogging a piece of mud where, eight years ago, a dead horse lay.”

The saddest thing is that someone has the flog the horse that was never there because there are some dishonest losers that make a living backing a scam that they won’t even support themselves. Anyone can just get your local school board to teach the science of intelligent design and see if you get any ID science from the Discovry Institute to teach. When the switch scam comes in from the ID perps and ID isn’t even mentioned to have existed, was there ever any ID horse to flog?

FL asserted By the way, it was a pretty good bill. Enjoyed reading it. If you’ve never read it for yourself, take time to do so now.

Since I have a vested interest in this bill, and to bring everything back on topic…and to continue flogging the lifeless equine – Here is what I vehemently take objection.

“5 2 Students shall not be penalized for subscribing

5 3 to a particular position or view regarding biological or

5 4 chemical evolution.”

The final question on a biology exam reads: “How does evolution work?”

If a student wrote that evolution violates the second law of thermodynamics and does not, therefore, work, and that was the student’s steadfast position, I would provide the student with my particular position of an “F” for said question.

If a student wrote that evolution doesn’t agree with his/her particular position, religious or otherwise – that student would still receive an “F”.

What some people fail to understand, FL and some Iowa Legislators included, is that science is not an opinion poll. Science is not subject to a democratic vote. Science is merely a process that collects knowledge about the physical universe. This misguided (discovery institute authored) bill treats science as if it was a popularity contest. The worst part is that the bill focuses on only chemical and biological evolution. There is no mention of the controversies of the Holocaust, the source of the AIDS epidemic, or the true value of pi. The bill fails.

Exactly what would ID add to the school curriculum?

Curiously, this section is added to the bill –

“2 28 6. This section shall not be construed to promote any

2 29 religious doctrine, promote discrimination for or against a

2 30 particular set of religious beliefs, or promote discrimination

2 31 for or against religion or nonreligion.”

I can understand the motivation of the DI, politicians, and other religious peoples to put this section in the bill. But, this clearly frames the debate as being science vs. religion. In the end, if this bill passes in any state in the Union and someone pursues litigation, the law (nee bill) will fail and the taxpaying people of the affected school district will foot the bill (as in dead presidents).

Besides which, the authors of the original Academic Freedom Act clearly don’t know what they are talking about with regards to chemical evolution. Shoot, this origins of life stuff isn’t hardly covered in college, let alone a little ol’ high school curriculum.

In short, this is a bad bill.

-jim (a professor in Iowa)

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This page contains a single entry by Guest Contributor published on March 13, 2009 3:19 PM.

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