PZ Myers posted Entry 1887 on January 6, 2006 10:25 AM.
Trackback URL: http://www.pandasthumb.org/cgi-bin/mt/mt-tb.fcgi/1882

Kansans will be relieved to learn that their big buddy to the South, Texas, is going to take some of the heat off of them. We have a new target for ridicule:

Gov. Rick Perry, a Republican who has made outreach to Christian conservatives a theme of his gubernatorial portfolio, thinks Texas public school students should be taught intelligent design along with evolutionary theory, his office said Thursday.

Perry “supports the teaching of the theory of intelligent design,” spokeswoman Kathy Walt said. “Texas schools teach the theory of evolution; intelligent design is a valid scientific theory, and he believes it should be taught as well.”

The article does go on to mention that the chairperson of the State Board of Education, in a how-the-hell-did-this-kook-get-to-be-my-boss moment, pointed out that the educators of the state have had no intention of introducing a non-issue like ID into the curriculum.

I look forward to hearing the Discovery Institute’s reaction. Will they repudiate their current strategy of pretending they don’t want to teach ID in schools and embrace the propaganda opportunity, or will they let Perry twist in the wind? Will the Thomas More Law Center, fresh off their masochistic adventure in Dover, step forward with joy in their hearts and beg, “yes, whip me again, please”? Will the voters of Texas finally realize that even idiots can wear a cowboy hat and boots?

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Comment #68295

Posted by CCP on January 6, 2006 10:45 AM (e)

Why does the wind blow north to south in Oklahoma?

Kansas blows & Texas sucks.

Comment #68297

Posted by Michael Gerber on January 6, 2006 10:50 AM (e)

… taking into regard that Gov. Perry holds a degree in zoology, he ought know it better…

Comment #68298

Posted by improvius on January 6, 2006 10:53 AM (e)

I’m not sure where to post this, so here goes. Today’s Patriot News has a very interesting article. on the current legal fee situation in Dover. I found the background information especially interesting. As we’d guessed earlier, the board’s regular attorney strongly warned them against taking this case to court.

In related news, the district formally discharged the law firm that represented it in the intelligent design trial and will refer all legal issues on the matter to its solicitor – who warned the school board more than a year ago against adopting the intelligent design policy.

And, of course, Thompson is whining about not being able to appeal the ruling.

“We’re officially done,” said Richard Thompson, president of the law center. “This case cried out for an appeal, and it was developed for an appeal. But basically, there are no options at this point.”

I still maintain that Thompson should man up and foot the bill for this fiasco. I hold the TMLC primarily responsible for this case going to trial. They sacrificed this school district in the hopes of going to the supreme court. The district should not have to suffer financially for the TMLC’s crusade.

Comment #68299

Posted by Flint on January 6, 2006 10:59 AM (e)

I suspect that Gov. Perry has made a politically-sensitive assessment of what policy position on this subject will net him the most votes, and taken it. I think he’s taken careful note of the number of fundamentalists whose minds were changed by the Dover court’s focus on actual facts, and extrapolated how many of his potential voters’ minds might also change if he were to focus on facts.

Comment #68300

Posted by improvius on January 6, 2006 11:07 AM (e)

I’d actually like to thank Gov. Perry and all of the other conservative politicians for speaking out in favor of Intelligent Design. They have proven to me beyond a reasonable doubt that the Republicans have become the party of ignorance.

I wouldn’t be surprised if this issue goes down in history as the one that the Republicans finally hanged themselves on.

Comment #68303

Posted by Wislu Plethora on January 6, 2006 11:09 AM (e)

Flint wrote:

I suspect that Gov. Perry has made a politically-sensitive assessment of what policy position on this subject will net him the most votes, and taken it.

Maybe we need a new book, one for politicians: Of Pandering and People

Comment #68304

Posted by Moses on January 6, 2006 11:12 AM (e)

Off topic, but there is a nice layman’s article on the evolution of the cat at the NY Times.

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/01/06/science/06cats.html?hp

It’d be great if one of the people who often provide wonderful, insightful articles on all those nasty things in nature, could do it with the pinnacle of evolution’s uplift - the cat, to whom we are nothing more than slightly inconvenient nursemaids.

Comment #68305

Posted by Unsympathetic reader on January 6, 2006 11:26 AM (e)

Ask Gov. Perry what would be taught about the “science” of ID. Any bona fide results yet? Is there any content to the subject?

Comment #68306

Posted by Mr Christopher on January 6, 2006 11:26 AM (e)

CCP, how dare you insult the state of Texas?? :-)

First let me admit my own bias, I am a native Texan living in Dallas. I can assure you Rick Perry is an idiot extraordinaire. Karl Rove has historically been one of his advisers so Perry’s attempt to suck up to ignorant evangelicals is no great surprise.

The last few years Perry is always showing up at fundamentalist christian “Fags are going to hell” hate fests so his interest in intelligent design creationism is no surprise.

The education board chairman is appointed by Mr Intelligent himself (Perry). The board is mostly made up of Republicans. For a full dose of Texas Republicanism go and read the pdf version of the 2004 Texas Republican Party Platform. THAT will frighten anyone who values their life and liberty. The Texas Republican party makes George Bush look like a flaming librull. These guys are scary

And I hope Perry pushes Intelligent Design Creationism big time. He is facing an election so the more dirt and garbage he brings to the table the better.

And let’s remember the Dishonesty Institute came here a few years ago and fell flat on their face when they tried to get the biology textbooks censored. Folks in public education here are already familiar with the Disco group. Go here for historical details on the last time the Dishonesty Institute tried to dumb down the state of Texas.

That doesn’t mean they won’t get any traction. I kind of hope they do, I’d love to see a new trial that might go to the Supreme Court and nothing would make me happier than to see the theologian and make believe “scientist” William Dembski in a head lock (under oath).

And does anyoen remember the Baylor fiasco? Well check out theologian William Dembski’s www.designinference.com site his “biosketch” states …Previously he was on the faculty of Baylor University as associate research professor in the conceptual foundations of science, where he also headed the first intelligent design think-tank at a major research university: The Michael Polanyi Center. Thanks for the laughs, Wild Bill. Now go read the truth about the Michael Polanyi Center Yes, Dembski is either lying on his website or hallucinating. You be the Judge Jones.

Speaking of theologian Dembski…Anyone read his course outlines that he teaches at the prestigious Southern Seminary in Louisville? Talk about a joke. Its all melding anti-science and christianity, a course if propaganda if you will. The “Teaching” links on this page are worth reading. It’s an IDC laff riot I tell you.

Back to the subject at hand, yes I am proud our simple minded governor is hoping to resurrect intelligent design creationism in my state. Hopefully Texas will be IDCs final resting place and the state that puts Dembski on the stand.

So I say bring it on, Rick Perry! Show us the curriculum for the proposed Intelligent Design course, and remember the Alamo!

Comment #68311

Posted by J-Dog on January 6, 2006 11:54 AM (e)

Mr. Christopher - Good info about Texas, and good Dembski links too! Thanks to you, now I can understand why Buffalo Bill is too busy to blog anymore. What an intense speaking and teaching schedule! How does he do it? Bwa Ha Ha!

Comment #68314

Posted by Burt Humburg on January 6, 2006 12:04 PM (e)

If memory serves, this is the same governor who has been implicated in hiring very high dollar gentlemen for their companionship.

First google link for “Rick perry gay”:
http://www.opednews.com/thoreau022704_texas_governor.htm

So what are we to make of this paean to the religious right? Does he really think his political career can be salvaged with this kind of move?

BCH

Comment #68315

Posted by Caledonian on January 6, 2006 12:06 PM (e)

I still maintain that Thompson should man up and foot the bill for this fiasco. I hold the TMLC primarily responsible for this case going to trial. They sacrificed this school district in the hopes of going to the supreme court. The district should not have to suffer financially for the TMLC’s crusade.

The people of that district elected the original school board members. The school board members instituted the offending policy, listened to the TMLC, and then proceeded to squander their district’s resources.

The board was responsible for the loss of resources, and the population of the district was responsible for the board. Why shouldn’t they suffer?

Comment #68316

Posted by Mr Christopher on January 6, 2006 12:10 PM (e)

Buffalo Bill Dembski I like it!

His www.designinference.com web site is even more curios…I see on his “biosketch” he claims “William A. Dembski is the Carl F. H. Henry Professor of Science and Theology at Southern Seminary in Louisville where he heads its Center for Theology and Science

Well the actual name of the prestigious science university where theologian Dembski teaches is “Southern Baptist Theological Seminary“. Why does he delete the words “Baptist” and “Theological” from the name of this scientific academic powerhouse?

Is he embarrassed to admit all his students are theology majors who have no scientific understanding, and therefore cannot question any of his non-scientific ideas?

Again, his class descriptions are well worth reading…

Comment #68317

Posted by k.e. on January 6, 2006 12:11 PM (e)

Mr Christopher
“theologian Dembski” ?

That’s giving the worm far too much credit.
It used to be the last refuge of a scoundrel was patriotism or the ones with talent sold cars but now they sell burnt out wrecks of mind management fueled by Christ’s body and blood.

Best sens*m*ll*on I ever had was in Dallas about 30 years ago, some good people there still I hope.

Comment #68319

Posted by qetzal on January 6, 2006 12:17 PM (e)

Here’s an interesting course taught by Dembski:

28970 Critical Thinking and the Art of Argumentation

Course Description:
This course examines the means by which we convince ourselves and others that something is true. Of special interest here are the pitfalls to logical thinking that prevent us from coming to the truth.

Course Objective:
The goal of this course is to help students become adept at making a persuasive case for the truth of the Christian worldview.

Hmm. Isn’t assuming the conclusion (i.e. the “truth” of the Christian worldview) a logical pitfall?

Comment #68321

Posted by Mr Christopher on January 6, 2006 12:38 PM (e)

Perhaps the mission statement might clear up some confusion

Our Mission Statement

Under the lordship of Jesus Christ, the mission of
The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary is
to be totally committed to the Bible as the Word of God,
to the Great Commission as our mandate,
and to be a servant of the churches
of the Southern Baptist Convention
by training, educating, and preparing ministers
of the gospel for more faithful service.

Yeah, I wonder how many peer reviewed scientific articles and research comes out of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary where theologian Dembski teaches his unusual ideas?

But back to the subject…Texas has its share of yahoos and fundamentalists but we’re no Dover PA. I have been in touch with many highly placed folks in the science and curriculum areas of our public school system and its made up mostly of bright, enlightened folks. Texas will not be a soft target for the Dishonesty Institute, and as I mentioned they have been here before and they failed miserably.

Man oh man I sure hope IDC gains some momentum in my state. If a trial ensues you’re all invited to my house for Texas style bar-b-q and margaritas by the pool! Who’ll bring the potato salad?

And rest assured if an IDC turd blossom begins to sprout in the state of Texas I will be bringing you the gory details on a daily basis.

Ye freakin’ haw!

Comment #68323

Posted by Albion on January 6, 2006 12:38 PM (e)

That’s what creationists mean by “critical thinking.” Good old Bill.

Regarding the Texas situation, I assume no details were given about why the Governor, in opposition to the overwhelming majority of scientists in Texas, believes that ID is a “valid scientific theory”? Apart from the application of Dembski-type “critical thinking,” of course.

Comment #68324

Posted by k.e. on January 6, 2006 12:39 PM (e)

28970 Critical Thinking and the Art of Argumentation
(Delusion via Dembski and the Art of Debate)

This course examines the means by which we (Dembski) convince ourselves (idiots) and others (not) that something is true without evidence. Of special interest here are the pitfalls to logical thinking telling the world Demski’s lies that prevent us from coming to the truth preconceived ideas.

Fallacy: Circular reasoning is NOT critical thinking

Course Objective:
The goal of this course is to help students become adept at making a persuasive case for the truth of the Christian Dembskian Solipsistic worldview.

For the Christian worldview…..Huh?
All you need to do is read sermon on the mount it’s all there.For the nut-jobs just look up Christian Fundamentalism which is bigger tent than most would care to admit.

Comment #68325

Posted by Glen Davidson on January 6, 2006 1:04 PM (e)

“Coming to the truth” itself is a fundamentalist code phrase.

More importantly, though, this course of his seems to reveal his mind altogether too well. In science one wishes not to “come to the truth”, but to come up with an adequate representation of phenomena. This points up one of the most important, yet among the least mentioned, issues surrounding ID: evolution is an adequate organizing model for the data that we have now, and ID simply is not.

That is to say, if Dembski could show conclusively that the flagellum had no reasonably chance of evolving (he’d need an high-power exponential increase in data over what we have now to do so), ID would still do nothing whatsoever to organize data into a coherent structure, while evolution would continue to provide the only sensible guide to biology at least until another observation-based theory could supplant it. If false, evolution would be a necessary heuristic. If true, ID would continue to be useless–or at least we’d need a brilliant new thinker to make it useful.

This is all lost on Dembski, though. He’s interested in “coming to the truth”, not in moving science along. The latter, in fact, is expendable if it conflicts with the former. And as such, he is wholly in conflict with science as practiced, indeed, as it must be practiced.

Coming to the truth is not the goal of proper logic courses. Properly dealing with the logical operations of assigned truth-values is the goal of a decent logic course, but it remains understood that truth-values have to be assigned (yes, there needs to be a relationshiop between observation and assigned truth-values when logically manipulating data in science, however in philosophy it is recognized that the relationship is not one-to-one).

Glen D
http://tinyurl.com/b8ykm

Comment #68326

Posted by improvius on January 6, 2006 1:09 PM (e)

The board was responsible for the loss of resources, and the population of the district was responsible for the board. Why shouldn’t they suffer?

It just seems like unethical behavior on the part of TMLC. Their agenda was getting a case like this to the supreme court. Doesn’t that strike you as a MAJOR conflict to providing legal counsel in the best interests of their clients? Maybe I’m wrong here. I’m certainly no expert on legal matters. But I find it hard not to believe that the TMLC influenced the board’s decision to go to trial rather than settling.

I guess it’s easy for me to dismiss the board members as being more clueless than unethical. But professional lawyers are supposed to have a code of ethics that would, I expect, prevent them from leading a client into a costly battle that they would almost certainly lose.

And, of course, it kills me that this will ultimately hurt the children more than anyone else. The TMLC has the resources to prevent this, and more than enough culpability in the matter to compel them to do so.

Comment #68327

Posted by Keith Douglas on January 6, 2006 1:10 PM (e)

Oh crap. I had no idea that critical thinking courses had specifically been invaded. Admittedly this is at one fundy seminary, but still …

Comment #68328

Posted by Stephen Elliott on January 6, 2006 1:11 PM (e)

Why does this nonsense continue. How many times does it need to be shown that ID is a none-science religious motivated movement before anyone anywhere in the USA is forbidden to teach it in a science class at taxpayers expense?
What is it in the USA system that allows this to run and run?

Comment #68329

Posted by Corkscrew on January 6, 2006 1:12 PM (e)

My understanding of the TMLC thing is that the corporate entity that is the school board is the one that has to pay up but, if they feel they’ve been poorly served by their representation, they may possibly be able to sue them to recoup some of the cash. Sadly they probably can’t sue the former board members :-/

Comment #68332

Posted by Moses on January 6, 2006 1:15 PM (e)

DEGREE PROGRAMS

Click on a school for more information about degrees.

• School of Theology

• School of Missions, Evangelism and Church Growth

• School of Leadership and Church Ministry

• School of Church Music and Worship

Where is the School of Science and Department of Biology?

Comment #68333

Posted by Moses on January 6, 2006 1:17 PM (e)

I see on his “biosketch” he claims “William A. Dembski is the Carl F. H. Henry Professor of Science and Theology at Southern Seminary in Louisville where he heads its Center for Theology and Science

Well the actual name of the prestigious science university where theologian Dembski teaches is “Southern Baptist Theological Seminary“. Why does he delete the words “Baptist” and “Theological” from the name of this scientific academic powerhouse?

That’s actually how the school refers to itself and this is from his on-line profile at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

Dr. Dembski comes to Southern Seminary bringing with him teaching experience from Baylor University and the University of Dallas. Dr. Dembski is one of the foremost scholars in the area of Intelligent Design. He is perhaps best known for his book, The Design Revolution: Answering the Toughest Questions about Intelligent Design. Dr. Dembski is the first director of Southern’s Center for Science and Theology.

So, as dodgy as he usually is, this isn’t really one of them.

Comment #68334

Posted by FastEddie on January 6, 2006 1:23 PM (e)

I think the school district should foot the bill rather than TMLC. The people of Dover voted for the buffoons on the old school board and so they should have to pay the price. To their credit they recognized their error and expelled the old board, but that doesn’t absolve them of their responsibility.

In some ways I wish the old school board were still in place so the case would be appealed. This way Jones’ ruling would have broader applicability assuming it was upheld.

Comment #68335

Posted by Mr Christopher on January 6, 2006 1:26 PM (e)

Somewhat related….I wonder if anyone has really thought through what the results would be if intelligent design creationism ever gained currency in our science standards.

In the mind of an IDcreationist, if an HIV cell is deemed to be irreducibly complex, it would therefore be the design and the product of an intelligent designer and let’s not kid ourselves, we are not talking about space aliens or time travelers, we are talking about God the designer.

If God created/designed the irreducibly complex HIV cell, he obviously did it with a plan in mind, no? The question that would be begged might be “who is science to try and circumvent the design and thus will of God?”

A slow down or end of HIV research would be a logical conclusion, after all who is going to vote for research dollars to combat a disease that was clearly designed by God? Obviously God had a purpose in mind when he created HIV.

And think of other medical situations (especially those that affect women, the favorite target of fundamentalists) where research or even treatments dollars would shrink because they would be deemed the design and therefore the will of God?

You may think I am being extreme with this example but it was only a few short years ago when the American clergy was telling us that lightening rods were evil because they circumvented the will of God.

I don’t think what I am proposing is a stretch…If people are convinced a certain cell is irreducible complex their natural intelligent design conclusion would be it was designed that way, by God, and to try and kill God’s creation/design would not be looked upon very favorably.

Numerous influential religionists including Mother Teresa have gone on record saying things like HIV is the will/punishment of God. Intelligent design creationism’s irreducible complexity gives creedence to that way of idiotic and unscientific thinking. IDC gives “scientific” legitimacy to believing a disease is the will/design of God and not an example of evolution.

It is kind of frightening when you contemplate the consequences of IDC getting a foothold in science standards.

Comment #68339

Posted by Moses on January 6, 2006 1:37 PM (e)

But professional lawyers are supposed to have a code of ethics that would, I expect, prevent them from leading a client into a costly battle that they would almost certainly lose.

Nope. As long as it pretty much falls in this area (depending on the exact State statute), you’re pretty much okay:

In the representation of a client, a lawyer shall not:

1. File a suit, assert a position, conduct a defense, delay a trial, or take other action on behalf of the client when the lawyer knows or when it is obvious that such action would serve merely to harass or maliciously injure another.

2. Knowingly advance a claim or defense that is unwarranted under existing law, except that the lawyer may advance such claim or defense if it can be supported by good faith argument for an extension, modification, or reversal of existing law.

3. Conceal or knowingly fail to disclose that which the lawyer is required by law to reveal.

4. Knowingly use perjured testimony or false evidence.

5. Knowingly make a false statement of law or fact.

6. Participate in the creation or preservation of evidence when the lawyer knows or it is obvious that the evidence is false.

7. Counsel or assist the client in conduct that the lawyer knows to be illegal or fraudulent.

8. Knowingly engage in other illegal conduct or conduct contrary to a Disciplinary Rule.

And believe me, according to my lawyer friends, #1 and #2 are VERY NARROWLY interpreted ethical rules. I mean to the point where you’ve got to be insanely frivolous, not just stupid, arrogant and pig-headed.

Comment #68342

Posted by Mr Christopher on January 6, 2006 1:42 PM (e)

Steve Fuller speaks

Comment #68343

Posted by Russell on January 6, 2006 1:45 PM (e)

Perry “supports the teaching of the theory of intelligent design,” spokeswoman Kathy Walt said. “Texas schools teach the theory of evolution; intelligent design is a valid scientific theory, and he believes it should be taught as well.”

I would love to hear Perry expatiate on how ID is a “valid scientific theory” - especially in light of Judge Jones little essay on that very topic.

On a side note:

Buffalo Bill…

In light of his about-face and no-show in Cleveland, maybe that should be “Bluffalo Bill”

Comment #68345

Posted by Flint on January 6, 2006 1:54 PM (e)

Isn’t assuming the conclusion (i.e. the “truth” of the Christian worldview) a logical pitfall?

Apparently not when that’s the only possible way to REACH the desired conclusion.

Remember the cartoon contrasting scienfic and religious instruction? “There are the facts. How can we explain them?” as opposed to “Here are the conclusions. How can we find facts to support them?”

I imagine this isn’t a difficult course. How hard can it be to start by assuming your conclusions and end by concluding your assumptions are correct? Not an overwhelming logical challenge. What’s scary is IF you actually understand the subject matter, you are almost guaranteed to fail the course!

Comment #68346

Posted by drakvl on January 6, 2006 1:58 PM (e)

“A slow down or end of HIV research would be a logical conclusion, after all who is going to vote for research dollars to combat a disease that was clearly designed by God? Obviously God had a purpose in mind when he created HIV.”

Well, there is this crazy guy on the radio who talks about how a one-world government is predicted in the Bible (so presumably, part of God’s plan), and who goes on to say that Christians must fight this government. So, yeah, there are some (nutjob) Christians out there who support the practice of fighting divine will.

Comment #68350

Posted by Glen Davidson on January 6, 2006 2:10 PM (e)

Don’t forget that Phillip Johnson is, or at the very least was, one who denied the role of HIV in AIDS.

It is probably not too great a stretch to speculate as to whether or not Johnson considered HIV to be the just dues meted out to “sinners”. Sort of the consequences of messing with “divine design”. If this is speculation, one has to guess at the motivations of IDists, for clearly it is not the desire for the best fit model that drives them.

One should not underestimate how bad the thinking that ID spawns can be.

Glen D
http://tinyurl.com/b8ykm

Comment #68351

Posted by k.e. on January 6, 2006 2:15 PM (e)

One should not underestimate how bad the thinking that ID spawns can be.

or misunderestimate how bad the thinking that ID spawns can be.

Comment #68352

Posted by Glen Davidson on January 6, 2006 2:18 PM (e)

It is probably not too great a stretch to speculate as to whether or not Johnson considered HIV to be the just dues meted out to “sinners”.

Sorry, I should have written AIDS in the sentence above, not HIV (it’s reflexive to use them as synonyms in most cases).

Comment #68358

Posted by Bill Gascoyne on January 6, 2006 2:28 PM (e)

God made the Idiot for practice, and then He made the School Board.
MARK TWAIN (1835-1910)

Comment #68360

Posted by wildlifer on January 6, 2006 2:28 PM (e)

Why does the wind blow north to south in Oklahoma?

Kansas blows & Texas sucks.

Actually today, Texas is blowing and Kansas is sucking. Go figure, they take turns.

Comment #68362

Posted by qetzal on January 6, 2006 2:42 PM (e)

On further reflection, I realize that I’ve probably misinterpreted Dembski’s Course Description:

Of special interest here are the pitfalls to logical thinking that prevent us from coming to the truth.

He probably means that logical thinking is the pitfall.

Comment #68365

Posted by Sir_Toejam on January 6, 2006 2:51 PM (e)

Again, his class descriptions are well worth reading…

actually, you should go farther and read the course syllabus, recommended “texts”, and especially the final exam questions.

I laugh my *ss off, at the same time I feel sorry for his “students”.

It’s pure indoctrination in lies and distortions.

that’s not christianity, for sure. I’d call it Satanism if i had to give it a description in a comp. religions class.

One of these days, somebody should go through old billy boys course material and see just how many “christian values” he smashes to pieces.

If i were one of his students, i would seriously think about suing the old boy for compromising the supposed mission of the seminary.

Comment #68367

Posted by Sir_Toejam on January 6, 2006 3:06 PM (e)

presenting one’s lies and distortions in a lecture or debate is one thing; presenting them in a classroom and grading students on their level of agreement with your lies and distortions is quite another.

Having seen Dembki’s course content and exams, I have now totally changed my mind about whether ID should EVER be taught in ANYTHING other than an advanced level critical thinking class.

I used to think, fine, teach it anywhere but science class. Not any more.

I have seen lesser levels of indoctrination using lies in some cults!

OTOH, for those who want to see the end of religion in the US, the indoctrination of these folks with ID is likely to eventually only lead to them completely rejecting all religion, once any one of them begins to actually check out any actual evidence in reality, and realize how duped they’ve been.

so.. i guess the plus side is we would end up seeing FEWER court cases the taxpayers would be involved with, but the downside would be there would be more taxpayers footing the bill for all the required therapy these folks will eventually have to go through.

It’s been mentioned before, but creationism is the worst thing to happen to religion since the inquisitions.

one almost begins to wonder if ID isn’t some secret consipiracy to actually relegate religion itself to the realm of history.

Perhaps those of us fighting against ID are actually just slowing down the eventual demise of religion itself??

naw.

Comment #68368

Posted by Aagcobb on January 6, 2006 3:19 PM (e)

As I understand it, the Governor of Texas has very little actual power, so Perry’s comments would appear to be nothing more than pandering to the right. OTOH, the Governor of Kentucky, Ernie Fletcher, has also endorsed the teaching of intelligent design: http://www.tinyurl.com/bfrff
The governor of Kentucky traditionally has a lot of power, but this one is embroiled in a hiring scandal, and no ID bill has been filed yet in the Kentucky General Assembly which just began and only runs for 60 legislative days, so it remains to be seen if Fletcher is just pandering or plans to put his limited political capital behind a bill to teach ID.

Comment #68369

Posted by Kenneth Fair on January 6, 2006 3:23 PM (e)

Ignore the tempest in the teapot. Perry’s announcement comes in the wake of Carole Strayhorn’s announcement that she’s running for governor as an independent. Her natural base is the sane Republicans in Texas; Perry’s just trying to shore up his base among the insane Republicans. He has no intention of introducing intelligent design into the curriculum here, and even if he wanted to, he has neither the power nor the political ability.

Comment #68372

Posted by Doyle on January 6, 2006 3:36 PM (e)

Mr. Christopher: Alert your next governor, Kinky Friedman. Seriously. While he’s probably not qualified to be governor, he is a very good satirist with a history of taking on religious bigots.(Remember “They ain’t making Jews like Jesus anymore”?)And his number one issue in his campaign in strengthening Texas’s educational system. These creationists and their panderers don’t need to be debated, they need to be ridiculed, and for that, Kinky may be your guy.

Comment #68379

Posted by Russell on January 6, 2006 3:58 PM (e)

Again, [Dembski’s] class descriptions are well worth reading…

actually, you should go farther and read the course syllabus, recommended “texts”, and especially the final exam questions.

OK, I’m up for a chuckle or two. Can you provide a link to these?

Comment #68382

Posted by Mr Christopher on January 6, 2006 4:07 PM (e)

Kinky has already gone on the record today saying he is against intelligent design, that there is nothing intelligent about it.

Russel, read the posts I made above, you’ll find the links you are looking for.

Comment #68390

Posted by Apesnake on January 6, 2006 4:49 PM (e)

Dembski's course title wrote:

Critical Thinking and the Art of Argumentation

Keith Douglas wrote:

Oh crap. I had no idea that critical thinking courses had specifically been invaded. Admittedly this is at one fundy seminary, but still …

So the only place critical thinking and argumentation are being taught theses days is in fundy seminaries eh? I have tried to find out why public high schools don’t teach this. Education systems across the continent seem to think logic serves no secular purpose. What is the purpose of even teaching science or defending its definition if you are not going to teach logic? Isn’t reason kind of… important to the scientific process; not to mention for modern life in general? (Keven Trudeau not withstanding)

Comment #68393

Posted by Sir_Toejam on January 6, 2006 4:58 PM (e)

Critical Thinking and the Art of Argumentation

are we in the thread on irony here?

*sigh*

i retract anything i said about ID being taught in critical thinking courses, obviously WD beat me to the punch.

someone asked for links…

http://www.designinference.com/#Teaching

Comment #68395

Posted by limpidense on January 6, 2006 5:05 PM (e)

Can’t some decent reporter, just once, ask one of the pandering politicians to, ever so briefly DEFINE how “intelligent design” works – that is, what is the one example they actually have heard of and can describe?
Can you imagine GWB answering such a question? Or evading it?

SOME reporters must know these are 100% uninformed (save by the pandering angle) less than tissue-thin “beliefs,” so why doesn’t ONE ask and reveal the air inside the balloon?

For that matter, ask one of them what the hell “evolution” is. (If we catch a real genius on this, I’d bet we’ll either get “survival of the fittest” or something Lamarckian about giraffe’s necks.)

Since they are willing to “take a stand” they should be drawn out about what they actually know about it: nothing. And why they care about it being forced into public school science programs: they don’t.

Comment #68397

Posted by Sir_Toejam on January 6, 2006 5:13 PM (e)

SOME reporters must know these are 100% uninformed (save by the pandering angle) less than tissue-thin “beliefs,” so why doesn’t ONE ask and reveal the air inside the balloon?

that’s a very good question. in fact, i have seen several interviews with the great reporters of ages past who lament the lack of critical questions directed at those in politics these days. It was not always so.

Here’s how i see it:

Media mogul owns very large media corporation
media mogul decides who will manage said corporation
media mogul bases that decision on personal beliefs, rather than management skill sets
new manager implements new policies
anybody new manager does not like gets fired in favor of sycophantic toadies
bingo, you now have reporters that ONLY ask pre-approved questions.

EOS

Comment #68402

Posted by Mr Christopher on January 6, 2006 5:37 PM (e)

Hey guys I think my brief post above is getting overlooked. Steve Fuller spoke up today on this British IDC blog:

http://idintheuk.blogspot.com/2005/12/steve-fuller-on-dover-judgement.html

You can already guess what he is saying and he also tries to meld evolution/Darwin with racism. It’s a funny read.

Comment #68403

Posted by qetzal on January 6, 2006 5:40 PM (e)

lipidense,

I agree it would be great to see reporters pin these politicians down. However, rather than asking them to define ID and/or evolution, I’d rather see a reporter ask something like this:

“Governor Perry - you’ve advocated teaching intelligent design in public schools. Yet the vast majority of scientists say that ID is not scientific, and the courts have repeatedly ruled that ID is really just religious creationism in disguise. Do you honestly believe ID is a valid scientific theory with no religious agenda, or do you think it’s appropriate to teach religion disguised as science in public schools?”

Like Sir_Toejam, though, I’m skeptical it will happen.

Comment #68411

Posted by Scott on January 6, 2006 6:09 PM (e)

Good Grief! This is one of Dembski’s course references?

http://www2.tech.purdue.edu/cgt/courses/cgt411/covey/48_laws_of_power.htm

“Course Objective:
The goal of this course is to help students become adept at making a persuasive case for
the truth of the Christian worldview.”

Is this what they teach in seminary schools today? Is this how they teach future ministers to persuade people?

Law 3: “Conceal your Intentions”
Law 7: “Get others to do the Work for you, but Always Take the Credit”
Law 14: “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy”
Law 15: “Crush your Enemy Totally”
Law 27: “Play on People’s Need to Believe to Create a Cultlike Following”
Law 32: “Play to People’s Fantasies”
Law 34: “Act like a King to be treated like one”
Law 36: “Disdain Things you cannot have”

Comment #68416

Posted by Sir_Toejam on January 6, 2006 6:18 PM (e)

Like Sir_Toejam, though, I’m skeptical it will happen.

if it did, i doubt the interview would ever make it into the public arena. I

I’m sure the gov would make it quite clear that if it did, those responsible would never ever get another interview with him. That would be enough for most media outlets to not even attempt the question to begin with, if for no other reason.

Comment #68418

Posted by Sir_Toejam on January 6, 2006 6:20 PM (e)

Law 3: “Conceal your Intentions”
Law 7: “Get others to do the Work for you, but Always Take the Credit”
Law 14: “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy”
Law 15: “Crush your Enemy Totally”
Law 27: “Play on People’s Need to Believe to Create a Cultlike Following”
Law 32: “Play to People’s Fantasies”
Law 34: “Act like a King to be treated like one”
Law 36: “Disdain Things you cannot have”

sure sounds like a joke, doesn’t it?

even my divining rods can’t make heads or tails of this stuff.

Comment #68420

Posted by Sir_Toejam on January 6, 2006 6:23 PM (e)

remember law 8:

Make other People come to you – use Bait if Necessary

bait, ummm, like a set of riciculous laws?

Comment #68421

Posted by Randy on January 6, 2006 6:26 PM (e)

Sir_Toejam wrote:

Media mogul owns very large media corporation
media mogul decides who will manage said corporation
media mogul bases that decision on personal beliefs, rather than management skill sets
new manager implements new policies
anybody new manager does not like gets fired in favor of sycophantic toadies
bingo, you now have reporters that ONLY ask pre-approved questions.

Alternatively:
Most Americans get all their news from TV
All the national TV news outlets are owned by corporate congolomerates
ABC: Disney
CBS: Viacom
NBC/MSNBC: GE/MicroSquish and others
CNN: AOL/TimeWarner
Corporate conglomerates own lots of other things
And the media mogul doesn’t like his underlings saying bad things about his other underlings.

EOS

Comment #68422

Posted by Mr Christopher on January 6, 2006 6:26 PM (e)

Frightening, huh? And his students are tomorrows preachers, missionaries and beggars (subtle distinctions I know). Many will teach the same anti-science, anti-logic to members of their churches. It’s like a malignant ignorance. Corrosive to the intellect. Or simply a cult.

Dembski and his theology school are simply churning out very scientifically ignorant and intellectually stunted automatons.

This is the kind of stuff the media should be talking about when the Disco bunch start harping about all the “science” their “ID scientists” are doing.

Dembski is building a religious cult for himself, Behe is in the corner playing with mouse traps, Wells is worshipping Father Moon and making cool looking meaningless posters.

West is whining about Judge Jones and Fuller is claiming ID was victimized and Darwin was a racist.

THAT is the extent of the “science” being done by IDC “scientists”

Pretty hollow, huh? And they want this taught in science class and can;t figure out why no one wants to let them do it. Cracks me up.

Comment #68437

Posted by Sir_Toejam on January 6, 2006 6:55 PM (e)

Dembski and his theology school are simply churning out very scientifically ignorant and intellectually stunted automatons.

I think they maybe see that as a legitimate and NEEDED tactic in order to “stem the tide of philosophical materialism”.

special circumstances for special times.

Isn’t that special?

Now who could really be behind the DI, could it be….

(insert your favorite “church lady” response here)

Comment #68444

Posted by Stephen Elliott on January 6, 2006 7:05 PM (e)

Surely there is something wrong here.

http://www2.tech.purdue.edu/cgt/courses/cgt411/covey/48_laws_of_power.htm

Scott, are you certain this is being taught by Dembski in a Christian theology school?

Sounds like it belongs in a class on Satanism or “how to be a complete git”.

Mind you some of those laws have been in regular use by the man.

Comment #68449

Posted by Mr Christopher on January 6, 2006 7:17 PM (e)

A couple of quick points…Looks like California beat Texas to the punch…

http://www.kesq.com/Global/story.asp?S=4329497&nav=9qrx

California high school class discusses intelligent design

LEBEC, Calif. A small high school outside of Bakersfield has jumped into the national debate about whether “intelligent design” belongs in the classroom.

Officials at Frazier Mountain High School in Lebec contend that the class, called “Philosophy of Design,” is not being offered as science.

The teacher of the course is Sharon Lemburg. She says in the course syllabus – quote – “This class is not meant to guide you into a certain belief, but to allow you to search, become aware of the differences, and gain a better understanding of world views on origins.”

Lemburg is a social sciences teacher married to an Assembly of God pastor.

She did not answer calls from The Associated Press seeking comment.

Some parents in the community are opposed to the course.

For those unfamiliar with the Assemblies of God take on creation:

Creationism
Other Christian Doctrine Topics

This AG Perspective reflects commonly held beliefs based on scripture which have been endorsed by the church’s Commission on Doctrinal Purity and the Executive Presbytery.

——————————————————————————–

Why does the Assemblies of God hold a strong position on creationism? Could the evolution theory or portions of it fit into the Bible’s account of creation? Also, why is our origin so important?
The Assemblies of God has a deep commitment to creationism–that God is the Author and Creator of all life (Genesis 1:1; Psalms 121:2; 124:8; 146:5,6; Isaiah 40:26,28; 1 Peter 4:19). By the power of His Word, He created everything out of nothing (Hebrews 11:3). The visible was created out of the invisible, the material out of the nonmaterial, and the tangible out of the intangible.

However, by what means was His creative work accomplished? More specifically, did God employ a gradual process by which the world came into being? Did higher forms of life progress from lower forms of life? The advocates of gradual process are called theistic evolutionists. For them, God’s creative days recorded in Genesis may well have been eons of time.

Assemblies of God believers hold that the Genesis account should be taken literally. Admittedly, there is progression in God’s creative work. But each step was concluded: “And there was evening, and there was morning.” This points to a specific measurement of time. The most natural reading of the creation account therefore is to place it in parallel with a 7-day week. By doing so, the burden of determining time frames and development for various components of creation is avoided. Furthermore such a literal view of God’s creation process requires no more faith than theories of science–that our world evolved to its current state by the accidental collision of molecules.

For Christians, the question of origin is most critical. If mankind has merely evolved from lower forms of life, one cannot possess the special imprint of God’s likeness (Genesis 1:27; 2:7). If all of life is but the result of natural forces as told through various strains of evolution, it then becomes impossible to understand and know God through His creation.

Ultimately for most Christians it comes to this: if God is not Author and Creator of all that is, life offers little meaning or purpose for mankind. In evolution there is no judgment, and therefore no punishment or reward for the way we live. Through the view of evolution, lifestyle choices don’t matter. Instead life and creation simply evolve. But from the view of creationism, recognizing God’s handiwork and order, life takes on great meaning and renders significant eternal reward.

CONCERNS:

Much of the moral and spiritual decline of modern society is traceable to the skepticism that has formed around creation. From the Bible’s account of creation we first understand that the very nature of God is creative. We also see that He possesses supernatural power through His ability to “make something out of nothing.” Through Scripture we come to understand that the earth was created by God, and that the birds, fish, and animals were likewise His creation. Most importantly, we learn that mankind in the form of male and female were created by God, and that each has unique needs and purposes. We also see that mankind is given domain over all the earth, its resources, and other creatures. Also in the creation account we learn that work and rest are good for man. We learn that in spite of good, evil also exists, and that mankind by nature is bent to evil. But God has made provision for man to be freed from evil through the death of His Son Jesus.

Comment #68451

Posted by Sir_Toejam on January 6, 2006 7:22 PM (e)

I’d bet that courses in creationism are actually far more common that thought; it’s just the current media buzz is bringing them more notice recently.

Or, there could be a corollary to that:

more creationism courses are being planned or offered BECAUSE of increasing media attention.

some folks really beleive that ANY publicity is good publicity.

Comment #68455

Posted by Scott on January 6, 2006 7:37 PM (e)

Stephen Elliott asks: “Scott, are you certain this is being taught by Dembski in a Christian theology school?”

Don’t know for sure. I noted one of Dembski’s class descriptions here:

http://www.designinference.com/teaching/Dembski_Syllabi_2005-06.pdf

and it listed as one of the references this book: “Robert Greene and Joost Elffers, ‘The 48 Laws of Power’ (New York: Penguin Putnam, 2000).”

I googled the title, and came up with the aforementioned link to the “tech.purdue.edu” site. The Purdue link seemed odd to me too. However, checking some of the other links reviewing the book, the reviews suggest that the “Laws” as shown seem plausible. One review said the book is generally helpful in picking up women. :-) I do not know the tenor of the book, whether it is cynical, tongue in cheek, merely descriptive of what politicians do, or actually suggests using this stuff. I also do not know whether Dembski’s class uses this book as “you should emulate this”, or if it is used as a counter point, as in “don’t be taken in by the charlatan’s who use this stuff.” Were I not so cynical, I would suggest the latter. ;-) If one were truly honest, it would be good to know the tricks of the trade if only to avoid them. (Like the 3 Laws of Robotics, a robot has to know the breaking strength of every human bone in order to avoid causing harm to a Human.) However, the course description shows it is used in almost every class, and references the “Laws” by number.

Given that the DI and company seem to follow many of these “Laws” quite closely, I’m not optimistic.

Comment #68481

Posted by speck on January 6, 2006 9:42 PM (e)

In light of the manner in which Uncommondescent is administered, I suspect those laws accurately represent Dembski’s mindset.

Believe behavior, it never lies.

Comment #68482

Posted by Klaus Hellnick on January 6, 2006 9:49 PM (e)

I live in Texas. I have been unable verify any of the ID comments attributed to Governor Perry. If he did indeed make such moronic statements, he has lost my vote.

Comment #68483

Posted by Sean on January 6, 2006 9:50 PM (e)

If God created/designed the irreducibly complex HIV cell, he obviously did it with a plan in mind, no? The question that would be begged might be “who is science to try and circumvent the design and thus will of God?”

A slow down or end of HIV research would be a logical conclusion, after all who is going to vote for research dollars to combat a disease that was clearly designed by God? Obviously God had a purpose in mind when he created HIV.

And think of other medical situations (especially those that affect women, the favorite target of fundamentalists) where research or even treatments dollars would shrink because they would be deemed the design and therefore the will of God?

This from Bob Parks Whats New:

3. PAPILLOMAVIRUS VACCINE: YES, VIRGINIA, THERE IS A GRINCH.
Last week’s WN item on the new vaccine drew a lot of mail from
readers who found it hard to believe that there is opposition to
its use. After all, human papillomavirus (HPV) is the most
common sexually transmitted viral infection in the U.S., and the
cause of almost all cervical cancers. At least half of U.S.
adults have been infected, though not all with the deadliest
strains. It’s even more serious in developing countries where
screening is not available. Nevertheless, New Scientist magazine
quotes Bridget Maher of the Family Research Council, a leading
Christian lobby group: “Giving the HPV vaccine to young women
could be potentially harmful because they may see it as a licence
to engage in premarital sex.” While hailing the vaccine as a
great medical advance, the Family Research Council is concerned
that widespread inoculation would infringe on parental consent
or perhaps it would infringe on divine retribution.

Note the divine retribution in the last sentence.

Comment #68495

Posted by Ediacaran on January 6, 2006 10:27 PM (e)

Klaus, if you haven’t seen Perry’s comments in the Austin Stateman yet, here’s the link:

http://www.statesman.com/news/content/news/stories/local/01/6perry.html

Comment #68497

Posted by Ediacaran on January 6, 2006 10:34 PM (e)

Sorry, Klaus, I meant the Austin American-Statesman.

Comment #68498

Posted by Sir_Toejam on January 6, 2006 10:51 PM (e)

I live in Texas. I have been unable verify any of the ID comments attributed to Governor Perry. If he did indeed make such moronic statements, he has lost my vote.

do more than that! write the governors office and express your dismay at his obvious pandering; write your local paper and tell them the same.

attend a local school board meeting and make sure they aren’t trying to pull a “Dover” over on you.

cheers

Comment #68516

Posted by Ocellated on January 7, 2006 12:32 AM (e)

Arrgh. I left a trackback, but they haven’t been showing up lately. As a Texan, I felt obliged to comment.

Uh oh. Perry Invites Intelligent Design to Texas

Comment #68521

Posted by AC on January 7, 2006 1:06 AM (e)

Assemblies of God wrote:

Ultimately for most Christians it comes to this: if God is not Author and Creator of all that is, life offers little meaning or purpose for mankind.

Boo hoo, big bad life won’t just hand me meaning and purpose on a plate. It forces me to define my own. I have to struggle and *gasp* think!

Slave morality indeed.

Comment #68578

Posted by the pro from dover on January 7, 2006 7:41 AM (e)

We cannot and should not expend our energies preventing intelligent design from being taught in taxpayer-funded public school non-science courses. There are bigger fish to fry. There is the redefinition of science issue which is more destructive than mere evolution-bashing. My experience is that creationists especially lawyers and theologians deliberately conflate methodologic materialism with philosophical materialism to the point that the former is the proof of the latter. This automatically places all practicing scientists into an defensive athiest/agnostic role, the only escape from which requires an acceptance of the supernatural to explain that which is not known. Any remarks that equate religious belief with ignorance and bigotry will serve us no purpose. These remarks will push many Americans away from us if they think we’re promoting a militant athiestic agenda. Ken Miller seems to understand this while Daniel Dennet does not. Science is limited in its scope and we need to clarify and support its limitations.

Comment #68585

Posted by steve s on January 7, 2006 11:12 AM (e)

Any remarks that equate religious belief with ignorance and bigotry will serve us no purpose. These remarks will push many Americans away from us if they think we’re promoting a militant athiestic agenda. Ken Miller seems to understand this while Daniel Dennet does not.

Who says he doesn’t understand it? He simply might consider religion the bigger problem.

Comment #68587

Posted by Keith Douglas on January 7, 2006 11:49 AM (e)

Apesnake: Oh, there are lots of critical thinking courses around. But, especially now that I saw the final for that course … woah… I have never seen anything quite like that. It isn’t actually the subject of the questions that are amusing (look at any elementary logic text; since logic is independent of subject matter the examples are often whimsical) - but rather the implication that these are serious issues. (Well, except for the one about the Templeton Foundation, which is just nutty. I don’t see how that counts at all.) Morever, the vagueness and open endedness of them.

Comment #68596

Posted by k.e. on January 7, 2006 12:59 PM (e)

Good point the pro
Understanding the big picture will facilitate greater success at preserving the positive value of rational thought and critique.
Allowing intellectual bankrupts to influence religious moderates by setting up a false dichotomy between reason and religion would be to concede the game without trying to understand the rules.

Fundamentalism is identity politics of anger and isolation harnessed to the old mainstays of mammon/power and societal control by claiming an exclusive interpretation of “The one true Word of God” and is self perpetuating because it by default appeals to those confounded by(their self inflicted) removal of meaning from their lives. The neofundamentalists as I have said earlier are more rational than most on this side will let on and has roots going back to the premodern cultural revival in Europe. However, they have lost the the true meaning of western hermetic Christianity which gave birth to the Renascence and so on to the enlightenment and gone mosaic without its traditions. An appreciation for the positive values of Mythos/Religion and Logos/Science as complimentary without compromising either will continue the enlightenment.
Brief description of Mythos vs Logos
http://instruct.westvalley.edu/lafave/mythos.htm

Here is an insightful history of modern Fundamentalism
Mythos and Logos
The Battle for God
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0345391691/104-7781720-2514346?v=glance&n=283155

some insights from other commentators from different angles
http://www.ussb.org/sermonwrit02-22-04mythosandlogos.html
http://www.pbuuc.org/worship/sermons/2002sermons/jan132002.html
http://www.robertfulford.com/ReligiousFundamentalism.html
http://www.csudh.edu/dearhabermas/armstrong01.htmhttp://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0345391691/ref=lib_dp_TFCV/002-9844426-3074418?s=books&v=glance&vi=reader&n=283155

If you really want to get to the bottom of it Get hold of
Joeseph Campbell’s Videos
Mythos
http://www.jcf.org/works.php?id=258

Comment #68602

Posted by Migrant on January 7, 2006 2:02 PM (e)

People seem to forget the positive side of teaching Intelligent Design in publc school science class. The kids will at least learn to turn water into wine.

Comment #68603

Posted by k.e. on January 7, 2006 2:13 PM (e)

Well there you go proof it was a poetic allusion ;)

Comment #68654

Posted by Don on January 7, 2006 11:18 PM (e)

“While hailing the vaccine as a
great medical advance, the Family Research Council is concerned
that widespread inoculation would infringe on parental consent
or perhaps it would infringe on divine retribution.

Bwahhhh Haaaa haaa! Classic!

Comment #68762

Posted by JMH on January 8, 2006 2:30 PM (e)

Being a Texan and certainly no proponent of evolution, I have an interest in ID, i.e. in what ID specifically advocates. In the comments of this blog, I see lots of critical but little thinking. I mean, I understand that we Texans have few and insignificant accomplishments in science and technology, NASA, Lockheed Martin’s Joint Strike Fighter, but I think the designations alluding to Texans as hayseed buffoons is a little overdone.

It seems to me that advocates of evolution and opponents of ID propose that some irrational outside influence causes religious people to believe such things as creation or ID. However, these self-proclaimed rational thinkers deny that such an influence could exist, that is, God or at least, an active God. If God exists and interacts with the creation, then creationism or ID could very well be the proper explanation of origins. However, If God does not exist or does not interact with the creation, then religious thought leading to a belief in creationism or ID, having been predominant for the duration of at least written history, is the result of natural processes, and is therefore the best adaptation for survival.

Comment #68785

Posted by Corkscrew on January 8, 2006 5:19 PM (e)

JMH wrote:

It seems to me that advocates of evolution and opponents of ID propose that some irrational outside influence causes religious people to believe such things as creation or ID. However, these self-proclaimed rational thinkers deny that such an influence could exist, that is, God or at least, an active God.

Firstly, “advocates of evolution” are not exclusively non-religious people. To the contrary - last I remember there were about seven different Christian denominations and a couple of Jewish organisations explicitly supporting the teaching of evolution in schools and denouncing the Intelligent Design movement as intellectually bankrupt.

Secondly, the “advocates of evolution” that are atheist (I myself am one) certainly don’t think that some irrational outside influence causes dodgy religious views. In fact, as a result of considerable analysis, I am able to state unequivocally that people are more than capable of making idiots of themselves with no outside help whatsoever. From what I’ve seen, the ID movement appears to be a beautiful example of this.

It’s important to note that religious thought and Intelligent Design are two completely independent categories. Religion does indeed posit that there’s an intelligent designer out there somewhere, but that doesn’t mean it shares much common ground with the latter. Intelligent Design is a specific movement devoted to overthrowing accepted scientific methodology in an attempt to install Biblical Literalist creationism in schools (google the “Wedge document” for the raw data I’m using to back up these assertions).

In fact, a high proportion of Christians who take the time to study the issue appear to balk at some or all of this, in particular the deception required to pull this little stunt off. Sadly, the former Dover School Board were not among this number, resulting in Judge Jones’ acerbic comment that “It is ironic that several of these individuals, who so staunchly and proudly touted their religious convictions in public, would time and again lie to cover their tracks and disguise the real purpose behind the ID Policy.”

However, If God does not exist or does not interact with the creation, then religious thought leading to a belief in creationism or ID, having been predominant for the duration of at least written history, is the result of natural processes, and is therefore the best adaptation for survival.

Speaking as an atheist, rather than as an accepter of evolutionary theory (we really need a good word for this), I’d say that religious thought is the best adaptation for survival in the exact same way that gall wasps are the best adaptation for oak tree survival. But that’s just my personal opinion.

Comment #68797

Posted by Anton Mates on January 8, 2006 6:10 PM (e)

LEBEC, Calif. A small high school outside of Bakersfield has jumped into the national debate about whether “intelligent design” belongs in the classroom.

Officials at Frazier Mountain High School in Lebec contend that the class, called “Philosophy of Design,” is not being offered as science.

The teacher of the course is Sharon Lemburg. She says in the course syllabus — quote — “This class is not meant to guide you into a certain belief, but to allow you to search, become aware of the differences, and gain a better understanding of world views on origins.”

That actually doesn’t look very bad. If the class is called “Philosophy”, and is being taught by a social studies teacher, and the administration’s explicitly saying it’s not science, then cool. Nothing wrong–certainly nothing unconstitutional–about teaching about ID from a historical or sociological perspective, especially if it’s within a larger “world views on origins” framework. There ought to be more of those classes.

Now maybe Ms. Lemburg’s got an anti-evolution bias that’ll lead her to try to push ID as science within the class, maybe not; I don’t know the lady. Maybe she’s a huge Dawkins fan and plans to use the class to vent some of her annoyance with her husband and his parishioners! Okay, probably not–but I don’t think any warning bells have to go off unless specific problems appear with the class content or teaching style. It’s certainly nowhere near as dire as Governor Perry wanting to teach ID as science.

Comment #69620

Posted by Aagcobb on January 10, 2006 9:31 AM (e)

Governor Ernie Fletcher of Kentucky gave his State of the Commonwealth address last night. Rather than propose legislation to teach intelligent design, he said site based school councils already have the authority to institute the teaching of intelligent design, which he described as a “self evident truth”. What a great idea; encourage local school districts to bankrupt themselves the way Dover did!

Comment #69917

Posted by Anton Mates on January 11, 2006 12:21 AM (e)

Well, having now seen the various version of the syllabus for that class…yeah, uh, never mind. It’s a festive mixture of religious propaganda, scientific ignorance and general incoherence.

Sigh. I only wanted to be optimistic.