Freshwater: The Columbus Dispatch editorializes

| 63 Comments

The Columbus Dispatch is the major (and conservative-leaning) newspaper in central Ohio. Its coverage of the Freshwater case has been quite good–it had a reporter attending many of the sessions of the administrative hearing. Now, with the Ohio Supreme Court having accepted Freshwater’s appeal for consideration, the Dispatch has a strong editorial on the topic. The last three paragraphs of the editorial are

Lower courts have spoken clearly: Freshwater violated the Constitution by using his position as a teacher to attempt to impart his religious beliefs.

Equally important, he failed his students, by presenting a religious belief as science, when it is nothing of the sort. Science, by definition, is the study of natural processes, not supernatural ones. Any theory that invokes supernatural explanations for natural phenomena is not science, it is religion, and therefore is inappropriate in a science class.

The Supreme Court can do public education a great service by upholding the right of school boards to insist that science classrooms be reserved for the teaching of science.

It was good to read that.

63 Comments

Wow! They haven’t withdrawn it yet?

What? Withdrawn the editorial? Nope, and I very strongly doubt that they will. The Dispatch has been generally good on scientific matters (I don’t know about climate change), even though they didn’t replace their science reporter when he left a couple of years ago.

Now, with the Ohio Supreme Court having accepted Freshwater’s appeal for consideration, the Dispatch has a strong editorial on the topic.

Should be as controversial as teaching that Abe Lincoln was vampire hunter.

Glen Davidson

What gets me Mr. Hoppe is how you (pl) bandy the word ‘supernatural’ around so much but are unable to define it. Is the definition you prefer ‘that which cannot be defected by current scientific means?’ If so, how does as yet undetected phenomena preclude us from pursuing it? The higgs boson has not yet been detected yet we spend billions going after it? Why not spend billions trying to detect ‘God’? Or is God’s surname Higgs?

I don’t know but it seems detecting material phenomena is old school. The future of science is in the mind’s eye, not is our eye sockets.

SteveP. said:

What gets me is how you (pl) bandy the word ‘supernatural’ around so much but are unable to define it.

I can define it. “Supernatural” means “fictional.”

SteveP. said: What gets me Mr. Hoppe is how you (pl) bandy the word ‘supernatural’ around so much but are unable to define it.

Nobody does Latin any more. “Super” means over or above, and “natural” means…natural. It means over or above or outside the natural order. Another word for the supernatural ins miraculous, which is what creaqtionists hang their hat on. Any time we can get creationists to admit a miracle occurred, we know we’re not talking about science.

Joshua (or Joshua’s god) stopping the sun in the sky above Jericho is a miracle, a supernatural happening. Science has no explanation for it - we can safely say it didn’t happen.

Tell us, Steve, do you believe the sun stopped in the sky above Jericho? Do you believe in the supernatural?

SteveP. said:

The higgs boson has not yet been detected yet we spend billions going after it? Why not spend billions trying to detect ‘God’? Or is God’s surname Higgs?

The Higgs Boson, if that’s what they have discovered, was predicted by a model, most if not all other predictions made by that model have already been confirmed. the Higgs was the last piece to confirm the model. If the higgs was not found where predicted, the theoretical physicist would have to concede their model was wrong and start again.

So if you think we should apply the same rules to a search for god, make specific predictions, the result of which aren’t known, that will either confirm or deny the existence of god. Then go do the experiment and see what happens.

Would you do the same as the scientists and go back to the drawing board with your model if the experiment failed or would you blindly cling to you disproven model?

Interestingly enough several physicist including Stephen Hawking have expressed disappointment at the discovery as finding the model to be wrong would have created more questions and more opportunities for research.

Wow! You’re back yet again, Stevie! This will make the THIRD time I’ve asked you this question. Both other times you slunk off. Believe me, we all noticed that you didn’t even attempt an answer. So, copied from last time around, here we go again:

SteveP, so glad to hear from you again! I was so worried when you disappeared from an earlier thread just after I asked the question below.

Steve P, maybe you can help. I’ve been trying to get an answer on this, but no luck so far.

If all scientists accepted intelligent design as true, HOW WOULD IT HELP?

What problems could be better addressed that are now intractable? What new areas of PRODUCTIVE research would be opened up? What new technologies, or cures, or just useful understandings of biology would result? In short, what better results and PRODUCTIONS could we expect from intelligent design than we are currently realizing from methodological naturalism?

Now that we know you haven’t been disappeared by the Taiwanese Mafia, perhaps you’ll render a thoughtful, serious answer.

SteveP. said:

What gets me Mr. Hoppe is how you (pl) bandy the word ‘supernatural’ around so much but are unable to define it. Is the definition you prefer ‘that which cannot be defected by current scientific means?’ If so, how does as yet undetected phenomena preclude us from pursuing it? The higgs boson has not yet been detected yet we spend billions going after it? Why not spend billions trying to detect ‘God’? Or is God’s surname Higgs?

I don’t know but it seems detecting material phenomena is old school. The future of science is in the mind’s eye, not is our eye sockets.

As a historian of magic in the Graeco-Roman wold, I don’t have any problem defining the supernatural. It is the belief that speech acts (prayers or spells) or dramatic acts (rituals that enact the desired thing) have actual results in the physical world. For example, ‘God said, let there be light, and there was light,’ or transubstantiation. As far as anyone knows, it is also how the designer in ID works; except the supernatural has never been demonstrated to work and every time its tested it fails utterly. A corollary belief is that inanimate object or forces have human personalities and can communicate with humans, for example some suppositions cause of the initial inflation commonly called the big bang or the planet Jupiter (Don’t forget that Behe said under oath to Yahweh that ID is science in the same sense as astrology is science). But this phenomenon has never been observed either. Or do you talk to the planet Jupiter?

Says SteveP:

I don’t know but it seems detecting material phenomena is old school. The future of science is in the mind’s eye, not is our eye sockets.

Detecting and explaining material phenomena is what science is about, Steve. Manipulating those phenomena for various purposes is what applied science does. If that’s the old school, Steve, what is the new? And what has it done that compares with, let’s say, the keyboard under your fingers or the plasma screen on which you read this, or the internet that enables it?

Because it’s not the new school, is it, Steve? It’s mysticism and superstition, magical thinking and witchcraft, demonology, eschatology, prognostication, oracles, signs and portents, stuff that was old before Menes was a lad, and worth as much now as it ever was. Which is to say, nothing whatsoever.

Show me the television monitor that’s powered by crystal energy, Stevie. Show me a flying carpet that’ll get me across the continent in four hours. Show me an oracle that’s worth half as much as google, or a mindmeld that allows me to talk to someone in Rotterdam.

We have a saying in my country: the runs are on the board. And here’s the thing: science made all of them. Every single one. You’ve had your first innings, and made none at all. Sure, go out and have another bat. When you’ve made a few, let me know. Point to the score. But you haven’t made any score yet. No hits, no runs, nothing but empty words.

Posing and sneering will only get you so far, Steve. And here it gets you nowhere.

Just Bob said:

Wow! You’re back yet again, Stevie! This will make the THIRD time I’ve asked you this question. Both other times you slunk off. Believe me, we all noticed that you didn’t even attempt an answer. So, copied from last time around, here we go again:

SteveP, so glad to hear from you again! I was so worried when you disappeared from an earlier thread just after I asked the question below.

Steve P, maybe you can help. I’ve been trying to get an answer on this, but no luck so far.

If all scientists accepted intelligent design as true, HOW WOULD IT HELP?

What problems could be better addressed that are now intractable? What new areas of PRODUCTIVE research would be opened up? What new technologies, or cures, or just useful understandings of biology would result? In short, what better results and PRODUCTIONS could we expect from intelligent design than we are currently realizing from methodological naturalism?

Now that we know you haven’t been disappeared by the Taiwanese Mafia, perhaps you’ll render a thoughtful, serious answer.

SteveP will never be able to answer those questions. He’s too busy making money to bother, plus, he also finds the very idea of science and science education to be abhorrent and disgusting.

Plus, trying to think of constructive ways to apply Intelligent Design would take away precious time he needs to insult us for not being science-hating bigots like him. (not to mention the idea of thinking is anathema to SteveP, too)

SteveP. said:

… The higgs boson has not yet been detected yet we spend billions going after it? Why not spend billions trying to detect ‘God’? Or is God’s surname Higgs?

Hmm, I thought the Higgs boson was just announced. As to why it was called the “God particle,” Higgs couldn’t think of a better term at the time, though he didn’t like that reference to begin with, is what I’ve heard.

Why not spend billions trying to detect God? For thousands of years people have tried, and failed, to detect any form of deity save for the Flying Spaghetti Monster. I’ve personally witnessed his physical manifestation at a Solstice parade in Seattle. But then trying to detect “God” is the major effort undertaken by the creationists (ID’ers) at the Dishonesty Institute of Seattle and their phony “lab” that doesn’t do any research.

Wikipedia & other sources indicate that Peter Higgs & others predicted this particle in 1964. The faceplam-inducing term “god particle” was coined by Leon M. Lederman; although Higgs himself dislikes that name. The boson interacts with the Higgs field to imbue mass in other particles, is the last particle predicted-but-not-yet-observed as part of the Standard Model of quantum physics, and still leaves many interesting open questions.

The LHC was built, in large part, to search for and characterize it.

I don’t know but it seems detecting material phenomena is old school. The future of science is in the mind’s eye, not is our eye sockets.

Asserts entirely new realm of scientific inquiry + Fails to give a single example of his concept producing anything useful = Crackpot

Dave Luckett said:

Because it’s not the new school, is it, Steve? It’s mysticism and superstition, magical thinking and witchcraft, demonology, eschatology, prognostication, oracles, signs and portents, stuff that was old before Menes was a lad, and worth as much now as it ever was. Which is to say, nothing whatsoever.

Heh. I’d like to add the evangelical/fundamentalist’s favourite magical practise to the list - cleromancy.

https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/[…]R4rkKphzUAn0 said:I’d like to add the evangelical/fundamentalist’s favourite magical practise to the list - cleromancy.

Ah, the good old Urim and Thummim - approved by the Bible, of course.

Luckett,

Your comments are a clear bait and switch it seems.

First science is pragmatic, concerned only with the manipulation of material to design, construct and utilize useful objects.

But what you are really thinking and plugging is science as a way of knowing superior to theology or philosophy.

Science as a pragmatic endeavor is understandable; as a superior way of knowing overrated.

Rather, if science seeks to be a ‘way of knowing’ it will only get pulled back in to theology’s orbit. Coming full circle. It’s inevitable from a logical, rational standpoint.

You know it but simply won’t let yourself go down that road just yet. But you will…be pulled…by that weight…sooner…or later.

Dave Luckett said:

Says SteveP:

I don’t know but it seems detecting material phenomena is old school. The future of science is in the mind’s eye, not is our eye sockets.

Detecting and explaining material phenomena is what science is about, Steve. Manipulating those phenomena for various purposes is what applied science does. If that’s the old school, Steve, what is the new? And what has it done that compares with, let’s say, the keyboard under your fingers or the plasma screen on which you read this, or the internet that enables it?

Because it’s not the new school, is it, Steve? It’s mysticism and superstition, magical thinking and witchcraft, demonology, eschatology, prognostication, oracles, signs and portents, stuff that was old before Menes was a lad, and worth as much now as it ever was. Which is to say, nothing whatsoever.

Show me the television monitor that’s powered by crystal energy, Stevie. Show me a flying carpet that’ll get me across the continent in four hours. Show me an oracle that’s worth half as much as google, or a mindmeld that allows me to talk to someone in Rotterdam.

We have a saying in my country: the runs are on the board. And here’s the thing: science made all of them. Every single one. You’ve had your first innings, and made none at all. Sure, go out and have another bat. When you’ve made a few, let me know. Point to the score. But you haven’t made any score yet. No hits, no runs, nothing but empty words.

Posing and sneering will only get you so far, Steve. And here it gets you nowhere.

Glad to see Bennett agrees that science, as it is practiced today is a practical endeavor and nothing more.

bbennett1968 said:

I don’t know but it seems detecting material phenomena is old school. The future of science is in the mind’s eye, not is our eye sockets.

Asserts entirely new realm of scientific inquiry + Fails to give a single example of his concept producing anything useful = Crackpot

apo,s in good form today.

No, not a science hater. Just being clear what science capabilities are. And as your fellow travelers concede, its limits are practical in nature.

It can’t harness love or beauty. It just makes beautiful things we can love.

:)

apokryltaros said:

Just Bob said:

Wow! You’re back yet again, Stevie! This will make the THIRD time I’ve asked you this question. Both other times you slunk off. Believe me, we all noticed that you didn’t even attempt an answer. So, copied from last time around, here we go again:

SteveP, so glad to hear from you again! I was so worried when you disappeared from an earlier thread just after I asked the question below.

Steve P, maybe you can help. I’ve been trying to get an answer on this, but no luck so far.

If all scientists accepted intelligent design as true, HOW WOULD IT HELP?

What problems could be better addressed that are now intractable? What new areas of PRODUCTIVE research would be opened up? What new technologies, or cures, or just useful understandings of biology would result? In short, what better results and PRODUCTIONS could we expect from intelligent design than we are currently realizing from methodological naturalism?

Now that we know you haven’t been disappeared by the Taiwanese Mafia, perhaps you’ll render a thoughtful, serious answer.

SteveP will never be able to answer those questions. He’s too busy making money to bother, plus, he also finds the very idea of science and science education to be abhorrent and disgusting.

Plus, trying to think of constructive ways to apply Intelligent Design would take away precious time he needs to insult us for not being science-hating bigots like him. (not to mention the idea of thinking is anathema to SteveP, too)

What Helena here is saying is that since Man has failed to detect God, that he must not exist.

She would never consider the possibility that Man simply hasn’t figured out just how to go about detecting and understanding God.

But since the practical nature of modern science produces ostentatious results, it must be right so there’s no point in trying to figure out God.

To each her own I guess.

Helena Constantine said:

SteveP. said:

What gets me Mr. Hoppe is how you (pl) bandy the word ‘supernatural’ around so much but are unable to define it. Is the definition you prefer ‘that which cannot be defected by current scientific means?’ If so, how does as yet undetected phenomena preclude us from pursuing it? The higgs boson has not yet been detected yet we spend billions going after it? Why not spend billions trying to detect ‘God’? Or is God’s surname Higgs?

I don’t know but it seems detecting material phenomena is old school. The future of science is in the mind’s eye, not is our eye sockets.

As a historian of magic in the Graeco-Roman wold, I don’t have any problem defining the supernatural. It is the belief that speech acts (prayers or spells) or dramatic acts (rituals that enact the desired thing) have actual results in the physical world. For example, ‘God said, let there be light, and there was light,’ or transubstantiation. As far as anyone knows, it is also how the designer in ID works; except the supernatural has never been demonstrated to work and every time its tested it fails utterly. A corollary belief is that inanimate object or forces have human personalities and can communicate with humans, for example some suppositions cause of the initial inflation commonly called the big bang or the planet Jupiter (Don’t forget that Behe said under oath to Yahweh that ID is science in the same sense as astrology is science). But this phenomenon has never been observed either. Or do you talk to the planet Jupiter?

SteveP. said:

What Helena here is saying is that since Man has failed to detect God, that he must not exist.

She would never consider the possibility that Man simply hasn’t figured out just how to go about detecting and understanding God.

If that is the case Steve, why do you and other apologeticists insist you have detected this god and do understand it? Oddly, according to ID while this has supposedly been done, they can’t seem to reveal how they go about doing it.

Yes, Steve, that’s what I’m doing. I’m plugging science as a superior way of knowing to theology or philosophy. And unlike you, I’ve actually done some formal study of all three.

Philosophy is wonderful for posing questions in severely rigorous ways, and then not answering them. It’s sort of like the wine that is not for drinking, but for laying down and avoiding. Theology is wonderful for erecting systems of thought on foundations not of sand, nor even of air, but on the ether or less. Quite often on pure, stainless, peerless vacuum. Both of them are fascinating and beguiling fields of study, and neither of them leads anywhere useful. I wasted a lot of time before I learned that.

Three thousand years, and the philosophers haven’t decided on what truth is, or how life should be lived, or of what virtue consists. Longer still, and the accepted method for settling a theological disagreement still remains sectarian warfare.

Science, on the other hand, works. Sometimes you don’t know what it will produce, but it does produce, and what it produces is usually useful. Philosophy and theology don’t produce anything useful at all.

SteveP. said:

No, not a science hater.

That’s the biggest lie you’re ever vomited at us, SteveP. Only a braindead Idiot For Jesus would believe it. If you don’t hate science, then why do you come here, time and time and again to insult scientists as being materialistic idiots, sneer at science, and accuse us of being stupid idiots for not swallowing your silly and inane bullshit without question, or hesitation?

Just being clear what science capabilities are.

Clear as mud. You sneer at science, claiming that it’s utterly useless and worthless because it can only study the material world, and not the imaginary sophist’s paradise that exists inside your pea-brain.

And as your fellow travelers concede, its limits are practical in nature.

Because science isn’t, and never was intended to be a feel-good philosophy for sophists, you sneer at us for being idiots for not abandoning science.

It can’t harness love or beauty. It just makes beautiful things we can love.

So you’re admitting that you’re a hypocrite who loves creature comforts made by the very process you hate and despise?

Dave Luckett said:

Science, on the other hand, works. Sometimes you don’t know what it will produce, but it does produce, and what it produces is usually useful. Philosophy and theology don’t produce anything useful at all.

Because Science is used to add to the collective knowledge of the observable Universe, its products are always useful, even if an immediate practical application is not present or apparent.

What SteveP would have us do is to abandon science entirely because he, himself (along with other Lying Sophists For Jesus) personally finds it too distasteful to ever bother understanding, save for those few aspects that permit humans to eat and play on the Internet without standing in the rain.

It’s even worse then that. Mr. P not only has to acknowledge that Joshua’s feat was due to supernatural forces but he also has to explain why no other civilizations that were in existence at the time failed to take note of such a noteworthy event.

Paul Burnett said:

SteveP. said: What gets me Mr. Hoppe is how you (pl) bandy the word ‘supernatural’ around so much but are unable to define it.

Nobody does Latin any more. “Super” means over or above, and “natural” means…natural. It means over or above or outside the natural order. Another word for the supernatural ins miraculous, which is what creaqtionists hang their hat on. Any time we can get creationists to admit a miracle occurred, we know we’re not talking about science.

Joshua (or Joshua’s god) stopping the sun in the sky above Jericho is a miracle, a supernatural happening. Science has no explanation for it - we can safely say it didn’t happen.

Tell us, Steve, do you believe the sun stopped in the sky above Jericho? Do you believe in the supernatural?

STILL not answering my question. Maybe kind of an end dodge around it: “[Science] can’t harness love or beauty.” So presumably theology can?

Is that a surrender? An admission by omission that you can’t think of a single practical, pragmatic, concrete, PRODUCTIVE result of an acceptance of ID, eh Stevie?

SteveP. said:

What Helena here is saying is that since Man has failed to detect God, that he must not exist.

She would never consider the possibility that Man simply hasn’t figured out just how to go about detecting and understanding God.

But since the practical nature of modern science produces ostentatious results, it must be right so there’s no point in trying to figure out God.

To each her own I guess.

Is there something wrong with your reading comprehension, Steve? Let me simplify. Everything we know about god, that is the supernatural, tells us that he works by magic. that is what your Bible says and what every Christian denomination says. And we know magic magic doesn’t work. Its embarrassing for you to go on suggesting that it does. It make you like you the mind of a child (see Piaget’s work–or did you imagine that science can’t explain why you hold your delusional beliefs?).

Getting back to the topic, can anyone tell me something about the Rutherford Institute beyond what’s on their web page? They seem to be the main driver here. Are other far right lawyer groups likely to join in? How much of a nuisance has the Rutherford Institute been in the past? They gave a quote to the fundamentalists news site yesterday (http://www.onenewsnow.com/Legal/Def[…]x?id=1628908). Main function there of course is soliciting contributions from all who’d like to get this case in front of Scalia, Thomas and Roberts. Scalia, of course, wants to overturn Lemon. Roberts’ history as a judge shows he wants to loosen church/state protections.

SteveP. said:

What Helena here is saying is that since Man has failed to detect God, that he must not exist.

She would never consider the possibility that Man simply hasn’t figured out just how to go about detecting and understanding God.

But since the practical nature of modern science produces ostentatious results, it must be right so there’s no point in trying to figure out God.

To each her own I guess.

What Stevie is trying to say is that all this sciency stuff is too complicated for him to understand, so he prefers to just ignore it all (except still reap the benefits from it) and hope that some god exists, even though there is absolutely no evidence for the action of any supernatural entity. The thing is that no one has to assume that god doesn’t exist to do any science. Stevie doesn’t seem to have figured out that assuming that god exists, even in the absence of evidence, doesn’t prevent you from doing science either. To each his own I guess.

SteveP. said: Man has failed to detect God [so] he must not exist.

That’s not right. Instead the contention is that since there isn’t the slightest bit of evidence for the existence of gods, we conclude that they don’t exist. Just like leprechauns and Batman.

Man simply hasn’t figured out just how to go about detecting and understanding God.

That IS right, SteveP. Nobody - not scientists, not technicians, not engineers, not mathematicians, certainly not any of those baffled believers - has ever come up with even one single little test for the existence of gods. No one in science has any need for gods, so they don’t even bother to look for them. Those who do need gods, the believers, beat the burned-up bushes of theology, but they are still unable to flush out any gods. Gods are feckless fantasies, just like leprechauns and Batman.

Well of course people haven’t figured out how to go about detecting a God that actually exists.

If they had, different investigators would be converging on the same set of conclusions.

In that case, the splitting of religions would be much rarer than it has been.

I was forced to comment there. :)

cmb said:

Our friends at Accountability in the Media have an editorial about the Dispatch’s editorial. Probably about what you would expect.

http://www.accountabilityinthemedia[…]f-faith.html

Richard B. Hoppe said:

I was forced to comment there. :)

cmb said:

Our friends at Accountability in the Media have an editorial about the Dispatch’s editorial. Probably about what you would expect.

http://www.accountabilityinthemedia[…]f-faith.html

Great comment Dick! Can’t wait to see the response.

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This page contains a single entry by Richard B. Hoppe published on July 11, 2012 2:03 PM.

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