Iowa School Board Ousts Intelligent Design

| 373 Comments

I’ve received a letter from Iowa written by Dr. Hector Avalos, which, I think, may be of interest to many readers of this blog. In his letter Dr. Avalos reports about a defeat of ID advocates in one of the school boards in Iowa. The full text of Dr. Avalos’s letter can be seen here. I hope most of the PT’s denizens will join me in expressing our gratitude to Dr. Avalos for his letter.

373 Comments

Bravo!

What Gary said.

Bravo, though I do wish he wouldn’t keep using the phrase “religious liberty” without scare quotes. The pushers of these things like to frame them as “religious liberty” (or “free speech” or some other noble-sounding title) when it’s really about demanding preferential treatment for their views. We should call bullshit on that, every single time.

OTOH, it’s nice to see them admitting that ID is all about religion.

Eamon Knight said:

OTOH, it’s nice to see them admitting that ID is all about religion.

Yes, as if it hasn’t been clear all along.… If it walks like religion and talks like religion…

Texas and Louisiana have shown the correct pathways of upgrading and reforming science education.

Those pathways are the specific pathways that non-Darwinists will have to take if they want to be able to make changes in the spoon-fed-evolution status quo. Otherwise they risk failure at this time.

FL keeps demonstrating that it is all about taunting and that taunting is the Christian thing to do.

And word-gaming.

FL lying again:

Texas and Louisiana have shown the correct pathways of upgrading and reforming science education.

Those pathways are the specific pathways that non-Darwinists will have to take if they want to be able to make changes in the spoon-fed-evolution status quo. Otherwise they risk failure at this time.

And you still haven’t bothered to explain why Texas and Louisiana also have among the most abominable education systems in the entire country.

I would think that, if the students within Texas and Louisiana’s science education programs routinely score F’s and the occasional D on exams, I would think that you’re actually lying about them being on “the right path.”

Mike Elzinga said:

FL keeps demonstrating that it is all about taunting and that taunting is the Christian thing to do.

And word-gaming.

You forgot lying: FL reinforces the stereotype of Christians being arrogant liars whose words can never be trusted.

Hmm. In the comments section of the Daily Reporter story, there’s a commenter named “Culture Warrior”. Chance, or design?

Oh, and don’t waste keystrokes on FL. Loser.

FL said:

Texas and Louisiana have shown the correct pathways of upgrading and reforming science education.

How would you even know that?

Oh, and WOO-HOO SPENCER, IOWA and WHOO-HOO DR. AVALOS!

Wheels said:

FL said:

Texas and Louisiana have shown the correct pathways of upgrading and reforming science education.

How would you even know that?

He doesn’t: he’s a near-mindless, cheerleading parrot for his anti-science, fundamentalist cohorts.

Stanton said:

FL lying again:

Texas and Louisiana have shown the correct pathways of upgrading and reforming science education.

Those pathways are the specific pathways that non-Darwinists will have to take if they want to be able to make changes in the spoon-fed-evolution status quo. Otherwise they risk failure at this time.

And you still haven’t bothered to explain why Texas and Louisiana also have among the most abominable education systems in the entire country.

I would think that, if the students within Texas and Louisiana’s science education programs routinely score F’s and the occasional D on exams, I would think that you’re actually lying about them being on “the right path.”

To FL, bad education isn’t a bug, it’s a feature. He WANTS each generation to be stupider than the last. Promoting ignorance is the only way his sick death cult can survive.

… or not.

FL said: Texas and Louisiana have shown the correct pathways of upgrading and reforming science education.

Those pathways are the specific pathways that non-Darwinists will have to take if they want to be able to make changes in the spoon-fed-evolution status quo. Otherwise they risk failure at this time.

Louisiana passed a law stating other materials could be used. That’s it. It says nothing about ID or creationism. And so far, no one we know of has used it to teach ID or creationist “weaknesses of evolution.”

Texas made some changes to grade-level standards. Again its not clear how this will be implemented in the classroom and again this does not make formerly unconstitutional implementations constitutonal.

I see these like the Santorum Amendment. They bear watching, but right now you seem to be crowing over a symbolic victory that may turn out to be hollow. Or pyrrhic, if these state by state changes results in more state courts ruling the same way Dover did.

Poor William Provine. He’d be saddened by this news.

phantomreader42 said:

Stanton said:

FL lying again:

Texas and Louisiana have shown the correct pathways of upgrading and reforming science education.

Those pathways are the specific pathways that non-Darwinists will have to take if they want to be able to make changes in the spoon-fed-evolution status quo. Otherwise they risk failure at this time.

And you still haven’t bothered to explain why Texas and Louisiana also have among the most abominable education systems in the entire country.

I would think that, if the students within Texas and Louisiana’s science education programs routinely score F’s and the occasional D on exams, I would think that you’re actually lying about them being on “the right path.”

To FL, bad education isn’t a bug, it’s a feature. He WANTS each generation to be stupider than the last. Promoting ignorance is the only way his sick death cult can survive.

And line the pockets of parasites like FL

That’s good news, so desperately needed. btw, according to an article in the Guardian, England will be teaching evolution in the primary schools.

Phantomreader42 wrote: “He WANTS each generation to be stupider than the last.”

Get a grip and step away from your hyperbole.

Louisiana passed a law stating other materials could be used. That’s it. It says nothing about ID or creationism. And so far, no one we know of has used it to teach ID or creationist “weaknesses of evolution.”

Texas made some changes to grade-level standards. Again its not clear how this will be implemented in the classroom and again this does not make formerly unconstitutional implementations constitutonal.

My understanding is, evolution across much of the country (and especially in places like Louisiana) is simply sidestepped in actual class practice. Many of the teachers are as religious as Freshwater anyway, and few of them seem to have a good grasp of what evolution actually IS.

So I think what these laws mean in practice is, if some (most?) public school teachers continue to follow exactly the same practices they always have, the amount of heat some do-gooder can get the state to apply against them will be less, or much more difficult to apply.

The political principle is simple: If a law you dislike is being flouted anyway, this situation can be protected by extracting any teeth from the law.

Hector, keeping the working classes ignorant and uneducated has been an often-used strategy throughout history. There is good reason to think it forms a big part of the motivation behind the American creationist movement.

hector said:

Phantomreader42 wrote: “He WANTS each generation to be stupider than the last.”

Get a grip and step away from your hyperbole.

No, Phantomreader42 isn’t using hyperbole: We’re dealing with a dyed in the wool creationist who honestly thinks that evolutionists literally worship the phenomenon of biological evolution as though it were a god, that Charles Darwin is a bible, and that science classrooms are actually a kind of church.

One item important to note here is that it is the local newspaper which originally exposed this attempt to the general public. With many newspapers now struggling, we need to be aware of the necessity of maintaining an informed populace. It may be the internet that gets the information in the newspapers to a larger audience, but what if there are no local newspapers to start this chain of reporting?

Stanton, if the guy is a dyed in the wool creationist, and naturally considers himself smarter than evolutionists, and wants students to think like him, then he wants the next generation to be SMARTER than the previous one. His being wrong is irrelevant! Kapish?

I was listing to an old ApostAZ podcast this afternoon as they were having a discussion with their theist friends about religion. The hosts stated a belief that better education would be the answer, to which the theist replied that better education would make things worse, because education and technology brought us the ‘bomb’.… Yes, and it brought the cell phone, the satellites, your favorite beer, better health care, advances in television, advances in transportation, and on and on and on.….

Yes. I wrote a letter to the local paper supporting evolution (after two or three creationists got space) and in response got menaced over the phone by a hard-breathing moron who informed me that science was responsible for the Holocaust and the bomb and all other ills of the modern age, and I’d better turn to God quick smart.

Pointing out facts to rolling-eyed crazies is never any use. Facts are external; their reality is entirely within themselves. (If I were not in awe of Chip, I’d put that thought on the po-mo thread.)

hector said:

Stanton, if the guy is a dyed in the wool creationist, and naturally considers himself smarter than evolutionists,

No. He knows he is not smarter than the scientists. He belongs to the class of creationists like Dembski and Wells who prey on the credulous creationist base. So he does want the next generation to be dumber so that they could not see through the creationist lies.

Stanton, the man believes he is more CORRECT than the scientists, and thus, in a sense, smarter. According to your logic, there is no such thing as a creationist leader who really believes that creationism (or i.d.) is true; they all know that its lies. C’mon. This accusation of yours and phantomreader’s about this misguided man’s desires is ridiculous and has no place.

hector Wrote:

According to your logic, there is no such thing as a creationist leader who really believes that creationism (or i.d.) is true; they all know that its lies.

One can never rule out that they take YEC or OEC “on faith in spite of evidence,” or are afflicted with Morton’s Demon. But I suspect (though can’t prove) that Ronald Bailey hit the nail on the head for most of the leaders, especially of the ID variety. IOW they are not telling lies, but “useful fairy tales.” In the case of ID it’s “let the audience infer it’s own fairy tale.”

Anyway, all this speculation can be avoided if we say that they promote X instead of believe X.

hector said:

Stanton, the man believes he is more CORRECT than the scientists, and thus, in a sense, smarter. According to your logic, there is no such thing as a creationist leader who really believes that creationism (or i.d.) is true; they all know that its lies. C’mon. This accusation of yours and phantomreader’s about this misguided man’s desires is ridiculous and has no place.

You’re conflating phantomreader’s Ravilyn’s logic with mine: all I’ve ever said about FL is that a) he vacillates between being a wannabe preacher who thinks that evolution is an evil rival religion, and being a mindless cheerleader who parrots his anti-science cohorts, and b) he thinks he pleases Jesus Christ by spreading lies presented as catty innuendo

eric said:

Robert Byers said: its the law being used to censor creationism and not whether its science or not. Thats a diffeent point.

How so? No one is preventing you from teaching creationism at home, or in private school, or teaching a bible-as-literature course in public schools. All those things are allowed. The only thing the government is preventing is the teaching of creationism as legitimate science in public schools. All of the debate on whether it is legal to teach creationism in biology class revolves around the question of whether it is a legitimate scientific idea or religion masquerading as science.

If in teaching genesis it touches on some religion thats of no concern to the state.

So, if evolution touches on some religion, that is no concern of the state. Right?

IMO you’re being one-sided. In the case of evolution you obviously DO think it is a concern. You think than teaching evolution triggers some requirement to “balance” it by also teaching creationism.

Even if Genesis is religious it still can’t be said by the state to be false.

Science classes (or at least proper ones) don’t teach that it is “false” in any philosophical sense. What they teach is that the best currently available scientific evidence supports the theories that the earth is old and that species evolved.

No way around. the origin issues are about practical origins of things. Banning one side is saying its not true. Saying its not true is a state opinion.

The state is not banning one side because (a) creationism is not science, and thus does not count as a “side” of science and (b) you are free to teach creationism in a host of non-public-school-science-class venues.

And as I pointed out, in science class you teach what science says. Science says evolution is the best supported theory. If you teach anything else, you are misrepresenting science.

The censorship issue here is about public schools etc and not private homes and gardens. Any tyranny always aim to control the public in public places and not the homes of people.

You perceive this censorship as aiming to stop creationism as a science in the subject of origins. yet not so. The censorship is aimed to stop creationism as a option in origins period. The issue of science is besides the point in all this. The courts simply responded to claims creationism was a science. Here creationists made a tactical error. Science is beside the point believe it or not.

Its about opinion. One opinion is being stopped. They say they stop it because its a religious opinion. Its illegal. I say if its a religious opinion then they can’t say its wrong. That also is a opinion on religion. In fact teaching evolution period is a attack on religion. it comes down that the actual issue is about origins of practical matters. Whether the origini behind these two opinions is pro or con religion should be irrelevant. If its relevant then the present censorship is illegal. A careful line of reasoning.

The point is about government interference with religion IF the claim is that origin issues based on the bible are religious. IF the bible can’t be said to be a option then it can’t be said not to be a option. In teaching evolution alone they are doing the latter.

stevaroni said:

Robert writes…

I can’t see where my legal reasoning is wrong

Sigh.

Here’s a simple, easy to understand concept, Robert.

I can’t help you in Canada, but in the States, creation cannot be taught in public schools because it fails the aptly named “Lemon Test”, named after a Supreme Court establishment clause case, Lemon v. Kurtzman.

This is the salient precident that most of the creationism-in-schools cases end up stumbling over.

It would be trivially easy to pass the Lemon test if you can produce the tiniest little sliver of evidence that Genesis is accurate. In that case, Genesis becomes objective fact, a protected category whcih neatly sails past the Lemon filter.

This is not speculation. Plenty of religiously themed material has passes the Lemon test and is used in schools because it is pertinent to the discussion. For instance, it’s tough to discuss European history without involving the Protestant Reformation, the influence of the Vatican and Henry’s Anglican Church.

You can’t properly frame the civil rights marches in the 50’s without discussing the involvement of the black churches - it’s no accident that Martin Luther King Jr was a reverend. And, of course, there are the religious prosecution factors that drive the Amish and Mormon migrations, unfathomable without understanding that they held religious practices frowned upon by the secular state.

So yes, Robert, you can teach religious stuff in schools, as long as it’s germane.

What would make Genesis germane?

Factual accuracy.

So there you are, Robert, provide one tiny little sliver of actual evidence for creation, and you can teach it in all the land.

So it’s simple, Robert, just complete this sentence…

“The actual objective evidence that Genesis is actually a historical account is…”

Aware of the Lemon test. Just as I say evolution is wrong I say these simple court cases are wrong. You make my case. You say all that is needed in the eyes of the law is the slightest bit of evidence Genesis is true. AMEN. Since the law is saying their is not the slightest bit of evidence Genesis is true then the law and state is saying officially Gnesis is not true. Put it on a stamp.

I insist that if the state/law says Genesis is not true then they are interfering in the church. In her doctrines with state power.

You made my case.

In reality the Lemon case is more involved then that by the way.

The account in Genesis is religious. In the US, by Federal law, science education curricula are to be about teaching science, and not religion.

Robert Byers, you are babbling, and you have repeatedly failed to convince anyone of any of your inane arguments about how Genesis should be taught in place of science because science contradicts your own small and bigoted religious views.

So you are now saying that NO SCIENCE OF ANY KIND can be taught in schools, since all science contradicts SOME religious contention.

Get that, Robert? You are stating that legally ALL SCIENCE TEACHING is prohibited.

Is that what you want?

Robert Byers said:

Rilke’s Granddaughter said:

So Robert, if I understand you, your position is this:

Any scientific finding that contradicts ANY religious belief CANNOT be taught in a public school unless that religious belief is also taught as the alternative SCIENTIFIC explanation.

Correct?

correct that no finding can be taught that contradicts any faith. thats the law. thats the law now used to censor creationism

Rilke’s Granddaughter said:

So you are now saying that NO SCIENCE OF ANY KIND can be taught in schools, since all science contradicts SOME religious contention.

Get that, Robert? You are stating that legally ALL SCIENCE TEACHING is prohibited.

Is that what you want?

If it will bring Robert closer to Jesus, sure.

But it won’t. After all, every religion makes claims that contradict other religions. Under the law, we must prohibit all teaching of religion, since it violates the same principles that Robert is arguing for.

Stanton said:

Rilke’s Granddaughter said:

So you are now saying that NO SCIENCE OF ANY KIND can be taught in schools, since all science contradicts SOME religious contention.

Get that, Robert? You are stating that legally ALL SCIENCE TEACHING is prohibited.

Is that what you want?

If it will bring Robert closer to Jesus, sure.

I’m aware of that, too: do realize that it’s a proven fact of nature that the only things that will result of trying to parse the logic of someone who follows Martin Luther’s advice concerning Reason, aka, “The Pretty Whore of the Devil,” are an intense migraine and severe nausea.

Robert Byers is a mentally ill individual who has aggravated his condition by conflating it with piety.

Rilke’s Granddaughter said:

But it won’t. After all, every religion makes claims that contradict other religions. Under the law, we must prohibit all teaching of religion, since it violates the same principles that Robert is arguing for.

Stanton said:

Rilke’s Granddaughter said:

So you are now saying that NO SCIENCE OF ANY KIND can be taught in schools, since all science contradicts SOME religious contention.

Get that, Robert? You are stating that legally ALL SCIENCE TEACHING is prohibited.

Is that what you want?

If it will bring Robert closer to Jesus, sure.

But at least he’s not as nasty as Andy Schafly. He’s dangerous, stupid, and insane.

Andy, not Robert. Robert is just sort of harmless and confused.

Rilke’s Granddaughter said:

Andy, not Robert. Robert is just sort of harmless and confused.

Agreed: Mr Schafly is like one of those hornets looking to nest in your eaves, whereas Robert is a ubiquitous gnat constantly trying to drown himself in your 19 dollar cocktail drink.

D.P. Robin, “Neither the eye, nor the bombardier beetle, nor the clotting system, nor the immune system, nor bacterial flagellum” have been recreated in a laboratory beginning with a single cell.

Kevin, I was trying to explain that intelligent design should not pose a threat to science since it embraces the identical natural laws of science and provides an additional explanation that is missing but not contradictory to evolutionary education - the origin. Intelligent design and creationism both imply different values than evolution, but only if you are equating evolution with atheism. To do so, is admittedly comprosing evolution’s “scientific” basis and entering the realm of philosophy, ethics, and religion.

j rep said:

Kevin, I was trying to explain that intelligent design should not pose a threat to science since it embraces the identical natural laws of science and provides an additional explanation that is missing but not contradictory to evolutionary education - the origin.

That is a blatant untruth. “Intelligent design” is void of any scientific content. Not only does it not embrace, it has no contact whatsoever with any “law of science”.

What is its entire hypothesis? This: a designer of unknown powers performed an unspecified number of unknown acts at an unspecified time or at unknown intervals, which created or continued or caused the divergence of life. ID does not specify what that act or acts were, neither confirms nor denies that they were supernatural, and neither proposes nor conducts any research that might falsify the hypothesis.

Science? The idea is risible.

Intelligent design and creationism both imply different values than evolution, but only if you are equating evolution with atheism. To do so, is admittedly comprosing evolution’s “scientific” basis and entering the realm of philosophy, ethics, and religion.

ID and creationism both imply different intellectual values than evolution, certainly. They both imply that nature should be explained, not by observation, empirical research, and the testing of falsifiable hypotheses - in short, by science - but by theorising from philosophical grounds, by acceptance of authority and (in the case of outright creationism) by positing the supernatural.

This is not science. This is anti-science, and it illustrates the threat to science that ID poses.

The claim that ID is or represents science is blatantly false. It is also mendacious, and I find it very difficult to believe that its proponents do not realise that.

j rep said: Kevin, I was trying to explain that intelligent design should not pose a threat to science since it embraces the identical natural laws of science and provides an additional explanation that is missing but not contradictory to evolutionary education - the origin.

And that “additional explanation” is “some unknown designer did some unknown thing at some unknown time for some unknown reason using unknown processes and methods, and we puny humans could never learn anything about this designer even if we tried, which we refuse to do, so just shut up and praise jeebus”.

What possible use is that “additional explanation”? There’s not actually any explanation of anything there, just a total rejection of any explanations that actually fit the evidence and a refusal to even look for them.

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This page contains a single entry by Mark Perakh published on November 10, 2009 10:39 AM.

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