Reed A. Cartwright posted Entry 758 on January 22, 2005 08:20 AM.
Trackback URL: http://www.pandasthumb.org/cgi-bin/mt/mt-tb.fcgi/756

Well, Answers in Genesis Ministries, whom a Discovery Institute spokesman has referred to as “guitar-strumming hillbillies,” have produced their response to Judge Cooper’s decision in the Cobb Country disclaimer-sticker case.  It echoes (borrows, steals?) much of the Discovery Institute’s spin which I have already dispatched.  I’ll make three points again.

  1. The judge found that the disclaimer-stickers hurt biology education and did not foster critical thinking, despite the board’s best intentions.

  2. In fact, he found that the disclaimer-stickers hurt education in such a way that only sectarian interests (creationism et al.) benefited.  This caused a violation of the Lemon test.

  3. The decision is neither activist nor bizarre.  All Lemon prongs must be satisfied, not just one.

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Comment #14412

Posted by Alex Merz on January 22, 2005 10:49 AM (e)

Someone from DI actually said that about AIG? Wow, why does DI hate the free and open discussion of ideas?

Comment #14413

Posted by Steve F on January 22, 2005 11:10 AM (e)

Ken Miller wrote the following column. Unsurprisingly, its very good:

http://www.boston.com/news/globe/editorial_opinion/oped/articles/2005/01/22/remove_stickers_open_minds/

Comment #14414

Posted by Don T. Know on January 22, 2005 1:02 PM (e)

Fundamentalists Christians have no problem dismissing Ken Miller since they consider him a “liberal”, who is “mislead by Satan” (the “Father of Lies”). It’s a complete worldview that allows fundy nutjobs to ignore what he writes. Although, I do hope he gets through to a few fundies who have not completely closed their minds.

Comment #14417

Posted by Ben on January 22, 2005 1:37 PM (e)

All Lemon prongs must be satisfied, not just one.

Umm…Reed?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lemon_test

Comment #14418

Posted by Colin on January 22, 2005 1:47 PM (e)

Syntax Error: mismatched tag 'li'

Comment #14419

Posted by Ben on January 22, 2005 2:02 PM (e)

I understand how the Lemon test is applied. I think I misunderstood what Reed meant by “satisfied.” (I.e., I was thinking in terms of how a judge need only show that one prong is violated.) Nevermind.

Comment #14420

Posted by Great White Wonder on January 22, 2005 2:18 PM (e)

Last night I happened to catch a few minutes of this evangelical Jim Wallis on Charlie Rose.

http://www.sojo.net/index.cfm?action=about_us.display_staff&staff=wallis

Compared to the sorts of Christians we are used to discussing here, this guy is from another planet. Among other commendable sober statements Mr. Wallis has made, he appears to accept that evolution is a solid fact. I am not aware of any specific criticisms of “ID theory” but I have no doubt, based on what I heard him say to Mr. Rose, that he would have some harsh things to say about the Johnsonite Christians at the Discovery Insitute.

One of his take home points was that he believes that the fundamentalists we are familiar with have stolen Christianity and turned it into a funhouse version of religion that is designed to promote a political ideology. Issues like abortion, homosexuality and spreading freedom are made to appear as if they were fundamental Christian principles while peace and helping the sick and poor, referred to hundreds of times in the Bible, are essentially forgotten.

And it occurred to me that while we often note here the hypocricy of the “ID theory” peddlers when it comes to their dishonest habits (behavior which is expressly forbidden by one of the commandments in their holy book) we neglect to point out that, on a somewhat more abstract level, they are also thieves. Now that the conservative fundamentalists have stolen Christianity, they want to steal science and we can rest assured science in their hands will be warped in the same way, to promote a political agenda that is anti-science and anti-knowledge, that is backward-looking and not forward-looking.

Moreover, the manner in which Johnsonite Christians seek to achieve their goal involves the intellectual theft of the work of scientists. Because there is no such thing as “creation research,” the Johnsonites can only kidnap the work and critical thinking of other scientists and pretend that it is their own, or pretend that they have murdered their hostage and display the phony corpse at school board meeting or cable TV.

Comment #14421

Posted by Frank J on January 22, 2005 2:33 PM (e)

Don T. Know wrote:

Fundamentalists Christians have no problem dismissing Ken Miller since they consider him a “liberal”, who is “mislead by Satan” (the “Father of Lies”).

I guess you mean liberal Christian, as opposed to politically liberal. I am not sure what his political leanings are - my guess is not extreme left ot right. Don’t count on the far right (aka the authoritarian right) to quote mine the end of his article, though, as it is quite incovenient to their fantasy that this is a secular liberal vs. religious conservative issue:

Kenneth R. Miller wrote:

So, what should be done with those stickers, now pasted into thousands of textbooks? I’d pass along a suggestion I received from a science teacher in Cobb County itself: Glue an American flag on top of each and every one of them.

Comment #14424

Posted by Ed Darrell on January 22, 2005 4:16 PM (e)

AiG said:

“When the public school says you have to teach every aspect of reality without any acknowledgement of God or the Bible, you’re saying that God has nothing to do with reality. This is not a neutral position towards religion. It’s actually a religious position that says that everything can be explained without God.”

If the schools say that we must ascribe to God even those things that can be explained without divine intervention – combustion, chemical reactions, tides, etc. – then it’s a position that says the church is so morally weak that it must rely on government support to hold it up.

And, as Jefferson noted, that means the church is dead.

I’m not so pessimistic as Ken Ham or Phillip Johnson, and I don’t like their declarations of death on my church before it really has expired. When they church dies, I don’t think they’ll be the first to know, nor even in the vanguard.

Comment #14426

Posted by Joe McFaul on January 22, 2005 5:08 PM (e)

Ham also says:

Ham concluded with the general observation that the Bible tells us there is no such thing as being neutral. Luke 11:23 says a person is either for Christ or against Him. Thus the battle in America’s public schools is really a clash of worldviews—one explains life with God; and one, without God.

So, according to AIG, threre is no way to teach anything in the public schools without resort to God and then violating the First Amendment. I’m glad they draw the dichotomy, it will make the next court case a lot easier.

Comment #14447

Posted by DaveScot on January 23, 2005 9:49 AM (e)

The judge found that the disclaimer-stickers hurt biology education and did not foster critical thinking, despite the board’s best intentions.

Really. What did he base that finding upon? I can tell you what he didn’t base it on - objective test scores. In fact he based it nothing obejctive at all. It was a purely subjective finding with no empirical basis. That’s bad science and bad judicial conduct. Tsk, tsk.

In fact, he found that the disclaimer-stickers hurt education in such a way that only sectarian interests (creationism et al.) benefited. This caused a violation of the Lemon test.

Again, not a single bit of empirical evidence to support that. Judge Clarence Cooper imagined he was an average Cobb County resident and then found that in his average mind the sticker sent a message that made political outsiders of evolutionists and political insiders out of creationists.

In fact what the sticker does is makes creationists the tiniest bit more politically equal to evolutionists. Evolution is the ONLY theory of life taught in primary school biology class despite a huge majority that object to it being the only theory exposed. Clearly the political insiders are the evolutionists. The creationists are the political outsiders and the sticker with langauge that doesn’t come close to mentioning any religion, makes them just the tiniest less of an outsider. And they’ll remain the outsiders as long as creation theory gets less time than evolution theory.

The decision is neither activist nor bizarre. All Lemon prongs must be satisfied, not just one.

The decision is certainly activist and bizarre. Judge Clarence Cooper is a Clinton appointee which by itself makes him one of the usual suspects for liberal judicial activism. His decision was subjective, his logic tortured, and the result was indeed bizarre.

Comment #14449

Posted by Reed A. Cartwright on January 23, 2005 10:03 AM (e)

You know, DaveScot, if you have actually read and understood his opinion, you wouldn’t be saying such things.

Comment #14450

Posted by Jon Fleming on January 23, 2005 10:22 AM (e)

What did he base that finding upon?

The answer is in the published opinion. Obviously you haven’t read it or any of the many extracts available.

Again, not a single bit of empirical evidence to support that. Judge Clarence Cooper imagined he was an average Cobb County resident and then found that in his average mind the sticker sent a message that made political outsiders of evolutionists and political insiders out of creationists.

The empirical evidednce is listed, in great detail, in his published opinion. Obviously you haven’t read it or any of the many extracts available.

The decision is certainly activist and bizarre.

The only thing that’s bizarre is your reaction, obviously based on your won prejudices rather than reading and evaoluating the opinion or any of the news articles about it.

Comment #14452

Posted by DaveScot on January 23, 2005 10:30 AM (e)

I read the entire original finding and many analyses by third parties. I understand how Judge Cooper arrived at his finding - through subjectivity and liberal bias. I’m not the only person to read it that way either.

You know, Reed, if you actually read and understood the the Federalist papers and the constitution of the United States you wouldn’t be agreeing with Judge Cooper.

Comment #14456

Posted by Wedgie World on January 23, 2005 11:00 AM (e)

Davescot, your arguments seem to be based mostly on your own bias which may help understand why you see to be shying away from actual adressing his claims and rather feel satisfied to reject them as liberal bias.

If you actually read AND understood the Cooper ruling you might be able to formulate a more logical position. That you are not the only person to misread Cooper’s ruling that way should be no argument for the validity of your misreading, in fact it is more of an indictment of those who hold similar opinions that they feel it necessary to accuse Cooper as you did.

Comment #14457

Posted by Reed A. Cartwright on January 23, 2005 11:09 AM (e)

DaveScot,

Care to explain in detail what the Federalist papers have to do with this decision?

If you’re going to argue that this decision goes against “states’ rights,” I will remind you of the existance of section II of the conclusions of law in the opinion.

Comment #14462

Posted by Don T. Know on January 23, 2005 12:05 PM (e)

Mr. Wallis … believes that the fundamentalists we are familiar with have stolen Christianity and turned it into a funhouse version of religion that is designed to promote a political ideology. Issues like abortion, homosexuality and spreading freedom are made to appear as if they were fundamental Christian principles while peace and helping the sick and poor, referred to hundreds of times in the Bible, are essentially forgotten.

Mr. Wallis is the kind of Christian Jerry Falwell loves to hate - a liberal one. I’m glad to see Mr. Wallis and other mainstream religionists becoming more vocal, reclaiming the moral high ground from the right-wing fundamentalist bigots who are anything but Christ-like.

Stealing Jesus: How Fundamentalism Betrays Christianity by BRUCE BAWER
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0609802224/

Comment #14463

Posted by Don T. Know on January 23, 2005 12:18 PM (e)

Evolution is the ONLY theory of life taught in primary school biology class …

That might have something to do with the fact that it’s presently the only viable scientific “theory of life.” When another scientific theory comes along that makes sense of the same body of data that evolution does, it will deserve a place in the science classroom.

…despite a huge majority that object to it being the only theory exposed.

How many times do people need to be reminded that science is not a democratic institution? Believing the earth is 6,000 years old does not make it so. Nor does it mean that science should be dumbed-down because the reality of the age of the universe might intrude on the faith of some people. Should germ theory not be taught because it will offend Christian Scientists?