Wesley R. Elsberry posted Entry 1864 on January 1, 2006 03:46 PM.
Trackback URL: http://www.pandasthumb.org/cgi-bin/mt/mt-tb.fcgi/1859

The following is a letter to the editor that I sent to the St. Petersburg Times. Maybe they’ll print it, maybe they won’t.

In the St. Petersburg Times “Evolution’s Not Enough” article by Donna Winchester and Ron Matus, only those whose self-report of having at least some familiarity with the issues were part of the numbers reported concerning how “intelligent design” should be taught, if at all. The antievolution literature is a source of anti-knowledge, false things confidently stated as if true, and those whose only or primary familiarity with the issues comes from that source may well believe themselves to have some grasp of the issues while being worse off than those who have not been misled.

The recent decision in the Dover, PA case highlighted how advocacy of “intelligent design” led to the telling of numerous falsehoods by school board members there. And after weeks of expert testimony and sharp questioning by lawyers on both sides, Judge Jones found that “intelligent design” was not science, that it was, in fact, a sham designed to insert religious doctrines into the science classroom. Even the Discovery Institute, leading advocate of “intelligent design”, recognizes that there is no content there to be taught. Instead, the DI urges schools to teach the same old long-rebutted arguments against evolution under new catchphrases, like “teach the controvery”, “critical analysis”, “purposeful arrangement of parts”, “free speech”, or “academic freedom”.

With that knowledge, one can see that the question to be asked is not whether “intelligent design” should be taught, but whether we are willing to tell our science students falsehoods simply because they are popular. “Intelligent design” has been tried and found to be more like “intentional deception”.

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Comment #66758

Posted by Jeremy on January 1, 2006 4:50 PM (e)

I can just see the response letter a week later.

Somebody completely missing the point writes: How dare you reduce free speech and academic freedom to mere catchphrases? You are unpatriotic and unamerican Wesley R. Elsberry!

Comment #66760

Posted by Qualiatative on January 1, 2006 5:05 PM (e)

Even the Discovery Institute, leading advocate of “intelligent design”, recognizes that there is no content there to be taught.

Now this is propaganda. You know for a fact that this is a misleading statement about the DI’s position.

P.S. There is nothing more telling that this letter is reactionary and not thought out than the repetition of an entire paragraph.

Comment #66763

Posted by harry eaton on January 1, 2006 5:24 PM (e)

Even the Discovery Institute, leading advocate of “intelligent design”, recognizes that there is no content there to be taught.

Now this is propaganda. You know for a fact that this is a misleading statement about the DI’s position.

Actually it is a true statement and (sometimes) it’s not the DI’s public position. That’s a conundrum for you so let me help. The DI knows that they have no scientific content and they knowingly lie about it by taking positions that they know to be false. Of course from time to time that contradict themselves depending on the audience in question. Whether the statement is “misleading” is an intersting question because the DI’s mission is to mislead. Given that the statement is true I don’t believe it can be misleading.

Comment #66766

Posted by dogscratcher on January 1, 2006 5:31 PM (e)

Qualiatative,
Since you obviously are more familiar with the position of the DI regarding this issue, could you please link us to where on their site (or anywhere else) they make their position explicit? I believe Elsberry is referring to statements made by Paul Nelson to that effect, whether he was at the time acting as a spokesman for the DI or was simply voicing his own opinion, I don’t know.

Thanks, DS

Comment #66767

Posted by Bayesian Bouffant, FCD on January 1, 2006 5:39 PM (e)

“No content”. That sounds like the quote from George Gilder.

Comment #66770

Posted by Gary on January 1, 2006 5:44 PM (e)

“Now this is propaganda. You know for a fact that this is a misleading statement about the DI’s position.”

Hey Qualitative. Why don’t you enlighten us as to the DI’s position. Please start with a statement of the scientific theory of intelligent design that should be taught. I’ll give you a hint: There is none. NONE WHATSOEVER.
~Gary

Comment #66771

Posted by steve s on January 1, 2006 6:01 PM (e)

Provoked by a typical “evolution can’t increse no infermashun” letter in the News and Observer, I wrote a nice, tight letter pointing people to talkorigins.org/indexcc. Unfortunately, they chose not to publish it. Which is sad, because it was a much more valuable letter than if I’d just made an argument or two.

Comment #66772

Posted by Wesley R. Elsberry on January 1, 2006 6:01 PM (e)

Even the Discovery Institute, leading advocate of “intelligent design”, recognizes that there is no content there to be taught. Instead, the DI urges schools to teach the same old long-rebutted arguments against evolution under new catchphrases, like “teach the controvery”, “critical analysis”, “purposeful arrangement of parts”, “free speech”, or “academic freedom”.

Hmm. Looks like exactly what the DI did in March, 2002, when the Ohio State Board of Education asked for the DI to present what would be taught as “intelligent design” in the curriculum. Stephen Meyer and Jonathan Wells instead presented a “compromise”, talking about having teachers “teach the controversy”. One may dredge the DI web site for any of sundry press releases and commentaries where they espouse other catchphrases as well. On their “evolutionnews” weblog, one can easily find the DI “free speech on evolution” campaign page.

Comment #66774

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on January 1, 2006 6:18 PM (e)

Even the Discovery Institute, leading advocate of “intelligent design”, recognizes that there is no content there to be taught.

Now this is propaganda. You know for a fact that this is a misleading statement about the DI’s position.

From the Boston Globe, July 27, 2005, piece on Discovery Institute co-founder George Gilder:

“What’s being pushed is to have Darwinism critiqued, to teach there’s a controversy. Intelligent design itself does not have any content.”

Seems pretty clear to me. And sounds exactly like what Wes said in his letter. (shrug)

Comment #66779

Posted by shiva on January 1, 2006 6:30 PM (e)

Qualitative,

Do you have a new argument to offer in favour of the IDC mentality? Something that hasn’t been trashed at Kitzmiller? You seem to know very little about DI.

Comment #66782

Posted by mark duigon on January 1, 2006 6:48 PM (e)

The DI may say “teach the controversy,” but Judge Jones recognized that phrase for the Creationist tactic that it is. Also note how frequently Jones, in his decision, referred to Defense’s expert witnesses conceding that no research has been done or evidence produced by Designophiles.

Comment #66786

Posted by Norman Doering on January 1, 2006 7:12 PM (e)

That St. Petersburg Times “Evolution’s Not Enough” article by Donna Winchester and Ron Matus seems to demonstrate, yet again, a link between religious beliefs and belief in ID.

Look at this quote:

“Being Christian, I believe there is a higher power,” said Jackie Shields of St. Petersburg. “I agree (with) intelligent design more than evolution. It blows my mind to think we evolved over time. There’s no such thing.”

Remember, underneath ID is not a scientific argument but a metaphysical argument. The ID proponents are not just “attacking” evolution they are attacking “metaphysical naturalism” (and even trying to rename it as “metaphysical materialism”).

Their metaphysic of teleology rests on the assumption that “intelligence” is not natural but somehow “supernatural,” somehow against “metaphysical naturalism/materialism.” A belief in God seems to require such a metaphysics, a teleological metaphysics – or “metaphysical teleology” to label them like they label us.

This seems to address a question left hanging in a now closed thread if anyone wants to pick it up again.

Comment #66788

Posted by Chris Booth on January 1, 2006 7:24 PM (e)

Now this is propaganda. You know for a fact that this is a misleading statement about the DI’s position.

These statements could only be made in this context by a liar or a dupe–or both.

P.S. There is nothing more telling that this letter is reactionary and not thought out than the repetition of an entire paragraph.

Doublespeak is dishonest. Your use of the word “reactionary”, which in actuality describes the supporters of ID rather than the opponents of ID, is doublespeak. You chose to write doublespeak yourself, rather than arguing from the position of innocently expressing acceptance of a lie you have been told by someone else (there are uneducated people who have little or no discriminatory faculties who are fooled by the cynical lies of the cranks and dissemblers who have put ID out there; when their support is genuine, they try to argue the pseudo-facts they’ve been force fed; when they really deep-down know it is a falsehood but still want others to swallow it, rather like the sellers of alternative medicines who in emergencies go to the hospitals they warn their followers from, they resort to pseudo-scientific babble and doublespeak); this smacks of deliberate fallacy. You wrote doublespeak. Doublespeak and its authors are contemptible.

Science is science. In the case of ID there is no science present; “there is no there, there.” This has been made clear time and again. No honest person with an education, whether that education be formal or by force of reading well and thinking, will conclude otherwise or say otherwise. It is not a matter of an “entrenched science establishment” that for political reasons wants to suppress ID–that is the irrationality of paranoia or the gullibility of ignorance. Scientists dislike ID because it has no place in science education any more than the question of whether Shakespeare wrote Shakespeare or not; in both, the questions belong in another field of study, not in science class. Anyone who can’t see that this is not a question of science suppressing a competitor is either ignorant or off his or her meds; anyone who argues so is ignorant or off his or her meds or a baldfaced…doublespeaker.

If you are, happily, only ignorant, following this thread will disabuse you of a particle of that. Then it will be time to set down and do some reading and maybe attend some classes at accredited schools. (Most teachers, in colleges that don’t restrict it, will be delighted to have an interested, if unmatriculated, student in their class who sincerely wishes to learn.) You’ve a long way to go. Clues: You’ll need a history of science class and a philosophical logic class; those are better done with the aid of a teacher, particularly the latter.

A school board that sees something unpalatable in providing an education for the children under its jurisdiction is itself unsavory. Supporting the degradation of a group of children’s education is supporting the degradation of those children and the degradation of the nation’s future thereby; these, too, are contemptible.

Comment #66789

Posted by dre on January 1, 2006 7:30 PM (e)

Shiva, you’re being unfair by correcting Qualiatative’s spelling. It’s not Qualitative, it’s Q-U-A-L-I-A-T-A-T-I-V-E. It’s the most important characterismic of good scientistic data. Show some respect.

Comment #66790

Posted by Arden Chatfield on January 1, 2006 7:50 PM (e)

P.S. There is nothing more telling that this letter is reactionary and not thought out than the repetition of an entire paragraph.

Good god, please take some writing classes, this sentence is completely incoherent. I had to read it 4 times before I could even make a guess at what you were saying. (And the payoff wasn’t worth that kind of effort.)

Comment #66791

Posted by Norman Doering on January 1, 2006 8:08 PM (e)

Is it possible for us to make a frontal assualt rather than just a defending evolution in court. For example, creating biology text books with chapters that explain why Intelligent Design “theory” is not really science?

These ID people have gotten involved in the writing and choosing of text books on biology – shouldn’t we?

Comment #66793

Posted by steve s on January 1, 2006 8:12 PM (e)

It is often hard to read creationist writing. I had to read that sentence a few times myself. What repetition is he referring to? I don’t see any.

Comment #66796

Posted by the pro from dover on January 1, 2006 8:31 PM (e)

In the end, the goal of professional intelligent design advocates and their financial backers appears to be a replacement of traditional science education with a certain religious indoctrination. The effect this will have on American hegemony in technologial production cannot be stated with certainty, but it’s hard to see how it can be positive in terms of entrepreneurism. The theory of evolution is targeted because it is the most “vulnerable” of well-known scientific theories, not in terms of being poorly documented and researched but in terms of being hated by the general public most of whom want scientific advances but don’t care to know how they are achieved. Most American parents who support intelligent design would be happy if their kids went into science or related disciplines such as engineering or medicine. Why is this apparrent disconnect so prevalent? (trust me,I haven’t done the research but parents who want ID taught want it taught in science classes). There are obviously some who want the apocalypse to come ASAP and don’t want their kid’s minds polluted so that hey get “left behind” with The Pro and Lenny and his pizza delivery boy to fight the antichrist. But this can’t represent the majority of ID supporters most of whom want what’s best for their children and generations to come. These parents are proud Americans and must realize our standard of living has a lot to do with our scientific advances and not just those in warfare. To me the problem lies with basic education where kids are taught scientific topics but have no idea what scientists actually do. Most people have now come to understand that science is a belief system and not a job. I realize that many scientists are philosophical materialists, but it’s important to impress upon our citizenry that this is not a mandate of the scientific method. As people who value scientific education we have to downplay our personal metaphysical beliefs or lack thereof to sell a common goal, the persistence of America’s position in an ever-growing biotechnology market, and education as the means to achieve it.

Comment #66798

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on January 1, 2006 8:34 PM (e)

Is it possible for us to make a frontal assualt rather than just a defending evolution in court. For example, creating biology text books with chapters that explain why Intelligent Design “theory” is not really science?

These ID people have gotten involved in the writing and choosing of text books on biology — shouldn’t we?

My understanding is that biology textbooks have indeed improved greatly over thre past few years. Nearly all of them, as I recall, now speak openly and clearly about evolution.

As for explainign why ID isn’t science, I think it would be more useful to have a general “BS detector” class, in which people are taught critical thinking skills which they can then apply to everything from deodorant ads to flying saucer stories to political campaign speeches, rather than just focusing narrlowly on ID.

But there’s the rub — much of our modern economic and social structure is based largely on BS, and the very LAST thing the powers that be want, is to have a population that is skilled in detecting and pointing out BS when they see it.

And in any case, our education system isn’t geared towards actually educating people or teaching them how to think. It’s geared to give people just enough skill level to do their low-level service sectror job without messing up too often.

Changing that will require a large number of social, political and economic changes which we, as a society, simply don’t want to make. Not to mention the fact that it will also require that we open up our wallets – and we don’t want to do that either.

So I’m pretty sure that things will just continue to go on as they have always gone on. At least until the Japanese or Germans buy us all out.

Comment #66800

Posted by Chris Booth on January 1, 2006 8:45 PM (e)

Hi, steve s:

What repetition is he referring to? I don’t see any.

I had assumed, given the demonstrated acuity of Qualiatative, that he or she didn’t get that clicking on the comments from the originating post will show it again, followed by the comments…or there had been a scrolling problem….

(Phew! I had entirely missed the misspelling of “qualitative”. Well, one still tries to be charitable….)

Comment #66801

Posted by Arden Chatfield on January 1, 2006 8:47 PM (e)

At least until the Japanese or Germans buy us all out.

Lenny, get with the times! The thing we get to worry about now is the Chinese selling off all the US dollars they own.

Comment #66803

Posted by Norman Doering on January 1, 2006 8:53 PM (e)

‘Rev Dr’ Lenny Flank wrote:

My understanding is that biology textbooks have indeed improved greatly over thre past few years.

But do any of them have chapters on why ID is not science?

…I think it would be more useful to have a general “BS detector” class,…rather than just focusing narrlowly on ID.

Maybe, but that doesn’t make my idea unworkable and your’s would be harder to impliment since either another class would be replaced or more time added to schooling.

But there’s the rub —- much of our modern economic and social structure is based largely on BS, and the very LAST thing the powers that be want, is to have a population that is skilled in detecting and pointing out BS when they see it.

That’s a strike against your idea, not mine.

Changing that will require a large number of social, political and economic changes …

Again, a strike against your idea, not mine.

So I’m pretty sure that things will just continue to go on as they have always gone on. At least until the Japanese or Germans buy us all out.

Only because you tried to conflate our different ideas.

Comment #66806

Posted by steve s on January 1, 2006 9:03 PM (e)

P.S. There is nothing more telling that this letter is reactionary and not thought out than the repetition of an entire paragraph.

Qualitative, what repetition are you referring to?

Comment #66808

Posted by Norman Doering on January 1, 2006 9:11 PM (e)

steve s asked:

Qualitative, what repetition are you referring to?

On a very superficial level each paragraph can be summed up as “ID promoters are liars.” I can see a believer in ID not getting past that.

Comment #66809

Posted by Wesley R. Elsberry on January 1, 2006 9:12 PM (e)

Qualitative, what repetition are you referring to?

I had made a change to the text in the draft, pasted the whole thing in again, and managed to not delete all of the previous version. It is fixed now.

Comment #66810

Posted by Moses on January 1, 2006 9:13 PM (e)

Walter:

Good letter. Well written.

Troll:

Whatever…

Everyone Else:

Haven’t we had enough with the other Troll this week?

Comment #66811

Posted by cogzoid on January 1, 2006 9:13 PM (e)

steve s wrote:

Qualitative, what repetition are you referring to?

He was referring to a screw up on Wesley’s part with the original post. Wesley (or someone) went back and fixed the mistake. Since Qualitative wasn’t clairvoyant this comment now sounds ridiculous.

Comment #66813

Posted by steve s on January 1, 2006 9:31 PM (e)

Ah, I see. I have such a godawful hangover I reread Wes’s letter a few times and couldn’t understand what was supposed to be repetitive.

Comment #66814

Posted by steve s on January 1, 2006 9:33 PM (e)

I have to say, writing two consecutive identical paragraphs would qualify as “not thought out”.

;-)

Comment #66816

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on January 1, 2006 9:37 PM (e)

But do any of them have chapters on why ID is not science?

Nope.

But then, I’ve never seen a science textbook that explained why ESP or pyramid power isn’t science, either.

I suppose that texbook authors are more interested in teaching what science is, than what it’s not.

That’s a strike against your idea, not mine.

Um, I know, Norman — that’s why I pointed it out.

your’s would be harder to impliment since either another class would be replaced or more time added to schooling.

Worth every second of the time, I think. And, I think, probably a pretty popular class, since most high schoolers are all interested in flying saucers, ESP, psychic hotlines and all that.

Gotta be more useful than memorizing passages from the Constitution in civics class. (grin)

Comment #66818

Posted by jim on January 1, 2006 9:56 PM (e)

Norman,

But we’ll always be behind the times if we only address the latest incarnation of creationism.

However, if we include a section on the nature of science that included such things as:

What type of answers do we expect science to answer?
What type of things do we look for in a scientific explanation?
What constitutes scientific evidence?
When people try to pass pseudo-science as science, what types of techniques do they often use?
(This was just off the top of my head, I’m sure a lot of better content could be formulated for a text book)

This would help innoculate the students against any sort creationism (as well as other pseudo-science) junk.

Comment #66819

Posted by Norman Doering on January 1, 2006 10:04 PM (e)

jim wrote:

But we’ll always be behind the times if we only address the latest incarnation of creationism.

That’s a good point, and your ideas on what to teach are good too.

I’d add defining the word theory as something that is testable in principle (therefore falsifiable).

At heart I see what you see, ID is not the final form of creationism. It has yet to evolve into the form where it can be backed into a corner and killed. It still has room to run in.

Comment #66821

Posted by harold on January 1, 2006 10:38 PM (e)

Rarely do I ever see anything in a Lenny Flank post that I don’t wholeheartedly agree with.

However…”Gotta be more useful than memorizing passages from the Constitution in civics class.” Well, maybe. But…

It strikes me that if kids actually did memorize or otherwise learn something about the constitution, particularly the first fifteen or so ammendments (there’s some kind of special name of the first ten or so, I think, and the fourteenth is supposed to be kind of significant), then we might not have some of the problems we do right now.

We might not have Intelligent Design, although some might say that’s small potatoes compared to some of the other stuff.

Of course, that’s assuming that learning it would make them understand and respect it.

Comment #66822

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on January 1, 2006 10:45 PM (e)

However…”Gotta be more useful than memorizing passages from the Constitution in civics class.” Well, maybe. But…

It strikes me that if kids actually did memorize or otherwise learn something about the constitution, particularly the first fifteen or so ammendments (there’s some kind of special name of the first ten or so, I think, and the fourteenth is supposed to be kind of significant), then we might not have some of the problems we do right now.

We might not have Intelligent Design, although some might say that’s small potatoes compared to some of the other stuff.

Of course, that’s assuming that learning it would make them understand and respect it.

Well, those weren’t the sections that I was asked to memorize. I had to remember all sorts of useless crap like “what are the requirements for a charge of treason”, and “what is the procedure for impreachment”. (sigh)

The sad fact, though, is that most Americans, deep down inside, hate democracy, fear it, don’t want it, and won’t do anything to protect it or defend it.

Comment #66824

Posted by jim on January 1, 2006 11:13 PM (e)

I think the US is unusually because:

Rarely has so much careful thought gone into the creation of a government.

Rarely has so little careful thought gone into the maintenance of it.

Comment #66825

Posted by Gerry L on January 1, 2006 11:29 PM (e)

Interesting passage in the original St Pete Times article:

“Board member Nancy Bostock thinks schools should teach both [evolution and id].

“‘I think as long as the public schools remain focused on the science behind the theory, they will be doing right by our community,’ she said.”

Her comment seems to screaming for a response: “Yes, as long as the school board members ‘remain focused on the science behind the theory’ they will not be promoting fake science … like id. Then they will be ‘doing right by our community.’”

Comment #66828

Posted by Norman Doering on January 1, 2006 11:51 PM (e)

Gerry L wrote:

Her comment seems to screaming for a response: “Yes, as long as the school board members ‘remain focused on the science behind the theory’ they will not be promoting fake science … like id. Then they will be ‘doing right by our community.’”

And you’re both screaming for a response: “Define science.”

Comment #66829

Posted by shiva on January 2, 2006 12:06 AM (e)

Qualitative blocks people who ask too many questions on his blog. Looks like this time he blocked himself out here.

Comment #66848

Posted by Ruthless on January 2, 2006 2:49 AM (e)

“Being Christian, I believe there is a higher power,” said Jackie Shields of St. Petersburg. “I agree (with) intelligent design more than evolution. It blows my mind to think we evolved over time. There’s no such thing.”

Soooo…it’s hard to believe in an observed, well-documented process, but it’s easy to believe in an unevidenced, invisible, super-sky-daddy?

Riiiight…

Comment #66872

Posted by Louis on January 2, 2006 7:58 AM (e)

As an aside I always saw Qualiatative’s name as a play on words rather than a spelling error. I think he’s using “qualia” (i.e. a property of an object considered independantly of the object that has the property, e.g. whiteness) as the first part of the word “qualitative” (i.e. of or realting to quality) as some sort of joke, point or “clever” pun. My guess however, is that this is because he read the word “qualia” somewhere and now thinks he’s clever for using it, as the term “qualiatative” makes no sense and is poorly constructed. Rather like his arguments regarding ID and Wesley’s original post.

{sigh}

Oh for a truly world class scientifc case against evolutionary biology, at least then the “debate” would be intellectually interesting (as opposed to politically necessary). As it is, it’s just politics, religious bigotry and ignorance from our antiscience chums. If I wanted that I would have become a bishop.

Comment #66876

Posted by Corkscrew on January 2, 2006 8:29 AM (e)

Regards Lenny and Norman’s discussion of BS-detector teaching, I’d point your attention in the direction of the course in Critical Thinking at UK schools. When I took it it turned out to be quite badly examined* but, thanks to a combination of excellent teaching and passable curriculum, I found it extremely enlightening. If this idea could be boiled down into, say, a five-lesson series, it could be fitted into an existing subject such as Science or (in the UK) PSE** without causing major problems.

*In particular, we kept coming across multiple-choice exam questions where the whole class including the teacher disagreed with the “correct” answer, and to this day I have no idea how we were supposed to handle the more wordy questions

**Personal and Social Education, the (compulsory) course where they stick all the stuff that they really don’t want to have to discuss elsewhere. The sex education series was rubbish (they ran out of carrots before my class) but the philosophical series and the problem-solving series were really fun. Overall not a bad idea, although the labour government seems to have coopted it for “citizenship” indoctrination.

Comment #66879

Posted by BWE on January 2, 2006 8:38 AM (e)

I just went diving off the florida keys and we saw a manta ray. It swam by us and we tried to hold on to its wings to catch a ride. we missed but i’m sure i heard it say “don’t worry, be happy”

Comment #66880

Posted by Edwin Hensley on January 2, 2006 8:44 AM (e)

Not every newspaper falls for ID propaganda. The Louisville Courier-Journal had an editorial praising the Dover decisions. There were several letters to the editor on both sides of the issue prior to the decision. Here is a published letter I wrote which uses the Dover decision to encourage the Kentucky Board of Education to return Evolution to the state curriculum guidelines. Letter To Courier-Journal

Monday, December 26, 2005

Debate over teaching intelligent design in science classes

‘Has been exposed’

Thank you for your Dec. 22 editorial, “Victory for science.” Intelligent design has been exposed for the fraud that it is. President Bush appointed U.S. District Judge John E. Jones III, who was correct in ruling that intelligent design is simply a re-labeling of creationism.

Now that this re-labeling has been undone, it is time to undo another. In 1999, the Kentucky Board of Education replaced the word “evolution” with the phrase “change over time.” Who are they kidding? “Change over time” does not really fool anyone, but it does weaken the curriculum guidelines. The guidelines should promote the strongest scientific standards.

Biotech industries are founded upon the theory of evolution, not the theory of “change over time.” These industries are projected to be a major source of economic growth in the future. The states with the best biotechnology resources, including scientists and students, will reap the benefits of these industries. By re-labeling “evolution” as “change over time,” the Kentucky Board of Education is pacifying religious zealots at the expense of our children’s future.

EDWIN HENSLEY

Louisville 40241

Comment #66881

Posted by Tim Hague on January 2, 2006 8:45 AM (e)

Slightly off topic - although Dover is mentioned in this piece - I recall that there was going to be a press conference given by the plaintiffs after the decision. Does anyone know if if this took place? And can provide a link?

Comment #66884

Posted by Roger Rabbitt on January 2, 2006 8:50 AM (e)

But there’s the rub —- much of our modern economic and social structure is based largely on BS, and the very LAST thing the powers that be want, is to have a population that is skilled in detecting and pointing out BS when they see it.

Ah yes, the PTB. For some reason my BS detector goes off when I read claims like that about what the PTB want.

It strikes me that if kids actually did memorize or otherwise learn something about the constitution, particularly the first fifteen or so ammendments (there’s some kind of special name of the first ten or so, I think, and the fourteenth is supposed to be kind of significant), then we might not have some of the problems we do right now.

We might not have Intelligent Design, although some might say that’s small potatoes compared to some of the other stuff.

I’m not sure I see the logical connection. Those first ten that have a name, also had a purpose: to assure the states considering ratification that the Federal government would be prohibited from matters that were properly reserved to the states and the people. ID might be seen more as in conflict with a modern view of the 1st Amendment, not the founding fathers view.

Comment #66886

Posted by BWE on January 2, 2006 9:14 AM (e)

The founding fathers were largely deists who could have said sure , ID, yeah, um , now, let’s get back to our science and politics. Jesus matters alot to people who are scared that their world isn’t stable or who miss a dead relative teribly and desperately want to see them in heaven.

The PTB? Are we talking masons and trilateral commission here or a bunch of powerful self interests loosely knit by a common worship of money and power? Because I think this’d be the perfect place to hash it out about the bilderburgers and the trilateral commission. You know that Connie Chung is on the council on foriegn relations? hmmm. better keep our eyes open.

Comment #66888

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on January 2, 2006 9:25 AM (e)

ID might be seen more as in conflict with a modern view of the 1st Amendment, not the founding fathers view.

Of course, the founding fathers view was also that slavery is OK, and that only white male property owners should get to vote – and even then, neither the President nor the Senate should be directly elected by voters.

Comment #66889

Posted by Corkscrew on January 2, 2006 9:27 AM (e)

Ah yes, the PTB. For some reason my BS detector goes off when I read claims like that about what the PTB want.

There’s not necessarily any intelligence behind it; instead, it could simply be a result of selective pressures on existing Powers That Be. Any Power That Is attempt to generate significant actual thought in their citizens are likely to see a decent chunk of them decide to think something other than what said PTI wants. For example, when Kenya ran a massive scheme for training doctors, all that happened was that most of them emigrated to more developed nations. Overall, selective pressures dictate that the PTB that choose the less expensive and less challenging-of-the-status-quo option of keeping their population dumb.

Comment #66890

Posted by MrKAT on January 2, 2006 9:28 AM (e)

About ID poll.. I think this (but I’m not sure):

If the paper choose to ask about teaching ID among only those who were some or a lot interested about ID debate then they choose to have more religious people among those who to ask for. Creationists are possibly overrepresented in that selected group because creationists are more enthusiasted and interested about ID (“scientifically proving God”) and ID-debates. If paper knew this then it smells propaganda..

Comment #66891

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on January 2, 2006 9:29 AM (e)

The PTB? Are we talking masons and trilateral commission here

From “The Simpsons”:

All: Who controls the British crown?
Who keeps the metric system down?
We do! We do!
Karl: Who leaves Atlantis off the maps?
Lenny: Who keeps the Martians under wraps?
Alien: We do! We do!
All: Who holds back the electric car?
Who makes Steve Gutenberg a star?
We do! We do!
Skinner: Who robs cavefish of their sight?
Homer: Who rigs every Oscar night?
All: We do! We do!

or a bunch of powerful self interests loosely knit by a common worship of money and power?

Well, people with money and power can get laws passed to protect their self-interests. People without money or power, can’t.

Comment #66892

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on January 2, 2006 9:33 AM (e)

About ID poll.. I think this (but I’m not sure):

If the paper choose to ask about teaching ID among only those who were some or a lot interested about ID debate then they choose to have more religious people among those who to ask for. Creationists are possibly overrepresented in that selected group because creationists are more enthusiasted and interested about ID (“scientifically proving God”) and ID-debates. If paper knew this then it smells propaganda..

Well, the problem with polls about ID (as it is with polls about virtually everything else) is that most people don’t know dick about the topic of the poll, and therefore their uninformed opinion doesn’t mean diddley doo. (shrug)

As someone (I don’t recall who) once said, “Most Americans have no opinion about anything, and if asked, will just repeat whatever they heard on ‘Nightline’ last night”.

Comment #66893

Posted by JONBOY on January 2, 2006 9:35 AM (e)

I looked at the St Pete Times today,lots of letters concerning the Winchester, Matus article.Surprisingly all but one were pro evolution,but no sign of Wesleys letter.

Comment #66894

Posted by the pro from dover on January 2, 2006 9:43 AM (e)

Ruthless wrote “ it’s hard to believe in an observered well-documented process, but it’s easy to believe in an unevidenced invisible super sky-daddy?” The answer to this question is “yes!!!” This is very much an issue here. Science isn’t a belief, it is a process. Because it is a process it is slow with lots of dead ends and wrong turns. With a belief you can go from A to Z in one step and no one is encouraging you to test anything. Science cries out for non-belief; we want doubting Thomases, but there is a method they must follow for their doubts to become fruitful. This is why intelligent design “isn’t that kind of science” and why Kansas wants to “redefine science”, and why Michael Behe has testified that as far as he is concerned astrology qualifies as science. This will likely be the next reincarnation of creationism now that ID has been shot down. As I have said in the past ID is not a scientific alternative to evolution, it’s a metaphysical alternative to science. All science is under attack here not just the dreaded “Darwinism.”

Comment #66896

Posted by Joe Shelby on January 2, 2006 9:50 AM (e)

have a general “BS detector” class

The problem is when they teach propaganda in english classes they teach it wrong. It *should* be that they teach it with an eye to recognition and skepticism (and hell, cynicism) to make us think more critically about the crap thrown at us by politicians and advertisers.

But instead, in pure ciceronian, they teach kids how to use it themselves to be manipulative little marketeers for whatever idea they are pushing.

so now we have generations of americans who know how to write propaganadist writings when they need to but couldn’t recognize when they’re being manipulated to save their lives.

has it always been like this?

Comment #66900

Posted by Joe Shelby on January 2, 2006 9:59 AM (e)

I was about to add something on how the logical fallacies should be taught earlier (and repeated often, to the point of having students have them memorized explicitly by the time they reach high school), but then realized that I think the only class I took (even through GT courses) that even mentioned the word logic was middle school pre-algebra (basics of proofs as part of intro to set theory) and high school geometry (again, entirely “proof” based).

beyond that, the word was never discussed or even mentioned.

meanwhile, we were being taught to explicitly use the very logical fallacies that we as a society should have long since learned to recognize and avoid to the point of their extinction.

Comment #66904

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on January 2, 2006 10:08 AM (e)

This will likely be the next reincarnation of creationism now that ID has been shot down.

Well, the ayatollah-wanna-be’s may be dumb enough to try this, but I don’t see it getting them anywhere. After all, it’s hard for them to argue in court that they don’t have a religious aim when the entire point they are trying to make is that science should be forced to include their religious opinions.

As I’ve said before, the only way the fundies have any realistic chance of winning is if a partisan Supreme Court does the “Christian nation” thingie and does away completely with the idea of church/state separation (after all, the Consitution only says what the Supreme Court *says* it says), and allows the fundies free reign. And once that happens, “science education” will be the very LEAST of our problems. We’ll have much more immediate, serious and life-threatening things to be worried about.

And at that point, I think we as a population are justified in doing whatever we have to, in order to restore democracy and the rule of constitutional law.

Comment #66907

Posted by Joe Shelby on January 2, 2006 10:20 AM (e)

After all, it’s hard for them to argue in court that they don’t have a religious aim when the entire point they are trying to make is that science should be forced to include their religious opinions…. the only way the fundies have any realistic chance of winning is if a partisan Supreme Court does the “Christian nation” thingie and does away completely with the idea of church/state separation (after all, the Consitution only says what the Supreme Court *says* it says), and allows the fundies free reign.

Actually, it hints at their next target: rewriting history (rather than science) to eventually have a generation that doesn’t believe the 1st amendment means what it means today. revisionist history books and lessons, some approved as part of the curriculum in kansas by this same school board with its rewrite of science, have been rewriting what we know of the “founding fathers” and religion, trying to paint this idea that the separation of church and state as we understand it is not what they intended.

and the trouble with history is that there’s not the same objective standard regarding the evidence that science has (or at least, that’s the perception). the same fundies who insist on a literal reading of the bible then turn around and get artistically interpretive when it comes to the writings of Jefferson, Adams, Madison, and company, and quote-mine them for their key sentences just as much as they quote-mine scientists to give the perception of doubt where none existed.

and unlike science, where the supposed “war” between evolution and religion has been in the front pages for 150 years, history is more subtle – it’ll be harder to prove that they fundies are lying, and it’ll be harder to prove that the lies they want to insert are being inserted for religious indoctrination reasons.

one generation to learn those lies as if they are true and evolution will, as you say, be the least of our problems.

Comment #66911

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on January 2, 2006 11:07 AM (e)

Actually, it hints at their next target: rewriting history

That, of course, has long been a trait of every dictatorship in history.

Comment #66914

Posted by Irrational Entity on January 2, 2006 11:41 AM (e)

As someone who hopes to teach history one day, I have also noticed the selective quotations used by certain religious groups. Rather than using the tools of historical study to build a thesis upon available evidence, they grab a specific idea out of context and generalize. Lately, John Adams seems to have been re-created as a conservative Christian based upon his favorable quotes on how religion benefits society’s morality. The same people who use these phrases then ignore his attacks on superstition and religious abuse, which included miracles, the divity of Jesus, the doctrine of eternal punishment, intolerance, etc. as well as his inclusion of Hindus and Greek philosophers in the Christian name.

From my very limited understanding of science and more broad studies in history, many religous people seem content to misuse statements to further their position. Though that abuse is to be expected among any group, their commitment to the truth appears lacking in this regard.

Comment #66915

Posted by harold on January 2, 2006 11:54 AM (e)

Hello Roger Rabitt -

“I’m not sure I see the logical connection”

Then let me spell it out in very simple language.

1) As a US citizen I have certain rights which are very clearly protected by the constitution, particularly the Bill of Rights. Actually, I don’t even have to be a citizen.

2) One of the most important rights is the right to practice my own religion, or even not practice religion, as I see fit.

3) You might argue that the first ammendment only blocks “Congress” from interfering with this right, but leaves the door open for “state governments” to do so (the rest of the Bill of Rights doesn’t even include the language “congress). However, this type of hyper-literalist reading would be silly, since it would render the first ammendment logically worthless. Virtually no US court has ever sided with forced observance of a particular religion, nor with suppression of any particular law-abiding, voluntarily practiced religion.

4) As it happens, we have taxpayer-funded public schools in this country, an institution I strongly support, and one which has much to do with the century and a half of scientific, technological and economic progress the US has enjoyed, in my opinion, whatever the many obvious flaws of US public school systems.

5) Public schools teach science, ideally as understood by scientists. I support this, as well.

6) I oppose ID in science class for two reasons. One is that it is merely unscientific nonsense. However internet trolls may wish to “redefine science”, the argument that whatever we can’t explain right this second must have happened by magic (and therefore should not be studied scientifically), which is the essence of ID, is nonsense. The other argument associated with ID, the “Paley’s watch argument” (ie the Great Wall of China is accepted as “designed” so the bacterial flagellum must be “designed” too) is even more nonsensical. I hope no-one thinks I am “straw-manning” ID, these are my sincere interpretations and summaries of the many verbose ID arguments I have heard.

7) But I said two reasons. The real effect of teaching ID would be to teach everyone’s children, at everyone’s tax expense, in public school, falsely, that some other guy’s religion is “the official scientific religion”. That would actually be the EFFECT, even if it wasn’t the intention; the fact that I believe strongly that it is the intention is almost beside the point. This would represent a massive violation of my rights. It would represent the exact same violation as if I did the same thing to you - forced you to allow me to preach my religion to your children as “science”, and forced you to foot the bill on top of it.

I will fight any such egregious violation of my rights. I will fight it in court, in public discourse, and in every other relevant venue. And I will never give up. So get used to it.

Comment #66917

Posted by Roger Rabbitt on January 2, 2006 12:14 PM (e)

… have been rewriting what we know of the “founding fathers” and religion, trying to paint this idea that the separation of church and state as we understand it is not what they intended.

If by “separation of church and state” you mean the jurisprudence based on the establishment and free exercise clauses of the 1st Amendment, I would say it is pretty certain they understood it differently.

Comment #66919

Posted by Bayesian Bouffant, FCD on January 2, 2006 12:20 PM (e)

3) You might argue that the first ammendment only blocks “Congress” from interfering with this right, but leaves the door open for “state governments” to do so (the rest of the Bill of Rights doesn’t even include the language “congress). However, this type of hyper-literalist reading would be silly, since it would render the first ammendment logically worthless. Virtually no US court has ever sided with forced observance of a particular religion, nor with suppression of any particular law-abiding, voluntarily practiced religion.

There’s no need to wave your hands here, this is covered by the 14th amendment.

Comment #66923

Posted by Ed Darrell on January 2, 2006 12:45 PM (e)

Harold said:

3) You might argue that the first ammendment only blocks “Congress” from interfering with this right, but leaves the door open for “state governments” to do so (the rest of the Bill of Rights doesn’t even include the language “congress). However, this type of hyper-literalist reading would be silly, since it would render the first ammendment logically worthless. Virtually no US court has ever sided with forced observance of a particular religion, nor with suppression of any particular law-abiding, voluntarily practiced religion.

You’re right that such an argument would be silly. First, there really is no hint that the authors intended to exempt the states, apart from the silly ruling in Barron v. Baltimore, and that ruling was overcome by a Civil War and the 14th Amendment. But, well beyond that, each state in 1787 had already disestablished its church if it had one, and by that time each state had a bill of rights that included the exact language of the First Amendment, something as strong, or something even stronger. If you noticed, the ruling in Pennsylvania included the note that the actions of the Dover board were illegal under the Pennsylvania Constitution.

Please note that people who make the argument you note read the First Amendment backwards. They regard it as a restriction on where Congress can act only. Certainly it restricts where Congress can act, but that doesn’t leave the states free to fill a void. What the First Amendment does is prevent Congress from acting in any way to delegate to any state authority or privilege to act in the area of religion. It prevents Congress from authorizing states to create state churches. So, contrary to authorizing states to act, it closes off one more route by which states could get the authority to act, and it prevents the states from acting in religion, too.

You’re right to be concerned. The 1833 Supreme Court goofed it up; we had to fight a war to convince several states; after the war we had to pass another amendment to make it clear; and after more than 100 years, that amendment was often rather ignored. The price of freedom is eternal vigilance, they say. For First Amendment rights, that is certainly true.

Comment #66924

Posted by Ed Darrell on January 2, 2006 12:54 PM (e)

Or, as Mark Twain once wrote into some character’s mouth: “Ain’t we got every fool in town on our side? And ain’t that a big enough majority in any town?”

Comment #66935

Posted by Roger Rabbitt on January 2, 2006 1:54 PM (e)

Then let me spell it out in very simple language.

Thank you very much. Having read thru your list, I can understand how somebody who believed the claims you make might come to the conclusion that I challenged, but it still isn’t the logically obvious conclusion. For indeed, one must deal with the fact that a significant number of people will differ with your claims. For example:

You might argue that the first ammendment only blocks “Congress” from interfering with this right, but leaves the door open for “state governments” to do so (the rest of the Bill of Rights doesn’t even include the language “congress). However, this type of hyper-literalist reading would be silly, since it would render the first ammendment logically worthless.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Bill_…

Originally, the Bill of Rights applied only to the federal government and not to the several state governments. Thus, states had established state churches up until the 1820s, and Southern states, beginning in the 1830s, could ban abolitionist literature. In the 1833 case, Barron v. Baltimore, the Supreme Court specifically ruled that the Bill of Rights provided “security against the apprehended encroachments of the general government—not against those of local governments.” However, in 1925 with Gitlow v. New York, the Supreme Court ruled that the Fourteenth Amendment (which had been adopted in 1868) made certain applications of the Bill of Rights applicable to the states. The Supreme Court then cited the Gitlow case as precedent for a series of decisions that made most of the provisions of the Bill of Rights applicable to the states.

I offer that Wikipedia article not as evidence for the truth of the issue, since such isn’t needed logically, but only that there is a significant difference of opinion, and that you’ve just replaced your inability to stamp out ID, with an inability to stamp out other perspectives on how the FF’s and their contemporaries viewed the BofR.

Your claims of “silliness” only apply if you are convinced of your perspective in 1 and 2, and that such is what the FF’s were trying to accomplish. But a modern day view of “Constitutional Rights” wasn’t how it was viewed back in the late 1700’s. They said “Congress”, because they really meant “Congress”. They may not have known about Brittany Spears or I-Pods, but they weren’t stupid.

Comment #66944

Posted by Beaming Visionary on January 2, 2006 3:06 PM (e)

What a wreck of an article.

Leading the charge toward centuries gone by, we have the ubiquitously moronic Jebediah (“evolution shouldn’t be in the standards”) Bush. Also on display is the archetypal backwardness of Brainrot Nation, with the enlightened declaration from a Christian that “there’s no such thing (as evolution),” a biology teacher’s comment that “It’s offensive to me that biologists shove evolution down people’s throats,” and a school board member’s claim that it’s only fair to teach both evolution and ID – this last despite the rather pointed issue of ID not including anything teachable, zany or otherwise.

The final sentence is the take-home message, but one that’s indecipherable to the average schmuck and certainly to Bible-slappers.

Every time I convince myself I’ve come to terms with the profligate stupidity of Americans (and in particular, my fellow Floridians), I read something like this and immediately relapse into a throbbing unrest that makes me wish I could personally colonize Mars.

Comment #66945

Posted by Roger Rabbitt on January 2, 2006 3:08 PM (e)

Please note that people who make the argument you note read the First Amendment backwards. They regard it as a restriction on where Congress can act only. Certainly it restricts where Congress can act, but that doesn’t leave the states free to fill a void. What the First Amendment does is prevent Congress from acting in any way to delegate to any state authority or privilege to act in the area of religion. It prevents Congress from authorizing states to create state churches. So, contrary to authorizing states to act, it closes off one more route by which states could get the authority to act, and it prevents the states from acting in religion, too.

Amendment X - Powers of the States and People. Ratified 12/15/1791.

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

Comment #66946

Posted by Donald M on January 2, 2006 3:27 PM (e)

Flank writes:

As I’ve said before, the only way the fundies have any realistic chance of winning is if a partisan Supreme Court does the “Christian nation” thingie and does away completely with the idea of church/state separation (after all, the Consitution only says what the Supreme Court *says* it says), and allows the fundies free reign. And once that happens, “science education” will be the very LEAST of our problems. We’ll have much more immediate, serious and life-threatening things to be worried about.

And at that point, I think we as a population are justified in doing whatever we have to, in order to restore democracy and the rule of constitutional law.

What exactly makes a supreme court “partisan”? Or is it only “partisan” when it leans in a conservative direction and is nonpartisan when it moves in a liberal direction? And if, as you claim, our constitution only says what the Supreme Court says it means, then why would the interpretations of a “partisan” court be any less (or more) valid than a so-called nonpartisan court? After all, a “partisan” court would have as much right to interpret the constitution their way as would a non-partisan court, right?

Further, if some future “partisan” court does the “Christian nation thingie” at some point, and citizens take your directive to do “whatever we have to to restore democracy and the rule of constitutional law”, it isn’t at all clear from your post to what we are being “restored”. After all, if the rule of constitutional law is only what some group of Supreme Court justices says it it is, and if at some point in history the makeup of the SC is such that they take a more “Christian nation thingie” view, then all you are really complaining about is that you would prefer that some worldviews are unacceptable for a supreme court justice. Perhaps you would be so kind as to provide the definitive list of which worldviews are acceptable for the supreme court and which are not, complete with arguments as to why and why not. Or is all this just your personal preference, as I suspect it is. Since your statement is self-contradictory there doesn’t seem to ba any validity to it.

Comment #66947

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on January 2, 2006 3:27 PM (e)

But a modern day view of “Constitutional Rights” wasn’t how it was viewed back in the late 1700’s.

Neither was our modern view of “voting rights”. (shrug>

Dude, in case you haven’t noticed, this ain’t the late 1700’s.

Although I do understand that a certain segment of fundies are attempting to make it so.

Comment #66949

Posted by Roger Rabbitt on January 2, 2006 3:43 PM (e)

Dude, in case you haven’t noticed, this ain’t the late 1700’s.

Not only did I notice, but I think I introduced that concept to this thread. So, you can stop pointing it out to me. You might want to articulate that case to Ed, harold and Joe, who seem to be a little confused about that.

Comment #66950

Posted by harold on January 2, 2006 3:52 PM (e)

Roger Rabitt -

Of interest, your authoritarian arguments are in sharp contradiction to the usual claims of ID advocates.

You state -

“Your claims of “silliness” only apply if you are convinced of your perspective in 1 and 2, and that such is what the FF’s were trying to accomplish. But a modern day view of “Constitutional Rights” wasn’t how it was viewed back in the late 1700’s. They said “Congress”, because they really meant “Congress”. They may not have known about Brittany Spears or I-Pods, but they weren’t stupid.”

This could be taken as a mere discussion of late eighteenth century attitudes. Even then, I’d dispute it, at least with respect to some framers. But obviously, it’s more than that. What you’re clearly implying is that you disagree with what I said now, in the present day. So let’s review what you disagree with. I said…

1) As a US citizen I have certain rights which are very clearly protected by the constitution, particularly the Bill of Rights. Actually, I don’t even have to be a citizen.

2) One of the most important rights is the right to practice my own religion, or even not practice religion, as I see fit.

In other words, you dispute that Americans have freedom of conscience in religious matters. You support the use of government force to suppress some religious views, and to force the population to outwardly conform to the tenets of some official religion. You believe that the system of the Taliban would be constitutional in the US (yes, I understand that you don’t want to enforce observation of ISLAM, but the method - forcing observation of one religion and suppressing at least some others, with government force - is “constitutional”, and implicitly good, in your eyes).

However, other proponents of ID don’t argue this at all. On the contrary, they’ve spent uncountable pixels arguing endlessly that ID isn’t religious, and thus doesn’t violate anyone’s freedom of religion (an argument which implicitly accepts freedom of religion). I wonder how they feel about some authoritarian wingnut arguing that ID is religious, but is constitutional because no-one really has freedom of religion anyway, according to the “true intentions” of the “Founding Fathers”. Why don’t you write the Discovery Institute and ask how they feel about this line of argument? My guess is that they’ll order you not to use their name or the term “intelligent design”, under threat of legal action.

I have no interest in “stamping out” ID. I strongly support the right of adult fools to voluntarily enrich ID peddlers. I even support your right to set up private schools that teach it as “science”, although of course, I would NOT support recognition of the students from such schools as “high school graduates”. I simply don’t want it to be taught as “science” in tax-funded public schools. And with no effort on my part, the only attempt to do so (in a small rural school district) has been “stamped out” quite effectively, and the ID proponents have been voted off the school board in a popular election.

And now let me explain what’s wrong with your silly rejection of rights, on a practical level.

You assume that if there is no freedom of religion, it is you who will force your religion on others, and never the other way around. But how do you know this? If there is no freedom of religion for me, there is none for you either. Now, I respect your rights. But if you succeed in stripping both of us of our rights, why should it not be ME who forces MY religion down YOUR throat, rather than vice versa? Why do you assume that rights only protect others from you? Has it never occurred to you that they also protect you from others?

There are those who pine for the past because they see it as a time of lost romance or virtue. And then there are others who pine for the past because they fantasize of inflicting the worst wrongs of the past on their fellow citizens in the present. But what the latter always forget is that where there are no rights, the victimizer often becomes the victim.

Comment #66951

Posted by Jim Harrison on January 2, 2006 3:54 PM (e)

Rightists treat the Constitution as holy writ—they are, if you’ll allow the expression, perversely queer for authority. Unfortunately, the Constitution is a deeply flawed document that in its original form defined black people as 3/5ths of a person and is fundamentally anti-democratic to this day–the rules for the election of senators partly disenfranchises citizens of large states like mine. I honor the Consitution and the Bill of Rights and the other ammendments only so far as I agree with ‘em and look forward to the day when the documents are altered to support a truly republican form of government that effectively defends the civil and political rights of all the inhabitants of the country. It has been frequently pointed out that neither Yorktown or the ratification of the Constitution ended the Revolution since some of the states maintained property qualifications for voting and because large classes of people–blacks and women, for example–were denied equal rights. My point is that the revolution isn’t over yet.

Comment #66959

Posted by Roger Rabbitt on January 2, 2006 4:38 PM (e)

Of interest, your authoritarian arguments are in sharp contradiction to the usual claims of ID advocates.

Of course, I have made no “authoritarian arguments”. You have come up with a list of such, and assigned them to me. I believe that is called “building a strawman”. For those upthread who lamented the lack of logic instruction in our school, here is just more evidence for your POV.

Remember, this exchange started when you asserted that more study of the Constitution, including the the BofR and the 14th Amendment, might somehow have short-circuited ID. I just questioned the logic of that. As far as today vs yesterday, yes your assertions today about what was meant by “Congress shall make no law …” written in the 1700’s, are foolishly based on how you view “rights” today. The FF’s labored under no such dilemma, so to think they meant “Congress” when they said “Congress” is neither silly, nor hyper-literalist, whatever that might mean in practical terms.

Comment #66961

Posted by nidaros on January 2, 2006 4:45 PM (e)

And these guys do quote mining on the constitution as well as on scientists.

Case in point:

In one of the the bill of rights, they always leave off the part about “In order to maintain a well ordered militia”, but use the rest of that amendment.

Whats with that?

Comment #66970

Posted by Dean Morrison on January 2, 2006 5:30 PM (e)

Posted by Roger Rabbitt on January 2, 2006 03:08 PM (e) (s)

Please note that people who make the argument you note read the First Amendment backwards. They regard it as a restriction on where Congress can act only. Certainly it restricts where Congress can act, but that doesn’t leave the states free to fill a void. What the First Amendment does is prevent Congress from acting in any way to delegate to any state authority or privilege to act in the area of religion. It prevents Congress from authorizing states to create state churches. So, contrary to authorizing states to act, it closes off one more route by which states could get the authority to act, and it prevents the states from acting in religion, too.

Amendment X - Powers of the States and People. Ratified 12/15/1791.

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

Methinks you are wrong dude - and here is the Sumpreme Court case from 1925 that proves it:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gitlow_v._New_York

Gitlow v. New York
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Supreme Court of the United States
Argued April 12, 1923

Reargued November 23, 1923
Decided June 8, 1925
Full case name: Benjamin Gitlow v. New York

Gitlow v. New York, 268 U.S. 652 (1925), was a historically important case argued before the United States Supreme Court in which the Court ruled that the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution had extended the reach of certain provisions of the First Amendment — specifically the provisions protecting freedom of speech and freedom of the press — to the governments of the individual states. The Supreme Court had previously held, in Barron v. Baltimore, 32 U.S. 243 (1833), that the Constitution’s Bill of Rights applied only to the federal government, and that, consequently, the federal courts could not stop the enforcement of state laws that restricted the rights enumerated in the Bill of Rights. Gitlow v. New York’s partial reversal of that precedent began a trend towards nearly complete reversal; the Supreme Court now holds that almost every provision of the Bill of Rights applies to both the federal government and the states. Ironically, the Court upheld the state law challenged in Gitlow v. New York, which made it a crime to advocate the duty, need, or appropriateness of overthrowing government by force or violence. The Court’s ruling on the effects of the Fourteenth Amendment was incidental to the decision, but nevertheless established an extremely significant precedent.

As justification for its decision, the Supreme Court relied on the “due process clause” of the Fourteenth Amendment. This provision — contained in Section One of the amendment — prohibits any state from depriving “any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.” Specifically, in its decision the Court stated that the rights of freedom of speech and freedom of the press were “among the fundamental rights and ‘liberties’ protected by the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment from impairment by the states.” The Court has used this reasoning in other cases, such as Wolf v. Colorado, 338 U.S. 25 (1949), and Gideon v. Wainwright, 372 U.S. 335 (1963), to extend the reach of the Bill of Rights. Constitutional scholars refer to this as the process as the “incorporation doctrine,” meaning that the Supreme Court incorporates specific rights into the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.,

mmm… and second amendment, nidaros:

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed.

though there was a bit of a mix-up - what the FF meant was: the right of the people to keep and arm bears - I’m sure Prof Steve Steve would approve.

Comment #67002

Posted by harold on January 2, 2006 7:30 PM (e)

Roger Rabitt -

I said, and stand by it, that if more Americans were taught about the constitution, Intelligent Design might not exist.

You said you couldn’t see the logical connection. I pointed it out. My explanation included the following statements, which I now repeat.

1) As a US citizen I have certain rights which are very clearly protected by the constitution, particularly the Bill of Rights. Actually, I don’t even have to be a citizen.

2) One of the most important rights is the right to practice my own religion, or even not practice religion, as I see fit.

Intelligent Design is intelligently designed to violate these rights (when and only when forced on public school children as “science”), so if more Americans were aware that we all have them, people would be less likely to make futile efforts to violate them. As a corollary of this, ID might not exist.

You went on to deny that I (or by extension you, or any other American) was intended by the “Founding Fathers” to have the rights described above. You are wrong about this, of course - most people would include Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin among the “Founding Fathers” (since you make a blanket statement about the “Founding Fathers” even a single counter-example logically destroys your assertion). Also, of course, neither you nor anyone else can read the minds of the “Founding Fathers”. If someone wants to deny that Benjamin Franklin was a “Founding Father”, we can take that up in another venue. Thomas Jefferson’s personal and economic activities do not neutralize his well-known written opinions on freedom of religion.

You did not, I concede, openly assert that you disapprove of these rights. However, it is the common practice of people who hold offensive, brutal, and unpopular right wing views to express them in a mincing and “coded” way. I assert that unless you state otherwise, your reference to the opinions of the “Founding Fathers” should be interpreted as a reference to your own beliefs.

You now claim that you made no authoritarian arguments. Nonsense. To assert that any American does not have the right to practice whatever religion or lack of religion we see fit is by definition an authoritarian statement. What I said about the Taliban is merely the logical corollary of a denial of the right to freedom of conscience. You cannot have it both ways. Either free expression of one’s religion of choice is protected, or enforcing a uniform religious practice even on the unwilling, and supressing sincere religious expression, is legitimate.

Perhaps you will claim that you did not mean that Americans don’t have a constitutional right to freedom of religion, but merely that at historical periods in the distant past, some of our nation’s leaders did not fully recognize this right. But if you choose this tack, then your original assertion will be blown to logical smithereens. If you acknowledge that current interpretation of the constitution does protect freedom of religion, then it does follow logically that educating people about the constitution might reduce the appeal of Intelligent Design (as a prophylactic measure against hyper-literalistic oppositionalism, I point out that my original post said the we “might” not have ID if more people knew more about the constitution).

Most likely, I am correct on both counts. More widespread knowledge of constitutional rights would hamstring ID, AND you harbor authoritarian fantasies of forcing your own “religion” on others, and suppressing their sincere religious expressions when they don’t agree with your “religion”.

Comment #67037

Posted by Tiax on January 2, 2006 9:49 PM (e)

“It’s offensive to me that biologists shove evolution down people’s throats as the only answer,” Gerodimos said. “If we’re saying (intelligent design) should never be taught, we’re saying we’re afraid, and that we’re against what we say we do, which is investigate.

Yes…the place for scientific investigation is the high school biology classroom.

Excuse me while I go beat my head against something hard.

Comment #67049

Posted by Ed Darrell on January 2, 2006 10:25 PM (e)

Mr. Rabbit said:

Amendment X - Powers of the States and People. Ratified 12/15/1791.

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

In the case of religion, Madison was clear that it was reserved to the people, not the states. That’s also the subtext of the official proclamation of the President of the United States in 1802, detailing what is protected by the First Amendment and what is not (known as Jefferson’s letter to the Danbury Baptists).

Each state had by 1778 a clause in its constitution guaranteeing freedom of religion. Since 1778 no state has backtracked on that guarantee, but instead states have expanded it. The Tenth Amendment, were it intended to give the states the right to establish or re-establish churches, would need to grant that power explicitly and directly, since no state had the power at the adoption of the Tenth Amendment.

But we digress.

Comment #67082

Posted by Norman Doering on January 3, 2006 4:00 AM (e)

Ed Darrell wrote:

Each state had by 1778 a clause in its constitution guaranteeing freedom of religion. Since 1778 no state has backtracked on that guarantee, but instead states have expanded it. The Tenth Amendment, were it intended to give the states the right to establish or re-establish churches, would need to grant that power explicitly and directly, since no state had the power at the adoption of the Tenth Amendment.

Someone might want to keep tabs on Texas – they might try a backtrack one of these days.

Comment #67083

Posted by Norman Doering on January 3, 2006 4:06 AM (e)

What I said wasn’t enough, here:
http://www.religioustolerance.org/texas.htm

The Bill of Rights of the Texas Constitution (Article I, Section 4) allows people to be excluded from holding office on religious grounds. An official may be “excluded from holding office” if she/he does not “acknowledge the existence of a Supreme Being.”

Comment #67182

Posted by AC on January 3, 2006 11:30 AM (e)

Perhaps this is a stupid question, but if the governmental prohibitions in the Bill of Rights did only apply to the federal level, what would be the point of the federal government and the Bill of Rights from the perspective of, say, a citizen whose state outlaws free speech?

Comment #67184

Posted by Bob O'H on January 3, 2006 11:37 AM (e)

Norman Doering wrote:

The Bill of Rights of the Texas Constitution (Article I, Section 4) allows people to be excluded from holding office on religious grounds. An official may be “excluded from holding office” if she/he does not “acknowledge the existence of a Supreme Being.”

I think it’s worth quoting the full text, as it’s not quite as bad as Norman’s comment reads:

No religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office, or public trust, in this State; nor shall any one be excluded from holding office on account of his religious sentiments, provided he acknowledge the existence of a Supreme Being.
Source

Would it be enough to call one’s cat Supreme Being?

Bob

Comment #67192

Posted by steve s on January 3, 2006 11:53 AM (e)

The Texas state constitution considers Osama bin Laden more fit for office than me.

Way to go, christians! How could I have ever doubted your wisdom.

Comment #67195

Posted by steve s on January 3, 2006 12:04 PM (e)

Comment #67182

Posted by AC on January 3, 2006 11:30 AM (e) (s)

Perhaps this is a stupid question, but if the governmental prohibitions in the Bill of Rights did only apply to the federal level, what would be the point of the federal government and the Bill of Rights from the perspective of, say, a citizen whose state outlaws free speech?

A heavy federal government can protect citizens from state oppression such as you mention. It can also, however, prevent liberties granted by the states, such as medical marijuana.

Comment #67305

Posted by shenda on January 3, 2006 5:10 PM (e)

“1) As a US citizen I have certain rights which are very clearly protected by the constitution, particularly the Bill of Rights. Actually, I don’t even have to be a citizen.”

Actually these rights are conditional; if President Bush/Lincoln/Roosevelt says they don’t apply, you don’t got em unless the people force him to comply with the law.

The US Constitution stands only if the people of the US stand up for it.

Comment #67404

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on January 3, 2006 8:54 PM (e)

The US Constitution stands only if the people of the US stand up for it.

And, alas, it seems pretty apparent that they will not.

Comment #67442

Posted by Sir_Toejam on January 3, 2006 11:50 PM (e)

And, alas, it seems pretty apparent that they will not.

hmmm. I’m not absolutely convinced there is no hope left.

perhaps misplaced, but it seemed the folks of Dover, when presented with correct facts and evidence, did the right thing and booted those huxters out of the school board.

It gives me hope that if ENOUGH people can filter out the media drivel and misrepresentations, and actually get a good, clean look at what lies behind the ID movement, they too would run these huxters out on a rail.

The fringe benefit of which would be that politicians would no longer be so ready to sell out their own principles and education for grass roots support.

but, that’s just my dream of America. Seems a long way from reality at this point. Perhaps too far, in fact.

Comment #67443

Posted by Sir_Toejam on January 3, 2006 11:52 PM (e)

translate “huxter” as God-bothering tub-thumpers.

Comment #67456

Posted by Scott on January 4, 2006 1:52 AM (e)

AC had asked: “Perhaps this is a stupid question, but if the governmental prohibitions in the Bill of Rights did only apply to the federal level, what would be the point of the federal government and the Bill of Rights from the perspective of, say, a citizen whose state outlaws free speech?”

AFAIK, a draft BofR was added as a sweetener to get some of the states to ratify the Constitution. IIRC, Virginia and/or Pennsylvania were a couple of the hold outs. It was a question of balancing the powers of the federal and state governments, and individual rights. Some states had more expansive individual rights in their charters/constitutions, and didn’t want those watered down by a less expansive Constitution. The compromise provided enough wiggle room for enough states to ratify.

Comment #67481

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on January 4, 2006 8:25 AM (e)

hmmm. I’m not absolutely convinced there is no hope left.

Well, we have people being held in secret prisons, without charges or court hearings, based on secret evidence collected by secret illegal spying, phonetaps, and torture (uh, I mean “aggressive interrogation”) …. and nobody has said a peep of protest.

People are massively in favor of religius government, people are massively in favor of restricting political freedoms of those they don’t like, people are massively in favor of a national security state and a permanent state of “war”.

Heck, in one of our most recent elections, the guy who got the most votes, LOST.

And no one raised a peep of protest.

I think there is no hope left.

Comment #67499

Posted by Tim Hague on January 4, 2006 10:44 AM (e)

Lenny:

I think there is no hope left.

Fortunately there are many other countries than the US of A in the world. I live in one of those other countries, we still have hope. You can always leave if it gets too much for you.

Comment #67505

Posted by jim on January 4, 2006 10:52 AM (e)

'Rev Dr Lenny Flank wrote:

Heck, in one of our most recent elections, the guy who got the most votes, LOST.

Lenny, didn’t anyone explain our electoral process to you? This isn’t the first time it happened…

Comment #67534

Posted by AC on January 4, 2006 12:05 PM (e)

Scott, I’ll buy that.

It just seems like, if we take the constitutional literalists’ advice about establishment, then there is no point in being a citizen of the United States in addition to a citizen of one’s particular state. The federal government prohibits itself from establishing a national religion, but the states are free to establish state religions, and it seems the only recourse is to move.

That doesn’t seem very consistent with the American spirit of freedom. Then again, neither was institutional slavery or the disenfranchisement of women. I’m certainly glad that the law has been expanded over the years to better embody that spirit.

And considering that clause of the Texas constitution, the prevailing prejudices against atheists and homosexuals, etc., the task is far from finished.

Comment #67550

Posted by shenda on January 4, 2006 12:45 PM (e)

Lenny:

“I think there is no hope left.”

I often feel that way myself. However, I also remember that these things are cyclical and that people have been bemoaning the end of democracy in America since the early 1800’s, if not earlier.

This too will pass, even though it may hurt like hell while passing.

Comment #67608

Posted by Sir_Toejam on January 4, 2006 2:48 PM (e)

nobody has said a peep of protest

now, now, you know that is a gross exageration. In fact, why would there be such a large movement of folks calling all the protesters “commie-pinko, anti-US liberal faggots” if there weren’t, uh, protesters.

Comment #67709

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on January 4, 2006 7:27 PM (e)

Fortunately there are many other countries than the US of A in the world. I live in one of those other countries, we still have hope. You can always leave if it gets too much for you.

I prefer to stand and fight.

But a note to the rest of the world —- PLEASE stop us before it’s too late. You are next.

Comment #67710

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on January 4, 2006 7:30 PM (e)

Lenny, didn’t anyone explain our electoral process to you?

Sure, it’s simple. “Rich people win. Poor people don’t.”

This isn’t the first time it happened…

I do hope it will be the last. It’s absurd for the US to puff out its chest about “democracy” when no one in the US even actually votes for President.

Comment #67712

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on January 4, 2006 7:33 PM (e)

That doesn’t seem very consistent with the American spirit of freedom. Then again, neither was institutional slavery or the disenfranchisement of women. I’m certainly glad that the law has been expanded over the years to better embody that spirit.

I’m a little curious as to what Roger Rabbitt thinks about “Fourteenth Amendment Citizenship” …

I doubt anyone else here knows that that means. I’m pretty sure that Roger does.

And that would tell me all I need to know ….

Comment #68862

Posted by Heisenberg on January 8, 2006 9:56 PM (e)

Quite familiar with Amendment XIV. “All persons born or naturalized,” etc. More to the point is the clause declaring that states cannot take away rights granted by the federal government. This modifies the states rights amendments, to put it mildly.

“Originalism” always cracks me up. The men of 1787, having no idea what the world of 1897, 1997, or 2006 would look like wrote a deliberately vague and flexible document. Indeed, that’s why it has endured while more nit-picky constitutions have come and gone. The references “Harold” made to iPods and Britney Spears speak to this.

Someone I know has pointed out that the very fact that the Constitution can be amended blows “originalism” to smithereens.