Ed Brayton posted Entry 1160 on June 19, 2005 11:46 AM.
Trackback URL: http://www.pandasthumb.org/cgi-bin/mt/mt-tb.fcgi/1158

This story has finally been made public so we can talk about it. Within the last couple weeks, three of the main experts for the defense in the Dover ID trial - William Dembski, Stephen Meyer and John Campbell - have all been withdrawn as expert witnesses in the case. The York Daily Record reports:

Dembski, a mathematician and scientific philosopher, said the Thomas More Law Center, which is defending the school board, basically fired him because he wanted to have his own attorney present during the depositions.

He said he’s puzzled and frustrated by Thomas More’s refusal to let him participate.

"I felt like I was in the crossfire," Dembski said.

The article goes on to note that there is a basic disagreement between the Discovery Institute, of which all three are fellows, and the Thomas More Law Center, over whether the Dover policy of mandating ID in classrooms is a good idea. The DI has taken the position that it should be allowed, but not mandated, while the TMLC is defending the board's policy of mandating that teaching. Both Dembski and Thompson tried to downplay those differences a bit in the article above, but I would maintain that they go a lot deeper than is being admitted.

The DI has been in a bind from the moment this case started. For the past few years, both sides in this dispute have been waiting for the case - the legal test case that would determine once and for all whether ID can be taught in public school science classrooms or whether the previous precedents against teaching "creation science" will be applied to ID in a similar manner. That's what all of the activity in this area for the last decade has been building toward. Everything that ID advocates have done during that time has been designed (yes, intelligently) to put legal distance between ID and the type of creation science that was banned from public school science classrooms in the Edwards decision. It's not by accident that the Wedge strategy was worked out by an attorney, Phillip Johnson. Johnson knew that the courts would not allow an explicitly religious idea be taught in public schools, so it was necessary to distance ID as much as possible from religion and make it appear to be religion-neutral.

This is why you hear constantly from ID proponents that the designer is not necessarily God, it could also be, for instance, aliens (never mind that this is flatly contradicted by the fact that the DI's official definition of Intelligent Design includes the claim that "certain features of the universe" are "best explained by an intelligent cause" - the makeup of the universe itself is well outside the reach of "aliens", because aliens, like humans, are part of the universe itself. No, their definition requires that the designer be outside the universe itself and hence "supernatural" because their definition combines cosmological and biological design). This is also why the DI was so upset by the discovery and release of the Wedge Document, because that document makes explicit the fact that the entire ID movement and strategy was designed as part of a larger campaign of Christian cultural renewal (which is also why the DI changed the name of its ID component from the Center for the Renewal of Science and Culture to merely the Center for Science and Culture). The DI is nothing if not politically savvy and they know that these little rhetorical details make a big difference. They also know that the success or failure of a court case to determine whether ID meets constitutional muster for public school science classrooms depends largely on how well they separate ID from religion.

At any rate, both sides have been on the lookout for that one case that could decide the legal question once and for all, and obviously both sides want the details of that case to be as beneficial to their side as possible. That involves many factors - the specific policy being defended, the entire body of statements made before, during and after the crafting of that policy, the makeup of the Federal court district in which the case would be filed, and so forth.

Fast forward to the Dover situation. The Dover school board adopts a policy to teach ID in science classrooms, but in doing so at least one member of the board makes it clear that this is being done for explicitly religious reasons. The DI immediately began to distance itself from the Dover policy largely for that reason, knowing that this isn't really the test case that they would want. They know that it's too soon to attempt to mandate the teaching of ID because, at this point, there really isn't any there there. As Dembski notes in the article cited above, "there is still a long way at hammering out ID as a full-fledged research program." Many other ID advocates, like Paul Nelson and Bruce Gordon, have said similar things. But the ACLU files suit on behalf of parents in the district and the TMLC comes riding in to defend them, and now the DI is in a bit of a bind.

On the one hand, they want to defend ID in court as legitimate science. On the other hand, they know that if the school board loses this case - particularly if it gets appealed all the way to the Supreme Court and loses there - it's pretty much the end for ID in public schools. That would set a nationwide precedent that would ban ID from public school science classrooms. So they've had a delicate line to walk, wanting to distance themselves from the school board's policy while still defending ID as valid science and not inherently religious in nature. The TMLC, on the other hand, has been a bit of a bull in a china shop in this case, with their leader, Richard Thompson, issuing a series of vitriolic and bold public statements. So there has been a great deal of tension in this case, both at the core and in terms of tactics, between the DI and the TMLC. And the result now has been the loss of at least two of the top three experts on ID from the roster of witnesses for the defense.

Of course, this can only be good news for our side. There is no more eloquent a defender of ID than Stephen Meyer and no more credible a scholar in favor of ID than William Dembski. Only Michael Behe, who at this point is still going to testify, matches them in stature among the defense experts in the case. And frankly, I suspect that Behe will have a much more difficult time on the witness stand than Meyer would have (Meyer is trained as a philosopher, so the give and take of the witness stand is more natural to him; as a scientist, Behe is at a significant disadvantage in that setting). So stay tuned, ladies and gentlemen. This case just got a lot more interesting.

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Comment #35704

Posted by steve on June 19, 2005 12:09 PM (e)

I’m sure Kent Hovind’s still available.

Comment #35705

Posted by Andrea Bottaro on June 19, 2005 12:11 PM (e)

Only Michael Behe, who at this point is still going to testify, matches them in stature among the defense experts in the case. And frankly, I suspect that Behe will have a much more difficult time on the witness stand than Meyer would have (Meyer is trained as a philosopher, so the give and take of the witness stand is more natural to him; as a scientist, Behe is at a significant disadvantage in that setting).

Behe already testified, AFAIK. Perhaps things didn’t go too well, and the DI is trying to cut their losses? I find the insistence on indipendent counsel strange, frankly. What would the DI and its fellows have to worry about on an institutional or personal level, since they are there basically as scientific “experts”, and have nothing to do directly with the case itself? I understand they would be under oath, but still…

Anyway, certainly not an auspicious start for Dembski’s “vise strategy”, is it? I wonder if Salvador Cordova is still

“happy with excitement” to hear what happens with the case in Dover. I believe it could be an opportunity for the vise strategy to finally have it’s debut…

Comment #35706

Posted by steve on June 19, 2005 12:15 PM (e)

Sadly, even the nincompoops at the TMLC understand that the higher the anti-ID precedent, the worse off ID is, and so I’d guess they’ll drop it before it got to SCOTUS. I would love it, though, if this were the test case. Preach on, Mr. Buckingham.

Ain’t nobody gonna stand up fur Jesus?

Comment #35707

Posted by PvM on June 19, 2005 12:38 PM (e)

After Dembski revealed his Vise strategy, it is particularly ironic that ID is withdrawn from testifying under oath.
The scientific vacuity of ID may have become a liability

Comment #35708

Posted by RBH on June 19, 2005 12:45 PM (e)

Andrea wrote

Behe already testified, AFAIK. Perhaps things didn’t go too well, and the DI is trying to cut their losses?

As I understand it, Behe’s been deposed – has given a sworn statement in questioning by the TMLC attorneys – but since the case has not yet gone to court he hasn’t testified and been cross-examined on his testimony in court and on his deposition.

RBH

Comment #35709

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 19, 2005 12:50 PM (e)

Johnson knew that the courts would not allow an explicitly religious idea be taught in public schools, so it was necessary to distance ID as much as possible from religion and make it appear to be religion-neutral.

Alas, in order to do this, their supporters MUST, of necessity, remain utterly and completely silent on all of their OWN religious motivations and goals. They must refrain from grandstanding to all the fundies; they must resist crowing about what mighty warriors for the Lord they are; they must stop themselves from preaching to save the souls of the godless heathens. And as the Kansas Kooks and the Dover Dolts all show, not only CAN they not do that, but they don’t WANT to.

That is the fatal flaw in ID. And that is why it will never pass court muster.

Comment #35711

Posted by Nick (Matzke) on June 19, 2005 12:55 PM (e)

The Dembski and Meyer depositions were scheduled for last week, before they were cancelled. Just back on June 8, Dembski seemed to be looking forward to being an expert witness, so some major disagreement must have erupted.

Probably this story took awhile to come out because Lauri Lebo at the York Daily Record had difficulty getting any comment from the ID players:

“No one at the Discovery Institute returned repeated calls for comment.”

(Lauri Lebo (2005). “Experts won’t back Dover.” York Daily Record. June 19, 2005.)

In this light, it is intriguing to look at the 16 articles on the Law and Policy page of the Discovery Institute Center for the Renewal of Science and Culture.

E.g., from 1999: David K. DeWolf (1999). “Teaching the Origins Controversy: A Guide for the Perplexed.” Special Discovery Institute Report. August 20, 1999.

IV. The Resources of the Center

A major purpose of the Center for the Renewal of Science and Culture is to ensure that those school boards and teachers who want to teach a more open approach will have the resources to do so.

First, the Center can help provide access to leading experts on the origins controversy. Many scientists working at the cutting edge of this issue, who are leaders in the intelligent design movement, are affiliated with the Center for the Renewal of Science and Culture. For those who doubt that intelligent design is based on the work of real scientists, the Center offers living, breathing proof. Moreover, the Center is helping to publish some of the cutting edge research that make science education as fresh as today’s newspaper.

Second, the Center can help by providing legal support. If the decision to pursue an open approach to the origins issue is challenged on legal grounds, the Center can help provide reassurance to school board attorneys, community members, state officials, or whoever wants the confidence that this program rests on solid constitutional principles.

Third, the Center is available as a resource to teachers who are looking at this issue in a fresh way. We recognize that the availability of textbook supplements, lesson plans, and worksheets will make it easier for the biology teacher to translate the theory into educational practice. Although we are still in the midst of rolling out all of the resources we plan to offer, we will make available a website with resources, and supplements keyed to popular textbooks. We also offer in-service workshops for teachers to listen and get hands-on access to our materials, as well as an opportunity to air concerns or questions.

(David K. DeWolf (1999). “Teaching the Origins Controversy: A Guide for the Perplexed.” Special Discovery Institute Report. August 20, 1999. )

But, when it comes to a real court, rather than a Kangaroo Court, the rhetoric and the reality seem to diverge.

Comment #35712

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 19, 2005 12:56 PM (e)

And the result now has been the loss of at least two of the top three experts on ID from the roster of witnesses for the defense.

I was surprised they were named in the first place. It would be smarter for the IDers to do what the creation “scientists” did in Arkansas — they refused to put their shining stars Morris and Gish on the stand, since they knew without a doubt that these guys had a paper trail a mile wide, demonstrating with crystal clarity the religious basis for their “science”. Dembski and his DI pals also all have huge paper trails. The best move for the DI would be to put unknown nobodies on the stand, who have never had anything published. Instead, the IDers seem intent on not only putting heavily-published people on the stand, but also putting many of the same people on the stand in Pennsylvania who made such asses of themselves in Kansas.

Anyway, given the collossal egos that both the Thomas More Center’s lawyer and the DI luminaries all have, I suppose a clash was inevitable.

I’m quite sure that, after the inevitable loss in Dover, we’ll see the Newton of Information Theory “modestly” crowing to everyone that the IDers would have won if only they had let HIM testify …. Already, I am seeing the makings of the standard ID/creationsit refrain that they give every time they lose (yet again) — “the guys representing our side weren’t really trying”.

Comment #35714

Posted by PvM on June 19, 2005 1:01 PM (e)

From the article

Dembski wrote:

Dembski said he thinks the whole issue is unfortunate.

“Discovery and Thomas More have their differences,” he said. “I have a lot of loyalty with Discovery.”

Comment #35715

Posted by Joseph O'Donnell on June 19, 2005 1:04 PM (e)

They really don’t seem to be that coordinated as they used to be and this trial will probably go sour for them very quickly if they don’t sort their rubbish out. I’m still surprised that junk science even has to go to this point where it has to be thrown out by a court and not common sense :/

Comment #35716

Posted by primate on June 19, 2005 1:06 PM (e)

Maybe Salvador could fill in for Dembski and Meyer. He does have over 10 years of undergraduate study and was featured prominently in Nature. He could testify how ID “doesn’t have any theology to it” as the concept only shows a divine hand shaping evolution without attempting to show the type of deity involved and that supernatural intervention proves, by “scientific methods”, Christianity to be a true faith.

Comment #35718

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 19, 2005 1:13 PM (e)

Dembski said he thinks the whole issue is unfortunate.

“Discovery and Thomas More have their differences,” he said. “I have a lot of loyalty with Discovery.”

Ahmanson will be very happy to see such loyalty from his lap dogs. He may even pat them on the head as they wag their tails.

Comment #35719

Posted by Nick (Matzke) on June 19, 2005 1:19 PM (e)

Hey, speaking of Salvador, he has been pretty quiet lately. If anyone sees his response to this story, please post the link.

It’s already gotten noticed on talk.origins. We may see a blogstorm by tomorrow…

Comment #35720

Posted by Bill on June 19, 2005 1:24 PM (e)

Perhaps WillieDem should just relocate to Waterloo.

It would cut down on his travel since he meets there so often.

Comment #35721

Posted by harold on June 19, 2005 2:28 PM (e)

In the end, what kills “intelligent design” may be its own internal contradiction.

The only reason it exists is to get an illogical “proof of God” into the public schools. And the only reason they want to do that is, in essence, to argue that now that “God” has been “proven” to exist, it must be the fundamentalist, right-wing God, for some reason. And it’s possible that the only reason they want to do that is so that funding from fundamentalists will flow in the right directions, which very much includes the pockets of ID “experts”.

This violates basic Christian decency (and most other kinds, including common) on a number of levels. But there’s another problem. The whole strategy is based on this…

“YOU HAVE TO PRETEND NOT TO WANT GOD IN SCIENCE CLASS, SO THAT WE CAN SNEAK HIM IN THE BACK DOOR”. That’s basically the whole idea of ID - pretend that it isn’t about God, so that you can trick a few judges.

But the vast majority of people who want their God in science class as the “real explanation” do not want, to their minimal credit, to pretend that that isn’t what they want!

The ID strategy is basically one convolution too devious for the grass roots to grasp.

Comment #35722

Posted by Scott R. on June 19, 2005 2:30 PM (e)

Are there any rumors of civil suits against the DI or its employees for, e.g., fraud and/or intentional misrepresentation of members of the Dover School Board? Or civil suits against the Dover School Board members themselves for fraud, negligence, whatever?

If there were strong whiffs of such efforts in the air, that might explain these cautionary maneuvers on the part of the Big D and his employer.

Comment #35723

Posted by Scott R. on June 19, 2005 2:37 PM (e)

Harold

The ID strategy is basically one convolution too devious for the grass roots to grasp.

I have certainly read a handful of “everyday” evangelicals complaining about the “convolution” in the comments section of other blogs (e.g., the Evangelical Outpost, tho’ Joe Carter doesn’t seem to have a problem with the convulation).

It would be nice to hear some of the evangelical preachers with large audiences express their distaste for the “backdoor” approach to their flock (and better yet to hear them acknowledge the importance of the First Amendment!).

Comment #35725

Posted by Ron Okimoto on June 19, 2005 3:33 PM (e)

My take on this fiasco is that Behe and the other DI fellow botched their sessions, and probably were not prepared for some of the questions that the Moore lawyers wanted them to answer even though they were supposed to be “friendly” witnesses. The DI started an ass covering scam to reduce the back blow from hitting them too hard. Heck, the opposition hasn’t even had a shot at them and they are already calling it quits. The Moore lawyers probably got a hint of the trouble they were in from the Kansas fiasco, and probably wanted to see just how bad ID really was. My guess is that they probably tried to get some idea of what the DI’s answers were going to be when the opposition got a hold of them.

We will get a better idea once the DI fellow’s testimony is made public.

I would have liked to see Dembski defend his ID and the Gospel assertions in court.

Comment #35727

Posted by Albion on June 19, 2005 4:17 PM (e)

William Dembski’s “Then and Only Then” article doesn’t suggest that he simply wants ID available as an option in schools; he’s talking about the danger of letting students hear only the Darwinian side of things and of the need for IDists to recruit students. This doesn’t sound like the opinion of a person who really wants to see ID being an optional extra in school curricula.

Comment #35728

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 19, 2005 4:26 PM (e)

Syntax Error: mismatched tag 'kwickxml'

Comment #35731

Posted by Frank J on June 19, 2005 5:29 PM (e)

Ed Brayton wrote:

Only Michael Behe, who at this point is still going to testify, matches them in stature among the defense experts in the case. And frankly, I suspect that Behe will have a much more difficult time on the witness stand than Meyer would have (Meyer is trained as a philosopher, so the give and take of the witness stand is more natural to him; as a scientist, Behe is at a significant disadvantage in that setting).

Behe should be forced under oath to say what he has said in print - that his position is that life of earth has existed for billions of years and species are related by common descent, and that he finds no evidence to the contrary. Even if Behe qualifies that that is merely his personal opinion, and that ID itself does not rule out independent abiogenesis or a young earth, his statement will be taken as representative of ID. If the pro-science lawyers are good enough, ID will fail not only because it is a religious view, but because it tries to cover up the fact that evolution, not the mutually contradictory creationisms, is correct about the general “what happened and when” in biological history.

Comment #35738

Posted by FL on June 19, 2005 8:20 PM (e)

Remember a few weeks ago when FL was talking smack about “just wait till we get you evolutionists in front of a court”?

Well, what you’ve got in quote marks isn’t exactly what I said, Rev, but you evolutionists did make a point of staying away from the witness stand, staying away from any detailed public questioning, throughout the entire Kansas hearing.

(Unlike the non-evolutionists, of course.)

But I don’t think we’ll lose in Kansas. People noticed that you folks stayed away, including some folks who were naturally sympathetic to your side.
People just have a way of noticing who answers the bell and who don’t, when a controversy of this magnitude is going down.

I think the non-evolutionist side, whether going through ups or downs during the process, held its own in the court of public opinion. The Minority Report will never receive PT’s blessing, but that’s okay, nobody’s asking for PT’s blessing
anyway.

I have no inside information, but I honestly bet that under the circumstances (including the Great No-Show), at least some of the suggested changes will go through and become part of the new Kansas science standards.
And there’s nothing you can do about it, Rev. Simply nada, except to sit and watch it happen.
(Insert smile here.)

Last time around, in 1999-2000, Kansas was a sitting duck, all alone, getting beat up and ridiculed by evolutionists and comedians seven ways to Sunday.
But now, Kansas is but what? One of 13 states? 13 plus? States and/or localities where changes of one type or another are being suggested or proposed?

Hard to focus a political ridicule campaign with so many significant moving targets at once, no? My, how times have changed since 1999-2000.

Dover may not work out, and I think Dembski, Meyer, and Campbell are wise not to stay in a deteriorating situation.

The fact is simply that the proposed Kansas changes were –and are— far better thought out, constructed, and supported than either the previous Kansas 1999-2000 proposals or the current Dover situation. If Dover had started out with a solidly constructed, solidly focussed set of “teach the controversy” proposals like Kansas did, this Dover withdrawal would not be necessary.

What’s happening in Dover is too bad. But it doesn’t affect what’s happening in Kansas. I think you realize this already.

We stepped up to the plate when it was our time ‘at bat’, you guys got cold feet at the plate when it was your time ‘at bat’.

Look for a final score soon that reflects each side’s choices, Rev.

FL

Comment #35740

Posted by Apesnake on June 19, 2005 9:29 PM (e)

Original post by Ed Brayton:

There is no more eloquent a defender of ID than Stephen Meyer and no more credible a scholar in favor of ID than William Dembski.

I wonder if either will include this on their next book jacket after the words:

“Even evolutionists agree that…”

Speaking of books, the biggest book store in my town keeps putting Behe’s black box on the science shelves (No one seems to be buying it - sorry for the pun). It must be there because the Christian and New-age/Occult sections are so close by that the staff accidentally stuck it on the science shelf (just after astronomy, nowhere near biology - so they at least got that right). I have tried putting it back in the Christian section, thinking I was helping the overworked staff restock the mess but a few weeks later I found it back in the science section. Maybe I should have put it in the New-age/Occult. The fiction section is way across the store and most of them are more believable.

Comment #35741

Posted by Jeremy Mohn on June 19, 2005 9:39 PM (e)

We stepped up to the plate when it was our time ‘at bat’, you guys got cold feet at the plate when it was your time ‘at bat’.

Your team is playing fantasy baseball.

Testifying at phony “science hearings” has nothing to do with doing real science.

When are ID promoters going to step up to the real plate, you know, actually take part in the scientific process?

Comment #35745

Posted by Mike on June 19, 2005 11:01 PM (e)

The strategy has been laid out in Ohio. The strong push to pattern Kansas after Ohio shows how successful they think they’ve been. The lobbying, mostly of state and local school boards, consists of ID creationism, but paradoxically the implementation strategy is to insist that ID is not being taught. Labels, references, and playing at “theories” are removed. What is left are the new generation of creationist style anti-evolution misinformation which is supposed to illustrate that scientists doubt “macroevolution”. They start out with ID and assure everyone that it will survive the 1st amendment Lemon test. Their political base though knows darn well that it represents fundamentalist interests. Once they have their base mobilized they remove the direct references to the movement in order to provide sufficient political cover to moderates, and start producing language that instead just talks only about “scientific challenges”, and “teach the controversy”.

Turns out they have reason to think that they’ve been successful in Ohio. They currently have anti-evolution propaganda being taught in schools that appears indistinguishable in practice from good ol’ fashion creationism to me. Yet the ACLU isn’t interested, seemingly because they think it would be too difficult to prove a 1st amendment case. I don’t understand it. They create this new term whose only purpose is to distance the new campaign from the old failed one, and everyone dutifully starts calling the new creationism Intelligent Design. Then they throw it overboard, coin a new term: “teach the controversy”, which, again, everyone starts dutifully using, yet everyone acts as though the false secular claim of ID is still in place. Can’t we just start calling it creationism again? Why do they get to decide the language used all the time? If “creationism” was the universally used term for the movement again the problem would take care of itself. It would be politically impossible to push it through, even in Ohio and Kansas. Expectations are everything is this. The DI knows this. Why don’t we?

Comment #35747

Posted by Ruthless on June 19, 2005 11:12 PM (e)

FL said

Remember a few weeks ago when FL was talking smack about “just wait till we get you evolutionists in front of a court”?

Well, what you’ve got in quote marks isn’t exactly what I said, Rev, but you evolutionists did make a point of staying away from the witness stand, staying away from any detailed public questioning, throughout the entire Kansas hearing.

(Unlike the non-evolutionists, of course.)

You’ll note that “evolutionist” arguments are already in print…in science journals. They have also successfully refuted (in probably millions of words) the arguments put out by IDists. They have no legal reason to participate in the KS hearings. They have no ethical reason to. They have no tactical reason to. It makes more sense for the creationists to have to justify the changes they want to make than for normal scientists–whose opinions on the changes are already well spelled-out in print–to try to argue otherwise. In other words, it’s your side who wants to change what “science” means in Kansas, so your side has to participate.

However, feel free to continue to believe in fairy-tales.

But I don’t think we’ll lose in Kansas.

I bet you will. At least in the long run. If the BOE goes ahead with their creationist plans, universities will quickly stop accepting applications from KS graduates. The creationists will get voted off the BOE (again) and hopefully Kansans won’t make the same mistake again (though, having lived in Kansas, I can fairly say that Kansans are, as a whole, pretty retarded. So perhaps expect a repeat performance of all this in a few years.)

People noticed that you folks stayed away, including some folks who were naturally sympathetic to your side.

Your evidence for this is…?

People just have a way of noticing who answers the bell and who don’t, when a controversy of this magnitude is going down.

Oh, I see. So you are just going off your gut instinct? Which is worth what? Nothing?

I think the non-evolutionist side, whether going through ups or downs during the process, held its own in the court of public opinion. The Minority Report will never receive PT’s blessing, but that’s okay, nobody’s asking for PT’s blessing
anyway.

I have no inside information, but I honestly bet that under the circumstances (including the Great No-Show), at least some of the suggested changes will go through and become part of the new Kansas science standards.
And there’s nothing you can do about it, Rev. Simply nada, except to sit and watch it happen.
(Insert smile here.)

And, as I said, expect Kansas students to start being rejected from universities. That will get parents’ attention pretty damned quick.

And besides, the second that some teacher in KS decides to try to teach god in public school, they will have a lawsuit on their hands. The courts will then strike down any attempt at actually teaching anything that the changed standards might have allowed.

Last time around, in 1999-2000, Kansas was a sitting duck, all alone, getting beat up and ridiculed by evolutionists and comedians seven ways to Sunday.
But now, Kansas is but what? One of 13 states? 13 plus? States and/or localities where changes of one type or another are being suggested or proposed?

Hard to focus a political ridicule campaign with so many significant moving targets at once, no? My, how times have changed since 1999-2000.

Not really.
I bet you that any state that tries to insert creation (or any other nonsense) into public schools gets ridiculed, starts getting pressured by universities to change, and gets sued. And then they will change back again. Have fun with that level of success.

Personally, I’d prefer my government NOT waste money and time pursuing things that aren’t and shouldn’t be legal, serve no purpose, and make the populace dumber than it already is.

Dover may not work out, and I think Dembski, Meyer, and Campbell are wise not to stay in a deteriorating situation.

The fact is simply that the proposed Kansas changes were —and are—- far better thought out, constructed, and supported than either the previous Kansas 1999-2000 proposals or the current Dover situation. If Dover had started out with a solidly constructed, solidly focussed set of “teach the controversy” proposals like Kansas did, this Dover withdrawal would not be necessary.

What controversy?

We stepped up to the plate when it was our time ‘at bat’, you guys got cold feet at the plate when it was your time ‘at bat’.

On the contrary, scientists have been defending evolution since the nineteenth century. Where have you been?

And, I would call “at bat” getting actual research published in peer-reviewed science journals. Call me when ID “theory” finds where the stadium is…

Comment #35748

Posted by Nick (Matzke) on June 19, 2005 11:28 PM (e)

William Dembski has a new blogpost up, confusingly entitled, “New York Daily Record Reports on Dover. It’s actually the York Daily Record – New York, NY is a long ways from York, PA, whereas Dover is just northwest of York. The York Daily Record has been reporting on the Dover case for months, and has all of their stories on the topic archived online under “Dover Biology”. I guess he has not been following things very closely.

In the post, Dembski explains why he withdrew/got fired, sort of. I will leave it to readers to decide if it makes any sense.

PS: Other blogging: Red State Rabble. Check other recent blogging with a Technorati search, e.g. Ed Brayton’s post on his personal blog, and “Dover Over?

Comment #35749

Posted by Mike on June 19, 2005 11:47 PM (e)

Re: Comment #35740 by Apesnake “Speaking of books…”

Forget the bookstore, have you looked in your local, tax supported, public library? Are you aware that the Dewey classification most libraries use without question is assigned by the Library of Congress, and they use, again without question, the catagorization given the book by the publisher. Now, you get only one guess how creationist publishers classify their books. So when the kids go to the library to research their class projects what do you think they find in the biological science section? If your library is clean, then God bless you. You don’t have many active creationists in your area, or, even less likely, you have a library system that gives a damn.

Comment #35750

Posted by AV on June 20, 2005 12:35 AM (e)

(delurks)

Ruthless wrote:

And, as I said, expect Kansas students to start being rejected from universities. That will get parents’ attention pretty damned quick.

Universities? Why would they want their kids studying science when they could be out looking for REAL work? ;)

Comment #35751

Posted by Lurker on June 20, 2005 12:51 AM (e)

Do we know more about the circumstances surrounding Meyer’s dismissal? From Dembski’s blog, it sounds as if Meyer got what he requested. If so, then what was went wrong with Meyer and TMLC?

I am not quite sure what to make of this development. If Dembski et al. do not testify this time around, it simply gives them another chance to mutate their arguments for the next court case. It would only be too easy for them to disavow TMLC and Dover. I almost wish the ACLU would call a couple of them as (hostile) witnesses… Maybe Paul Nelson could take the stand and explain to the court why he thought that there was presently no ID theory. Or perhaps Dembski could teach the judge how to speak the Logos of ID in the idiom of information theory. For me, I really want to hear Meyer explain why there must be a strict demarcation between science and theology, but not between science and pseudoscience.

Comment #35754

Posted by William Dembski on June 20, 2005 1:04 AM (e)

Thanks, Nick. I misheard the reporter when she interviewed me (“York” vs. “New York”). I’ve made the correction on my blog. As for the distinction between getting fired and withdrawing, if Thomas More had permitted me to have FTE’s legal counsel there, I would have gone through with the deposition. As it is, Thomas More refused and then removed me as a witness. I really don’t see how one can spin this as me withdrawing inasmuch as Thomas More was willing to let Steve Meyer have legal representation at his deposition. Now Steve actually did withdraw from the case. In my case, all Thomas More would have had to do is inform the ACLU that an additional lawyer representing me would be in the room during the deposition.

Comment #35756

Posted by g. arago on June 20, 2005 1:44 AM (e)

A (Scientific) Revolution…to the tunes that LAWyers make!? It must be a 21st century (Made in AMerica) thing.

Do Dembski, Meyer, Campbell and crew need help with their anti- post- non-evolutionary project? If so, you’d think they’d ask instead of telling, telling, proving their (Yes, it is) case.

IDtheory - it’s so base.

Comment #35757

Posted by SEF on June 20, 2005 1:59 AM (e)

Maybe Meyer’s lawyer was so bad (or good at making Meyer/ID look worse) that that deposition prompted the removal of both. Maybe the combination of Dembski’s lawyer + Dembski is known to be even more of a liability in exposing the religious intent behind the DI and the Dover ID case.

Comment #35758

Posted by Steven Thomas Smith on June 20, 2005 4:15 AM (e)

Bill,

Would you please clarify your relationship with FTE? The facts below give the appearance that you were removed as an expert witness because your publishing company FTE attempted to intervene in this trial. You call FTE your “employer” but it says below that FTE’s mailing address was actually yours. Do you share FTE’s stated financial interests in this case?

You wrote:

William Dembski wrote:

This disparity (Meyer could have separate legal counsel but not me) put me in an impossible situation with my employer FTE — how was I to justfiy sic to FTE my refusal to let their attorney be present when Thomas More was permitting Discovery to provide additional legal counsel for Stephen Meyer?

According to Pat Hayes’s blog Red State Rabble (25 May 2005):

Pat Hayes wrote:

The publisher of the pseudoscientific intelligent design textbook, “Of Pandas and People,” the Foundation for Thought and Ethics’ wants to intervene in the Pennsylvania suit …… Foundation for Thought and Ethics “will focus on plaintiffs’ purpose to destroy both intelligent design theory as a viable scientific explanation to the origins of life and FTE’s ability to market textbooks.”

According to this interview with Barbara Forrest (February 2005):

Barbara Forrest wrote:

The Foundation for Thought and Ethics (FTE) is a publishing company headquartered in Richardson, Texas. The founder and president is Jon A. Buell, whom the FTE website describes as an “author, editor, and lecturer.” Although the website is registered under the organizational name, William Dembski is the administrative contact, and the FTE mailing address is actually Dembski’s.

Comment #35759

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 20, 2005 7:04 AM (e)

Hey Mr Dembski, while you are here, I have a few simple questions for you:

1. What is the scientific theory of intelligent design, and how do we test it using the scientific method? And please don’t give me more of your “the scientific theory of ID is that evolution is wrong” BS. I want to know what your designer does, specifically. I want to know what mechanism it uses to do whatever the heck you think it does. I want to know where we can see these mechanisms in action.

2. According to this scientific theory of intelligent design, how old is the earth, and did humans descend from apelike primates or did they not?

3. what, precisely, about “evolution” is any more “materialistic” than weather forecasting, accident investigation, or medicine?

4. do you repudiate the extremist views of the primary funder of the Center for (the Renewal of) Science and Culture, Howard Ahmanson, and if so, why do you keep taking his money anyway?

Comment #35760

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 20, 2005 7:08 AM (e)

Well, what you’ve got in quote marks isn’t exactly what I said, Rev, but you evolutionists did make a point of staying away from the witness stand, staying away from any detailed public questioning, throughout the entire Kansas hearing.

Shall I point out, yet again, that every time ID/creationists have been in court, with evolutionistsb on the stand, with the opportunity to ask those evolutionists any detailed public quesitoning they like, the ID/creationists lost?

Every time?

Every single time?

By the way, FL, I’m still waiting for you to explain to me how Adam managed to live with all those immortal fruitfully-multiplying bacteria in his guts …… .

Please show us how your kindergarten theology is just as silly as your kindergarten science ….

Comment #35761

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 20, 2005 7:10 AM (e)

Look for a final score soon that reflects each side’s choices, Rev.

Blah blah blah.

Why have creationist/IDers lost every signle Federal court case they have ever been involved with, FL. Ya know, the court cases where they got to make detailed public questioning of all the evolutionists.

Talk is cheap, FL. And you are all talk.

Comment #35762

Posted by harold on June 20, 2005 7:18 AM (e)

FL said -

“I have no inside information, but I honestly bet that under the circumstances (including the Great No-Show), at least some of the suggested changes will go through and become part of the new Kansas science standards.
And there’s nothing you can do about it, Rev. Simply nada, except to sit and watch it happen.
(Insert smile here.)”

It’s possible that some of the ‘suggested’ changes will go through. I’m prone to bet the other way, but only time will tell.

The second sentence is clearly false. There’s plenty that can and will be done to combat politically motivate pseudo-science that masquerades as “Christian”, and it will be done no matter what happens is Kansas.

You were looking for a Waterloo, but you may have committed a Pearl Harbour.

Comment #35763

Posted by harold on June 20, 2005 7:22 AM (e)

Of course, that should be ‘what happens in Kansas’, not ‘what happens is Kansas’.

Comment #35764

Posted by FL on June 20, 2005 7:24 AM (e)

On a discussion board/blog, Rev, all of us are “all talk.”

And btw, there has never been a court case involving the Kansas science standards. If these wind up in federal or even state court, it’ll be a first. Then we can see how things go.

Of course, if things go to court, the evolutionist side would have to quickly get over any phobias involving showing up for detailed cross-examination by non-Darwinist lawyers, natch.

FL

Comment #35766

Posted by Hiero5ant on June 20, 2005 7:42 AM (e)

Rev. Dr. Flank:

Since your available time and energy for posting far exceed my own, I would like to submit for your consideration ther following addendum to your list of questions for Dembski, Beckwith, Budziszewski, Johnson, Meyer, Moreland, Nelson, Reynolds, Richards, West, Geisler and Ross that is a natural complement to your fourth question above:

5) Do you repudiate the dangerous lies of HIV/AIDS denial published in Crux Magazine on whose Editorial Advisory Board you serve? If so, why do you continue to serve on it?

Comment #35767

Posted by blue on June 20, 2005 7:45 AM (e)

According to name.space, the Foundation For Thought and Ethics and Dembski have the exact same addresses:

[Address data removed. That’s not kosher.]

Comment #35769

Posted by steve on June 20, 2005 8:40 AM (e)

Hey, too bad you’re not on the stand, Bill Dembski. I would love to hear how ID “Theory”, which you said was the gospel of John rewritten in mathematical terms, is science, rather than, say, oh I don’t know, religion.

Comment #35770

Posted by Ed Darrell on June 20, 2005 9:27 AM (e)

Dr. Dembski, if you wanted to have FTE’s lawyers with you, does that mean you’re still trying to be admitted as a party to the suit?

If that were to happen, of course, it would probably nullify much of the questioning. That would explain further why the Thomas More group would be unhappy with their presence, and why ultimately they determined that it would be unwise to proceed claiming you to be something other than a party to the suit.

If FTE is not still trying to get listed as a defendant, why not?

Comment #35771

Posted by Ed Darrell on June 20, 2005 9:40 AM (e)

They currently have anti-evolution propaganda being taught in schools that appears indistinguishable in practice from good ol’ fashion creationism to me. Yet the ACLU isn’t interested, seemingly because they think it would be too difficult to prove a 1st amendment case.

Has anyone found any Ohio science or biology teacher who has actually used the ID lesson plan in a classroom? It doesn’t fit the AP Biology curriculum, for example, so the better students probably would not get it in any case – but has anyone started teaching it to the non-ID kids?

School district, school and teacher, if you know them, please.

Comment #35783

Posted by Gary Hurd on June 20, 2005 10:49 AM (e)

Curiouser, and curiouser!

Dembski, “I really don’t see how one can spin this as me withdrawing inasmuch as Thomas More was willing to let Steve Meyer have legal representation at his deposition. Now Steve actually did withdraw from the case.”

The IDC experts withdrew, or were fired. The reason given was a dispute between lawyers, not the unwillingness of the witnesses. Dembski seems to have blown the ‘play’ by now claiming that he was ‘raring to go’ but revealing that Steve Meyer has some additional reservation that caused him to turn tail.

So, why did Meyer really bail out?

These guys need to get their stories straight.

Comment #35792

Posted by Mike on June 20, 2005 11:58 AM (e)

Re: Comment #35771

Ed Darrel, you haven’t been reading the PT articles and discussion about Bryan Leonard’s activities. No one has publicized who the other field testers are, but no one doubts that there are other districts besides Hilliard currently doing what Eugenie Scott is apparently coining Evidence Against Evolution (EAE) (If I call it creationism is someone going to try to sue me?) And why shouldn’t they? The ACLU isn’t interested, and the Ohio BOE and DOE has given them sufficient cover. Creationism is currently being taught in public school biology classes, and creationist books are currently shelved in the biological sciences in public libraries as a matter of routine. If anyone is surprised by this its an indicator of just how uninformed the public, and the scientific community, is about the problem.

Comment #35799

Posted by Ed Darrell on June 20, 2005 12:58 PM (e)

I’ll try to catch up, Mike. Thanks for the reference – I had understood that the Ohio stuff was quite separate from Leonard’s dissertation research. Thanks.

Comment #35800

Posted by Bayesian Bouffant, FCD on June 20, 2005 12:59 PM (e)

Disagreements amongst IDC proponents: teach the controversy!

Comment #35804

Posted by Frank J on June 20, 2005 1:47 PM (e)

FL wrote:

We stepped up to the plate when it was our time ‘at bat’, you guys got cold feet at the plate when it was your time ‘at bat’.

Nice try. Except that “Darwinists” have been scoring home runs for 150 years, while pseudoscientific ID activists refuse to play the only game that counts.

Comment #35815

Posted by Jeff S on June 20, 2005 2:53 PM (e)

Ruthless wrote:

If the BOE goes ahead with their creationist plans, universities will quickly stop accepting applications from KS graduates.

I wasn’t following things so closely the last time Kansas tuned goof, but I seem to remember that one of the big worries was that if the creationists got their way, that several corporations were considering relocating out of state. The argument was that they relied on skilled, intelligent employees and that they would be unable to attract them to a state that deliberately tried to make their kids stupid. Do any of you veterans recall anything along these lines ? Is anything like this being talked about nowadays ?

p.s. My condolences, I’m so very sorry about Ruth.

Comment #35818

Posted by Flint on June 20, 2005 3:13 PM (e)

Speaking purely ex rectum, I would guess that nobody will move their corporations out of the state, and universities will continue to accept whoever is willing to pay for their services. I suppose it’s possible that like OSU, Kansas schools will grant “sleaze degrees” as well.

Most high school level evolution presentations are either nonexistent, or reduced to one or part of one class session, during which few minutes the “ladder of evolution” is waved around. And fewer Americans can give even the simplest (but accurate) overview of what evolution is than can find Iraq on a globe, and THAT is a very small percentage indeed.

Still, those who need to know end up learning. I think the DI considers the sheer lack of exposure in public school to itself be a threat: not knowing anything one way or another, too many students are later on convinced by evidence for lack of competing Truth. Instead, they prefer that students be exposed to the controversy, preferably the same way the controversy is presented wherever creationists get to control the forum.

Comment #35821

Posted by steve on June 20, 2005 3:21 PM (e)

FL wrote:

We stepped up to the plate when it was our time ‘at bat’, you guys got cold feet at the plate when it was your time ‘at bat’.

You never pick up a bat. You just give press conferences and internet posts about how bad the world champions are.

Comment #35825

Posted by steve on June 20, 2005 3:27 PM (e)

That Gilchrist article linked by frank j should be read by everyone.

Comment #35835

Posted by Jeff S on June 20, 2005 4:14 PM (e)

steve wrote:

That Gilchrist article linked by frank j should be read by everyone.

Or at least by FL.

Actually, Gil Christ brings up an interesting suggestion : maybe Astrology should be taught in our schools. After all, it is extremely popular, and I’m sure it’s supported by a growing number of scientists….

This should be especially popular with the DI, as it undercuts the materialistic outlook, and specifically their arch-enemy Freud. If everything they say is true, as assuredly it is, they should be eager to back an effort to get Chinese restaurant placemats approved for classroom use.

Comment #35837

Posted by steve on June 20, 2005 4:19 PM (e)

FL wouldn’t benefit from it. Here, watch, I’ll turn on FL emulation mode for a minute:

That article is misleading, of course a database search doesn’t show ID because blah blah embargo blah blah darwinist conspiracy blah blah after the paradigm shift blah blah Dembski == Galileo blah blah.

Wasn’t that awful.

Comment #35839

Posted by harold on June 20, 2005 4:31 PM (e)

Three points -

1) If creationism in any guise is being taught in Ohio (and that includes teaching lies that the theory of evolution is weak or under attack, or teaching a distorted straw man version of it, when the motivation for such actions is clear), then someone whose children’s education is being compromised should sue. If the ACLU isn’t interested, get them interested.

2) It might be an idea to have school board election schedules and rules, especially but not exclusively, posted here on PT or on a site linked to PT. Naturally, creationists would have access to the information anyway, but they’re already running for school boards. Pro-science residents of states and counties would be well-served to know when elections are coming up and what they need to do to run.

3) Also, it would be good to have some mechanism to keep track of school board elections, and announced candidates, even once they are progress. Candidates could be specifically asked how they stand on science education, the theory of evolution, and the teaching of one specific religious viewpoint to all children, regardless of family wishes, and in addition, unreported affiliations could be investigated in ways that don’t violate the privacy of the candidates. I sadly acknowledge that this last bit makes the assumption of cynical, unChristian behavior on the part of some creationists, expecting that in some cases they will attempt to hide their plans and affiliations and run “stealth” campaigns, in direct violation of Christian morality and basic decency.

Comment #35840

Posted by harold on June 20, 2005 4:35 PM (e)

Of course, that should be “whose childrens’ education”.

Comment #35858

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 20, 2005 6:32 PM (e)

Of course, if things go to court, the evolutionist side would have to quickly get over any phobias involving showing up for detailed cross-examination by non-Darwinist lawyers, natch.

Oh, you mean like in Epperson v Arkansas (your side lost), Edwards v Aguillard (your side lost), Peloza v New Capistrano (your side lost), Webster v New Lennox (your side lost), Freiler v Tangipahoa (your side lost), Segraves v California (your side lost), and Selman v Cobb County (your side lost)?

Or are you referring to some OTHER court case where your side was able to ask any questions it wanted of all the “evolutionsit” witnesses —- and still lost?

Comment #35859

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 20, 2005 6:35 PM (e)

Syntax Error: mismatched tag 'kwickxml'

Comment #35861

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 20, 2005 6:50 PM (e)

Rev. Dr. Flank:

Since your available time and energy for posting far exceed my own, I would like to submit for your consideration ther following addendum to your list of questions for Dembski, Beckwith, Budziszewski, Johnson, Meyer, Moreland, Nelson, Reynolds, Richards, West, Geisler and Ross that is a natural complement to your fourth question above:

5) Do you repudiate the dangerous lies of HIV/AIDS denial published in Crux Magazine on whose Editorial Advisory Board you serve? If so, why do you continue to serve on it?

Consider it done. A quite interesting question. Since Mr Dembski is apparently lurking, perhaps he’d care to answer this, along with my ealier questions ….?

Or does he need a lawyer present first ……

Comment #35900

Posted by Stuart Weinstein on June 21, 2005 2:55 AM (e)

Lenny Flank wrote “Speaking of “all talk”, FL, I was under the impression that you were going to explain to me how Adam managed to live with all those immortal fruitfully-multiplying bacteria in his guts.”

You silly Rev. you… Eve was so perfect that Adam didn’t need no stinkin’ gut bacteria.

Comment #35901

Posted by Stuart Weinstein on June 21, 2005 2:58 AM (e)

Boy its gettin’ late.. LOL

I meant to write:

You silly Rev. you … Eden was so perfect that Adam didn’t need no stinkin’ gut bacteria.

Comment #35902

Posted by Stuart Weinstein on June 21, 2005 3:06 AM (e)

Friggin Loser writes “Of course, if things go to court, the evolutionist side would have to quickly get over any phobias involving showing up for detailed cross-examination by non-Darwinist lawyers, natch. “

That didn’t seem to be a problem back in 1982. Course it didn’t hurt that some of the best testimony came from some of the witnesses on the creationism side.

And those that did testify for the evolution side didn’t need their personal attorney to hold their hand.

And the plate where scientists need to show up can be found at science meetings or in the scientific peer-reviewed literature. Something IDer’s seem to be allergic to.

Comment #35911

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 21, 2005 7:28 AM (e)

You silly Rev. you … Eden was so perfect that Adam didn’t need no stinkin’ gut bacteria.

Indeed. I wonder why he needed an immune system. Perhaps FL could explain that to me.

Why did Adam need lungs? After all, if there was no death before the Fall, then Adam would have been perfectly capable of walking into the sea and sitting on the ocean bottom, a mile down, all day long, without drowning. So what did he need lungs for?

How about a rib cage – what did he need that for? After all, if there was no death before the Fall, Adam could have climbed the highest cliff he could find, jump off and land SPLAT on the bottom, and then get up, dust himself off, and amble happily away. Boulder falls on him? Hey, no problem – either rocks were weightless back then, or Adam had super duper armor that safeguarded him from falling rocks (I guess the same magical powers would have protected bugs that Adam accidentally stepped on so they wouldn’t get smushed). No need for a skull, no need for ribs, no need for any protection for internal organs at all. Perhaps FL could explain that, too.

But alas, FL seems to have given up trying to defend his kindergarten theology.

Comment #35915

Posted by Mike on June 21, 2005 9:54 AM (e)

Re: Comment #35839 Posted by harold

Three points

1. Been there.
2. Doubt it would help local elections much.
3. Done that.

Down here in the trenches things look different. As the creationists will be glad to point out to you, though maybe not quite this way, the reason they keep winning elections is that they successfully make use of the legitimate concerns of a large part of the population. They twist them horribly, to be sure, but they have addressed those concerns while we have not. In fact, as parts of the thread above show, a fraction of the resistance to creationism goes out of its way to energize the opposition. Opposition to creationism needs to refocus its efforts on kicking the base out from under the leaders of the movement. We won’t do that by trying to convert them. Instead their concerns have to be addressed with the greatest respect directly, not tangentally. Here is the only example I’ve seen of something that could actually solve this problem: http://www.terrificscience.org/osci/life/
Take a look at units 1 and 6 of the Life Science Module. This Ohio Science Institute (OSCI) program is part of a course for science teachers taught by Miami University of Ohio funded by the Ohio Department of Education. http://www.terrificscience.org/osci/
All of science, not just evolution, needs to be put into context for the public, otherwise the scam artists of all sorts are the only ones talking about it. Its unfortunate that we have to do more than just teach science, but this is the reality of the situation, and it is the most important part of the solution. Unfortunately, the funding for OSCI keeps getting slashed due to lack of political support. Too few people care. Please focus your efforts on supporting efforts such as this, and debunking the false dichotomy of evolution vs. religion.

Comment #35953

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 21, 2005 6:00 PM (e)

Opposition to creationism needs to refocus its efforts on kicking the base out from under the leaders of the movement. We won’t do that by trying to convert them. Instead their concerns have to be addressed with the greatest respect directly, not tangentally.

That is a job for the mainstream religious denominations, who have largely been distinguished in the anti-ID fight by their absence and silence. Instead of allowing the IDers to piously and self-righteously wrap themselves in the robe of “Christianity”, the mainstream churches should be shouting from the rooftops that (1) the vast majority of Christians have no gripe with evolution or any other part of modern science, and (2) IDers do nothing but cause tremendous HARM to Christianity by making it look silly, stupid, dishonest, evasive, and medieval.

That, alas, is not a job that scientists can, or should, do.

But then, I don’t think that individuals should be the focus of any effective anti-ID campaign, anyway. It’s not worth the effort. ID’s strength is in its organizational resources – specifically, Ahmanson’s checkbook. Without DI, there would be no ID movement. And without Ahmanson’s checkbook, there would be DI. Hence, we need a Wedge of our own. The vast majority of people in the United States, including the Christians, do not support extremist political programs such as that advocated by Ahmanson (and echoed in the DI’s Wedge Document). The vast majority of people in the US (including the Christians) do not support using political power to force sectarian views onto everyone else.

As long as we allow the IDers to paint this as either a “scientific controversy” or even a “religion vs science” fight, we are at a disadvantage. We need to make the POLITICAL goals of the ID movement more clear to everyone. We need to insure that everyone in the US knows who Ahmanson is, what he wants, and how ID helps him get it. Only the tiniest minority of religious extremists want the sort of theocracy that the IDers want. This NOT a dispute between “darwinists” and “design theorists”, nor is it a dispute between “science” and “religion”. Instead, it is a political fight between a tiny lunatic fringe of ayatollah-wanna-be’s and … well … everyone else.

And THAT is a fight that the lunatic fringe cannot win.

Comment #35955

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 21, 2005 6:06 PM (e)

And without Ahmanson’s checkbook, there would be DI.

Doh!!!!

Make that “there would be no DI”.

Separating DI from Ahmanson’s checkbook should be a priority for us. Turning Ahmanson into a political liability for DI is the way to do it. And that won’t be very hard, since Ahmanson has been preaching, for over 20 years, the very same sort of theocratic nuttiness as the people we are currently dropping bombs on in Afghanistan and Iraq.

People in the US do not like religious extremists. And Ahmanson’s picture appears in the dictionary next to the phrase “religious extremist”. That is a huge liability for DI. I suggest we hammer them with it.

Comment #35968

Posted by Mike on June 21, 2005 8:49 PM (e)

Re: Comment #35953

Sorry to beat a dead horse, but I just want to be certain I’ve gotten my point across.

“The vast majority of people in the US (including the Christians) do not support using political power to force sectarian views onto everyone else.”

States the problem succinctly, but I’m afraid that there are too many other concerns interferring with addressing it effectively. The primary place that creationism is being forced on us in the public school science class. Public libraries are another concern, but a distinct set of problems and secondary. We should be focused on what is being done in the science classroom, which is definitely not the responsibiltiy of mainstream religious denominations. Everything possible has to be done to put science into its proper context so that it does not appear as though anybody is threatening anyone else’s religious beliefs, or world view. Gould’s Nonoverlapping Magisteria needs to be introduced, along with the concept of uncertainty in empirical observation, and that scientific knowledge is not absolute truth but always subject to change. But an additional step is necessary. It has to be possible for a religious fundamentalist student to feel completely comfortable with rejecting the nonoverlapping magisteria concept and concluding that the science they’re being taught is completely wrong. They have to understand that this is the best scientific knowledge we currently have, but if they believe that their religious teachings conflict with it they should be aware that no one is forcing them to accept it as truth. Creationism can’t be taught as science in a public school, and science teachers can’t give religious instruction, but they can give their students the tools they need to understand what science is and how it interfaces with the rest of human society.

Comment #35983

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on June 22, 2005 7:08 AM (e)

We should be focused on what is being done in the science classroom, which is definitely not the responsibiltiy of mainstream religious denominations. Everything possible has to be done to put science into its proper context so that it does not appear as though anybody is threatening anyone else’s religious beliefs, or world view.

If we want to focus on what is being done in a science classroom, then all we need show is that ID isn’t science, and is nothing but religious apologetics. That keeps it out of science classrooms. Indeed, court rulings on this matter have been ALL that is keeping ID out of sciecne classrooms.

If we want to deal with “religious beliefs or worldview”, then science class is not the place to do that. Science doesn’t deal with “religious beliefs or worldview” in the first place. That’s what churches are for, not science classrooms.

Reconciling science and religion is a job for churches, not scientists. It’s not our place to do what the mainstream churches SHOULD be doing all on their own.