Stuff to read on ID, Kitzmiller

In addition to watching the news on Kansas, we have been meaning to post these to PT but haven’t quite gotten to it, so here is a collection of recent commentary on ID/creationism, Kitzmiller, etc. Much of this has already been noted on the NCSE News page.

Coultergeist – Jerry Coyne reviews Ann Coulter’s book Godless in The New Republic, with about as much respect as she deserves (pass-through link, free registration required). I can’t claim responsibility for the science in Coyne’s essay like Dembski did for Coulter, but I did get to comment on a draft, and Coyne (who is personally targetted repeated by Coulter) did tell me that TNR wanted the review of Coulter’s book to be in the same style that Coulter herself wrote. So that explains the invective (although it appears to me that Coyne wasn’t able to turn his scientific side off completely, there are some low-invective zones). If you want to give the ol’ irony meter a spin, check out this post from an ID blogger who is defending Coulter from Coyne:

I think Coyne might have over-reacted just a tad to the part about Ann Coutler “attacking” him. But again, fact-distorting and insult-hurling have always been favorites for Coyne and the evolution community.

The “Vise Strategy” Undone: Kitzmiller et al. v. Dover Area School District – On the CSICOP website, Barbara Forrest recounts her experience during the Kitzmiller case, including the repeated efforts of hurricanes, the Thomas More Law Center, and the Discovery Institute to keep her off the witness stand, and the juvenile antics by Dembski and the Discovery Institute.

In the matter of Berkeley v. Berkeley – the Berkeley Science Review reviews the events of Kitzmiller, and interviews Kevin Padian and Phillip Johnson. Johnson even admits defeat, sort of.

Stanford Medicine: “The Evolutionary War” – Evolution and Medicine, commentary on the Kitzmiller case. Those folks at Stanford don’t like ID much, I have to say.

The Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review has an article by Brenda Lee on the Kitzmiller decision. The article is positive about the opinion, but dubious on whether or not it will have the intended impact:

Although the opinion was excellently written and reasoned, its broad conclusions will not have a great impact on the public debate about teaching evolution and thus will fail to fulfill its hope of preventing judicial waste. Given the vast divide in American society over the role of religion in public life, the influence of high profile individuals who favor creationist teaching, and the limited precedential value of a district court’s opinion, lawsuits will continue to serve as the primary check on new and improved methods of including creationism in the classroom. ID is representative of a huge cultural divide in America that a court, despite ambitious goals, cannot mend prophylactically. In fact, the opinion’s decisiveness in finding that ID was not science, based on the overwhelming evidence of the Board’s religious motivations, may encourage critics of evolution simply to repackage their next attack to avoid any mention of religion and thereby escape negative Establishment Clause analysis.

Like several lawyerly commentaries I’ve seen, this one does not quite fully appreciate how history came crashing down on ID during the trial, in the form of Barbara Forrest’s presentation on the Pandas drafts. We’ve always said that ID was just creationism relabeled. The ID movement denied it. The drafts proved that Pandas was originally creationist “two models” text intended for the public schools if the creation science “Equal Time” legislation passed constitutional muster at Appeals Court or Supreme Court, as the creationists were hoping from 1982-1987. That didn’t work out when the Edwards decision came down, and so they changed the name to “intelligent design” and went full speed ahead. That simply is the origin of the “scientific” movement of ID, and any judge who sees that evidence is going to conclude that his decision is easy, because the Supreme Court already made the decision for him, in the 1987 Edwards decision. Game over.

I suppose now would be as good a time as any to mention that the next issue of NCSE Reports, in press, is a special double issue devoted to the Kitzmiller trial. I give the “inside story” of my experience during the case, how we found the Pandas drafts, and just what kind of impact NCSE had on the case. Other NCSE staff, expert witnesses, etc., also comment. If you want to get the special issue as the first issue of your subscription, join NCSE now.