Wesley R. Elsberry posted Entry 1918 on January 17, 2006 02:46 PM.
Trackback URL: http://www.pandasthumb.org/cgi-bin/mt/mt-tb.fcgi/1913

Americans United for Separation of Church and State announced that the El Tejon School District has agreed to terminate the antievolution course currently in session, and will not offer that course or other courses promoting antievolution in the future.

Under the terms of the settlement, the course will terminate one week early. The district’s board of trustees has also agreed to language stating, “No school over which the School District has authority, including the High School, shall offer, presently or in the future, the course entitled ‘Philosophy of Design’ or ‘Philosophy of Intelligent Design’ or any other course that promotes or endorses creationism, creation science, or intelligent design.”

Said the Rev. Barry W. Lynn, Americans United executive director,“We are delighted with the board’s decision to discontinue the ‘Philosophy of Design’ course and never offer it again. Public schools have no business promoting religion. I hope that other public schools learn from this incident and reject efforts to bring religious doctrines into classrooms.”

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Comment #72914

Posted by Bob O'H on January 17, 2006 3:16 PM (e)

Ah so the soccerfootball coach got red carded, eh?

Bob

Comment #72919

Posted by blipey on January 17, 2006 3:28 PM (e)

I hope that other public schools learn from this incident and reject efforts to bring religious doctrines into classrooms.

I would hope so, also. However, I still see this movement as entirely a socio-political movement. I think it might take many beat-downs to show that it is not politically healthy to continue on. Even this may not stop the true culture warriors.

I suppose we’ll find out in Ohio next. I look often to out PT friends from Ohio for information–keep up the good work.

Comment #72923

Posted by Bayesian Bouffant, FCD on January 17, 2006 3:33 PM (e)

or any other course that promotes or endorses creationism, creation science, or intelligent design.”

A clear victory. The school board would have lost the case under existing precedents for the inclusion of YEC “Creation Science” material, so it goes above and beyond that the statement specifically mentions Intelligent Design creationism.

Comment #72927

Posted by Ian in New Jersey on January 17, 2006 3:36 PM (e)

According to news on Pharyngula, Luskin claims to have forced the school to drop the course. Apparently, the DI is terrified by the possibility of judges patiently reviewing their ‘scientific evidence’ for ID. Oh well.

Comment #72929

Posted by Russell on January 17, 2006 3:37 PM (e)

However, I still see this movement as entirely a socio-political movement. I think it might take many beat-downs to show that it is not politically healthy to continue on.

Don’t forget the financial costs. I don’t know the details of the El Tejon case, but I imagine even with the case ending with a settlement, there were significant legal costs for a small school district to bear.

Comment #72931

Posted by Aagcobb on January 17, 2006 3:38 PM (e)

For those who have suggested its unfair of the ACLU to stick the Dover school district with massive attorneys fees, may I suggest that the prospect of having to pay a seven figure sum to the ACLU probably helped bring about a rapid settlement of this case.

Comment #72942

Posted by improvius on January 17, 2006 3:52 PM (e)

Journalists are still not quite getting it.

Similar battles are being fought in Georgia and Kansas. Critics of “intelligent design” say it is biblical creationism in disguise, but defenders argue it is based on science and doesn’t require adherence to any religious belief.

The last sentence should be changed to:

Critics of “intelligent design” say it is biblical creationism in disguise, but its defenders, who are predominantly biblical creationists, argue it is based on science and doesn’t require adherence to any religious belief.

Comment #72945

Posted by blipey on January 17, 2006 3:54 PM (e)

Thank-you Russell. I had meant to mention the financial costs also, but somehow didn’t. It may indeed be the financial costs that get those who back ID for political reasons to back off. Nothing speaks to politicians like a heap of cash…or more importantly: A heap of cash doing a disappearing act.

Without this political backing, it should be easier to discuss ID on its scientific (or lack thereof) merits.

Comment #72953

Posted by Jason on January 17, 2006 4:33 PM (e)

I guess the Disco Institute is pleased that ID won’t be promoted in public schools…as creationism.

Comment #72954

Posted by Flint on January 17, 2006 4:34 PM (e)

Personally, I’m uncomfortable with the “costs too much” approach. There’s some law (I hope our forum lawyers can speak up) I’m sure, to address the chilling effect of the Big Guys using the threat of expensive litigation to maintain the status quo. For example, American handgun manufacturers are small, poorly-funded companies who simply can’t afford to defend themselves when they are sued for every misuse of a handgun. And those bringing the suits admit the manufacturers bear no responsibility; the goal isn’t to find them responsible, but to bankrupt them right out of business. And how can a private individual, living paycheck to paycheck, hope to defeat Three Initial Corporation, who can field a thousand high-powered lawyers endlessly?

The danger is that a valid legal complaint can be silenced by the sheer cost of raising it. Or alternatively, that a rather insidious religious guerilla instruction can thrive because cost issues prevented a decisive case from reaching a court high enough for the precedent to be broadly applicable.

So I think the taxpayers at large should fund both prosecution and defense in these cases, so that the law can be thoroughly aired out.

Comment #72957

Posted by JONBOY on January 17, 2006 4:41 PM (e)

So, ID does not require adherence to any religious belief according to its defenders? Quote from Sharon Lemburg a social studies teacher who was teaching the class in El Tejon “I believe this is the class the Lord wanted me to teach” So much for a transparent religious agenda.

Comment #72959

Posted by Gorbe on January 17, 2006 4:45 PM (e)

As long as there are people who genuinely believe in ancient books being 100% true in all regards of human endeavors, there will be conflicts between the world of reality and what those books claim about reality.

And while fewer and fewer people may cling to “unchanging truths” in the future, I don’t think it will ever be the case that humanity will lack people who desire the comfort of having a seemingly unambiguous reality spoon-fed to them (via gurus, holy books, etc.) rather than face the cold, hard, realities of life.

Comment #72961

Posted by Mr Christopher on January 17, 2006 4:47 PM (e)

Some in the media get it:

A group of parents sued the school district last week, saying the class taught by a minister’s wife violated the separation of church and state. The course taught that life is so complex it must have been created by God.

Looks like some in the media are seeing through the intelligent designer, space alien, time traveler nonsense and are calling it like it is.

I wonder how the honest creationists (those creationists who do not hide their beliefs like the IDCers) feel about the intelligent design creationists cult wanting to distance themselves from creationism.

.

Comment #72963

Posted by T_U_T on January 17, 2006 4:52 PM (e)

Mr Christopher wrote:

I wonder how the honest creationists (those creationists who do not hide their beliefs like the IDCers) feel about the intelligent design creationists cult wanting to distance themselves from creationism.

There are no honest creationists, only unsophisticated ones…

Comment #72964

Posted by AD on January 17, 2006 4:54 PM (e)

I worry, however, that this sort of action will be interpreted too broadly by the media and the ID supporters.

I’m sure we’ll hear some sort of outcry about “Look, we can’t even teach in religion classes!”; there will be no mention of the fact that equivalent courses for other religious views were not offered, nor the fact that it was a religious class attempting to directly contradict a science class. This amounted to an end run around the prohibition against teaching creationism.

The biggest issue the scientific community faces, in my opinion, is taking back the language around the issue and properly framing the questions, in context. If that is done, the ID case falls apart very rapidly.

Comment #72965

Posted by steve s on January 17, 2006 4:55 PM (e)

Comment #72957

Posted by JONBOY on January 17, 2006 04:41 PM (e) (s)

So, ID does not require adherence to any religious belief according to its defenders? Quote from Sharon Lemburg a social studies teacher who was teaching the class in El Tejon “I believe this is the class the Lord wanted me to teach” So much for a transparent religious agenda.

Perhaps the lord had entirely secular reasons for wanting her to teach the class.

Ever think of that?

Comment #72966

Posted by Bayesian Bouffant, FCD on January 17, 2006 4:56 PM (e)

Personally, I’m uncomfortable with the “costs too much” approach.

I’m slightly concerned about the cost, because of the known strategy of bleeding the beast. Some home-schooling Fundagelical could get on the school board and deliberately attempt to bankrupt the district’s public schools.

Comment #72967

Posted by Bayesian Bouffant, FCD on January 17, 2006 5:02 PM (e)

Perhaps the lord had entirely secular reasons for wanting her to teach the class.

Ever think of that?

Gosh, I didn’t think of that. Thank you for pointing out the possibility.

Comment #72970

Posted by DaftPunk on January 17, 2006 5:03 PM (e)

Sorry to go off topic, but I’m following Flint

“American handgun manufacturers are small, poorly-funded companies who simply can’t afford to defend themselves when they are sued for every misuse of a handgun.”

I don’t know the validity of this statement, but doubt it applies to Remington, Colt, Smith and Wesson and Remington. Furthermore, these suits are not brought for “every misuse.”

“And those bringing the suits admit the manufacturers bear no responsibility”

Again, not really true. The contention is not that the manufacturer did the crime the gun was used in, but facilitated it by continuing to sell guns to distributors who can’t account for their inventories that repeatedly end up being illegally trafficked to inner city criminals.

Perhaps second amendment absolutists are actually relying on evolutionary principals to help restore their view of a balanced society. JK ;-)

Comment #72973

Posted by Wesley R. Elsberry on January 17, 2006 5:04 PM (e)

There are no honest creationists, only unsophisticated ones…

s/creationists/antievolutionists/g;

Comment #72978

Posted by Pierce R. Butler on January 17, 2006 5:23 PM (e)

Have no doubt that this will be portrayed as brave little David being brutally forced to the ground by the big bad Goliath of elitist lawyers and tyrannical judges (therefore all good Americans must pray, donate to XYZ Ministries, and demand the Senate immediately confirm Alito).

When each legal victory is accompanied by proportionate public resentment about perceived hostility against religion, what has science really gained? The pro-evolution side has so far done a lousy job of showing that this sort of litigation is for the benefit of the students in each school district involved.

Comment #72979

Posted by JONBOY on January 17, 2006 5:26 PM (e)

Steve, Based on Romans 12 verse 2, thats a pretty good observation

Comment #72980

Posted by Russell on January 17, 2006 5:26 PM (e)

Personally, I’m uncomfortable with the “costs too much” approach.

I raise the issue, not so much as an “approach”, but as a fact.

Comment #72981

Posted by Russell on January 17, 2006 5:28 PM (e)

Pierce: what do you suggest as an alternative???

Comment #72994

Posted by Mr Christopher on January 17, 2006 5:51 PM (e)

JohnBoy Said…Steve, Based on Romans 12 verse 2, thats a pretty good observation

I am not Steve but I find it odd that the lord would take time out of his busy schedule to communicate with a social studies teacher about the content of her high school creationism course.

Don’t get me wrong, between the war in Iraq, Iran building nukes, millions of people starving to death each year, this Asian Bird Flu, I’m sure this intelligent design creationism course in hick town California has got to be one of the lord’s top priorities.

Oh, I didn’t mean the lord, silly me. I meant the intelligent designing, time traveling, space alien. Let’s keep it scientific, shall we?

Comment #73002

Posted by Scott on January 17, 2006 6:08 PM (e)

Some in the media are getting it:

http://www.blueoregon.com/russell_sadler/

Comment #73004

Posted by JONBOY on January 17, 2006 6:13 PM (e)

Mr christopher,Read the scripture(you do have a bible dont you?)and you will see I was being some what sarcastic. By the way, you forgot to mention hurricanes and tsunamis.

Comment #73007

Posted by BWE on January 17, 2006 6:22 PM (e)

Sometimes feels good to flog a foundering horse if you are really pissed at it doesn’t it? Let me take a stab at it.

I speak only for myself when I say this: God isn’t real. Well, our holy books reflect nothing other than human insight. The stories are fake. FakeFakeFakeFake. Magic doesn’t happen. Flying carpets,, magic flying horses, ressurection, walking on water, pulling a rabbit out of the hat without a trick, sawing people in half without hurting them, esp, parting a sea, burning bushes talking, 5000 people eating one loaf of bread and being full, gates of hell, hell, heaven, pearly gates, ghosts, spirits, djinn, satan, god, allah, jesus, krishna, shiva, tketlqitekl, zeus, fountains of youth, rapunzel, goblins, orcs, gandalf, world drowning floods, etc.

So, go ahead and doubt that evolution is correct. But just know that people mock religious wingnuts because they have chosen to believe in fairy tales. Hello, we just brought back stardust to earth, we have sequenced the human genome not to mention a whole lot of other things, fractal geometry and relativity have given us the equations that the universe uses to organize itself.

I’m going on and on here. I know that I’m probly not politically correct here and I glossed over that last bit but I’m right and you all know it. How you choose to deal with that information is your deal.

Comment #73020

Posted by steve s on January 17, 2006 6:56 PM (e)

wes, what in the world does “s/creationists/antievolutionists/g;” mean?

Comment #73023

Posted by Bill Gascoyne on January 17, 2006 7:00 PM (e)

Wes knows UNIX. “Globally change all occurances of ‘creationist’ to ‘antievolutionist’.”

Comment #73026

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on January 17, 2006 7:20 PM (e)

Damn, and I was all set to help organize another book donation.

;)

Comment #73040

Posted by Don Baccus on January 17, 2006 7:43 PM (e)

Some in the media are getting it

That’s a column by a professor who teaches journalism and environmental science at the university level, not a working journalist (good column, though).

Comment #73042

Posted by Te Rev Dr. Pat Robinson on January 17, 2006 7:44 PM (e)

BWE: Woe is unto you! Oh verily I say unto you: The Lord is often dark and mysterious, but never kind, and you that doubteth him have caused Mr. Sharon to get sick, and yea, even the miners who were saved to perish.

Look not to your Lord for your winning lottery numbers this week-end! Look not to your Lord for an extra 10% off at Wal-Mart when you shop for your new clothes! Finding an extra $5 in your jeans? Fagedabodit. You have chosen to stand with them from Dover and now the new Devils Town El Tejon and must pay the price. So sayest the Lord.

And thou must send me your savings, and that of your aged parents and grand parents, or woe is unto you.

Please use PayPal if this is more convenient, or use our new secured website: lordamirich.com

Rev. Robinson

Comment #73046

Posted by Thinker on January 17, 2006 7:53 PM (e)

BWE: “The stories are fake.”

Contrasting this with the whole ruckus about James Frey (of “A Million Little Pieces” infame), it’s too bad the authors of those stories aren’t around to issue a retraction like he did. Would have been fun to see them on Larry King Live, not to mention the comments of Pat Robertson…

Comment #73048

Posted by Flint on January 17, 2006 7:59 PM (e)

Russell:

I raise the issue, not so much as an “approach”, but as a fact.

I understand this fact, but I was raising what I think is a legitimate issue: that something should not become a de facto legal principle simply because those who dispute it rarely if ever have the funds to fight it. I’d prefer that the issue is given a formal, definitive legal burial. At the very least, there are still unnecessary costs involved trying to go from one rural school district to another threatening lawsuits.

Incidentally, DaftPunk ought to be aware that “sue the manufacturer” policies have indeed removed Colt from the handgun market, pretty well impoverished Smith and Wesson, and had similar effects on other small manufacturers. Something is just basically wrong with trying to establish a policy by pricing one’s opponents out of the market.

Comment #73052

Posted by bill on January 17, 2006 8:10 PM (e)

Wes knows UNIX. “Globally change all occurances of ‘creationist’ to ‘antievolutionist’.”

That’s Episcopalian UNIX.

Catholic UNIX would read: Search for an occurance of ‘creationist’ and change it to ‘antievolutionist’ and do this for all occurances of ‘creationist’.

Ramen;

(translated from the original Latin)

Comment #73074

Posted by Ed Darrell on January 17, 2006 9:11 PM (e)

and demand the Senate immediately confirm Alito

Well, I can’t confirm it. The lab tests aren’t back yet, and the Amoxicillin seems to be working – so it’s probably not Alito, just standard sinusitis.

Comment #73079

Posted by Larry Fafarman on January 17, 2006 9:45 PM (e)

One of the things that was very disturbing about this case was that the plaintiffs were able to get an injunction hearing scheduled to be held just one week after the suit was filed. Normally, injunction hearings are scheduled on such short notice only for the most dire of emergencies – like someone is going to tear your house down. Granting this hearing on such short notice in this case smacks of favoritism.

Also, though small, poor local school districts are easily intimidated by the threat of lawsuits, this is not true of states, which have much deeper pockets. I have seen no signs that any states have been intimidated by this threat of lawsuits.

Also, it is now apparent that Americans United wants to stop the teaching of ID in public-school philosophy classes as well as science classes.

If creationism is considered to be the only alternative to evolution theory, then anything that raises doubts about evolution theory may be considered to be a promotion of religion. This effectively immunizes evolution theory from criticism in public-school science classes and maybe also public-school philosophy classes.

Comment #73081

Posted by Thinker on January 17, 2006 10:01 PM (e)

Larry, if you want an alternative to evolution theory taught in public schools, simply:

1. Set up a testable hypothesis
2. Do the research to verify your hypothesis
3. Publish the results in peer-reviewed journals, enabling others to verify your claims
4. Repeat 1-3 for adjoining hypotheses
5. Build a coherent theory from your verified results
6. Hone the theory together with colleagues so that it explains the facts better than evolution
7. Start teaching!

If you succeed in this, I am sure you will win a number of scientific prizes, not to mention fame and fortune. When you do, remember who tipped you off on how to go about it, OK?

Comment #73082

Posted by Mr Christopher on January 17, 2006 10:03 PM (e)

Larry, you’re a funny guy but I bet your attempt to get others to sit here and endlessly debate and school you are fruitful.

As I have said before you are very good at what you do. Do you laugh the whole time at people here who actually think they can reason with you? I bet you do. Well you should I suppose.

You have an amusing gig going here, let’s watch some of the others fall all over themselves pointing out your bad arguments, thinking they can somehow lead you to reason.

Who knows, maybe you can get the replies to this thread up over 200?

Comment #73083

Posted by Apesnake on January 17, 2006 10:08 PM (e)

AU's Rev. Barry W. Lynn wrote:

I hope that other public schools learn from this incident and reject efforts to bring religious doctrines into classrooms.

If the officials who run public schools were able to learn they would not be creationists to start with.

Mr. Christopher wrote:

I find it odd that the lord would take time out of his busy schedule to communicate with a social studies teacher about the content of her high school creationism course.

Especially since he is so busy talking to diet drink salesman Pat Robertson about the theology of strokes and which towns he is moving out of. First Sodom, then New Orleans then Dover… he must get a lot of air miles. Then there are all the mental patients he chats with. His help in lesson planning might be contracted out to Santa Claus.

Comment #73085

Posted by Raging Bee on January 17, 2006 10:11 PM (e)

…This effectively immunizes evolution theory from criticism in public-school science classes and maybe also public-school philosophy classes.

Evolution theory is “immunized…from criticism in public-school science classes” for the same reason the round-Earth theory is so immunized: there’s no scientifically valid alternative theory, only a twisted, selective interpretation of a few Bible phrases that some people have chosen to substitute for actual observation.

Comment #73088

Posted by Raging Bee on January 17, 2006 10:26 PM (e)

Mr. Christopher: actually, we HAVE forced Larry to explicitly concede that evolution is a valid theory that yields useful results. On comment #72904 of “The Panda’s Thumb Has Evolved - Twice,” Larry said:

My point was that biologists can use evolution theory even if they do not believe it to be true.

See? He explicitly admitted that real biologists can “use” evolution theory to productive ends – something they haven’t done with ID – whether or not they – or anyone else – choose to believe it. How is this possible? Only because evolution theory is objectively true and relevant, whoever might pretend it’s a “theory in crisis.”

Of course, Larry immediately ran back to his own subjectivist universe – his “special island” if you will – where all his beliefs are safe from reality. But hey, you have to take baby steps with these people. He’s making progress, really…

Comment #73093

Posted by Pierce R. Butler on January 17, 2006 10:32 PM (e)

Russell: I think it’s crucial that pro-evolution people both seize and create opportunities to expound on the importance of a solid science education for each students’ prospects of getting into good colleges & universities, for possible employment in biotech/medical/environmental/etc careers, and for national economic survival.

This sort of emphasis reaches parents on a level they all understand, regardless of religion and politics. It leaves the creationists - all flavors - with no rebuttal and nothing comparable to offer.

Arguments about the First Amendment are vital for the judges’ ears, but - especially when filtered for soundbites by the media - come across as hostile to all religion. Americans United has lots of experience in this arena, but (though a member) I’m afraid they’re saying on the courthouse steps what they should say mainly inside, and are missing some important dimensions of science-related cases. In dealing with hostile or ignorant reporters, it’s essential to reiterate your primary talking points at every possible occasion, or they will pick up and run with your casual side comment or legalistic quibble.

Comment #73096

Posted by Dan on January 17, 2006 10:53 PM (e)

Flint wrote:

There’s some law (I hope our forum lawyers can speak up) I’m sure, to address the chilling effect of the Big Guys using the threat of expensive litigation to maintain the status quo. […] And how can a private individual, living paycheck to paycheck, hope to defeat Three Initial Corporation, who can field a thousand high-powered lawyers endlessly?

Sounds like a SLAPP (“A Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation”). Different states provide varying levels of legal protection against them.

/not a lawyer, but saw a lot of SLAPP against anti-spam services.

Comment #73097

Posted by improvius on January 17, 2006 10:54 PM (e)

When each legal victory is accompanied by proportionate public resentment about perceived hostility against religion, what has science really gained? The pro-evolution side has so far done a lousy job of showing that this sort of litigation is for the benefit of the students in each school district involved.

I think it’s a BIG mistake to look at the litigation as “creo vs. evo”. The litigation more accurately represents citizens fighting to keep the state from advocating a particular religion. “Evolution” isn’t winning - nor is science. The people are winning their constitutional rights.

Comment #73099

Posted by Mr Christopher on January 17, 2006 11:14 PM (e)

JONBOY, yes I have a bible, a few actually. I am a King James kind of guy but the last few years I have come to appreciate the Catholic Holy text. I haven’t read it much lately, I re-read the Book of Joshua a year or so ago but I haven’t opened it since. And my own sarcasm must not have been clear. I was trying to piggy back off of your own :-)

Raging Bee, don’t get me wrong, I love larry. And as cliche as it sounds, he is so utterly predictable. On every single subject larry demonstrates he is a vaccuum of fundamental understanding and logic. That is his charm. If he were so completley off on any single subject we’d say its a learning thing, he’ll catch on. But in every thread he posts his views are absurd and impossible for a thinking person to accept. No one can be that mental on purpose. Larry does a great IDC loon character.

We should all start a post or two for him and go ahead and outline what his objections will be.

Speaking of larry speak, even though the two parties negotiated a settlement prior to the judge hearing the case, larry insists a sinister favoritism was shown by the court. We shoudl have seen that one coming. You got us on that one, larry!

Larry’s hot off the press judicial favoritism theory 1.0 (beta) was evidenced by the time it took to schedule a court hearing for a high school philosophy class alleged to be teaching creationism. This is in a town of 1,400 in podunk California. The wheels of justice were rolling too fast for our resident skeptic troll. Larry suspected yet another judicial activist was already scheming in the shadows…

Yeah, I hear the X-Files was coming up with a similar angle for an upcoming episode. Federal Favoritism

Speaking of hick towns….We’re talking Bakersfield here, people. Fresno even. The land of, well, um, Bakersfield. You bave how many radio-evangelists in that town? The Rolling Stones mentioned Bakersfield in their Far Away Eyes. Of course the Lord spoke to this woman and told her to teach this class. Duh.

What else does a time traveling space alien intelligent deigner do to follow up his own irreducibly complexity? He talks to soccor coaches who are members of the Assembly of God church and teach social studies. What else is there to do?

If you are the intelligent designing, time traveling, space alien, how the heck do you follow up irreducibly complexity? I bet he is bored stiff. Well he does have the Superbowl to look forward to watching. It will be interesting to see which team he choses to win this year.

Comment #73100

Posted by Ed Darrell on January 17, 2006 11:20 PM (e)

Oh, heck, even trolls gotta eat:

One of the things that was very disturbing about this case was that the plaintiffs were able to get an injunction hearing scheduled to be held just one week after the suit was filed. Normally, injunction hearings are scheduled on such short notice only for the most dire of emergencies — like someone is going to tear your house down. Granting this hearing on such short notice in this case smacks of favoritism.

The class was already in progress, and the damage was being done. Damn straight it was favoritism – the judges always favor the Constitution. They swear an oath to that effect. So does every other federal government employee, and a goodly number of state employees.

We would expect no less from any patriot.

Also, though small, poor local school districts are easily intimidated by the threat of lawsuits, this is not true of states, which have much deeper pockets. I have seen no signs that any states have been intimidated by this threat of lawsuits.

See Epperson v. Arkansas, McLean v. Arkansas, and Edwards v. Aguillard. After Epperson, even Tennessee repealed the anti-evolution law Gov. Austin Peay had championed in 1925. Nobody likes to lose lawsuits. Eventually competent lawyers get their clients not to bring frivolous suits, or take frivolous actions that invite litigation. The “threat” of lawsuits is only effective to stop illegal actions when both sides have competent lawyers.

Also, it is now apparent that Americans United wants to stop the teaching of ID in public-school philosophy classes as well as science classes.

C’mon down to Texas. We test our kids on reading comprehension, and any elementary school can parse out AU’s legal complaint for you. The problem with the course in Lebec was that it was not a philosophy course, but instead was a course in creationism, which is religious doctrine. Had it been a course to study the doctrine rather than advocate it, it would have been okay.

Public school philosophy classes were not targeted by AU.

I suspect you really knew that.

If creationism is considered to be the only alternative to evolution theory, then anything that raises doubts about evolution theory may be considered to be a promotion of religion. This effectively immunizes evolution theory from criticism in public-school science classes and maybe also public-school philosophy classes.

In the law, creationism is not an alternative to evolution theory at all. Creationism is religious dogma. That’s why it’s illegal.

Any scientific criticism of evolution theory is wholly acceptable without any legislation from any school board or any legislature. The problem creationists have is they don’t have any scientific data to back any of their claims.

Evolution theory isn’t immune from serious criticism under the law. Creationism isn’t serious, isn’t criticism of science, and so doesn’t qualify for your criteria.

I teach philosophy in public schools. It’s part of the social studies requirements in Texas. Stick with those standards, you’ll do well. Teach religion instead, you’re crossing the line.

Comment #73110

Posted by PvM on January 18, 2006 12:12 AM (e)

Hear Hear Ed. Well said indeed.

Poor Larry lives in a world of strawmen and confusions. Or perhaps he is just pulling our legs? Who knows… ID’s approach may work well on people like Larry but most people should quickly see through all this. That ID is scientifically vacuous is self evident.

Comment #73114

Posted by Spore on January 18, 2006 12:37 AM (e)

Calling ID on the carpet…

Casey Luskin, an attorney with the Discovery Institute, denies that proponents of intelligent design are disingenuous. I called them disingenuous because while they appeal to a supernatural explanation for what they consider irreducible complexity, they refuse to use the word supernatural or refer to God in their arguments. This is consciously done in an effort to make intelligent design look less like religion and more like science. But the fact remains that their argument does appeal to the supernatural.

Luskin said “What Adkins doesn’t realize is that his position is self-contradictory: evolutionists cannot on the one hand attack creationists as unscientific for referring to a “supernatural” of(sic) “divine” creator, and then on the other hand slander design theorists as “deceptive” for refusing to appeal to unscientific explanations like the supernatural.” But I didn’t call proponents of ID deceptive for refusing to appeal to unscientific explanations like the supernatural. I called them deceptive because they refuse to admit that they do appeal to unscientific explanations like the supernatural……

Comment #73124

Posted by Wesley R. Elsberry on January 18, 2006 3:22 AM (e)

Since the Bathroom Wall is once more available, stuff that looks like it’s not doing anything useful here is being moved there. If you are looking for your deathless prose, try there if it isn’t showing up here.

Comment #73125

Posted by Larry Fafarman on January 18, 2006 4:45 AM (e)

Comment #73100 posted by Ed Darrell on January 17, 2006 11:20 PM

****Granting this hearing on such short notice in this case smacks of favoritism.*****

The class was already in progress, and the damage was being done. Damn straight it was favoritism — the judges always favor the Constitution.

Whatever damage was being done was not irreversible. The alleged damage to the impressionable minds of the students could have been undone by brainwashing those minds in the great truths of evolution theory.

Of course judges favor the Constitution. But they normally do not drop everything that they are doing to respond to an alleged constitutional violation that is not irreversible.

We would expect no less from any patriot.

Patriot? Oh, so now we get it. Evolutionists are patriots and ID proponents are traitors.

****I have seen no signs that any states have been intimidated by this threat of lawsuits.****

See Epperson v. Arkansas, McLean v. Arkansas, and Edwards v. Aguillard. After Epperson, even Tennessee repealed the anti-evolution law Gov. Austin Peay had championed in 1925.

That was after a Supreme Court ruling. So far, there has been no Supreme Court ruling on ID, and no evidence that any of the states are being intimidated by threats of anti-ID lawsuits. In fact, one of the Ohio board of education members said, “let them sue us.” A million dollars is just mad money for a state.

Public school philosophy classes were not targeted by AU. I suspect you really knew that.

No, I did not know that, and I don’t agree. AU gave no indication that it would have accepted the course under any circumstances. And the Dover decision, by the way, suggested that ID might be OK in philosophy classes – “our conclusion today is that it is unconstitutional to teach ID as an alternative to evolution in a public school science classroom.” page 137 of opinion, emphasis added

Creationism is religious dogma. That’s why it’s illegal.

Irreducible complexity is not religious dogma. Evolution theory, though, like creationism, is religious dogma – the flaws in evolution theory are so bad that they can be explained only by assuming divine intervention. The only predictions that evolution theory can make in regard to macroevolution are predictions of likely future finds of more circumstantial evidence of macroevolution. The claims of evolution theory are so far-fetched that they are counter-intuitive and contrary to reason.

Comment #73128

Posted by guthrie on January 18, 2006 5:58 AM (e)

Well LArry, are you going to tell the physicists that quantum mechanics is wrong, because it is contrary to reason?

I actually think that some day, someone might come up with a proper scientific theory of ID that will require some work on it. So far, that has not happened. LArry, can you tell us what scientific work and predictions have been done using irreducible complexity?

Oh yes, lastly, where in evolutionary biology does it assume divine intervention?

Comment #73131

Posted by k.e. on January 18, 2006 6:47 AM (e)

Larry
I’m waiting for science to explain this.

Larry projects his denial
The claims of evolution theory Creation Pseudo -Scientists are so far-fetched that they are counter-intuitive and contrary to reason,intelligence,Knowledge,sanity and evidence.

Larry another question
What is Fundamentalist neurosis

It is explained in the bible and other places

With useless endeavour
Forever, forever,
Is Sisyphus rolling
His stone up the mountain!

Henry W. Longfellow. 1807-1882. The Masque of Pandora. Chorus of the Eumenides

“When falls on man the anger of the gods, first from his mind they banish understanding.”
Lycurgus

“When divine power plans evil for a man, it first injures his mind.”
Sophocles

“Those whom God wishes to destroy, he first deprives of their senses.”
Euripides

“Whom God wishes to destroy he first makes mad.”
Seneca

“For those whom God to ruin has design’d, He fits for fate, and first destroys their mind.”
John Dryden

“Whom the Gods would destroy they first make mad.”
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Comment #73134

Posted by Larry Fafarman on January 18, 2006 7:09 AM (e)

Comment #72929 posted by Russell on January 17, 2006 03:37 PM

“However, I still see this movement as entirely a socio-political movement. I think it might take many beat-downs to show that it is not politically healthy to continue on.”

Don’t forget the financial costs. I don’t know the details of the El Tejon case, but I imagine even with the case ending with a settlement, there were significant legal costs for a small school district to bear.

As for the financial costs, the school district must have paid little or nothing. No court hearings were held. This was an out-of-court settlement, and only the judge can award attorney fees ( see Blum v. Stenson ). The school district’s own attorney fees must have been nominal or nonexistent.

Also, as for political costs, there are political costs for continuing on, but there are also political costs for stopping. Opinion polls show that the majority of the public wants ID or creationism to be taught in the public schools as well as evolution theory.

Comment #73148

Posted by Wesley R. Elsberry on January 18, 2006 8:58 AM (e)

Stuff primarily about El Tejon may have a place here. Stuff primarily about a particular commenter will go.

Comment #73162

Posted by Wesley R. Elsberry on January 18, 2006 9:42 AM (e)

Polling data shows that most US citizens have little clue about what science is, and only about a fifth of respondents came close to being able to describe what DNA is. One of the TV news outlets conducted a poll two weeks into the Iraq war asking, “Is Saddam dead?” Survey says, 75% said, “Yes.” The polls show that the US populace in general has not yet gotten the word that ID stands for “intentional deception”.

El Tejon is probably little different in character from Dover, PA or Darby, MT. In both of the latter two places, the electorate turned out antievolutionists who risked education coffers in order to set sermon topics for preaching in public school classrooms.

Comment #73165

Posted by ben on January 18, 2006 9:56 AM (e)

Apparently Fafafooey thinks public schools exist to reproduce and enhance the ignorance of the American populace, not remedy it. The idea is to teach children the best available information and give them the tools to understand and use it. Fafaooey would have us instead just teach whatever ignorant beliefs are currently held by the majority (according to the first semi-relevant poll results he finds in a Google search). For instance, the majority of Americans cannot locate Iraq on a world map. According to Fafaooey, maybe this means we should teach children that science cannot conclusively prove where Iraq is and should instead teach that Iraq is wherever the largest number of poll respondents think it is.

Comment #73166

Posted by Pierce R. Butler on January 18, 2006 9:59 AM (e)

Hurray for the repair of the bathroom wall!

improvius: I think it’s a BIG mistake to look at the litigation as “creo vs. evo”. The litigation more accurately represents citizens fighting to keep the state from advocating a particular religion. “Evolution” isn’t winning - nor is science. The people are winning their constitutional rights.

An entirely legitimate point of view, but one very easily spun into “some people’s so-called rights are trampling others”. You & I might agree that in this case the so-called right to preach is trampling the right to a religiously neutral classroom, but I’m approaching this as a matter of public perception, not law.

When trying to reach an underinformed and partially hostile public via reporters, especially when you’re already being portrayed as a meddling outsider, you need to focus on the strongest “we’re on your side” argument you can make. The constitutional-rights position does that, but the other side is also talking about “rights”, leaving the audience (public & reporters alike) to choose between two abstractions, meaning they’ll go with their own prejudices. Talking about jobs is more specific, much more appealing, and gives the opposition no opening for counter-offers. It moves the subject to a popular and well-understood concern where our side has all the advantages and “they” have nothing.

Comment #73177

Posted by harold on January 18, 2006 10:56 AM (e)

Flint wrote -

“Personally, I’m uncomfortable with the “costs too much” approach”

Well, I’m not. That’s the only approach I’m aware of that protects ANY of my rights from unscrupulous would-be violators. It costs too much to violate them.

Comment #73184

Posted by AD on January 18, 2006 11:05 AM (e)

Larry,

“Also, as for political costs, there are political costs for continuing on, but there are also political costs for stopping. Opinion polls show that the majority of the public wants ID or creationism to be taught in the public schools as well as evolution theory.”

Opinion polls are worthless, unless conducted among experts (and even then, only when directly relevant to their field of expertise). Or are you going to make a serious argument to me that throwing the Jews into concentration camps is a viable proposition because, in late 1930s and early 1940s germany, opinion polls would show that a majority of the public hated them?

There’s a very good reason this course was removed - why don’t you do some investigation into the actual course content? You’ll find it was a creationism course designed around directly contradicting science. It was a science course being called something else in a dishonest ploy to slip it into the curriculum. Worse, it was someone without scientific standing commenting repeatedly on science in an academic setting where they are assumed to be an authority. The rough equivalent of this, Larry, would be letting an atheist preach as an authority about the non-existence of God at your church. Now you explain to me why that’s not a good idea…

Lastly, you should be applauding this sort of decision. It exists precisely to protect minority religious views, such as your own. Keep that in mind when you rail against the structure that allows you to exist. Else, at some point when we allow the states and government to further religion in a classroom, what are you going to do when it is not your religion which is the one in favor?

Comment #73185

Posted by yellow fatty bean on January 18, 2006 11:07 AM (e)

CreatoIDism is really running out of places to hide.

First it was ID school boards,and classes, then it was stickers (still in play, but they will likely eventaully go away), then it was a bogus ‘philosophy class’ taught by the special-ed/gym teacher ( I bet he has see some EPIC dodgeball games), next I suppose they will just retreat to ‘science seminars’ in Wed. night bible study classes, complete with pamphlets for students to hand out to their peers during bio class.

Comment #73187

Posted by _Arthur on January 18, 2006 11:20 AM (e)

The computer website Ars Technica has a write-up on El Tejon:
Intelligent Design as Philosophy Fails
http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20060117-5997.html

Comment #73198

Posted by BWE on January 18, 2006 11:42 AM (e)

Way back in college I signed up for a philosophy of religion class. Everyone who took it told me how great the prof was and how great the class was so I signed up.

The prof died 2 weeks before the class started and was replaced by a christian woman who ran us through the writings of all the big christian thinkers and the theme of the class was basically “here’s the logic that points to christianity being accurate-written by a bunch of christians”.

The entire class would have worked for any religion based on faith though. I discovered that they all seem interchangeable and that the main thing that they rely on is the threat of hell. (shrug) When I mentioned to the teacher that if hell lasted for infinity then it didn’t mean much since infinity is outside of time and we have no reference for what that would be like she replied “Oh, we understand infinity now.” I was surprised and asked her to explain. She didn’t, but she pointed me toward a few books which she said would explain it to my satisfaction. I read the books, never asked a question in class again, regurgitated her lectures and the readings for the tests, and left feeling like I’d wasted my time. (I get the feeling that’s how a lot of people feel about church. (shrug))

If I never would have asked questions or if I would have accepted her authority and if I had not had a lot of science in my background (and if I was dumb as a stump) I might have swallowed the story. If big words and thoughts could have frightened me, I would maybe have accepted these ideas (St. Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, Pascal’s wager etc) simply because they seemed to big to challenge.

My point is that, had this been a real philosophy of religion class, without speakers from many different religions and a basic understanding of the physical sciences (so you know when to call BullS**t) what you are getting is basically a one sided view of some religion. The teacher can pick and choose the material. Or rev. robertson. THank you for the info by the way. I’ll be sure to use the paypal link. Unfortunately, I still haven’t joined the 700 club cult.

Comment #73199

Posted by Mr Christopher on January 18, 2006 11:47 AM (e)

Arthur was all…

The computer website Ars Technica has a write-up on El Tejon:
Intelligent Design as Philosophy Fails

That was an exceptional article, Arthur. Thanks!

Comment #73200

Posted by Mr Christopher on January 18, 2006 11:51 AM (e)

Oops, I meant to offer this quote from the article mentioned above

this course appears to have been an attempt to turn philosophy against a field that should be viewed as a limited subset of philosophical inquiry, namely science. In doing so, it turns education into a bizarre zero-sum game: learn something in science class in the morning, and learn why you shouldn’t believe it in the afternoon. Chris Mooney posted a transcript of a portion of the CNN coverage of the issue which illustrates this well:

Reporter: What have you learned?

Sam Alexander, [El Tejon] student: I’ve learned that evolution has become, over the years, more and more — more and more people decide that it’s not completely true and that there has to be another belief or another thing that replaces it.

Reporter: And what is that?

Alexander: That is an intelligent designer.

Reporter: Meaning God?

Alexander: Yes, God, the Christian God who created earth in 6 days.

Mooney views this as an indication of the clumsy and blatant promotion of creationism in the class. More important, though, is how it illustrates how much damage to education this “philosophy” course has done during its limited run.

Comment #73206

Posted by Mr Christopher on January 18, 2006 12:33 PM (e)

The El Tejon Legal Compaint

Not surprisingly, Kitzmiller V Dover was quoted again and again in this complaint. Looks like the Judge Jones ruling will be affecting much more than Dover, the IDC cultists suggested otherwise.

I wish this had gone to trial. It would have been a slam dunk.

.

Comment #73263

Posted by Dave Mescher on January 18, 2006 4:08 PM (e)

Larry Fafarman wrote:

No, I did not know that, and I don’t agree. AU gave no indication that it would have accepted the course under any circumstances. And the Dover decision, by the way, suggested that ID might be OK in philosophy classes — “our conclusion today is that it is unconstitutional to teach ID as an alternative to evolution in a public school science classroom.” page 137 of opinion

Had there been some actual… philosophy in the course (which was purporting to be a philosophy course), the AUSCS suit might have been groundless.

But since the featured works & speakers were almost exclusively YEC pseudoscience masquerading as fact, the course description also was peddling that particular brand of garbage, no actual philosophy texts (or even authors) that would be pertinent to ID were mentioned at all in the syllabus, and it appears that even the fraction of the course that has been taught was as scientific advocacy of the YEC & ID viewpoints, the AUSCS most certainly had valid cause for complaint.

Putting pseudoscience in a course as fact, and labeling it “philosophy” is like putting sewage in a wooden barrel, aging it for a few years, and then calling the resultant product fine wine.

Comment #73338

Posted by Frank J on January 18, 2006 7:13 PM (e)

improvius wrote:

The last sentence should be changed to:
Critics of “intelligent design” say it is biblical creationism in disguise, but its defenders, who are predominantly biblical creationists, argue it is based on science and doesn’t require adherence to any religious belief.

If you mean “rank and file” defenders, you are probably right in most cases. If you mean the leaders of the ID movement, however, I strongly disagree. They all seem to know that biblical creationism (BC), in all its mutually contradictory versions, is nonsense. Michael Behe even said so early on, and to date no ID leader has challenged him directly on it (as real scientists would do). I agree that IDers knowingly and willingly, if indirectly, promote BC, but there are many clues from their own words that they privately think that it’s nonsense, not just the absurd young earth timeline, but even the “independent origins” that OECs promote. Furthermore, their “wedge” strategy gives them a motivation to promote something that they do not personally believe. Ronald Bailey made the case well, IMO, two years before the “wedge” document was discovered.

My only question is whether IDers are genuinely afraid that the public can’t handle the truth of evolution (as Bailey suggests) or whether they are just getting their kicks selling pseudoscientific snake oil.

Note that, even without your added words, that common statement is misleading, though, because, in a way, defenders and critics of ID are both right. ID may not “be” biblical creationism, but certainly promotes it. ID is “based on science” in the sense that it takes well-established science and misrepresents it. And even though ID actively encourages certain fundamentalist religious beliefs, it really does not require adherence to any particular one; Raelians for example are impressed with ID.

Now I don’t expect any ID activist to approve of my analysis, but I think that critics of ID can, and must, agree to this common ground, and stop assuming that ID promoters honestly believe what they promote. Unless they can be shown to be deceitful, the public will always give an unfair advantage to “underdogs” who challenge science, no matter how wrong they are.

Comment #73360

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on January 18, 2006 8:45 PM (e)

From DI’s Ministry of Propaganda:

Discovery Institute Praises School District for Withdrawing Class
Misrepresenting Intelligent Design

Seattle – A California high school has agreed to withdraw an elective
philosophy class titled “Philosophy of Design,” which Discovery
Institute said was misrepresenting the theory.

“We are pleased that the school district followed our recommendation
to withdraw this class,” said Casey Luskin, an attorney with the
Institute. “From the very beginning this course was not formulated
properly and was confusing students by including discussion of
intelligent design with material that promoted young earth
creationism as fact.” Luskin sent a letter to the El Tejon Unified
School District last week urging that the district drop or
reformulate the class, and he testified to the school board in person
on Jan. 13 that the class should be scrapped.

The out of court settlement orders the district to cancel the class
by Friday next week and forbids them from ever teaching this class
“or any other course that promotes or endorses creationism, creation
science, or intelligent design.”

“While we are pleased by the outcome in this case, we continue to
believe that teaching objectively about intelligent design is
permissible in public school science classes, and is certainly
acceptable for philosophy or social studies courses,” said Luskin.
“We offered to work with the district and with Americans United to
create a philosophy course on origins which people on all sides agree
would be acceptable and that they could re-teach next year.”

Luskin noted that Americans United and other Darwin-only lobbyists
had previously expressed a willingness for intelligent design to be
taught in social studies or philosophy courses rather than science
classes.

Last year, for example, the Rev. Barry Lynn, executive director of
Americans United for Separation of Church and State, was quoted by
the New York Times claiming intelligent design is religion and that:
“when it comes to matters of religion and philosophy, they can be
discussed objectively in public schools, but not in biology class.”

“If Americans United really believes that it’s OK to teach about
intelligent design in philosophy or social studies courses,” said
Luskin, “we challenge them to join with us to come up with an
objective course that can be taught in the El Tejon district.
Otherwise, it will become clear that their real goal is the
suppression of any discussion of intelligent design in any classroom
anywhere in the country.”

Comment #73362

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on January 18, 2006 8:47 PM (e)

The out of court settlement orders the district to cancel the class
by Friday next week and forbids them from ever teaching this class
“or any other course that promotes or endorses creationism, creation
science, or intelligent design.”

“While we are pleased by the outcome in this case, we continue to
believe that teaching objectively about intelligent design is
permissible in public school science classes, and is certainly
acceptable for philosophy or social studies courses,” said Luskin.
“We offered to work with the district and with Americans United to
create a philosophy course on origins which people on all sides agree
would be acceptable and that they could re-teach next year.”

Um, perhaps someone should explain to Luskin what “forbids them from ever teaching this class ‘or any other course that promotes or endorses creationism, creation science, or intelligent design’ “, means.

Comment #73364

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on January 18, 2006 8:53 PM (e)

I wish this had gone to trial. It would have been a slam dunk.

Cheer up – we still have slam dunks in Ohio and Kansas.

Comment #73484

Posted by improvius on January 19, 2006 9:17 AM (e)

“If Americans United really believes that it’s OK to teach about
intelligent design in philosophy or social studies courses,” said
Luskin, “we challenge them to join with us to come up with an
objective course that can be taught in the El Tejon district.
Otherwise, it will become clear that their real goal is the
suppression of any discussion of intelligent design in any classroom
anywhere in the country.”

That would be fantastic. I suggest that they cover the “Wedge Document” on day 2.

Comment #73488

Posted by improvius on January 19, 2006 9:35 AM (e)

Frank J wrote:

If you mean the leaders of the ID movement, however, I strongly disagree. They all seem to know that biblical creationism (BC), in all its mutually contradictory versions, is nonsense. Michael Behe even said so early on, and to date no ID leader has challenged him directly on it (as real scientists would do). I agree that IDers knowingly and willingly, if indirectly, promote BC, but there are many clues from their own words that they privately think that it’s nonsense, not just the absurd young earth timeline, but even the “independent origins” that OECs promote.

Jonathan Wells:

[My father] also spoke out against the evils in the world; among them, he frequently criticized Darwin’s theory that living things originated without God’s purposeful, creative activity. My studies included modern theologians who took Darwinism for granted and thus saw no room for God’s involvement in nature or history; in the process, they re- interpreted the fall, the incarnation, and even God as products of human imagination.

Father’s words, my studies, and my prayers convinced me that I should devote my life to destroying Darwinism, just as many of my fellow Unificationists had already devoted their lives to destroying Marxism. When Father chose me (along with about a dozen other seminary graduates) to enter a Ph.D. program in 1978, I welcomed the opportunity to prepare myself for battle.

Comment #73493

Posted by improvius on January 19, 2006 9:43 AM (e)

Frank, to be fair, I also believe that at least some of the DI fellows are simply con artists. (Dembski almost certainly is.) There is no denying that this is a profitable venture for many of them. You won’t go broke telling people what they want to hear. But there are at least a few, like Wells, who are true believers. And, of course, the real force behind the ID movement comes from the hordes of fundamental creationist believers, all flocking to the “big tent” to fight Darwinism.

Comment #73501

Posted by Bayesian Bouffant, FCD on January 19, 2006 10:08 AM (e)

wes, what in the world does “s/creationists/antievolutionists/g;” mean?

Yup, that is syntax for a global search & replace, such as in the *nix stream editor, sed.

Comment #73632

Posted by Pierce R. Butler on January 19, 2006 2:28 PM (e)

When Jonathan Wells speaks about “my father”, he almost certainly means not his biological one but the Rev. Sun Myung Moon, head honcho of the Unification Church, Washington Times, and other enterprises too numerous to mention.

Comment #107640

Posted by Caty Tota on June 23, 2006 1:05 PM (e)

You guys are the 75601 best, thanks so much for the help.