Wesley R. Elsberry posted Entry 1659 on November 9, 2005 12:08 AM.
Trackback URL: http://www.pandasthumb.org/cgi-bin/mt/mt-tb.fcgi/1654

Just days after the close of testimony in the Kitzmiller et al. v. Dover Area School Board case, the people got a chance to put in their two cents via school board elections, choosing between the

incumbents

with their “intelligent design policy”, or the

contenders

of the Dover CARES campaign. The results, courtesy of the York Dispatch:


 ----- Dover -----
B Reinking 	Dem. 	2754
H Mc Ilvaine, Jr. Dem. 	2677
B Rehm 	        Dem. 	2625
T Emig 	        Dem. 	2716
A Bonsell 	Rep. 	2469
J Cashman 	Rep. 	2526
S Leber 	Rep. 	2584
E Rowand 	Rep. 	2547

2-Year Term
L Gurreri 	Dem. 	2623
P Dapp 	        Dem. 	2670
J Mc Ilvaine 	Dem. 	2658
E Riddle 	Rep. 	2545
R Short 	Rep. 	2544
S Harkins 	Rep. 	2466

2-Year Unexp
P Herman 	Dem. 	2542
D Napierskie 	Rep. 	2516

6 Out of 6 precincts

The Democratic slate contains the challengers to the current board members.

It should be noted that the incoming board members from the Dover CARES campaign have a platform plank saying that “intelligent design” will be taught in Dover public schools. However, the venue of such instruction will not be the science classrooms, where it was out-of-place, but rather an elective course on comparative religion, where it fits perfectly.

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Comment #55928

Posted by Ed Fitzgerald (unfutz) on November 8, 2005 10:40 PM (e)

Does this then mean that if the Dover school board loses Kitzmiller, the probability of an appeal is now lessened? Does the newly elected board get to decide that, or does the previous board?

Comment #55930

Posted by Mike Walker on November 8, 2005 10:57 PM (e)

Is that what it looks like…a sweep?

Comment #55931

Posted by Mike Walker on November 8, 2005 11:01 PM (e)

Notice that Bonswll had the 2nd lowest vote tally (and only three votes from last place of all candidates).

Gotta love instant karma!

Comment #55932

Posted by Reed A. Cartwright on November 8, 2005 11:03 PM (e)

It definately looks like a sweep. One can only hope the next elections in Kansas look this good.

Comment #55933

Posted by Greg du Pille on November 8, 2005 11:07 PM (e)

What do people think is the best course of action given a likely religion-friendly majority on the Supreme Court?

With a more reasonable complexion in Dover, should the ACLU stop things now, proceed to an appeal or let things go on the the SCOTUS with the attendant risk that this entails? Or should they leave this likely victory on the books and then take on Kansas, who I see have voted today to “do a Dover” whilst redefining science to include the supernatural as well!

Let’s hope that whatever happens, the York Daily Record lets Mike Argento loose on those Kansans!

Comment #55934

Posted by Andrea Bottaro on November 8, 2005 11:11 PM (e)

Yup, it sure looks like a sweep.

A couple important points, I think:
- when Creationists say that people, and not the courts, should decide what gets taught in their own schools they are telling you only half of the story.
The other half is that the vast majority of voters do not normally vote for school board elections, which makes these extremely susceptible to well-organized special interest campaigns, such as those of fundamentalist Creationists. Whenever the importance of a school board election with respect to the teaching of solid science vs Creationism is made clear to the public, turn-out increases and the science side almost invariably wins. It happened in Dover today, it happened in Kansas after the 1999 debacle, and hopefully will happen in Kansas again next year.
When people really get to cast an informed vote about their school programs, they regularly choose science over pseudoscience.

- Shameless Alan Bonsell, who practically perjured himself in the Harrisburg court, had the lowest vote tally of all candidates for the 4 year seats (which is good) and still he got only a few hundred votes less than the Dover CARES winners (which is, in my mind, almost unbelievable). It seems one can never underestimate the Creationists’ tolerance for lies and unethical behavior, when ideology is on the line.

Comment #55935

Posted by morbius on November 8, 2005 11:15 PM (e)

Does the newly elected board get to decide that, or does the previous board?

For a case filed during the Clinton administration that loses in a lower court, who do you suppose now gets to decide whether to appeal it, Janet, John, or Alberto?

Comment #55939

Posted by JonBuck on November 8, 2005 11:32 PM (e)

I can’t even tell what I’m looking at, here. Who should we be rooting for?

Comment #55941

Posted by Art on November 8, 2005 11:36 PM (e)

Comparing the results in Dover with surrounding communities, I think I see a budding strategy for Democrats at the local level (who fairly got stomped everywhere except in Dover) - start an ev/cre “debate” in your district. Get the creationists to start warbling, taking stands that even many Republican voters cannot stomach.

At the local level, we know each other. And we’re much less likely to vote for the neighbor who is acting, um, loopy. And it seems as if nothing brings out the loopy like creationism.

(Yeah, yeah, Bonsell got far too many votes. But compare Dover with neighboring communities. There are sane Republicans out there. People who are embarrassed by the antics that the district gave us in this trial.)

Comment #55943

Posted by Michael Hopkins on November 8, 2005 11:41 PM (e)

JonBuck,

In this particular election the creationists are the Republicans (red) and those who wish to replace them are Democrats (blue).

Comment #55945

Posted by Andrea Bottaro on November 8, 2005 11:50 PM (e)

Note for the record that some of the winning Dover CARES candidates are in fact Republicans running on the Democratic slate. I guess the local GOP decided that all was peachy with the incumbents, and did not want to replace them.

Comment #55946

Posted by Jason McGrody on November 8, 2005 11:51 PM (e)

I read one article earlier that four of the Democrats are really Republicans (sane ones, anyway).

Comment #55947

Posted by PvM on November 9, 2005 12:03 AM (e)

The people have spoken and rejected the teaching of a scientifically vacuous concept.

Comment #55948

Posted by Wesley R. Elsberry on November 9, 2005 12:07 AM (e)

I’d like to think that part of Harkins’ loss in this race was her testimony on the witness stand that she didn’t remember a darned thing from various of the school board retreats that she went on. It seems to me that paying people to attend the equivalent of “lost weekends” on the public’s dime is not a good investment.

Comment #55951

Posted by kevinh on November 9, 2005 12:43 AM (e)

Depending on how soon they are seated under local law, the new board could choose to settle with the ACLU by firing the Thomas More Law attorneys, withdrawing the objectionable material and statement from the curriculum (and coming to some accomodation on legal fees and costs) this would eliminate the need for the trial judge to rule. Even if that doesnt happen if the ACLU prevails the new board may be disinclined to appeal thus precluding a chance for a more widely applicable precedent.

Comment #55952

Posted by kevinh on November 9, 2005 12:43 AM (e)

Depending on how soon they are seated under local law, the new board could choose to settle with the ACLU by firing the Thomas More Law attorneys, withdrawing the objectionable material and statement from the curriculum (and coming to some accomodation on legal fees and costs) this would eliminate the need for the trial judge to rule. Even if that doesnt happen if the ACLU prevails the new board may be disinclined to appeal thus precluding a chance for a more widely applicable precedent.

Comment #55956

Posted by Registered User on November 9, 2005 1:26 AM (e)

What do people think is the best course of action given a likely religion-friendly majority on the Supreme Court?

The best course of action is for the peddlers to realize that their snake oil just wasted a lot of Dover’s time and money. They should pack up their garbage and go home and ask their alleged deity for forgiveness.

The US Supreme Court may be “religion friendly” but let’s be clear: the people on that court are, almost to a person, not crony nitwits like Harriet Miers or insufferable morons like the former Dover school board members.

They are exceedingly intelligent human beings and I don’t doubt that they will see right through the Discovery Institute’s pathetic shell game, just as Judge Jones surely did.

I saw Justice Breyer giving a speech to appellate judges on C-Span and he, for one, is keenly aware of the difficulties facing scientists because poor public education has led to a similar crisis in the public’s perception of the judiciary. As he put it, people simply do not understand what judges do.

This sort of ignorance is the black bruise on our country’s cheek from which the vampires at the Discovery Institute ritually engorge themselves. We see how the geniuses on Kansas’ Board of Education want to solve the problem: slitting their wrists.

Idiots.

Comment #55962

Posted by Steve Snyder on November 9, 2005 2:07 AM (e)

Better yet, could the new board ask the trial judge to render a directed verdict against the school district, the get some precedent on the record?

Comment #55967

Posted by DorkBot on November 9, 2005 2:43 AM (e)

How many people are on the school board? Is it eight or ten?
Are there any ID proponents left at all?

Who, exactly, are on the new school board?

What’s all this “2 Year term” and “2-Year Unexp” business?
Are the other members voted in for shorter or longer periods?

Comment #55971

Posted by JohnGabriel on November 9, 2005 4:08 AM (e)

“The US Supreme Court may be ‘religion friendly’ but let’s be clear: the people on that court are, almost to a person, not crony nitwits like Harriet Miers or insufferable morons like the former Dover school board members.”

While I’m no fan of Alito, his appointment to the Supreme Court would create a majority Catholic SC bench. That would be good news for the pro-evolution contingent as the Catholic church has explicitly endorsed natural selection / Darwinian evolution.

(And, no, I don’t approve of any religious test for the bench. I’m just pointing out that under the current scenario, a pro-creationist or intelligent design majority us unlikely to form in the SC.)

Comment #55972

Posted by Ginger Yellow on November 9, 2005 4:46 AM (e)

What DorkBot asked. How many people from each list get on the board? Or is it the eight highest vote totals from any list?

Comment #55977

Posted by Mike Walker on November 9, 2005 5:55 AM (e)

There are eight current board members and all of them have been voted out of office. Clean sweep.

Comment #55979

Posted by morbius on November 9, 2005 6:28 AM (e)

While I’m no fan of Alito, his appointment to the Supreme Court would create a majority Catholic SC bench. That would be good news for the pro-evolution contingent as the Catholic church has explicitly endorsed natural selection / Darwinian evolution.

(And, no, I don’t approve of any religious test for the bench. I’m just pointing out that under the current scenario, a pro-creationist or intelligent design majority us unlikely to form in the SC.)

This is phenomenally naive. Scalia dissented from Aguillard, as did Roberts’ mentor Rehnquist.

Comment #55980

Posted by morbius on November 9, 2005 6:34 AM (e)

P.S. This article completely destroys the thesis that the Catholic Church can be counted on to be “pro-evolution”:

Richard Thompson has a chilling view of the United States, and believes we’re doomed if Catholics don’t take back the culture.

A nation that cleanses God from schools and the public square, Thompson told Denver-area Catholics, will murder innocent children, the disabled, the terminally ill and the elderly and mistake it all, in its early stages, as a benefit to those who get killed and society as a whole.

“Abortion and euthanasia have the same common denominator: what government gives you, government can take away,” Thompson said.

Thompson gave the keynote address and an additional speech Oct. 15 at the Gospel of Life Conference at the John Paul II Center’s Bonfils Hall. The Respect Life Office of the Archdiocese of Denver organized the event in honor of Pope John Paul II’s “The Gospel of Life” encyclical. Other speakers included Denver Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap., the Rev. Msgr. Edward Buelt, pastor of Our Lady of Loreto Parish in Foxfield, and St. John Vianney Seminary professors Terrence Wright and Susan Selner-Wright.

Thompson, executive director and chief counsel of the Thomas More Law Center in Michigan, became Catholic after using the late Holy Father’s teachings on the value of life to guide him in his prosecution of Jack Kevorkian, the Michigan doctor who ran a suicide machine inside a rusted-out Volkswagen bus. He also tried to save Terry Schiavo, a speechless and disabled woman who was killed in Florida at the insistence of her husband.

[…]

Comment #55982

Posted by rimbaud on November 9, 2005 6:43 AM (e)

Well, the Thought Police have won one.

Comment #55988

Posted by Dean Morrison on November 9, 2005 7:40 AM (e)

If the new board don’t appeal - is their an increased likelihood they could pursue the Thomas More attorneys or the DI for compensation if they are saddled with the plaintiffs’ legal fees? - or has Dover had enough of this kind of attention?

Comment #55989

Posted by Wesley R. Elsberry on November 9, 2005 7:43 AM (e)

Well, the Thought Police have won one.

No, the incumbents got voted out.

If you go to the Dover CARES campaign web site, you will find that “intelligent design” *will* be taught in Dover schools, in the appropriate context, which is an elective comparative religion course. No censorship going on there.

Comment #55993

Posted by SteveF on November 9, 2005 8:08 AM (e)

Well, the Thought Police have won one.

Well thank God for the thought police. Otherwise we would have religion masquerading (badly) as science being taught in classrooms. If this is what the thought police do, where can I sign up?

Comment #55995

Posted by Kenneth Fair on November 9, 2005 8:13 AM (e)

The new school board now controls what happens on the defendants’ side of the case. I’m thinking that TMLC may be out of a job. Unfortunately, the school district may still be on the hook for any legal fees awarded.

The ideal outcome here, I think, is for the board and the plaintiffs to agree to let the judge come to a ruling, but that regardless of the ruling, the board will drop the old intelligent design policy and each side will bear its own costs. It really would be a shame for all of the hard work the plaintiffs went through to be for naught.

Even though a district court ruling is not a binding precedent, it has precedential value because it is published and available for other courts to review. For instance, Judge Overton’s ruling in McLean v. Arkansas Board of Education is frequently referred to in other cases involving creationism.

We’ll see what happens, though. It wouldn’t surprise me terribly to see a settlement in short order.

Comment #56002

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on November 9, 2005 8:24 AM (e)

Depending on how soon they are seated under local law, the new board could choose to settle with the ACLU by firing the Thomas More Law attorneys, withdrawing the objectionable material and statement from the curriculum (and coming to some accomodation on legal fees and costs) this would eliminate the need for the trial judge to rule.

No.

See:

http://www.pennlive.com/news/patriotnews/index.ssf?/base/news/11314454
343830.xml&coll=1

Even if the incumbents lose the election, they would not leave office
until December. A new board would have to advertise a policy change
for at least a month before taking action, said Witold Walczak, a
lawyer with the American Civil Liberties Union, which represented
parents opposed to the policy in the lawsuit.

Comment #56004

Posted by DorkBot on November 9, 2005 8:36 AM (e)

Thanks, Mike Walker.
I’m still curious about what the “2 year term” business is about.

Can anyone help out an overseas reader?

Comment #56006

Posted by Stephen Elliott on November 9, 2005 8:44 AM (e)

I would find it very worrying that the vote was so close.
Even after proving the incumbents dishonest, it was still a close run thing!
I am aware that the shift is larger than it first appears, but who on earth votes for people proven to be untrustworthy?
Beggars belief.

Comment #56009

Posted by stefan on November 9, 2005 8:52 AM (e)

Well, the Thought Police have won one.

If police are there to protect our FREEDOMS, I’m all for it. While we’re at it let’s have some Morals Police and Economic Police too

Weslely is one of those - like the late Dover board - hoping for a Police STATE which is completely different.

Comment #56013

Posted by Flint on November 9, 2005 9:07 AM (e)

Andrea Bottaro wrote:

the vast majority of voters do not normally vote for school board elections, which makes these extremely susceptible to well-organized special interest campaigns, such as those of fundamentalist Creationists. Whenever the importance of a school board election with respect to the teaching of solid science vs Creationism is made clear to the public, turn-out increases and the science side almost invariably wins…Shameless Alan Bonsell, who practically perjured himself in the Harrisburg court, had the lowest vote tally of all candidates for the 4 year seats (which is good) and still he got only a few hundred votes less than the Dover CARES winners (which is, in my mind, almost unbelievable). It seems one can never underestimate the Creationists’ tolerance for lies and unethical behavior, when ideology is on the line.

Stephen Elliott wrote:

Even after proving the incumbents dishonest, it was still a close run thing!

Yes, on average the winners here got about 51% of the vote, the losers 49%. I’m willing to extrapolate from the above quotes and our long-standing experience with the creationist mindset, and speculate that the number of people who changed their vote, from a creationist to a non-creationist candidate, was essentially zero. In fact, I’d go further and say that the pro-creationist vote was larger than ever! If there’s anything we’ve learned over the years, it’s that mere dishonesty doesn’t discredit a creationist; it’s a badge of honor.

These very narrow victories are due entirely to the fact that sensible people realized that the elections had been hijacked through their comfortable indifference. I think given the publicity and the turnout, we’re seeing here a very accurate reflection of the community at large. Remember, the average years of education in Dover’s district is WAY below the state or national average. And we see pretty clearly the wages of ignorance: not only do they devoutly believe in magic, they deeply distrust the “brainwashing” that education represents. Straight out of Jack Chick.

Comment #56015

Posted by improvius on November 9, 2005 9:20 AM (e)

morbius wrote:

P.S. This article completely destroys the thesis that the Catholic Church can be counted on to be “pro-evolution”

Why do you say that? I don’t think the Catholic church gives a crap about what Richard Thompson says or thinks.

Comment #56016

Posted by Bayesian Bouffant, FCD on November 9, 2005 9:21 AM (e)

Shameless Alan Bonsell, who practically perjured himself in the Harrisburg court

“practically”? More like “undoubtedly.

Comment #56018

Posted by morbius on November 9, 2005 9:28 AM (e)

Why do you say that? I don’t think the Catholic church gives a crap about what Richard Thompson says or thinks.

Did you actually read the article? It was published by the Archdiocese of Denver and treated everything Thompson said as fact. That’s not the Catholic Church as a whole, but I didn’t refer to the Catholic Church as a whole; what I said is that the church can’t be counted on to be pro-evolution. What I should have said is that Catholics can’t be counted on, regardless of what the official position of the church is. In particular, Catholics on the Supreme Court can’t be counted on, especially those who dissent from Aguillard.

Comment #56019

Posted by Mark Duigon on November 9, 2005 9:28 AM (e)

When you consider the vast numbers of anti-evolution letters to the editor of the York papers, it should come as no surprise that the pro-ID candidates received so many votes. Even more so if you consider the content of those letters, many of which showed blind, irrational allegiance to the pro-ID sect–perhaps they saw Behe as an excellent witness, and saw Bonsell and the others as victimized on the stand. For years, we’ve seen Creationists repeating the same lies and misinformation despite frequently pointing out the errors and falsehoods; the Faithful don’t seem to be disturbed by such dishonesty.

Comment #56020

Posted by Wesley R. Elsberry on November 9, 2005 9:28 AM (e)

Weslely is one of those - like the late Dover board - hoping for a Police STATE which is completely different.

Say what?

Comment #56023

Posted by improvius on November 9, 2005 10:00 AM (e)

There’s still a lot of things that have to play out. It seems likely that the TMLC made some sort of “deal” with the outgoing school board to cover any expenses should they happen to lose the case. Really, it wouldn’t make any sense for them NOT to settle and risk paying the $1+ million plaintiff’s fees unless TMLC had promised to cover them. They are not covered by insurance for this case, and risking that kind of financial loss when the schools are nearly strapped to begin with is criminally stupid.

So it will be interesting to see, assuming they lose the case, and assuming the ACLU wins their expenses, whether or not Thompson still ponies up the cash even though the board is sure to drop ID from their standards. Anyone else have thoughts on this?

Comment #56025

Posted by Gerard Harbison on November 9, 2005 10:06 AM (e)

I’m not a lawyer but….

I’ve been following the trial and this is what I think will happen. The new school board won’t be seated until early December, and said this mornignt they won’t do anything hasty w.r.t. the lawsuit. Thus, it looks like the verdict will be handed down before the new school board gets to act, and (IMHO) that’s exactly what we want, because it’s hard to imagine a court case could have been screwed up any worse than Dover and Thomas More screwed this one. At that stage, I would hope the plaintiff’s attorneys are just flexible enough about costs, etc., to let the new school board settle without losing too much face. The new school board decides not to appeal, and if they don’t want to appeal, there’s not a damn thing Thomas More can do about it. Result: verdict goes against ID, suit never gets any further.
On to Kansas!

Comment #56026

Posted by Andrea Bottaro on November 9, 2005 10:09 AM (e)

Sooo - let me ask a few uncomfortable questions, folks.

1. Do you know who the current school board members are in YOUR school district, or at least where the board stands on science vs pseudo-science?

2. Do you know who was elected yesterday to your local school board, and where they stand?

3. Are you reasonably confident that a stealth Creationist campaign did not take over your school board yesterday, while you were looking the other way?

If you read PT because you care about science education, you must be able to answer YES to these questions. The lesson from Dover is: PAY ATTENTION. Because when people pay attention, they choose science.

Think about it: you may have woken up in Kansas this morning, without even knowing it.

Comment #56030

Posted by Brian Spitzer on November 9, 2005 10:24 AM (e)

While I’m no fan of Alito, his appointment to the Supreme Court would create a majority Catholic SC bench. That would be good news for the pro-evolution contingent as the Catholic church has explicitly endorsed natural selection / Darwinian evolution.

(And, no, I don’t approve of any religious test for the bench. I’m just pointing out that under the current scenario, a pro-creationist or intelligent design majority us unlikely to form in the SC.)

This is phenomenally naive. Scalia dissented from Aguillard, as did Roberts’ mentor Rehnquist.

A lot of the neo-creos drew encouragement from Scalia’s dissent in Aguillard, but I’m not sure how much comfort antievolutionists can really draw from that dissent. The issue that the Supreme Court ruled on in that case was not “Can ‘creation science’ be taught in the public schools?” but “The lower court ruled that ‘creation science’ was unconstitutional without even giving them a chance to demonstrate whether or not it had scientific merit; should the case be sent back to the lower court for further review?”

In other words, Scalia may not have been saying, “Sure, go ahead and teach it.” He may have been saying “They should be given a chance to present their scientific case in court.” Given the “scientific case” of creation science, the ultimate outcome would have been the same even if Scalia’s position had carried the day.

Not that I’m thrilled with Scalia’s dissent. It may be that, given the opportunity, Scalia might allow creationism into the classroom. But– in my entirely underinformed, law-ignorant opinion, anyway– the dissent from Aguillard doesn’t show convincingly that he would.

–Brian

Comment #56031

Posted by Brian Spitzer on November 9, 2005 10:28 AM (e)

[The Dover ex-school board is] not covered by insurance for this case, and risking that kind of financial loss when the schools are nearly strapped to begin with is criminally stupid.

True. However, given their performances on the witness stand, one could hardly ask for a more apt description for them than “criminally stupid”.

–Brian

Comment #56043

Posted by Reed A. Cartwright on November 9, 2005 11:17 AM (e)

Scalia’s dissent in Aguillard is not an endorsement of creationism. The circuit court ruled against Louisiana using the purpose prong of the Lemon Test, which Scalia hates. So Scalia said that the circuit court needed to redo their argument.

Comment #56048

Posted by Mona on November 9, 2005 11:30 AM (e)

Brian wrote: Not that I’m thrilled with Scalia’s dissent. It may be that, given the opportunity, Scalia might allow creationism into the classroom. But— in my entirely underinformed, law-ignorant opinion, anyway— the dissent from Aguillard doesn’t show convincingly that he would.

I concur, and I am a lawyer. Aguillard was decided in the district court on a motion for summary judgment, meaning, no trial ever ensued in which there was a record with findings of fact regarding the religious purpose of the creationist legislation. Consider the record Judge Jones has to draw from in Kitzmiller; there is a super-abundance of evidence from the commentary of Buckingham, and the religious commentary of many other board members, to the evidence Forrest gave about the Wedge and all involved with DI and the Panda’s book. Should Kitzmiller make it to the SCOTUS, there will be a literal treasure trove of facts cited by Jones – if he does it right, and I am quite inclined to believe he will – to satisfy Scalia. (I would add, if Jones makes clear how some board members clearly engaged in a campaign of perjury to hide their religious motives, no S. Ct. justice is going to take that well.)

At some point in his dissent, Scalia left open the possibility that with a fulsome record, he might join the majority. Politics are always involved, of course, no matter how mightily any on left or right deny it, and the High Court would be aware that Jones is a Bush 43 appointee, and not a “liberal.” So, there would not be any reflexive interest in overruling him.

Jones will, I am quite certain, issue a ruling in this case. To my mind, his findings about Panda’s could be very important, since it would sink the only ID book “out there,” and along with it take all those DI fellows who are involved with it. As precedential value such a decision, even if not appealed and affirmed, would be extremely valuable.

Comment #56049

Posted by Adam on November 9, 2005 11:30 AM (e)

moribus wrote:

P.S. This article completely destroys the thesis that the Catholic Church can be counted on to be “pro-evolution”

Really? How? I didn’t see anything in the article about evolution. It just contained a bunch of Catholic boilerplate about abortion, euthanasia, John Paul II’s “culture of life,” and the importance of religion.

What has any of this to do with evolution?

Comment #56050

Posted by morbius on November 9, 2005 11:32 AM (e)

The issue that the Supreme Court ruled on in that case was not “Can ‘creation science’ be taught in the public schools?” but “The lower court ruled that ‘creation science’ was unconstitutional without even giving them a chance to demonstrate whether or not it had scientific merit; should the case be sent back to the lower court for further review?”

But that is not, in fact, what the dissent was about:

http://writ.news.findlaw.com/dorf/20041222.html

Justice Scalia, joined by Chief Justice Rehnquist, dissented from the Aguillard ruling. These Justices took special exception to the majority’s reliance on evidence of the subjective motives of the legislators who enacted the Louisiana law. In their view, the “purpose” of the Louisiana legislature in enacting the challenged law was necessarily a fiction–a composite of the multiple and mixed motives of the many people composing the legislature.

It had nothing to do with the lower court, or demonstrating scientific merit; the argument was that the law allowing teaching creationism was not provably motivated by a desire “to restructure the science curriculum to conform with a particular religious viewpoint” (that was the majority’s position).

Comment #56053

Posted by Pat Hayes on November 9, 2005 11:35 AM (e)

“The thought police…” aka the citizens, the voters, the people.

Comment #56056

Posted by Adam on November 9, 2005 11:42 AM (e)

Steven Elliot wrote:

I would find it very worrying that the vote was so close.
Even after proving the incumbents dishonest, it was still a close run thing!

That’s probably because there were other issues involved. For instance, the incumbants were opposing the 19% pay hike the teachers union was demanding, and at least some of the challangers were supporting it.

Few elections are decided on a single issue. Even though I viciously oppose ID, pulling the lever for the challangers would not be an obvious decision for me, though I think I would do it. Having a board that’s tough on public sector unions (which I believe should be banned) is a big prioirty for me. I suspect it’s a big priority for many other pro-evolution conservatives.

Comment #56058

Posted by Aagcobb on November 9, 2005 11:45 AM (e)

improvius wrote, “It seems likely that the TMLC made some sort of “deal” with the outgoing school board to cover any expenses should they happen to lose the case. Really, it wouldn’t make any sense for them NOT to settle and risk paying the $1+ million plaintiff’s fees unless TMLC had promised to cover them. They are not covered by insurance for this case, and risking that kind of financial loss when the schools are nearly strapped to begin with is criminally stupid.”

Never underestimate the power of stupidity. In all likelihood, the TMLC only promised a free defense, not that they would pay the plaintiffs’ legal fees if the school board lost. And I doubt the plaintiffs will compromise much on the legal fees; the ACLU probably promised them free representation, so the only way the plaintiffs’ lawyers get paid is by recovering from the Dover School District. Considering that Dover can’t even pay their teachers a decent salary, they are in for some tough times, which the new school board can fortunately blame on the stupidity of the last school board.

Comment #56064

Posted by Mona on November 9, 2005 11:59 AM (e)

While Reed Cartwright is correct that Justice Scalia hates the Lemon test, Scalia nevertheless applied it in Aguillard. Scalia felt that under the first prong of that test, the sparse record before the Court permitted the finding that there was a secular purpose behind the “Balanced Treatment Act,” and for him, that means it is irrelevant whether there is also a religious one. But consider the record in Kitzmiller and what it shows about the lack of any secular purpose, and the overwhelming evidence about a religious one.

Here is an excerpt from Scalia’s dissent, and a link to the whole thing. Read it with the record in Kitzmiller in mind:

Although the record contains abundant evidence of the sincerity of that [secular - ed.] purpose (the only issue pertinent to this case), the Court today holds, essentially on the basis of “its visceral knowledge regarding what must have motivated the legislators,” 778 F.2d 225, 227 (CA5 1985) (Gee, J., dissenting) (emphasis added), that the members of the Louisiana Legislature knowingly violated their oaths and then lied about it. I dissent. Had requirements of the Balanced Treatment Act that are not apparent on its face been clarified by an interpretation of the Louisiana Supreme Court, or by the manner of its implementation, the Act might well be found unconstitutional; but the question of its constitutionality cannot rightly be disposed of on the gallop, by impugning the motives of its supporters…. Before summarizing the testimony of Senator Keith and his supporters, I wish to make clear that I by no means intend to endorse its accuracy. But my views (and the views of this Court) about creation science and evolution are (or should be) beside the point. Our task is not to judge the debate about teaching the origins of life, but to ascertain what the members of the Louisiana Legislature believed. The vast majority of them voted to approve a bill which explicitly stated a secular purpose; what is crucial is not their wisdom in believing that purpose would be achieved by the bill, but their sincerity in believing it would be.

http://www.belcherfoundation.org/edwards_v_aguillard_dissent.htm

Comment #56066

Posted by Flint on November 9, 2005 11:59 AM (e)

mona:

At some point in his dissent, Scalia left open the possibility that with a fulsome record, he might join the majority. Politics are always involved, of course,

I think the implication here is that if Scalia WANTS to dissent from anti-theocracy decisions, he can ALWAYS find a nice suitable legal pretext for doing so. Maybe it was lack of evidence in testimony. Maybe it was lack of unanimity on the part of the legislators. Maybe it was the difficulty of determining “intent” just from what people say. Maybe it could be the lack of consensus as to what might be profitably investigated by science. Maybe it could be concern that creationists’ civil rights are being denied due process. As a lawyer, I’m sure you could add to this list of potential objections indefinitely.

My point is, Scalia finds SOME reason to dissent whenever the majority’s decision offends his religious sensibilities. I doubt it’s possible to construct an ideal case, even in principle, where NO such reason could be confected.

Comment #56069

Posted by Frank J on November 9, 2005 12:08 PM (e)

Do I detect a pattern here?

Kansas tries to teach pseudoscience in 1999, and some conservatives on the BOE get kicked out. Dover tries again - different strategy, but still pseudoscience - and the school board goes from all red to all blue. And now Kansas, which regained conservatives in the “Darwin-only” era, is trying again.

Tell me again who is effectively booting God out of the public square. Hint, they’re the ones who think they can catch Him in an “irreducibly complex mousetrap.”

Comment #56073

Posted by Flint on November 9, 2005 12:19 PM (e)

Frank J:

Do I detect a pattern here?

I suspect you do - it’s a cycle. The godballs win, they stick religion into public education. The rational people wake up, kick out the godballs, and go back to sleep. Creationism never sleeps. Look how very close these elections are. Next election, the creationists will be right back in office in Dover, because those voters who kicked them out have now lost interest, having “solved” the problem.

Remember that the creationists are ALWAYS well funded and well organized, they preach who to vote for in church, they have phone campaigns, they have an uneducated and superstitious public of motivated Believers. They keep it up year-round.

Comment #56095

Posted by Pierce R. Butler on November 9, 2005 1:12 PM (e)

A 1-2% margin of victory is decisive in electoral terms, but says very plainly that the voting public is quite divided.

If the ballot had contained a Rovian “hot-button™” issue, such as a measure against abortion or gay marriage or flag-burning, or whatever boogeyman, all those now celebrating “the will of the people” would be moaning about how easily citizens can be deceived, and how at least the creationist board and TMLC might dig their hole deeper by likely appealing their probable court loss.

In terms of legal strategy, the pro-science side may, on balance, have lost an advantage Tuesday. In political terms, we clearly gained some ground: the message “ID creationists lost all their seats, in a red city!” is as clear a deterrent as you could ask for. Either way, the American culture war continues, as nasty as ever.

Comment #56108

Posted by James Taylor on November 9, 2005 1:39 PM (e)

Flint wrote:

I suspect you do - it’s a cycle

It is several cycles as well. The larger cycle is to expand the voter base every generation and mount an organized attack against evolution curicula. It happened in 1968, 1987 and now in 2005. The average timespan between each attack is eighteen to twenty years, which happens to coincide with the voting age. This is an indication that the motivations for debunking evolution is entirely political and has nothing to do with science. ID appeared immediately after the 1987 ruling and has been the instrument by which the current political coup was orchestrated around. Should ID be defined as unconstitutional, another creationist movement will replace it and attempt to undo the education system by 2025 using a whole ‘new’ god concept.

Comment #56113

Posted by Pollen Boy on November 9, 2005 1:49 PM (e)

Well, whaddya know? Facts won out over fairy tales. Is this the light at the end of the tunnel we’ve all been seeking?

Comment #56121

Posted by Adam on November 9, 2005 2:10 PM (e)

Flint wrote:

My point is, Scalia finds SOME reason to dissent whenever the majority’s decision offends his religious sensibilities.

A point for which you have no evidence.

Comment #56149

Posted by Mike Walker on November 9, 2005 5:01 PM (e)

Seems I was incorrect to say that all the board members were ousted:

But an opposing view could come from the only incumbent left on the board, Heather Geesey, whose seat was the only one not up for election this year. She is a defendant in the case because she voted in favor of requiring that intelligent design be mentioned in high school biology classes.

http://www.yorkdispatch.com/local/ci_3198408

Methinks she’s going to be in for an uncomfortable time.

Comment #56174

Posted by Jason on November 9, 2005 7:23 PM (e)

I just wanted to say that there are sane Republicans out there.
Just go to freerepublic.com and try to find posts about intelligent design.
Some members want to discuss it, but usually when there is a posted article there are three or four comments max, and they all talk about how stupid intelligent design and other forms of creationism are.

Comment #56180

Posted by Steve S on November 9, 2005 7:35 PM (e)

Methinks she’s going to be in for an uncomfortable time.

That’s for damn sure. Imagine the board meetings next year.

“Well, we’re still broke, but now we have a $1.5 million dollar legal bill. Anybody have any suggestions on how we’re going to pay for that?”

(eight people turn their heads to look at Geesey)

Comment #56183

Posted by Steve S on November 9, 2005 7:40 PM (e)

I wonder if the Dover verdict, or legal fees awards, will dissuade Kansas. Probably not. The Discovery Institute is whispering sweet nothings into their ear.

As a member of the ACLU, I’ll say this Kansas–if you too want to pay our lawyers to fight you, we got nothin better to do.

Comment #56184

Posted by morbius on November 9, 2005 7:42 PM (e)

I just wanted to say that there are sane Republicans out there.
Just go to freerepublic.com …

LOL! The first statement is certainly true, but freeperland is the last place to go looking for them.

Comment #56185

Posted by Andrea Bottaro on November 9, 2005 7:42 PM (e)

I just wanted to say that there are sane Republicans out there.
Just go to freerepublic.com and try to find posts about intelligent design.
Some members want to discuss it, but usually when there is a posted article there are three or four comments max, and they all talk about how stupid intelligent design and other forms of creationism are.

That’s because most posters at freerepublic.com get intimidated by anything with the word “intelligent” in the subject line, I think.
;-)

Comment #56200

Posted by Frank on November 9, 2005 8:56 PM (e)

Before, it was just a short statement being read to students, but Intelligent Design was not going to be taught. Now, Intelligent Design will be taught, just not in a science class. Looks to me like Intelligent Design wins. Students are smart enough to know that there can’t be two opposing truths. (or as Dire Straits put it in Industrial Disease, “Two men say they’re Jesus, one of them must be wrong…”)

There is a reason why less than 20% of Americans believe in evolution. It’s not because we are all uneducated hicks. When the so-called facts of evolution are honestly examined, reasonable people see right through it.

Comment #56203

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on November 9, 2005 9:13 PM (e)

There is a reason why less than 20% of Americans believe in evolution.

Sure. The same reason why 54% of Americans believe in psychic healing, why 24% of Americans can’t tell you which country the US won independence from, why 18% of Americans can’t even find the US on a world map, and why 45% of Americans think that Saddam Hussein was involved in the 9-11 attacks.

It’s not because we are all uneducated hicks.

Sure, it is. We ARE a nation of uneducated hicks. (shrug)

Comment #56211

Posted by Wyatt Earp on November 9, 2005 10:13 PM (e)

There is a reason why less than 20% of Americans believe in evolution.

In the United States, polls over the last few decades show acceptance of evolution at around 50%. In Canada and most European countries it tends to be at least 80%+.

Comment #56213

Posted by Ed Fitzgerald (unfutz) on November 9, 2005 10:17 PM (e)

Before, it was just a short statement being read to students, but Intelligent Design was not going to be taught. Now, Intelligent Design will be taught, just not in a science class. Looks to me like Intelligent Design wins.

I wouldn’t say that – ID will be part of a comparative religion course, an elective at that. That could always have been the case, but it’s not what the DI and the ID movement want.

Comment #56216

Posted by john r on November 9, 2005 11:05 PM (e)

I seriously don’t get why the religious crowd can’t just accept that religion and science address different questions, and they don’t necessarily have to cram religious discussion into a science classroom.

The fact that they insist on it leads me to believe that they don’t care about evolution per se, the christian right just wants an excuse to shoehorn their flavor of belief into the public school system, without having to give other religions groups equal time (i.e. buddhists, muslims, etc).

But, I guess if teaching straight science is outlawed, only outlaws will teach science. In that case, Viva La Evolucion!

https://www.spreadshirt.com/shop.php?sid=4480

Comment #56220

Posted by Mike Walker on November 9, 2005 11:37 PM (e)

I doubt that it’s a coincidence that here and in other predominantly Christian countries, the proportion of people who believe in creationism (ID/YEC) is about the same as those who believe in a literal hell.

Comment #56228

Posted by darwinfinch on November 10, 2005 12:26 AM (e)

[cough] A few creationists are simply evil in intent; a few more are simply criminal. More still are insane; and yet more are both absurdly vain and stupid. Even more are studiously ignorant, exhibiting one or more of the previously mentioned, while the most of all are ignorant because they believe themselves to be stupid and uncurious.
Unless you wish to bend the meaning of the words far more than myself, NOT ONE creationist (in the basic, anti-evolution at any price sense) can be described as intelligent and honest.
What a sick, dull and unhappy world these folk would allow to come into being if not opposed: sick, dull and unhappy for themselves as well as others.

Comment #56233

Posted by k.e. on November 10, 2005 1:37 AM (e)

Indeed…. Religious Fundamentalist’s are their own worst enemy, by insisting on their particular rigid interpretation of the “Word of God” and seeing any knowledge as a threat to that rigid interpretation and therefore their Creator ironically delivers them to their own personal hell.
That’s what happened in the Middle East about a 1000 years ago

They see sophisticated systems as a mind-boggling treat.

They want to hij*ck science and fly it with the Bible and no more knowledge than you would get by playing Flight Sim.

Today science tomorrow the world.[Shudder]

Say no more.

Comment #56277

Posted by louis revilla on November 10, 2005 1:09 PM (e)

I live in Mpls, MN.
I would like to compliment MOST of you citizens for not allowing narrow-minded, misinformed, members of your community from negating science for the sake of relgious “theory.”

I am just wondering “why” you people allowed the previous board members to emerge victorious in the first place?

Hopefully Kansas was a mistake. Don’t let the uneducated doctrinaires usurp YOUR RIGHT to EDUCATE your children properly.

REMOVE ALL bigoted, right-wingers from all seats of authority. It should be obvious to most of you that religion should stay out of the political arena.

Shame on the former school board members. Hopefully you folks have sent a message to the rest of us that “we will NOT be deceived by wolves in sheep’s clothing.”

Thanks Again

Comment #56284

Posted by James Taylor on November 10, 2005 1:26 PM (e)

My biggest problem with the fundies is the immoral attitude that ignorance should be fostered by the education system. It is one thing for them to remain ignorant by their own decision, its another for them to dictate that my child’s education should be retarded because of their irrational ridiculous antiquated religious views. I was taught, by my teacher parents, that I should strive to be more educated than they. Funny how the fundies want their children more ignorant.

Comment #57078

Posted by Scott on November 13, 2005 10:27 PM (e)

This post addresses a question asked earlier.

http://www.yorkdispatch.com/search/ci_3055789

— May 17, 2005 – A record number of voters went to the polls to vote [in primary elections] for a record number of school board candidates. A field of 18 candidates was narrowed to 14: Seven were incumbent school board members and seven were members of Dover CARES, (Citizens Actively Reviewing Educational Strategies). The incumbents won the Republican ballot; Dover CARES candidates will have to run as Democrats. Due to resignations, eight of nine positions on the board are up for election in November.

Comment #57220

Posted by Christine on November 14, 2005 10:40 AM (e)

Unfortunately, there is a lot of misinformation and “spin” going on about the Dover ID/Evolution trial.

Here’s a good article to help set things straight.

Also, you can read my post with a link to a PDF paper which discusses Are We Designs Or Occurrences?.

The author, John H. Calvert, asks a very important question in the subtitle of his article, “Should science and government prejudge the question?”

Comment #57221

Posted by Russell on November 14, 2005 10:51 AM (e)

One “Christine” would have us go to the Disco Inst’s CRSC as a remedy for “spin and misinformation”??? And cites John Calvert as an authority?

Christine: this is “Panda’s Thumb”, not “Comedy Central”.

Comment #57222

Posted by Christine on November 14, 2005 10:58 AM (e)

Dear Russell,

Thanks for the welcome. Er…maybe not.

Did you even read the posts? Do you even consider that you could be wrong on some portions of this?

Oh what am I saying…the answer is of course not!

It’s the same ole’ same ole’ bashing rhetoric. Fine.

Your own mind is your ‘god’. Well…enjoy your Tower of Babel. We’ll see Who wins in the end.

Comment #57226

Posted by Wislu Plethora on November 14, 2005 11:18 AM (e)

From Christine’s blog, which she links to in her post:

While trying to locate a link to the article at WorldNetDaily, I found that it was an excerpt from a 32 page PDF paper! Yikes. But don’t let that cause you to shy away from reading it. The references at the bottom of each page just make the article seem longer than it really is.

Great FSM almighty! 32 pages!. Clearly, Christine is used to dealing with people with very limited attention spans. Her blog is the usual mess of YEC claptrap without redeeming intellectual value that I can see.

Comment #57227

Posted by Wislu Plethora on November 14, 2005 11:21 AM (e)

Christine wrote:

Unfortunately, there is a lot of misinformation and “spin” going on about the Dover ID/Evolution trial.

Care to offer a specific example of the misinformation you’re referring to?

Comment #57241

Posted by James Taylor on November 14, 2005 1:06 PM (e)

Just so Christine’s opinion and position are clear, here is a quote from her blog.

Christine's blog wrote:

My History on this topic.

Back in 1999, I attended my first ID Seminar at Biola University. Phillip Johnson was one of the prominent guest speakers and his lecture was truely fascinating and informative. The more I read and studied about this topic, the more I realized that Darwinism is no where near an “established fact” as the scientific elites would have us believe. In fact, the history of Darwinism was filled with fakes, frauds, and fallacies which were passed off to an unsuspecting public to make it seem that Darwinism was a sound theory. Investigating the truth will certainly make one free of such assumptions.

Back in July of 2004, I started listing many of the “Icons of Evolution” at my Message Board that have been proven to be fakes, frauds, and/or fallacies. We must realize that many of these former so-called “proofs” of evolution have swayed the minds of thousands in schools and universities so that they were incontrovertably indoctrinated into believing that Darwinian Macro-evolution was fact. Since the scientific elite does not want any competition to its beloved philosophical viewpoint, the introduction of Intelligent Design Theory is just not welcome.

Considering that there is no theory of Intelligent Design other than the Universe is Designed and there is no way to prove or disprove the hypothesis, what benefit does ID offer society and science. ID must stand on its own merits scientifically, so disregarding any arguments against evolution, what is the purpose of the design? Who is the designer or designers? When did the designer(s) do whatever the designer did? Does the designer(s) still manipulate the design, and if so, what mechanism does the designer(s) use to affect the real world.

Even if evolution suddenly failed as a theory, which it hasn’t and due to the overwhelming evidence is unlikely, ID would still have to approach these questions before it could be considered any more than a conjecture or hypothesis. You claim that the scientific elite avoids competition, but if you understood science and evolution, you would realize that both are expressions of competition. Science is a grand competition of ideas, but in order for an idea to be considered scientific, it must pass muster. ID doesnt. ID fails to be science not by elitist censorship or repression as you insinuate but by failure to experiment, failure of evidence and failure of testing that prevents ID from being science. The ID proponents are sloppy scientists who refuse to actually experiment and evaluate test results. Nothing more. At the beginning of every science class, a reminder of the scientific method is covered. The scientific method dictates what is science and what is not. Failing to follow the scientific method yet claiming scientific conclusions is the fallacy and this is exactly what ID proponents have done.

Comment #57254

Posted by Russell on November 14, 2005 1:44 PM (e)

Christine wrote:

Did you even read the posts?

Believe me, I’ve read plenty of the CRSC’s and of Calvert’s output. Perhaps you’re new to this discussion, but a whole lot of that output is dissected on a regular basis here at Panda’s Thumb.

Do you even consider that you could be wrong on some portions of this?

Well, if I knew what “some portions of this” refers to, I’d probably gladly admit that I could be wrong on some of them. What makes you think I wouldn’t?

Oh what am I saying…the answer is of course not!

I guess that answers my question. The Saved recognize the inevitable mental pitfalls of the Unsaved.

It’s the same ole’ same ole’ bashing rhetoric.

Ahem. You directed us to the most notorious spinmeisters in the whole Dover debacle. To note their credibility is, to say the least, suspect is hardly “bashing rhetoric”. And what do you call your style of discourse? Witnessing?

Your own mind is your ‘god’. Well…enjoy your Tower of Babel. We’ll see Who wins in the end.

Now this is kind of interesting. Do you mean “we’ll see who wins in the end” when Judge Jones issues his decision, or when the ID crowd is blissing out in Heaven, tut-tutting “told you so” to all those blasphemous “Darwinists” writhing in Hell?

Two pointers, Christine.

One of the good things about Christianity is that whole “judge not lest ye be judged” thing.

Another is a premium on humility. Consider that many of us have studied the disciplines your lawyer-mentors presume to critique for decades.

Comment #57266

Posted by James Taylor on November 14, 2005 2:39 PM (e)

Christine wrote:

Back in 1999, I attended my first ID Seminar at Biola University.

About Biola University

Overview of Biola University
Center for Global Thought and Spiritual Renewal

Biola University is a private Christian university founded in 1908. We offer 145 academic programs, ranging from the B.A. to the Ph.D., through six schools. All are regionally and professionally accredited and based on evangelical Christianity.

Biola is recognized as a National University (ranked by US News & World Report)- one of 229 out of the 3,300 institutions of higher learning in the United States that are called the “major leagues” of higher education. Biola is the only school among the 100 members of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities and the only Evangelical Christian University to hold such a distinction.

Many Biola students express their faith through work in off-campus Christian service. Each year, our students and faculty involve themselves in nearly 200,000 hours of community service. Whether leading a Bible study in a nearby church or evangelizing on the streets of inner cities, the Biola community is active in living and sharing their faith!

Comment #57267

Posted by Flint on November 14, 2005 2:54 PM (e)

Are you suggesting that someone who attends Biola University might already have a bias in some direction? Why, how can you be sure?

Comment #57305

Posted by Christine on November 14, 2005 4:17 PM (e)

James Taylor stated: “Considering that there is no theory of Intelligent Design other than the Universe is Designed and there is no way to prove or disprove the hypothesis, what benefit does ID offer society and science.”

But there is an hypothesis. That’s a start. If you read the article links you would have the answer to your question (re: what benefit does ID offer society and science). But you do not want to acknowledge the ligitimate questions that are stated in the articles. Instead, you focus on your own “materialism only” mantra and call it a day.

The question about “who is the designer” isn’t addressed and doesn’t need to be. The hypothesis that something appears designed (so therefore, it could have been designed) does not need to identify the “designer.” It could be left up to the philosophers, religionists, and even the Carl Sagan wannabes of the world. It is falsifiable if evolution ever discovers a naturalistic method that would negate the need for a designer. Evolution fails in that respect. But it’s accepted anyway, right? Why? Because of the pre-conceived notion that “it must have happened that way.” And you people call ID unscientific.

I think that students should be exposed to the positive and negative aspects of Darwinism. They should be aware of the frauds, fallacies, and deceptions that have been passed off as “evidence” of macro-evolution, which is entirely speculative. Extrapolating the evidence of micro-evolution into the belief that it leads to evidence of macro-evolution is the old shell game of Darwinists. No one disputes minor change over time within a species. But there is no evidence of the change from one species to another. The fossil record fails on that accord. But the elite establishment doesn’t want the general public to know this. They continue to float their assumptions even when the evidence leads away from their precious macro-evolutionary imaginations. It’s their own “religious dogma”, so to speak. Their allegiance to materialism only macro-evolution theory prohibits new thought on the issue. It doesn’t allow for research into design by definition.

Why shouldn’t students discuss the question, “are we designs or occurences?” And, should science and government prejudge the question? Why or why not? Just what is it that is holding back such a discussion?

Even Darwin recognized the merits of such a discussion when he stated, “I look with confidence to the future, to young and rising naturalists, who will be able to view both sides of the question with impartiality.”

The following concluding paragraphs from Clavert’s paper tells us exactly why Darwinists do not want a discussion about “are we designs or occurences”:

“Opening a discussion of design by discussing Darwin’s theory of no design without allowing a hearing of the scientific dissent would seem to be the kind of official viewpoint discrimination proscribed by Pico and Rosenberger v. Rector109 under the Speech Clause. If the state cannot require students to salute the US flag, then why should it be permitted to imbue them with a naturalistic and materialistic belief that life is just an occurrence and not a design? According to the Court that outlawed the salute, “no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion or force citizens to confess by word or act their faith therein.”110 All of these cases suggest that the only way for government to constitutionally satisfy its job of informing students about origins science is to do that comprehensively and not selectively.”

“Since it is impractical to censor the discussion of origins in its entirety, that necessarily requires that both sides of the Darwinian controversy be explored without the use of religious or naturalistic assumptions.
The idea of inclusion rather than exclusion is also reflected in the advice of Congress in the Report that accompanied the No Child Left Behind Act111 and Darwin’s own advice. In the Conclusion of the Origin of the Species, Darwin hoped for a future of “young and rising naturalists, who [would] be able to view both sides of the question with impartiality.” An “Evolution Only” paradigm conflicts with the advice of both Darwin and Congress. It contemplates showing young naturalists only the atheistic friendly side of the scientific debate.”

“One frequently hears the argument that any discussion of design will necessarily involve a discussion of the identity of the hypothetical designer. The simple and truthful answer to that question is that a scientific analysis of the data does not reveal the identity of a designer, if any. DNA does not bear a copyright notice or signature.
As a practical matter, it seems that public schools have no honest or ethical choice in the matter. If methodological naturalism is in fact used to censor design, then that practice must be fully and adequately disclosed to satisfy cannons of scientific ethics that requires the disclosure of bias and how bias affects the selection of data and explanations given. 112 Any adequate disclosure of methodological naturalism will necessarily involve a discussion of design theory
and the fact that it is supported by relevant evidence. A short drama called The Rule 113 explains the dilemma faced by a school board that would like to avoid a discussion of design, but can find no honest way to do so. A prejudice works only so long as it is hidden. Once its ugliness is revealed and acknowledged, embarrassment guarantees its demise.”

Conclusion

“As patrons of science we and our children need to hear both sides of the origins controversy to engage in “informed decision making” about religion, government, ethics and morals.

Information rather than indoctrination will solve the legal and scientific problems and lead to a more interesting and less contentious debate.”

Comment #57320

Posted by James Taylor on November 14, 2005 4:35 PM (e)

Please Christine, explain what is the “materialism mantra”? Also, please explain how to prove the existence of the supernatural. If you can prove the existence of the supernatural, then I might concede a point. Nature exists and constantly reminds humanity that we should be mindful of her gift. How does the supernatural affect me? Answer is it doesn’t because I am not superstitious.

Comment #57325

Posted by James Taylor on November 14, 2005 4:49 PM (e)

Also, Christine, it is naive to specify that there is no reason to identify the desinger. It is a valid scientific question once it has been postulated. It is an integral piece of the theory because without a designer there is no design and designs are pieces of those that design them. The only reason the designer is ambiguous in the current creationist form is to make it appear to be non-religious.

Comment #57329

Posted by Rilke's Granddaughter on November 14, 2005 4:59 PM (e)

Christine wrote:

But there is an hypothesis. That’s a start. If you read the article links you would have the answer to your question (re: what benefit does ID offer society and science). But you do not want to acknowledge the ligitimate questions that are stated in the articles. Instead, you focus on your own “materialism only” mantra and call it a day.

But Christine, I’ve read the article links. There are no benefits to society and science offered by ID. None. Simply abuse of science. Your second post shows many of common confusions about both evolution and ID, such as

Extrapolating the evidence of micro-evolution into the belief that it leads to evidence of macro-evolution is the old shell game of Darwinists. No one disputes minor change over time within a species. But there is no evidence of the change from one species to another. The fossil record fails on that accord.

This is simply not true. Try looking at www.talkorigin.org before you continue in this vein; the evidence for macro-evolution is considerable, and well-supported by the fossil evidence.

Comment #57330

Posted by James Taylor on November 14, 2005 4:59 PM (e)

Oh and finally, Christine, ID would be incorporated into science eventually if it had any scientific merit. The fact that it doesn’t is the failure of Behe, Dembski and the rest of the DI to actually produce a plausible scientific argument. You really should be telling them to get their act together and produce some science that scientists can work with rather than the pseudo scientific arguments (garbage) they peddle. You are aware that Behe thinks that Astrology is valid science. If Astrology is valid science then Voodoo, Witchcraft, Augery and Shamanism are all scientific as well.

Comment #57334

Posted by Flint on November 14, 2005 5:05 PM (e)

The question about “who is the designer” isn’t addressed and doesn’t need to be.

This is like saying we’ll investigate color but we have no need to address the wavelengths of visible light. “Intelligent design” can’t mean anything except “what the designer did.” The two are inseparable. To quote Judge Jones, don’t insult our intelligence. Calvert’s misrepresentations and distortions are calculated to elicit the Pat Robertson response, but only in those with enough mendacity to maintain the pretense. Robertson somehow missed the idea that he was supposed to lie about it.

As patrons of science we and our children need to hear both sides of the origins controversy

There is no origins controversy, except as an artificial dispute conjured up by religious believers in an attempt to improperly leverage notions of “fairness”. Calvert is talking about the conflict between facts and his personal “facts be damned” faith. Calvert is welcome to believe anything he wants, as hard as he can. That doesn’t make his beliefs science. As patrons of science, we need to know what we’re talking about. Maybe our children need to study Pat Robertson as evidence of what happens to those who do NOT respect evidence, or reject it in favor of supersitition.

Comment #57338

Posted by Sir_Toejam on November 14, 2005 5:12 PM (e)

Christine is too busy preaching at us heathens to listen, JT.

If she would stop being a god-bothering tub-thumper for a few minutes and eludidate a real argument, rather than just preaching, she might learn somehting.

I doubt it tho.

just like most other creationists, she projects her own inability to hear anything contrary onto the rest of the world, including those here at PT.

christine, you have finished preaching to any lurkers out there, and the rest of us here have hear the same song and dance for many years now.

participate in the learning process, or move your pulpit back to your own blog.

Comment #57376

Posted by Christine on November 14, 2005 6:23 PM (e)

I have a business meeting to prepare for and attend tonight so this will be my final post today. If I had the time, I would cut and paste the appropriate portions, but since I don’t I will just give the link.

It is a common misconception that the designer necessarily has to be identified as supernatural. ID doesn’t make such a claim and it is not necessary, either.

Discovery Center Amicus Brief

I noticed that no one has answered two of the original questions.

Are we designs or occurrences?

Should science and government prejudge the question?

Comment #57379

Posted by Sir_Toejam on November 14, 2005 6:34 PM (e)

here’s your answers:

-the answer would be subjective, so is not the purview of science to answer. The presumption from those who practice science on a regular basis would be the latter, based on hundreds of years of evidence. However, the point here is that there is no way to test for any design not orginated by humans (or animals that we can anthropomorphise, like tool making in apes).

-science inherently prejudges nothing, nor does “government”. people do.

now i have questions for you:

how would you design a scientific experiment to test for design not of human origin? what assumptions would you have to start with in order to do so?

we don’t need to see DI’s “arguments” they have been well dissected and dismissed here ages ago.

present your own arguments and stop being nothing more than a cheerleader.

Comment #57381

Posted by roger tang on November 14, 2005 6:36 PM (e)

It is a common misconception that the designer necessarily has to be identified as supernatural.

No, it isn’t.

THINK about it and trace back the designers. At some point, there’s the first organism…who designed it? Or didn’t you think that far back?

Comment #57393

Posted by James Taylor on November 14, 2005 6:59 PM (e)

Well, Christine, I notice you didn’t answer my questions either which were asked before yours so I will repeat them…

What is the purpose of the design?

Who is the designer or designers?

When did the designer(s) do whatever the designer did?

Does the designer(s) still manipulate the design, and if so, what mechanism does the designer(s) use to affect the real world?

You waved your hand and claim that identifying the designer is trivial. It is not trivial, because the entire theory is based upon design by a designer. Declaring “its designed” and not providing any argument for is simply lazy and dishonest. The only argument provided by Behe is biological things are really complex so it must be designed and the only argument by Dembski is the probability against is 10^150 to 1. These are vapid ridiculous arguments. If there were more ID might have some meaning, but if the entire concept is torn down by simple arguments like “if humans are designed, then why are our biological systems prone to attacks, random bugs and failures”, it is not much of an argument. I can easily conclude that since the design is flawed, fatally in some cases, that the designer is flawed or even worse evil. Do you want your evangelical beliefs conflated with a lazy or evil deity?

Comment #57424

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on November 14, 2005 7:51 PM (e)

It is a common misconception that the designer necessarily has to be identified as supernatural. ID doesn’t make such a claim and it is not necessary, either.

Gee, then one wonders why DI-ites spend so much time condemning “naturalism” and “materialism”.

Can you think of any NON-naturalist or NON-material designer that is NOT “supernatural”?

Me neither.

Comment #57427

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on November 14, 2005 7:56 PM (e)

But there is an hypothesis. That’s a start.

There is no hypothesis. There is just an assertion.

If you think there is a hypothesis, then please feel free to tell me (1) what it is, specifically, that you hypothesize the deisgner did, (2) what mechanisms you hypothesize the desigenr used to do whatever the heck you think it did, and (3) where you hypothesize we can see the designer using these mechanisms today to do … well . . anything.

Or does ID’s “hypothesis” consist solely of “an unknown thing did an unknown thing at an unknown time using unknown methods”.

Comment #57429

Posted by Sir_Toejam on November 14, 2005 7:57 PM (e)

You waved your hand and claim that identifying the designer is trivial

because obviously, there is only one “designer” in her mind. she is just forced by the DI mandates not to admit it.

in that sense, she’s right. the answer is pretty trivial as everybody already knows.

Comment #57430

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on November 14, 2005 7:59 PM (e)

The question about “who is the designer” isn’t addressed and doesn’t need to be. The hypothesis that something appears designed (so therefore, it could have been designed) does not need to identify the “designer.”

Fine. Let’s leave that question aside. I don’t care if the designer is God, the Great Pumpkin, or the Wicked Witch of the West.

All I want to know is: (1) what is it, specifically, ID thinks the designer did, (2) what mechanisms does ID think the designer used to whatever the heck they think it did, and (3) where can we see the designer using these mechanisms to day to do . . well … anything.

So far, I’ve not seen any “design hypothesis” that didn’t consist solely of “I think an unknown thing did an unknown thing at an unknown time using unknown methods”.

Is *THAT* the best that ID can come up with?

Comment #57431

Posted by Sir_Toejam on November 14, 2005 8:03 PM (e)

Is *THAT* the best that ID can come up with?

i think the answer to that is readily apparent to anyone who bothers to notice that the DI’s strategy is to no longer advocate “teaching ID in the schools” any more.

oh wait, sorry, i don’t want to answer for Chrissy the cheerleader.

my apologies.

Comment #57436

Posted by Wesley R. Elsberry on November 14, 2005 8:10 PM (e)

Are we designs or occurrences?

Should science and government prejudge the question?

(1) How would we know? The ID advocates say that they have methods comporting to “science” that will deliver an answer… if you allow them to change what everyone means by “science”.

(2) Yes, certainly. There was a big debate about this. We call it “the 19th century”. Result? Questions that cannot be checked against the evidence may be interesting, but they are NOT science. This wasn’t decided by any cabal of atheists; this was the consensus of the scientific community at that time.

There are several relevant resources that readers should check out on matters of “intelligent design” conjectures.

The TalkDesign web site hosts a number of critiques of “intelligent design” claims, including Behe’s “irreducible complexity”.

The TalkOrigins Archive is a web site with a large number of FAQs on both antievolution claims and straightforward explications of evolutionary biology. Of special interest to Rob will be the FAQs on speciation (1, 2) and macroevolution (Macroevolution, 29+ Evidences for Macroevolution
The Scientific Case for Common Descent
). There are even resources on the topic of evolving fitness and Lee Spetner.

I also have a page on evolutionary increases in information, which fills the request made by Rob nicely, IMO.

Also, check out the new weblog, The Panda’s Thumb, at which I’m a contributor.

I’d like to make an observation on “intelligent design” in general. ID claims are aimed at obtaining a concession that evolutionary processes are insufficient to account for observed biological phenomena. After that, ID advocates hope that people will simply fill in with an “intelligent designer” of their preference to cover the gap. ID arguments are all of the negative variety: because evolution can’t do this, you must accept that an “intelligent designer” did.

So, how do ID advocates wend their way toward finding evolutionary insufficiency? Do they identify phenomena with good evidential records of their origin and find that no natural mechanisms are able to cover the situation? No, they do not. ID advocates identify the systems that have the least evidence that can bear upon just how they might have arisen and whack on those. If evolutionary biologists don’t have the evidence to work with, they certainly can’t generate “detailed, testable pathways” that ID advocates like Rob claim it is their burden to produce. This is such a weak and pathetic strategy that the term I use for Michael Behe’s arguments now is “God of the crevices”. You see, Behe’s claim to fame is to have taken the old young-earth creationist bleat of “what good is half a wing?” and bring it into the modern era of molecular biology, reborn as, “what good is half a flagellum?” Biochemistry, Behe says, is the basement floor, and there is no further place to go. Thus, the gaps Behe goes on about have a bottom, and are crevices.

Back in 2001, I was in a panel with William Dembski, and pointed out that the only way for ID to progress was to take up those case where there was evidence at hand. Things like the impedance-matching system of the mammalian middle ear and the Krebs citric acid cycle. Michael Behe was sitting in the audience at the time. Have ID advocates taken up those sort of systems for analysis? Not on your life.

“Intelligent design” advocates use Behe’s “irreducible complexity” and Dembski’s “specified complexity” as arguments to convince people to disregard theories which have some evidential support, and force acceptance of conjectures with no evidential support. It’s a good trick, that.

Comment #57438

Posted by morbius on November 14, 2005 8:12 PM (e)

The hypothesis that something appears designed (so therefore, it could have been designed)

This silly statement is not the ID hypothesis. If you’re going to expound on the subject, you might at least try to get the basics right.

Comment #57443

Posted by morbius on November 14, 2005 8:23 PM (e)

It is a common misconception that the designer necessarily has to be identified as supernatural.

It is not a misconception that you’re sure it is, nor that anyone who is sure it is but takes this line of argument is blatantly dishonest.

Comment #57452

Posted by Stephen Elliott on November 14, 2005 8:46 PM (e)

Posted by Christine on November 14, 2005 10:40 AM (e) (s)

Unfortunately, there is a lot of misinformation and “spin” going on about the Dover ID/Evolution trial.

Here’s a good article to help set things straight.

Also, you can read my post with a link to a PDF paper which discusses Are We Designs Or Occurrences?.

The author, John H. Calvert, asks a very important question in the subtitle of his article, “Should science and government prejudge the question?”

Christine,
you are correct; misinformation and spin is happening.
All of it by the ID proponents.

The DI claim ID “is not religious”. Have you seen the “Wedge” document posted on the ID site?

I would class myself as a christian, however the antics of the ID crowd repel me. I now consider them charlatans.

Do you want government to dictate religious belief?
Before you answer that: imagine if the government was proposing a different religion from yours.
That is why church and state are supposed to be separate.

I am sure you mean well. But would you really want to live in a country that imposed a different religion on you, than you believe in?

Comment #57470

Posted by James Taylor on November 14, 2005 9:46 PM (e)

Stephen Elliott wrote:

I am sure you mean well. But would you really want to live in a country that imposed a different religion on you, than you believe in?

Yeah, imagine if Scientology worked itself into the curriculum as a science class that was mandatory for 8th, 9th and 10th graders. Allowing such a broad conjecture as science opens the door for all sorts of weird mandated classes that have no scientific merit but plenty of conjecture. Imagine Voodoo 101 featuring blocks on Ritual Slaughter and Dollmaking.

Comment #57473

Posted by Sir_Toejam on November 14, 2005 10:02 PM (e)

Imagine Voodoo 101 featuring blocks on Ritual Slaughter and Dollmaking.

actually, so long as we maintain that “not science” qualifier, i’d be all for seeing this presented as part of a comparative religion class.

hmmm. I wonder what would happen if we started a movement to try to teach a REAL comparative religion class in high school.

what does anybody think the general reaction would be to that?

can you see what might be the value in it, even if we weren’t really serious about seeing it come to fruition?

Comment #57475

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on November 14, 2005 10:14 PM (e)

what does anybody think the general reaction would be to that?

The fundies would clamor loud and long to shut it down.

Comment #57477

Posted by Sir_Toejam on November 14, 2005 10:17 PM (e)

yup. it would be a joyous diversion for them, don’t you think?

Comment #57479

Posted by Sir_Toejam on November 14, 2005 10:21 PM (e)

I mean, really, I could easily make a reasonable argument that the current uproar over teaching evolution has as much to do with a lack of understanding of other religions and cultures as anything.

based on that, it would be MORE reasonable to propose we teach comparative religion in high schools, wouldn’t it?

How much effort do you think it would take to start a counter movement for teaching a comparative religion course in high schools?

how many fundies would bite on that movement and drop their ridiculous attacks on science?

Comment #57480

Posted by k.e. on November 14, 2005 10:24 PM (e)

The fundies would clamor loud and long to shut it down.

Pity, because it would do more for religion, ethics, tolerance and understanding between groups.
Now that would be a worthwhile cause for some Billionaire to get behind.

Comment #57488

Posted by James Taylor on November 14, 2005 10:58 PM (e)

Sir_Toejam wrote:

I wonder what would happen if we started a movement to try to teach a REAL comparative religion class in high school.

what does anybody think the general reaction would be to that?

can you see what might be the value in it, even if we weren’t really serious about seeing it come to fruition?

I expect it would be raise contentious school board debates coupled with lawsuits similar to what we are seeing in Dover, Kansas, and elsewhere. Mandatory religion courses in any form would bump up against the Establishment Clause. Social studies might be able to incorporate a diverse curriculum about sub-cultures and religions. What is really missing is an elementary ethics class.

Comment #57491

Posted by James Taylor on November 14, 2005 11:05 PM (e)

I wrote:

I expect it would be raise

heh… should be

I expect it would raise

Comment #57499

Posted by Sir_Toejam on November 14, 2005 11:33 PM (e)

What is really missing is an elementary ethics class

lol. like the one GW is giving to his cabinet as we speak?

seriously tho, the problem would then go right back to the religion issue, as so many folks’ idea of ethics is in their minds tied to their religious beliefs.

Comment #57591

Posted by James Taylor on November 15, 2005 10:22 AM (e)

I agree STJ, but if it was approached as an abstract class where ethical philosophies are taught rather than specifics of a religion it would be more likely to survive.

Comment #57592

Posted by k.e. on November 15, 2005 10:32 AM (e)

how about comparative ethics:- Fundamentalism , Identity Politics ,postmodernist reality denial ,pseudoscience vs Ethics

Comment #57974

Posted by Sir_Toejam on November 15, 2005 10:33 PM (e)

I agree STJ, but if it was approached as an abstract class where ethical philosophies are taught rather than specifics of a religion it would be more likely to survive

hmm. that might explain why the only actual ethics lessons i received in high school were those taught in my economics and poli sci class.

Comment #82437

Posted by me on February 27, 2006 8:32 AM (e)

god is gay!!!!!!!!!!1111

Comment #82800

Posted by Neil Trout on February 28, 2006 7:31 PM (e)

I think this is a good thing to dover because students cannot only learn about evelotion but learn about creation. I think more public schools should do this .most students don,t relize what god really is or how he made this earth.

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