Freshwater, Dover, and the Rutherford Institute

| 38 Comments

I’ve been rereading “Monkey Girl,” (Amazon; Barnes&Noble) Edward Humes’ excellent book on the Kitzmiller trial, and ran onto something I’d either missed first time through or forgotten. As is the case in the Freshwater affair, the Rutherford Institute got involved in Kitzmiller. It represented three sets of Dover parents who requested that they be allowed to intervene in the case, joining the school board as defendants. Filed the same week that the Board’s intelligent design-based statement was read to the first classes in school, the Application to Intervene argued that those parents had a stake in the outcome of the trial, and therefore should be allowed to participate as defendants, represented, of course, by the Rutherford Institute.

The Rutherford Institute argued on behalf of the three sets of parents that if the plaintiffs (Tammy Kitzmiller, et al.) prevailed and the ID statement to biology classes was forbidden to be read, their children would not be able to hear about intelligent design. The Application to Intervene as Defendants (PDF) claimed that

The Intervenors seek to participate in this action because, if the Plaintiffs are successful, the lawsuit will have the effect of censoring the Dover Area School District Board and shielding all ninth graders from criticism of Darwin’s Theory of Evolution.

[The intervenors] seek to ensure that their children will have full access to information concerning the theory of evolution, including its many gaps for which there is no evidence. The Applicants further seek to ensure that their children not be denied access to a critical analysis of evolution merely because some persons believe that critics of the theory are religiously motivated. (pp. 2-3)

Further, in the Application to Intervene Rutherford argued that parents of school children are entitled to assert a “… First Amendment right of access to information and ideas in an academic setting…”. Still further,

The Applicants have a substantial legal interest, rooted in the First Amendment, in making sure that their children are not prevented from learning about intelligent design.

That is, parents are constitutionally empowered to determine what should be covered in public school science curricula, regardless of whether it’s accepted science or fringe pseudoscience. Consistent with Michael Behe’s and Scott Minnich’s admissions in their Kitzmiller testimony that their redefinition of science would substantially broaden the landscape of admissible explanations in science, extending it into the supernatural, the Rutherford Institute’s argument would pave the way for the return of astrology and alchemy to the science classroom, should some parent or teacher wish it.

In a way the route for Rutherford Institute’s involvement in both Dover and Mt. Vernon was similar. Rather than being a principal actor, involved in the original disputes, Rutherford was a late-comer, entering the processes well after they were in progress. It attempted (in Dover) and succeeded (in Mt. Vernon) in inserting itself into an on-going process, making arguments that neither side made prior to Rutherford’s participation. In both cases it is arguing for an expansion of First Amendment rights, in the Dover case the right of parents to determine what will be taught in public school science classrooms, and in the Mt. Vernon case the right of a teacher to override instructions from the Board of Education regarding curriculum matters. And in both cases the result would be the inclusion of any damn fool thing a parent or teacher wants taught, regardless of its appropriateness to the class or the validity of its content. As the response from the plaintiffs in opposition to the Application to Intervene put it,

Second, if Applicants were correct that there is a First Amendment right of parents to dictate the content of public school curricula, that right would eviscerate the well-recognized authority of school districts to set their own curricula. (p. 7)

The Rutherford Institute’s argument has developed and been elaborated in the seven years between Kitzmiller and Freshwater, but it rests on the same foundation: A claimed First Amendment right to allow anything at all to be taught in science classes, subject only to the idiosyncratic wishes of individual parents or teachers.

For more, see NCSE’s Archive of Rutherford Intervention documents.

Added in edit: I’m not sure I made it clear that Judge Jones denied the request to intervene in Kitzmiller.

38 Comments

IIRC Rutherford also attempted to intervene in McLean v. Arkansas in 1981, also without success. It’s gotta be boring for lawyers to write applications to intervene that don’t go anywhere, but I imagine it looks good in fundraising letters…

Let’s carry the Rutherford argument to it’s logical conclusion. If a parent insists, the school’s math class must teach the alternative theory that 2 + 2 equal 5. If a parent insists, the school’s physics/astronomy class must teach the geocentric theory of the universe. If a parent insists, the school’s hygiene class much teach that the germ theory of disease is wrong. If a parent insists, the school’s history class must teach that Lincoln was not the 16th POTUS. If a parent insists, the school’s English class must teach that “ain’t” is proper grammar.

So, they are looking for ANY case that will help them get religion into the classroom. I guess that’s why they haven’t intervened in the JPL case.

Nick Matzke said:

IIRC Rutherford also attempted to intervene in McLean v. Arkansas in 1981, also without success. It’s gotta be boring for lawyers to write applications to intervene that don’t go anywhere, but I imagine it looks good in fundraising letters…

I couldn’t find a connection with McLean, but Rutherford represented a group who submitted an amicus brief to SCOTUS in Aguillard v. Edwards, essentially making a First Amendment academic freedom argument (shades of Freshwater!) in favor of teaching creation science:

Amici Curiae believe that balanced treatment for creation-science and evolution-science promotes a constitutional legislative purpose and primary effect of advancing academic freedom by making available to students and teachers a realistic set of options to explore, discuss, and evaluate within the marketplace of ideas. (p. 2)

It claims that

II. The Exclusion Of Creation-Science From The Classroom Cannot Be Justified On Empirical Grounds But Represents The Imposition Of Ideological Limitations On Interpretation And The Denial Of The Modern Understanding Of The Nature Of Interpretation. (p. 13)

Therefore, it concludes that

D. The Exclusion Of Creation-Science From The Classroom Would Involve The Imposition Of Ideological Limitations On Meaning And Would, Therefore, Violate The First Amendment.(p. 20)

Looks like an MO: Late to the party on the losing side.

Is this the same argument as “viewpoint discrimination”, used by creationists in some other recent cases?

The Applicants have a substantial legal interest, rooted in the First Amendment, in making sure that their children are not prevented from learning about intelligent design.

Yes, and other parents have interests in making sure that their children are not prevented from learning about crystal power.

What’s the problem? Just teach everything that anyone has ever believed, and you’re covered. Best of all, in their view, there’ll be no time to teach meaningful science.

Glen Davidson

The Applicants have a substantial legal interest, rooted in the First Amendment, in making sure that their children are not prevented from learning about intelligent design

Although the Rutherford Institute is a mixed bag, and not always on the authoritarian side, this is authoritarian double talk.

Of course they have a right to “make sure that their children are not prevented from learning about intelligent design”. They have an extremely strong right to tell their own children about intelligent design, send their children to Sunday school or private school, etc. That right is not being threatened in any way. I think it’s extremely stupid to confuse and traumatize children with creationist BS, but they have a perfect right to do so.

Why can’t these people come up with better lies? Children can’t learn about anything that isn’t presented as science in public school science class? They can’t learn about George Washington unless we move history into science class? They can’t learn about Sponge Bob unless we show Sponge Bob in science class? They can’t learn about anything if they go to a private school? Designer almighty that’s stupid.

What Freshwater and all creationists want is the “right” to mis-educate everybody’s children about science, and to favor narrow sectarian dogma by presenting it as “science” to a captive audience of impressionable children.

Joe Felsenstein said:

Is this the same argument as “viewpoint discrimination”, used by creationists in some other recent cases?

IANAL, but according to Marketing Intelligent Design,

… viewpoint discrimination occurs when the government discriminates against speech based on the specific viewpoint involved.

Subsequent pages (see pp. 104ff) discuss that in relation to ID in the public schools, and concludes that excluding ID from public school science classes does not constitute viewpoint discrimination.

The Applicants have a substantial legal interest, rooted in the First Amendment, in making sure that their children are not prevented from learning about intelligent design.

That is what the churches are for.

raven said:

The Applicants have a substantial legal interest, rooted in the First Amendment, in making sure that their children are not prevented from learning about intelligent design.

That is what the churches are for.

Amen ! (Irony intended)

Of course they couldn’t just buy the book and read it themselves. If they didn’t have someone read it to them they were prevented form reading it. Makes perfect sense, if both parent and child are illiterate. Unfortunately, that seems like a distinct possibility in this case.

As for the first amendment issue, every parent has a right not to have their children taught about a religion they don’t believe in as a substitute for science. What about the rights of those children and parents?

And if the first amendment argument should somehow win, then all that need be done is to find one parent in every school district who demands that the class be taught modern evolutionary theory all the way up to the graduate level. They wouldn’t dare try to prevent them from learning something the parents wanted them to learn now would they?

I agree with ogremk5. These attempts have nothing to do with the First Amendment, or with freedom of speech, or with appropriate presentation of science. They are simply attempts to find the right words to put into the mouth of a suitable judge, in order to get their religion (and only theirs) preached in public schools. One only need to imagine their response if some Islamic judge were to decide that all public education students had the right to be told the truth of Islam, straight from Allah, whether they wanted that academic freedom or not!

I simply can’t imagine this being a mystery to anyone. Support or rejection of these arguments doesn’t cleave along any lines other than religious lines; the code phrases are hardly opaque and the motivations hardly a secret.

To need to claim such a great thing as first amendment rights demonstrates a bigger problem. Why is teaching kids such a major issue for the nations constitution?

All this is about more then rules. Its about the easy going and natural thing that what schools teach in the nation can be determined by the nation. Where there is a great or almost great contention then this is the time for the spirit and right behind being a free people to debate and decide whats to be taught their kids, in their schools, Not fir some elites to be the boss over great numbers of the people.

The founding population that created the constitution and general ideas of democracy and over riding law simply wanted important things to be beyond public interference. Very important things. Teaching kids is not one of them. Further a very Puritan/Protestant Yankee and anglican/Protestant southerners never would of agreed or put into their democracy and constitution anything banning the teaching of origins from a starting point of God and Genesis. Its an absurdity to say they would or accidently did. It was not on their mind and if it had come up they would of soundly instead banned any criticism of God or Genesis in teaching about origins to their kids.

its a grand myth since WW11 that anything in the constitution can be gleaned to prohibit creationisms.

Its just not going to stand that origin issues be uniquely censored by the state. Its all a matter of creationists ability to agitate and bring case ofter case to return the freedom to discover or fight over whats true in public institutions.

There is a bigger wind of change here and a bigger idea of truth and education and democracy. Looks that way from up here in Canada.

Yes evolutionism will have problems holding its own and i think it will have great problems but why should evolutionists be afraid? Why not intellectually destroy creationism before kids in science clas if that can be done??

Robert Byers said:

Yes evolutionism will have problems holding its own and i think it will have great problems but why should evolutionists be afraid? Why not intellectually destroy creationism before kids in science clas if that can be done??

Creationism was intellectually destroyed over 150 years ago. Presenting it as anything remotely equal to evolution in science classrooms would be dishonest.

If parents have a right to have their views taught in K-12 classrooms, can’t they pursue that right on their own, rather than having to rely on intervening in some else’s lawsuit?

TomS said:

If parents have a right to have their views taught in K-12 classrooms, can’t they pursue that right on their own, rather than having to rely on intervening in some else’s lawsuit?

Why is it that whenever someone beats me to the punch, it’s you?

So all I get to do is elaborate. Not only can the parents pay for it themselves - the conservative thing to do - students spend most of their waking hours outside the “academic setting,” and have these little things called libraries, and something they couls never dream of in the Scopes, or even Edwards, era - the Internet. In fact, here’s every anti-evolution argument that every activist wants them to know, and more. The obvious question is “Why don’t self-described ‘conservatives’ just advertise that site and be done with it?” The answer is, of course, that they are hell-bent to censoring the “and more.”

dalehusband said:

Robert Byers said:

Yes evolutionism will have problems holding its own and i think it will have great problems but why should evolutionists be afraid? Why not intellectually destroy creationism before kids in science clas if that can be done??

Creationism was intellectually destroyed over 150 years ago. Presenting it as anything remotely equal to evolution in science classrooms would be dishonest.

Technically the “creationism” that we need to destroy was born only ~50 years ago (after a ~30 year “gestation” from Price to Morris). And sadly it’s alive and well, and evolving. And continuing to fool ~75% of the public in various degrees, from hopelessly committed geocentrists to those who say “I guess something like evolution is true, but I hear that it has gaps, so it’s fair to teach both sides.”

The irony is that at least 50 of that ~75% is capable of understanting how they have been fooled, and changing their mind. Yet in our obsession with “creationists” (often blurring the line between scammer and scammed) we mostly act like they don’t exist.

Robert Byers said:

To need to claim such a great thing as first amendment rights demonstrates a bigger problem. Why is teaching kids such a major issue for the nations constitution?

The rest of this incoherent jibberish demonstrates why it is necessary fir this to be a major issue. Thanks Robert.

I’d also mention Gert Korthof: “Introduction to the Evolution literature”

http://home.wxs.nl/~gkorthof/korthof.htm

The irony is that at least 50 of that ~75% is capable of understanting how they have been fooled, and changing their mind. Yet in our obsession with “creationists” (often blurring the line between scammer and scammed) we mostly act like they don’t exist.

I do not think the evidence supports such a conclusion (that “we” act as if they don’t exist, that is).

This particular thread is about a lawsuit attempting to reinstate a teacher who violated the constitution by teaching sectarian dogma as science. Therefore, direct references to active, authoritarian creationists is a part of this thread. Freshwater is, of course, a rather extreme example of both “scammer” and “scammed”.

However, in other threads, and elsewhere, most people who post here take a strong interest in providing correct public information about science, and in rebutting scams, as well. Your observation might be valid for venues in which metaphysical arguments are prioritized.

That is what the churches are for.

The day my church teaches ID is the day I will walk out.

The Rutherford Institute is a bundle of contradictions. On the one hand, they really do a lot of good work on free speech and free exercise of religion cases. And John Whitehead, who heads the organization, is one of the very few religious right leaders who is a consistent civil libertarian. He is constantly railing against the government for its unconstitutional abuses like warrantless wiretaps, torture and so forth. He’s part of the American Freedom Agenda group that has been very good on those issues. At the same time, they take absurd positions like this.

Karen S. said:

That is what the churches are for.

The day my church teaches ID is the day I will walk out.

Thank you! It’s one thing to tell a Genesis story in the same way that network TV tells “flying reindeer” stories, i.e. never say it’s not to be taken literally, but rely on adults to figure it out (if they can). It’s a very different thing to misrepresent evolution and the nature of science, in a place that preaches “thou shalt not bear false witness” no less!

On that note:

@harold:

What I mean by “we act as though they don’t exist” is that a quick read of anti-creationism/ID articles, including the ones I reference, paints a picture of “us vs. the creationists” that feeds common misconceptions, and makes the scammers very happy despite their crocodile tears. Most people rarely give it more than 5 minutes’ thought past the sound bites. I realize that it’s their responsibility to devote more attention, but the reality is that they won’t unless we drag them by the ear. So they’ll still define creationism as a quaint, honest belief, which it hasn’t been for 50+ years, and say “what’s the harm.”

To put it another way, we need to do a better job at controlling the demand as well as the “supply.” And with this academic “freedom” nonsense in LA and TN, it looks like we’re slipping at the latter too lately. In a war of sound bites (again, I wish it weren’t but that’s the reality) we need much less “Teach it in Sunday School,” and much more “Not only are we not censoring anything, but guess who is.”

Frank J said:

Karen S. said:

That is what the churches are for.

The day my church teaches ID is the day I will walk out.

Thank you! It’s one thing to tell a Genesis story in the same way that network TV tells “flying reindeer” stories, i.e. never say it’s not to be taken literally, but rely on adults to figure it out (if they can). It’s a very different thing to misrepresent evolution and the nature of science, in a place that preaches “thou shalt not bear false witness” no less!

On that note:

@harold:

What I mean by “we act as though they don’t exist” is that a quick read of anti-creationism/ID articles, including the ones I reference, paints a picture of “us vs. the creationists” that feeds common misconceptions, and makes the scammers very happy despite their crocodile tears. Most people rarely give it more than 5 minutes’ thought past the sound bites. I realize that it’s their responsibility to devote more attention, but the reality is that they won’t unless we drag them by the ear. So they’ll still define creationism as a quaint, honest belief, which it hasn’t been for 50+ years, and say “what’s the harm.”

To put it another way, we need to do a better job at controlling the demand as well as the “supply.” And with this academic “freedom” nonsense in LA and TN, it looks like we’re slipping at the latter too lately. In a war of sound bites (again, I wish it weren’t but that’s the reality) we need much less “Teach it in Sunday School,” and much more “Not only are we not censoring anything, but guess who is.”

We have strong overall agreement on this issue. I particularly appreciate that you provide the perspective of someone who once accepted some creationist arguments.

If you’re referring to my specific comment -

Of course they have a right to “make sure that their children are not prevented from learning about intelligent design”. They have an extremely strong right to tell their own children about intelligent design, send their children to Sunday school or private school, etc. That right is not being threatened in any way. I think it’s extremely stupid to confuse and traumatize children with creationist BS, but they have a perfect right to do so.

A) I can see a reasonable person pointing out that the third sentence is harshly critical in tone (the first two sentences are neutral statements of fact - by the way, I was sometimes sent to Sunday School, it is a common activity, and if you see that term as derogatory in some way, I don’t see why). In the context of responding to reasonable people who can be convinced, of the value of the First Amendment and/or of science, I try to use a persuasive tone, rather than a critical tone. That is my own choice.

B) In this case I was responding to the legal defense of Freshwater, in particular, to the silly argument that if ID/creationism is not taught in public school science class, children will be “prevented” from learning about it. That is not an argument coming from a reasonable person wondering how they can reconcile their cultural activities or beliefs with modern science, that is a logically flawed or dishonest argument, from a legal forum, in defense of violating the constitution. It deserves the kind of response it is getting.

C) There are many people on the pro-science side who are much more strident, hostile, and rude than I am, and there always will be. The defense of the constitution and science education cannot be dependent on the concern troll standard that “everybody who defends these things must always be perfectly nice”. In the first place, that is an impossible standard that will never be met. In the second place, creationists often use aggressively disrespectful language. We shouldn’t sink to their level, but at the same time, excessively obsequious responses to such tactics are often perceived negatively by neutral observers. As an example of this phenomenon from another sphere, I have often heard people honestly state that they preferred the policies of certain presidential candidates, e.g. Dukakis or Kerry, but voted against them because they were perceived as responding too timidly to unreasonably obnoxious attacks. Sometimes trying to tell the bully nicely that he is being unreasonable isn’t the right approach, and some expression of emotion is better.

However, let’s end on agreement. Those of us in favor of science and constitutional rights should strive to be accurate and fair, and I think it is best if we choose to be civil in the sense of avoiding distracting use of excessive hostile vulgarity.

Creationists insist that their own “scientific facts” be taught to schoolchildren, but they use the legislatures or the Courts to skip a very important step. What is good science and scientific facts is not decided by popular demand, or even in courtrooms –certainly not by local governments. To establish science, you have to debate and defend your scientific evidence, observational data and theories in the scientific arena, via science articles in scientific magazines, mostly. At some point, if your evidence is solid and explains the known observations better than other theories, your new scientific theory will prevail, gain widespread support, and might end up in schoolbooks.

Creationists and Intelligent Design Creationists work very hard to sidestep all that scientific scrutiny stuff, and pass laws allowing/requiring their unscientifically proven viewpoint be taught alongside established science straightaway.

If they have solid scientific evidence, based on, say, “the Cambrian Explosion”, why don’t they debate those points in, say, Nature or Scientific American ?

And where are the teachers supposed to find the scientific materials to present Creationist non-theories to schoolkids ? On random websites ? In church litterature ?

I rest my case.

_Arthur said: …where are the teachers supposed to find the scientific materials to present Creationist non-theories to schoolkids ? On random websites ?

Any number of Liars For Jesus™ websites: Answers In Genesis, The Dishonesty Institute, the Institute for Creation “Research”…

Or TimeCube.com. Science by website.

Robert Byers said:

Looks that way from up here in Canada.

Robert, we know you likely never will comment on the Gordon Glover (link here) and Glenn Morton material considering your past inactions.

But perhaps you would rather read about native Canadian Karl Giberson (link here). During his younger years, Giberson personally met both Henry Morris and Duane Gish and was inspired to want to be a YEC advocate just like them.

_Arthur said:

Creationists insist that their own “scientific facts” be taught to schoolchildren, but they use the legislatures or the Courts to skip a very important step. What is good science and scientific facts is not decided by popular demand, or even in courtrooms –certainly not by local governments. To establish science, you have to debate and defend your scientific evidence, observational data and theories in the scientific arena, via science articles in scientific magazines, mostly. At some point, if your evidence is solid and explains the known observations better than other theories, your new scientific theory will prevail, gain widespread support, and might end up in schoolbooks.

Creationists and Intelligent Design Creationists work very hard to sidestep all that scientific scrutiny stuff, and pass laws allowing/requiring their unscientifically proven viewpoint be taught alongside established science straightaway.

If they have solid scientific evidence, based on, say, “the Cambrian Explosion”, why don’t they debate those points in, say, Nature or Scientific American ?

And where are the teachers supposed to find the scientific materials to present Creationist non-theories to schoolkids ? On random websites ? In church litterature ?

I rest my case.

Excellent points, Arthur. But this has been explained countless times to Robert Byers and the other trolls here at PT, with obvious if unfortunate results.

But I myself am a former young-earth creationist. So if I can finally see the light, perhaps there’s some chance at least a few other YECs can, too.

_Arthur said:

What is good science and scientific facts is not decided by popular demand, or even in courtrooms –certainly not by local governments.

Perhaps that’s how it works in the rest of the civilized world, but that’s not how it works in America. What is taught in classrooms is decided by local school boards (usually elected, therefore “popular demand,”) and the only recourse people who disagree with their decisions have is the courtroom. There it’s decided, not whether it is good science or not, but whether it contradicts the Constitution or not, i.e., is religiously based. The only other way to change it is to vote the rascals out.

Robert Byers said:

Why is teaching kids such a major issue for the nations constitution? … The founding population that created the constitution and general ideas of democracy and over riding law simply wanted important things to be beyond public interference. Very important things. Teaching kids is not one of them.

That you consider the education of children not to be a “very important thing” speaks volumes about you and your views on science education.

Further a very Puritan/Protestant Yankee and anglican/Protestant southerners never would of agreed or put into their democracy and constitution anything banning the teaching of origins from a starting point of God and Genesis.

That you did not learn how to use the past conditional tense despite being educated - sorry, I should have said ‘having gone to school’ - in Canada suggests that those responsible for your education held similar views.

TomS said:

If parents have a right to have their views taught in K-12 classrooms, can’t they pursue that right on their own, rather than having to rely on intervening in some else’s lawsuit?

I’ll tell you why… because the majority of modern parents want as little to do with their children as possible. When I was a child, it was expected that parents help with homework. Now, I’ve got parents who complain that I sent homework home.

When I was a child, my grandfather took a college algebra class so he would be prepared to help me with my math in high school. I don’t know a single parent who would do something like that today.

They want other people to raise and teach the child, but they want them raised and taught with their beliefs in mind.

Byers, irritating as he is, illustrates two things here. First, that illiteracy doesn’t particularly bother him since he can’t recognize it when he writes it. He holds no higher aspiration for his children or anyone else’s. And second, he’s right that his dream State isn’t that hard to create. Much of the Middle East has been doing exactly what Byers wishes (the details may vary somewhat, but the substance is all there). A thousand years or more ago, they were at the forefront of math and what today would be called science. Then Mohammad came along, opened everyone’s eyes, and ever since “Byersism” has been the rule. Rigidly enforced. From which we learn that once fundagelicism takes hold, it’s powerfully self-perpetuating.

My imagination fails me when I try to envision a creationist preaching “acadamic freedom, present both sides” actually following those principles if he gets into power. Or ever permitting such an idea to be expressed again.

Then Mohammad came along, opened everyone’s eyes, and ever since “Byersism” has been the rule. Rigidly enforced. From which we learn that once fundagelicism takes hold, it’s powerfully self-perpetuating.

Incorrect. There were fundamentalist regimes occasionally in pre-modern Islam, but medieval Islam was mainly moderate, and highly encouraging of scholarship and art, e.g. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muhamm[…]al-Khwarizmi (random example among many).

Anti-science fundamentalism is mainly a modern phenomenon.

Religious violence and oppression over theological differences was as common in the past as it is now. Gallileo was not a typical victim of the Inquisition, nor an especially severely punished one.

I’m not attempting to sugar coat the ignorance and brutality of the past here, but let’s not give creationists too much credit. They aren’t even “traditional”.

Except for the fact that the Arabian culture pretty well ground to a stop in terms of advancements in math, science, literature, etc. and never recovered, I’d agree with you. Byers isn’t really anti-science, any more than Islam is anti-science. It’s just that for both, science is theologically constrained, being of a far lower cultural priority. And Islam DID take hold in that region in the middle ages (after the geographic expansion phase), and it HAS NOT relinquished that hold ever since.

(And certainly the situation is far more complex than this may imply. There are deeply convoluted reasons why Dover and Mt. Vernon and indeed much of the rural US has remained undereducated and over-represented with fundamentalists, while larger cities especially on the coasts have moved in the other direction.)

Except for the fact that the Arabian culture pretty well ground to a stop in terms of advancements in math, science, literature, etc. and never recovered,

We don’t have strong disagreement, and I’ll stop after this, but actually, fairly little is known about pre-Islamic culture in originally Arabic-speaking areas.

When Islam spread to areas with long well-known cultural achievements, such as Egypt, Persia, and the Levant, it did NOT initially cause a shut down of scholarly and cultural activity.

In fact, to the extent that there can be any valid generalization, it was the opposite.

Christianity had previously caused a strong backlash against “classical” culture, e.g. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hypatia.

The arrival of Islam established Arabic as a new scholarly language and reignited scholarship.

Both Christianity and Islam are intensely gender biased, but much of the extreme gender bias of the region pre-dated Islam and was actually initially pushed hard by Christian authorities.

Anti-Islamic propaganda has been a complete victory in the US, thanks to the Oil Crisis, unjustified military attacks on Israel during the sixties and seventies (actually initiated by Soviet-inspired secular regimes but associated with Islam), the Iranian hostage crisis, the vicious Al Qaeda attacks on the US, and the general rise of Islamic terrorism. I condemn all of those things (NOT the same thing as endorsement of current Israeli policy).

However, it is important to note that the propaganda exists to justify massacres that have no relationship to the actual national security of the US. There is no coherent record of US government opposition to fundamentalist Islamic regimes. The opposite is closer to the truth.

George H. W. Bush invaded secular Iraq to defend fundamentalist Kuwait. George W. Bush had close ties to fundamentalist Saudi Arabia. The current administration is not hostile to Saudi Arabia or other fundamentalist Islamic monarchies.

The facts I note above are just that - to the extent that claims about broad historical trends can be facts, they are facts.

I completely oppose all religious extremism and authoritarianism, but I like to be accurate.

Paul Burnett said:

_Arthur said: …where are the teachers supposed to find the scientific materials to present Creationist non-theories to schoolkids ? On random websites ?

Any number of Liars For Jesus™ websites: Answers In Genesis, The Dishonesty Institute, the Institute for Creation “Research”…

Why not the site that has it all, including the critical analysis that the scam artists pretend to advocate?

harold said:

George H. W. Bush invaded secular Iraq to defend fundamentalist Kuwait. George W. Bush had close ties to fundamentalist Saudi Arabia. The current administration is not hostile to Saudi Arabia or other fundamentalist Islamic monarchies.

The facts I note above are just that - to the extent that claims about broad historical trends can be facts, they are facts.

I completely oppose all religious extremism and authoritarianism, but I like to be accurate.

Indeed, Saddam Hussein was our ALLY in the 1980s during his war against the fundamentalist regime of Iran. Then he invaded Kuwait assuming we would simple ignore what he was doing because of our past support of him. Our suddently turning against him had nothing to do with any atrocities he committed against Kuwait (because he had already committed them against Iraqi Kurds and Iranians while we were backing him) but because we no longer had a use for him! Saudi Arabia, however is still useful. It’s all about maintaining our access to as much oil as possible. Not opposing any nation’s ideology or religion.

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This page contains a single entry by Richard B. Hoppe published on April 27, 2012 2:47 PM.

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