Steve Reuland posted Entry 1935 on January 23, 2006 06:10 PM.
Trackback URL: http://www.pandasthumb.org/cgi-bin/mt/mt-tb.fcgi/1930

Here is a report of what transpired today at the “balanced panel” of the Academic Standards and Assessments Subcommittee meeting that I discussed previously. I am going off of accounts by other people who were present, so please don’t take any of this as chiseled in stone.

The subcommittee actually voted (3-0) to take no action on the standards at present. They will be sent back to the state Dept. of Education for more work, then forwarded to the subcommittee, and then the subcommittee will make its recommendation to the full Educational Oversight Committee. There’s no time limit attached to this, so this could effectively table the thing indefinitely (given that the BOE has already instituted a previous version of the standards for the time being), or it could just keep it going a lot longer. Or it could mean that the four indicators get killed altogether. Hard to say.

Below the fold I list some highlights (or lowlights) of the meeting. Again, let me repeat the caveat that this is my second-hand rendition.

  1. Mary Lane Edwards and Karen Stratton were each said to have done a bang-up job, as expected. Kudos to them!
  2. As if we didn’t already know that they’re orchestrating all of this behind the scenes, the Discovery Institute had a representative at the meeting handing out flyers titled, “South Carolina has Historic Opportunity to Adopt Science Standards Calling for Critical Analysis of Evolution.” There’s one slight problem with this. Here is indicator B-5.6 that already exists in the standards and I presume has existed for a long time: “Summarize ways that scientists use data from a variety of sources to investigate and critically analyze aspects of evolutionary theory.” Edwards and Stratton emphasized repeatedly that the standards already contain “critically analyze” terminology, so this could hardly be historical. But as with most of the words they steal from the English language, “critically analyze” means something different to the DI than it means to most normal people. The DI wants four of the specific indicators challenged so that students are fed doubts about evolution that biologists consider wrong. That’s not “critical analysis”, it’s uncritical acceptance of anti-evolutionist claims.

    The DI flyer also tried to make clear that they do not want to mandate teaching ID. (What they really want to mandate is teaching ID arguments, which is functionally the same thing, but that’s another story.) I suppose this is an attempt to keep from getting burned and embarrassed like they did in Dover. But they need not worry; Mike Fair is reading right off their script, and their association with him is embarrassing enough.

  3. Keller’s talk apparently focused a lot on “-isms”, noting that “Darwinism” is an “-ism” and is therefore some kind of philosophy or religion. And these have no place in science class. We’ve all heard this nonsense before – the level of hypocrisy it takes for an advocate of ID to accuse the other side of pushing philosophy or religion is mind-boggling, but never mind. Keller should be aware that the courts have ruled repeatedly that evolution is genuine science and not a religion or a philosophy of some kind. Keller is welcome to believe otherwise if she wishes, but the courts have thoroughly adjudicated this claim and found no rational basis for it. Simply saying otherwise doesn’t make it so.

    Moreover, the indicators in question say nothing about “Darwinism” or make any claims that could reasonably be interpreted as purely philosophical. You can read the indicators under question in my last post here.

  4. Sternberg’s talk was said to be fairly reasonable, and it seems he avoided his persecution routine altogether. He talked about how our understanding of evolution has changed a lot, and how the science of evolution, without giving any specifics, is currently in a period of rapid change. The pro-science people in attendance didn’t find much to disagree with, though there was perhaps a lot more implied than was said.
  5. What we really have here is a Senator problem. We knew already that a majority of the Academic Standards and Assessments Subcommittee (which had only 3 voting members present) was allied with Mike Fair, and the two non-voting members who were standing in were also Fair allies. Most of the questions they had were directed at Edwards and Stratton, and these were said to be typically shallow, hostile, and rude. One Senator claimed that there’s no separation of church and state, a thoroughly wrong and irrelevant claim given that Fair and his DI backers have consistently disavowed any religious motivation (not that anyone believes them). Edwards and Stratton, however, didn’t yield and inch. Good on them.

Update: There are a couple of news stories now available (hat tip to Not Very Bright), one from the AP wire, and another from a local NBC affiliate. Not surprisingly, the press reports are basically substance free, though they contain a few quotes from the participants that may be of interest.

On a lighter note, Barbecue and Politics has provided a helpful primer for the EOC.

Update, 1/24: This morning’s Post and Courier (Charleston) had this article with the following opening lines:

His voice cracking with emotion, state Rep. Robert Walker left no doubt about his position on the adoption of new state biology teaching standards on the subject of evolution.

“Back when the Constitution was established, the Bible was our textbook,” the Landrum Republican said. “Somehow the Bible has become a point where it’s no longer any good, and that concerns me - it tears my heart apart.”

But remember, this has nothing to do with religion.

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Comment #75177

Posted by Reed A. Cartwright on January 23, 2006 6:33 PM (e)

Will we be able to get a transcript?

Comment #75178

Posted by Steve Reuland on January 23, 2006 6:39 PM (e)

It was recorded by some who were in attendance. I don’t know if they’ll make a written transcript or not (I can encourage them to), nor do I know if they’ll be an official transcript. But if there’s anything specific you want to know about what was said, someone can review the tapes and find out.

Comment #75181

Posted by steve s on January 23, 2006 6:53 PM (e)

One Senator claimed that there’s no separation of church and state,

Love it. No one in the Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill area has really made a big push for ID Creationism, but if they do, I’ll be attending any and all discussions, asking the local proponents leading questions about religion. Get them on record linking ID with Jesus, and our work is half done.

Comment #75187

Posted by Phil Karn on January 23, 2006 7:10 PM (e)

steve s wrote:

Get them on record linking ID with Jesus, and our work is half done.

What? Hasn’t Pat Robertson already done that job far better than anyone else could possibly ever do it?

Comment #75210

Posted by RBH on January 23, 2006 8:35 PM (e)

Phil Karn asked

What? Hasn’t Pat Robertson already done that job far better than anyone else could possibly ever do it?

For the intent prong to be invoked in an Establishment case, it has to be those making the government policy who have to be linked.

RBH

Comment #75214

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on January 23, 2006 9:01 PM (e)

For the intent prong to be invoked in an Establishment case, it has to be those making the government policy who have to be linked.

But, for the “effect” prong, all you need is popular understanding that ID is religious.

That’s where all the bazillions of “letters to the editor” from the nutters helps us so much. Save every one of them.

Comment #75216

Posted by Rich on January 23, 2006 9:10 PM (e)

Excellent Idea, Lenny.

Can we create a centralized archive that we can submit these letters to?

Comment #75239

Posted by Michael Wells on January 23, 2006 10:26 PM (e)

My God (so to speak), those two news stories that are linked are awful. As a relative newcomer who’s been lurking since the Dover decision, I’m coming to suspect that this one of the biggest problems with public understanding of evolution (and probably science in general). Most non-specialist journalists doing an appallingly lazy and shoddy job of describing the facts and issues. I’m hardly the first here to observe this, but does it ever bear repeating. Eeeee-yuk!

Comment #75241

Posted by Jack Krebs on January 23, 2006 10:35 PM (e)

Do you know who from the DI was there? Just curious.

Comment #75246

Posted by Henry J on January 23, 2006 10:43 PM (e)

Re “I suppose this is an attempt to keep from getting burned and embarrassed like they did in Dover.”

Way to avoid embarrassment: just remember that old saying - “The closed mouth gathers no foot”.

I used to live in South Carolina, but didn’t have any dealings with the schools there.

Henry

Comment #75248

Posted by Wesley R. Elsberry on January 23, 2006 10:43 PM (e)

Can we create a centralized archive that we can submit these letters to?

Open a thread on “After the Bar Closes”. Put in the URL, the text, and a citation per message.

Comment #75251

Posted by Steve Reuland on January 23, 2006 11:00 PM (e)

Jack Krebs wrote:

Do you know who from the DI was there? Just curious.

Sorry, I don’t. It’s possible that this was just some local guy doing their bidding, but the words “genuine representative” were used in one of the accounts I read about the meeting. I’ve asked for clarification and will post if/when I get it.

Comment #75256

Posted by Rich on January 24, 2006 12:16 AM (e)

I enrolled at after the bar closes, but don’t have the privilege to start the necessary thread.

Rich

Comment #75258

Posted by Rich on January 24, 2006 12:29 AM (e)

Wesley, Lenny,

I enrolled at after the bar closes, but don’t have the privilege to start the necessary thread.

Rich

Comment #75262

Posted by argy stokes on January 24, 2006 1:09 AM (e)

Happy Birthday Wesley! (hey it’s still Monday over here)

Comment #75263

Posted by Sir_Toejam on January 24, 2006 1:15 AM (e)

Rich-

It’s been a while, but i think you have to logout and log back in again after you initially register.

I don’t recall having to do anything special other than that.

Comment #75265

Posted by Rich on January 24, 2006 1:50 AM (e)

“Sorry, you do not have permission to start a topic in this forum

You are currently logged in as…..”

I logged out and logged in again too.

Rich

Comment #75267

Posted by Sir_Toejam on January 24, 2006 2:02 AM (e)

*shrug*

sorry, I haven’t got a clue past that.

just shoot an email to Wes, and I’m sure he’ll get back to you tommorrow.

Comment #75278

Posted by jason spaceman on January 24, 2006 5:11 AM (e)

Some quotes from the hearings are available here:

“Many aspects of evolution are constantly being challenged. Prominent self-organizational theorists, for instance, propose that many aspects of the organism are not adaptive. That is, they are shaped more by the laws of physics and chemistry than by natural selection and random mutation. Informed students should be able to grapple with such challenges to the Darwinian model, as well as know all the evidence that supports the Darwinian model.”

— Richard von Sternberg, staff scientist with the National Institutes of Health

Comment #75291

Posted by Wesley R. Elsberry on January 24, 2006 7:47 AM (e)

I have started the relevant topic. Please post contributions there.

Comment #75294

Posted by Larry Fafarman on January 24, 2006 8:12 AM (e)

Update on South Carolina
Steve Reuland posted Entry 1935 on January 23, 2006 06:10 PM.
(opening comment on thread)

Keller’s talk apparently focused a lot on “-isms”, noting that “Darwinism” is an “-ism” and is therefore some kind of philosophy or religion. And these have no place in science class. We’ve all heard this nonsense before — the level of hypocrisy it takes for an advocate of ID to accuse the other side of pushing philosophy or religion is mind-boggling, but never mind.

Well, you know the saying – “offense is often the best defense.” Actually, I find evolution theory requires me to make much greater leaps of faith than irreducible complexity does. Irreducible complexity does not require me to imagine such far-fetched things as jawbones evolving into middle-ear bones. It is just impossible for me to visualize macroevolution actually taking place without assuming intervention by supernatural forces. On the other hand, irreducible complexity is much more limited than evolution theory – IC is just a criticism of evolution theory rather than a scientific explanation for the origin of species — but that’s OK with me.

Keller should be aware that the courts have ruled repeatedly that evolution is genuine science and not a religion or a philosophy of some kind.

With the possible exception of Kitzmiller v. Dover, I could find no court opinion that ruled that evolution is genuine science. All I could find was a ruling that evolution is not a religion (McLean v. Arkansas Board of Education) — but that could still mean that evolution is a pseudoscience or scientifically erroneous.

The Dover opinion did not rule that irreducible complexity is a religion – the Dover opinion only ruled that irreducible complexity had been refuted in peer-reviewed research papers and had been rejected by the scientific community at large. But that is not constitutional grounds for banning irreducible complexity from public-school science classes. There is only a constitutional separation of church and state. There is no constitutional separation of scientific error or pseudoscience and state.

Comment #75301

Posted by Raging Bee on January 24, 2006 8:28 AM (e)

Well, Larry, thanks for admitting, at long last, that those in the know reject ID as pseudoscience, and understand that evolution is not a religion.

If you, as a non-scientist with no real responsibility for getting important results (like a vaccine for this year’s flu virus, for example), have no problem accepting ID because it makes more sense to you, then that’s fine – for you. Just don’t go around trying to foist your opinion off on other people’s kids, okay?

Comment #75302

Posted by KL on January 24, 2006 8:34 AM (e)

Larry wrote:

“…the Dover opinion only ruled that irreducible complexity had been refuted in peer-reviewed research papers and had been rejected by the scientific community at large. But that is not constitutional grounds for banning irreducible complexity from public-school science classes.”

You don’t need a constitutional argument to teach only accepted science in science class. It’s the only honest choice. Period.

Comment #75306

Posted by Aagcobb on January 24, 2006 8:48 AM (e)

Larry Fafarman says

The Dover opinion did not rule that irreducible complexity is a religion — the Dover opinion only ruled that irreducible complexity had been refuted in peer-reviewed research papers and had been rejected by the scientific community at large. But that is not constitutional grounds for banning irreducible complexity from public-school science classes. There is only a constitutional separation of church and state. There is no constitutional separation of scientific error or pseudoscience and state.

True, however when scientifically erroneous pseudoscience is taught in public schools for religious reasons, that does violate the 1st Amendment.

Comment #75309

Posted by Moses on January 24, 2006 9:16 AM (e)

Comment #75294

Posted by Larry Fafarman on January 24, 2006 08:12 AM (e)

The Dover opinion did not rule that irreducible complexity is a religion — the Dover opinion only ruled that irreducible complexity had been refuted in peer-reviewed research papers and had been rejected by the scientific community at large. But that is not constitutional grounds for banning irreducible complexity from public-school science classes. There is only a constitutional separation of church and state. There is no constitutional separation of scientific error or pseudoscience and state.

IC is to ID as Mass is to Catholicism. It’s not, per se, the religion. But it is, part-and-parcel, part of the religion.

Comment #75311

Posted by yellow fatty bean on January 24, 2006 9:19 AM (e)

Aagcobb wrote:

True, however when scientifically erroneous pseudoscience is taught in public schools for religious reasons, that does violate the 1st Amendment.

That got me wondering about the constitutional premissibility of teaching other erroneous pseudoscience. If a school board voted to start teaching astrology and cold fusion as viable alternative theories, would parents have any recourse through the courts?

I would guess not, and that then the fight have to take place solely at the school board level. That illustrates the importance to me of the “intelligent, educated segment of society” getting involved in school boards – it’s nice that the courts are tossing out the most prevelant form of nonsense, but they cannot be relied upon to backstop all such nonsense that gets through the school boards.

Comment #75312

Posted by qetzal on January 24, 2006 9:21 AM (e)

Perhaps we should refer to ID as Designism.

Comment #75313

Posted by Larry Fafarman on January 24, 2006 9:26 AM (e)

Comment #75301 posted by Raging Bee on January 24, 2006 08:28 AM

Well, Larry, thanks for admitting, at long last, that those in the know reject ID as pseudoscience, and understand that evolution is not a religion.

I admitted nothing – I only reported what the courts have ruled. As for “those in the know,” I would like to see more polls of scientists’ opinions about ID — the only one I found on the Internet was an outdated 2002 poll of Ohio scientists.

If you, as a non-scientist with no real responsibility for getting important results (like a vaccine for this year’s flu virus, for example), have no problem accepting ID because it makes more sense to you, then that’s fine — for you. Just don’t go around trying to foist your opinion off on other people’s kids, okay?

Vaccine development concerns microevolution – I am talking here about macroevolution.

As for foisting opinions on other people’s kids, isn’t that what evolutionists are doing ?

We have heard almost nothing from those who are most affected by this controversy over teaching ID in the public schools – the students themselves. Students should be polled in regard to whether or not they want their courses to cover irreducible complexity and other non-religious criticisms of evolution theory.

Comment #75314

Posted by Moses on January 24, 2006 9:26 AM (e)

With the possible exception of Kitzmiller v. Dover, I could find no court opinion that ruled that evolution is genuine science. All I could find was a ruling that evolution is not a religion (McLean v. Arkansas Board of Education) —- but that could still mean that evolution is a pseudoscience or scientifically erroneous.

Actually, I think there was. A teach in CA filed suit saying that being forced to teach evolution violated the First Amendment.

John E. PELOZA v. CAPISTRANO UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT

Nos. 92-55228, 92-55644.

United States Court of Appeals,
Ninth Circuit.

I. The Section 1983 Claim

A. The Establishment Clause

[1] To withstand an Establishment Clause challenge(2), a state statute, policy or action (1) must have a secular purpose; (2) must, as its primary effect, neither advance nor inhibit religion; and (3) must not foster an excessive government entanglement with religions. Lemon V. Kurtzman, 403 U.S. 602, 612-13, 91 S.Ct. 2105, 2111, 29 L.Ed.2d,745 (1971).

Peloza’s complaint alleges that the school district has violated the Establishment Clause “by pressuring and requiring him to teach evolutionism, a religious belief system, as a valid scientific theory.” Complaint at 19-20. Evolutionism, according to Peloza, “postulates that the ‘higher’ life forms … evolved from the ‘lower’ life forms … and that life itself ‘evolved’ from non-living matter.” Id. at 2. It is therefore “based on the assumption that life and the universe evolved randomly and by chance and with no Creator involved in the process.” Id. at 1. Peloza claims that evolutionism is not a valid scientific theory because it is based on events which “occurred in the non-observable and non-recreatable past and hence are not subject to scientific observation.” Id. at 3. Finally, in his appellate brief he alleges that the school district is requiring him to teach evolutionism not just as a theory, but rather as a fact.

[2] Peloza’s complaint is not entirely consistent. In some places he seems to advance the patently frivolous claim that it is unconstitutional for the school district to require him to teach, as a valid scientific theory, that higher life forms evolved from lower ones. At other times he claims the district is forcing him to teach evolution as fact. Although possibly dogmatic or even wrong, such a requirement would not transgress the establishment clause if “evolution” simply means that higher life forms evolved from lower ones.

Peloza uses the words “evolution” and “evolutionism” interchangeably in the complaint. This is not wrong or imprecise for, indeed, they are synonyms.(3) Adding “ism” does not change the meaning nor magically metamorphose “evolution” into a religion. “Evolution” and “evolutionism” define a biological concept: higher life forms evolve from lower ones. The concept has nothing to do with how the universe was created; it has nothing to do with whether or not there is a divine Creator (who did or did not create the universe or did or did not plan evolution as part of a divine scheme).

[3] On a motion to dismiss we are required to read the complaint charitably, to take all well-pleaded facts as true, and to assume that all general allegations embrace whatever specific facts might be necessary to support them. Lujan V. Nat’l Wildlife Federation, 497 U.S. 871, 889, 110 S.Ct. 3177, 3189, 111 L.Ed.2d 695 (1990); Abmmson V. Brownstein, 897 F.2d 389, 391 (9th Cir.1990). Charitably read, Peloza’s complaint at most makes this claim: the school district’s actions establish a state-supported religion of evolutionism, or more generally of “secular humanism.” See Complaint at 24, 20. According to Peloza’s complaint, all persons must adhere to one of two religious belief systems concerning “the origins of life and of the universe:” evolutionism, or creationism. Id. at 2. Thus, the school district, in teaching evolutionism, is establishing a state-supported “religion.”

We reject this claim because neither the Supreme Court, nor this circuit, has ever held that evolutionism or secular humanism are “religions” for Establishment Clause purposes. Indeed, both the dictionary definition of religion(4) and the clear weight of the case law(5) are to the contrary. The Supreme Court has held unequivocally that while the belief in a divine creator of the universe is a religious belief, the scientific theory that higher forms of life evolved from lower forms is not. Edwards V. Aguillard. 482 U.S. 578, 107 S.Ct. 2573, 96 L.Ed.2d 510 (1987) (holding unconstitutional, under Establishment Clause, Louisiana’s “Balanced Treatment for Creation-science and Evolution-Science in Public School Instruction Act”).

Peloza would have us accept his definition of “evolution” and “evolutionism” and impose his definition on the school district as its own, a definition that cannot be found in the dictionary, in the Supreme Court cases, or anywhere in the common understanding of the words. Only if we define “evolution” and “evolutionism” as does Peloza as a concept that embraces the belief that the universe came into existence without a Creator might he make out a claim. This we need not do. To say red is green or black is white does not make it so. Nor need we for the purposes of a 12(b)(6) motion accept a made-up definition of “evolution.” Nowhere does Peloza point to anything that conceivably suggests that the school district accepts anything other than the common definition of “evolution” and “evolutionism.” It simply required him as a biology teacher in the public schools of California to teach “evolution.” Peloza nowhere says it required more.

The district court dismissed his claim, stating:

Since the evolutionist theory is not a religion, to require an instructor to teach this theory is not a violation of the Establishment Clause…. Evolution is a scientific theory based on the gathering and studying of data, and modification of new data. It is an established scientific theory which is used as the basis for many areas of science. As scientific methods advance and become more accurate, the scientific community will revise the accepted theory to a more accurate explanation of life’s origins. Plaintiffs assertions that the teaching of evolution would be a violation of the Establishment Clause is unfounded.

Id. at 12-13. We agree.

In the legal world, they’d call this a “slam dunk.” And you’d be the dunkee…

Comment #75316

Posted by Raging Bee on January 24, 2006 9:36 AM (e)

Once again, Larry admits he’s lost the argument:

As for foisting opinions on other people’s kids, isn’t that what evolutionists are doing?

This is how children respond when they lose a factual argument: all facts are retroactively changed to “opinions,” and “we’re all entitled to our own opinions.”

We have heard almost nothing from those who are most affected by this controversy over teaching ID in the public schools — the students themselves. Students should be polled in regard to whether or not they want their courses to cover irreducible complexity and other non-religious criticisms of evolution theory.

Yet another admission of defeat: he can’t convince the adults, because he can’t argue on our level, so he tries to manipulate the kids instead, and pretend they’re wiser than the hidebound grownups.

(What about the parents, Larry? Many of those kids’ parents were plaintiffs in the Dover suit. Do you think they’ll appreciate you trying to work their kids over?)

Comment #75317

Posted by bill on January 24, 2006 9:37 AM (e)

That got me wondering about the constitutional permissibility of teaching other erroneous pseudoscience. If a school board voted to start teaching astrology and cold fusion as viable alternative theories, would parents have any recourse through the courts

You may recall that in Dover it was the Science Teachers who balked at reading the statement about ID. In the end it was read to the students by the school superintendent.

The Science Teachers refused to read the statement on the grounds of professional ethics. ID is clearly not science, thus the Science Teachers refused to “teach” it. The same would go for astrology, voodoo, numerology, fortune telling, etc.

IC would not be taught for the same reason. It’s not science.

Comment #75318

Posted by Larry Fafarman on January 24, 2006 9:40 AM (e)

Comment #75302 posted by KL on January 24, 2006 08:34 AM

Larry wrote:
“…the Dover opinion only ruled that irreducible complexity had been refuted in peer-reviewed research papers and had been rejected by the scientific community at large. But that is not constitutional grounds for banning irreducible complexity from public-school science classes.”

You don’t need a constitutional argument to teach only accepted science in science class. It’s the only honest choice. Period.

But in the Dover case, the judge was only supposed to decide what is or is not constitutional, and not what is or is not honest. The school board is supposed to decide what is or is not honest. As Thomas More said in the play “A Man for All Seasons” — “The world must construe according to its wits. This court must construe according to the law.”

Comment #75319

Posted by KL on January 24, 2006 9:42 AM (e)

“We have heard almost nothing from those who are most affected by this controversy over teaching ID in the public schools — the students themselves. Students should be polled in regard to whether or not they want their courses to cover irreducible complexity and other non-religious criticisms of evolution theory.”

Yeah, that makes sense. I’ll poll my kids and see how many of them say I should not teach stoichiometry, as most students find it difficult and would prefer that I not require it. Never mind that stoichiometry is the basis for quantifying chemical reactions and you cannot deal with Chemistry quantitatively until you master it.

Comment #75320

Posted by Erasmus on January 24, 2006 9:46 AM (e)

Syntax Error: mismatched tag 'kwickxml'

Comment #75321

Posted by Moses on January 24, 2006 9:47 AM (e)

Students should be polled in regard to whether or not they want their courses to cover irreducible complexity and other non-religious criticisms of evolution theory.

Every Friday night is “free night” at our house. You can eat whatever you want for dinner.

The adults, having a lot of experience in “what’s good for them” eat healthy food, like apples, bread, juice, cheese and a salad. The non-adults try to get on a sugar high from the time they get home from school - cookies, ice cream, popcorn, candy, soda and any other piece-of-sugary-crap they can shove in their mouths.

Fortunately, as a good parent, most of the items on the children’s list are not present in my house. We rarely buy soda, candy, cookies & ice cream. And the kids either have to spend their allowance on junk food and import it, or they have drop down to secondary levels of crap I will permit, like “goldfish” crackers and Frosted Mini-Wheats while making chocolate milk to drink and frozen fruit sundae’s sans ice cream. My kids are fit and healthy, because (in part) even on “free crap” night, there’s little crap to be had.

ID is like a sugar soda junk food. Full of fizz and sparkle, but rots your teeth and makes you fat without nourishing your mind & body. Evolution is like Brussels sprouts. Not so fun to eat, but a lot better for you.

And as a good parent, it is my responsibility to ensure my children eat right. Even as other parents think their silly soda-diet is good for their kids and mine should engage in their destructive diets too.

But back to your argument, the fact is that children are not capable of making this decision. Even well informed children such as my own don’t’ know enough to make this decision. (In fact, most adults are not capable of making this decision.) They don’t have facts and education and willpower and established self-identity to deal with the lies, peer pressure and vacuity of the sugary “ID” arguments. And they sure as heck aren’t that interested in the Brussels sprouts of evolution.

Comment #75322

Posted by Laser on January 24, 2006 9:47 AM (e)

This stuff is priceless:

“We have heard almost nothing from those who are most affected by this controversy over teaching ID in the public schools — the students themselves. Students should be polled in regard to whether or not they want their courses to cover irreducible complexity and other non-religious criticisms of evolution theory.”

Yes, by all means, let’s set public school curriculum according to the students’ popular votes. What a brilliant idea!

Comment #75323

Posted by KL on January 24, 2006 9:48 AM (e)

Larry wrote:

“But in the Dover case, the judge was only supposed to decide what is or is not constitutional, and not what is or is not honest.”

When the Dover school board mandated teaching non-science and parents took them to court, that is when their motivations were scrutinized. When it became apparent that religion was their motivation, it became a constitutional issue. Further evidence found that IC and ID had their roots in religion. You can’t close the barn door after the livestock is out. Dissecting out IC and carefully removing all religious references does not change what it is. You can do grammatical studies on the contents of the Bible, but it is still the Bible.

Comment #75324

Posted by Raging Bee on January 24, 2006 9:49 AM (e)

Wow…just wow…to justify allowing fake science and lies to be taught as “science” in public schools, Larry cites, as supporting precedent…get ready for this…a line from a play!

That’s not just ridiculous, it’s funny!

Comment #75326

Posted by rdog29 on January 24, 2006 9:55 AM (e)

So Larry -

What you’re saying, is that you can’t accept evolution because you simply can’t imagine “macroevolutionary” occurrences like jawbone components evolving into middle ear components and so forth.

You are free to constrain yourself by your own weak “imagination” if you so choose, but don’t try pushing it off on other peoples’ kids, OK?

It takes more than just “I can’t imagine it” to get your opinions taught as science. It takes evidence and peer review. And “I can’t imagine it” is hardly a valid criticism of any scientific theory.

I’m sure lots of people have trouble imagining the counter-intuitive happenings at the quantum level, or the distortion of time and space that happens when relativistic effects are sigificant. Yet local schoolboards aren’t badgered into “teaching the controversy” in Physics.

And please don’t bring up the subject of opinion polls - the fact that there are others as dull as you is irrelevent.

Comment #75327

Posted by William E Emba on January 24, 2006 9:58 AM (e)

Perhaps we should refer to ID as Designism.

Designology?

Comment #75328

Posted by Laser on January 24, 2006 9:59 AM (e)

Classic!

“But in the Dover case, the judge was only supposed to decide what is or is not constitutional, and not what is or is not honest.”

So you’re admitting the strategy is to be dishonest but constitutional?

Comment #75329

Posted by improvius on January 24, 2006 10:01 AM (e)

“Informed students should be able to grapple with such challenges to the Darwinian model, as well as know all the evidence that supports the Darwinian model.”

To paraphrase Brody, “You’re gonna need a longer class.”

Comment #75333

Posted by Flint on January 24, 2006 10:23 AM (e)

Even a cursory reading of the Dover decision shows that Jones said IC was religious in nature, because it denies that certain structures could have formed by natural processes, and posits supernatural processes as the responsible agency. Jones said, this may be true, but since science can ONLY examine natural processes, and supernatural processes are religious.

Legally, of course, it IS acceptable to teach erroneous material in science class, and indeed (science not have explained everything perfectly yet) it’s unavoidable. The issue isn’t whether it’s erroneous, but whether it’s religious. If it claims anything supernatural, it’s religious. If science cannot possibly test it even in principle, it’s religious.

Comment #75334

Posted by Aagcobb on January 24, 2006 10:29 AM (e)

Larry Fafarman asks

As for “those in the know,” I would like to see more polls of scientists’ opinions about ID —- the only one I found on the Internet was an outdated 2002 poll of Ohio scientists.

ask and ye shall receive: url href=http://www.ncseweb.org/resources/articles/3541_project_steve_2_16_2003.asp

The steve-o-meter is currently at 691, and since Steve’s are about 1% of scientists, that number represents roughly 69,000 scientists and rising!

Comment #75337

Posted by Larry Fafarman on January 24, 2006 10:50 AM (e)

Comment #75314 posted by Moses on January 24, 2006 09:26 AM

“With the possible exception of Kitzmiller v. Dover, I could find no court opinion that ruled that evolution is genuine science.”

Actually, I think there was. A teach in CA filed suit saying that being forced to teach evolution violated the First Amendment.

John E. PELOZA v. CAPISTRANO UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT

United States Court of Appeals,
Ninth Circuit.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

In the legal world, they’d call this a “slam dunk.”

OK, so it’s a slam dunk – but just in the 9th federal appeals court circuit. This case is not even cited in the Kitzmiller v. Dover opinion ( I computer-searched), which cites several cases outside the 3rd circuit. Peloza is not even cited in the complaint of Hurst v. Newman (the El Tejon, Calif. case), which was filed in the 9th circuit, though the Hurst complaint cites the Dover case.

Also, in Peloza, the judges ruled on the scientific merits of evolution theory even though that was not necessary to decide the case — the judges could have just ruled that evolution theory is not religious. More activist judges.

Comment #75339

Posted by Larry Fafarman on January 24, 2006 10:57 AM (e)

Comment #75334 posted by Aagcobb on January 24, 2006 10:29 AM

Larry Fafarman asks
“As for ‘those in the know,’ I would like to see more polls of scientists’ opinions about ID —- the only one I found on the Internet was an outdated 2002 poll of Ohio scientists.”

The steve-o-meter is currently at 691, and since Steve’s are about 1% of scientists, that number represents roughly 69,000 scientists and rising!

I asked for an organized, statistically accurate poll, not a stupid signed letter ! Sheeeesh.

Comment #75340

Posted by Raging Bee on January 24, 2006 10:58 AM (e)

Also, in Peloza, the judges ruled on the scientific merits of evolution theory even though that was not necessary to decide the case —- the judges could have just ruled that evolution theory is not religious. More activist judges.

Sure, Larry, courts aren’t required to rule on the truth or falsehood of allegations put before them. Anything you say, dude…

Since you can’t use facts and logic to support your case, maybe you should stick to quoting plays. Hey, how about show-tunes? That might get the kids on your side in advance of the next opinion-poll…

Comment #75341

Posted by Larry Fafarman on January 24, 2006 11:05 AM (e)

Comment #75328 posted by Laser on January 24, 2006 09:59 AM

“But in the Dover case, the judge was only supposed to decide what is or is not constitutional, and not what is or is not honest.”

So you’re admitting the strategy is to be dishonest but constitutional?

NO, NO, NO ! I did not admit anything ! Why do people always put words in my mouth ?

Comment #75342

Posted by AD on January 24, 2006 11:12 AM (e)

Larry, you say things that worry me greatly.

Allowing students to choose their curriculum would be an unmitigated disaster of biblical proportions, to put it in language you would understand. Generally, those things which are best to learn are often those which are most often difficult. Not coincidentally, they are also often the least popular. Even less coincidentally, they are most often the things which the American public has absolutely no clue about.

Math, for example, would probably be the first thing off the list… yet our mathematical skills in American society are already so poor that most individuals cannot figure out routine interest calculations for their overcharged credit cards. I, personally, am at the point where I just tell people “you wouldn’t understand” when they ask me about my work, because I would have to spend about five hours explaining basic mathematical principles to even allow them to take the baby steps towards understanding.

Secondly, science is not a product of voting polls by non-experts. Regardless of how much someone wants to believe something, or how uninformed they are (or how widespread that is), that is no argument to teach idiocy. If 99.5% of the American public believed that all pigs were fish, should we teach that? No. In fact, if you are citing as evidence that a majority of students, the public, or any major demographic group either believes ID or that it should be taught, I take that as the strongest possible evidence that MORE evolution needs to be taught, not less.

In closing, you are wrong. Furthermore, as far as I can tell, you also lack the professional standing and academic understanding to even be evaluating the thing that you are wrong about! What reasonable basis do you have for disbelieving hundreds of thousands of scientists around the world, all of whom are better informed than you, and all of whom have done significantly more work in this field? Why are you right, and they wrong?

Comment #75344

Posted by Kim on January 24, 2006 11:14 AM (e)

Larry wrote:

The school board is supposed to decide what is or is not honest.

Humm, so if the shool board would decide that teaching how to use a ouija because they see it as honest, than that should happen?

What a bullshit. Sorry, I think schoolboards deciding on science is as a mechanic doing surgery.

But I am less and less surprised about the average entry level at the university I am working for (one of the better ones in the USA btw). We have to teach them stuff that I conseder highschool level stuff, and things we (in the Netherlands) had in our pocket BEFORE I entered university. In my opinion, a bachelors degree of a resonable level university here is equivalent with a toplevel high school in the Netherlands, and what I have seen of community colleges is middle level highschool stuff….

No wonder the US needs so many foreign post-docs to do the research.

Comment #75347

Posted by Kim on January 24, 2006 11:22 AM (e)

O Larry, have a look here: http://shovelbums.org/component/option,com_mospetition/Itemid,506/

Over 7700 scientists joined the petition, in 4 DAYS time, and another 3000-4000 in the days after. The Discovery Institute took 4 YEARS to collect just over 400 signatures.

And by your own account, you can not claim there are any ID scietists, because it was not a statistically correct poll…..

Comment #75348

Posted by Wislu Plethora on January 24, 2006 11:22 AM (e)

Once again, Larry finds himself under attack by the intelligent, educated segment of the culture.

Hint to Larry: Using the creationist micro/macro canard is prima facie evidence of ignorance, willful deceit, or both.

Comment #75351

Posted by Mike on January 24, 2006 11:31 AM (e)

Kim,

It’s the Larrys. We have too many of them and that will be our downfall.

BTW, do you think a decent mathematician could get a teaching job in the Netherlands?

Comment #75352

Posted by Laser on January 24, 2006 11:32 AM (e)

OK, then. Please clarify your statement:

“But in the Dover case, the judge was only supposed to decide what is or is not constitutional, and not what is or is not honest.”

Your statement makes a broad sweeping claim that the judge should not have evaluated honesty in the Dover trial. So, for example, if one of the members of the school board was shown to have lied under oath about where he got money for a certain textbook, the judge should not have concerned himself with that?

Just what is it that you are saying?

Comment #75353

Posted by k.e. on January 24, 2006 11:33 AM (e)

hahahahahaha

Larry whether you want to accept it or not from day one THIS has been your WHOLE case and you have only just woken up to it congratulations !

Larry:
“But in the Dover case, the judge was only supposed to decide what is or is not constitutional, and not what is or is not honest.”

Laser:
“So you’re admitting the strategy is to be dishonest but constitutional?”

Larry:
“NO, NO, NO ! I did not admit anything ! Why do people always put words in my mouth ?”

Marvelous, you would make a hopeless lawyer.

Judge: How do you plead?

Felon: I want a lawyer

Judge: Why? You were found with the gun in your hand, the money in your pocket, and a photo of you robbing the bank.
What could a lawyer possibly say to help you?

Felon: I don’t know either, but I would like to find out.

Comment #75354

Posted by Steverino on January 24, 2006 11:38 AM (e)

Larry,

Why do you feel it is so important to teach something that has not yet been proven to have any scientific value?

Comment #75355

Posted by Raging Bee on January 24, 2006 11:39 AM (e)

Larry, you can pretend you haven’t admitted anything, but your argument style, and your choice of specific points, constitute clear “de-facto recognition” on your part that you and your fellow “Cdesign proponentsists” have no case. We know you’ve given up, and no amount of foot-stomping “NO NO NO!!!” protestations can change that.

Comment #75356

Posted by Moses on January 24, 2006 11:40 AM (e)

Comment #75337

Posted by Larry Fafarman on January 24, 2006 10:50 AM (e)

OK, so it’s a slam dunk — but just in the 9th federal appeals court circuit. This case is not even cited in the Kitzmiller v. Dover opinion ( I computer-searched), which cites several cases outside the 3rd circuit. Peloza is not even cited in the complaint of Hurst v. Newman (the El Tejon, Calif. case), which was filed in the 9th circuit, though the Hurst complaint cites the Dover case.

Also, in Peloza, the judges ruled on the scientific merits of evolution theory even though that was not necessary to decide the case —- the judges could have just ruled that evolution theory is not religious. More activist judges.

So, having absolutely no idea that the case existed, and clearly without the time to analyze it, you offer your incredibly erroneous comments as rebuttal on just an excerpt? :rollseyes: Whatever.

First of all the issue in Kitzmiller v. Dover was not the same as Peloza. In Kitzmiller we have religion masquerading as science, in Peloza we have a religious nut trying to redefine science as religion. Therefore, Peloza is not precedent for Kitzmiller, though it does carry weight as a precedent in other cases.

PELOZA SET UP THE DUALITY WHEN HE argued that the SCIENCE OF EVOLUTION was A RELIGION and NOT SCIENCE and thus violated his 1st Amendment rights. Therefore, and regardless of, your lack of understanding to the contrary, Peloza’s assertion required the Court to rule on evolution as science or religion to determine if Peloza’s 1st Amendment rights were being violated. Just because Peloza asserted a 1st amendment violation and it was “evo-religion” that was violating his 1st amendment rights, doesn’t mean the Court must be uncritical and leave unexamined Peloza’s assertion of the facts. In fact, if they did, they’d be negligent. Cutting to the chase, the Court said evolution was science, not religion, and AFFIRMED the District Court’s opinion.

The only “activist” was Peloza, whom the Court rightfully identified as an activist trying to redefine science as religion. Peloza failed, because pretty much everyone with a room-temperature IQ knows that the Theory of Evolution is a SCIENTIFIC THEORY & CONCEPT and Peloza’s argument that it was a religion was clearly fraudulent. (And not even novel.)

And, in a cruel twist of irony, when PELOZA argued, he used some of the precedents and citations Judge Jones used in his opinion in Kitzmiller.

Comment #75358

Posted by Ed Darrell on January 24, 2006 11:44 AM (e)

1. “Isms?”

Claiming there is “Darwinism” is one thing. But to suggest replacing it with “IDism” is no solution. But that’s all the DI folks suggest. Better to teach the facts, first. Better to stick with high academic standards.

2. South Carolina’s participation in the convention in Philadelphia in 1787 was financed by the large Jewish community in Charleston (then our nation’s biggest port, where the synagogue built in 1750 has been in continuous use). South Carolina asked for religious freedom, for separation of church and state, then.

O, South Carolina! How far have you fallen!

Comment #75359

Posted by Larry Fafarman on January 24, 2006 11:46 AM (e)

Comment #75319 posted by KL on January 24, 2006 09:42 AM

“Students should be polled in regard to whether or not they want their courses to cover irreducible complexity and other non-religious criticisms of evolution theory.”

Yeah, that makes sense. I’ll poll my kids and see how many of them say I should not teach stoichiometry, as most students find it difficult and would prefer that I not require it.

Stoichiometry is simple – just basic arithmetic, proportions, and algebra. Nothing to it.

I am not suggesting a binding poll of the students – I just want to know what they think about teaching ID in the public schools. And I also want up-to-date polls of what scientists think about ID.

Comment #75361

Posted by Jason on January 24, 2006 11:48 AM (e)

Since I’ve been banned from Uncommondescent, the mothballed blog, I guess I have to post this here. Demski and his bootlickers will probably read it.

Dig this:

http://www.uncommondescent.com/index.php/archives/701

Though a self-described Christian,he says he first turned to intelligent design theory as a math student.

But that’s NOT what Dembski said on the Daily Show.

I can’t find a transcript online, but basically Dembski said that he “admits” that the religion came first, then the ID.

Someone find a transcript or a clip of Dembski directly contradicting himself.

Comment #75362

Posted by Steverino on January 24, 2006 11:51 AM (e)

LARRY!

Please answer.

Why do you feel it is so important to teach something that has not yet been proven to have any scientific value?

Comment #75363

Posted by Stoffel on January 24, 2006 11:54 AM (e)

Can I suggest an upgrade to the commenting software? Something like the Microsoft Clippy office assistant? So that when somebody writes:

“Larry, you…”

The clippy can pop up a helpful little bubble:

“It looks like you’re trying to respond to Larry Fafarman. He’s heard it all before, and he won’t change his mind. Are you sure you want to feed the troll?”

Comment #75365

Posted by Larry Fafarman on January 24, 2006 11:58 AM (e)

Comment #75352 posted by Laser on January 24, 2006 11:32 AM

“But in the Dover case, the judge was only supposed to decide what is or is not constitutional, and not what is or is not honest.”

Your statement makes a broad sweeping claim that the judge should not have evaluated honesty in the Dover trial. So, for example, if one of the members of the school board was shown to have lied under oath about where he got money for a certain textbook, the judge should not have concerned himself with that?.

That is not the context in which “honest” was used in the original comment. In the original comment, “honest” referred to “accepted science.” You people are always making straw-man arguments.

Comment #75366

Posted by DJ on January 24, 2006 12:02 PM (e)

Fafarman is a very funny fellow.

“We have heard almost nothing from those who are most affected by this controversy over teaching ID in the public schools — the students themselves. Students should be polled in regard to whether or not they want their courses to cover irreducible complexity and other non-religious criticisms of evolution theory.

While we’re at it, let’s ask the students about another school controversy: shouldn’t they themselves decide whether or not we teach them abstinence-only sex education, or whether or not they should be able to stay out all night and have unprotected sex? What, Larry? They shouldn’t have a say in it? They don’t know what’s good for them? But I thought you were arguing that the students themselves already know what they should be taught. Aren’t you being a little hypocritical?

If they know what’s good for them, can’t they have beer and wine with lunch? And how come they can’t smoke in class? We apparently aren’t listening to the students, because as I understand it we are foisting 10 pm curfews on them and fooling them with the ridiculous notion that they need to be adults to drink alcohol. I know they would beg to differ, so why aren’t we taking their opinions into account?

I’m pretty sure they would unanimously agree that driving without a license starting at, say, the age of 10, is quite definitely their cup of tea.

How much you want to bet that if students were polled about it they would also want to be taught astrology and aroma-therapy. And where’s that Kama-Sutra book they’ve been asking for, that’s biology, right ?!?

Comment #75367

Posted by KL on January 24, 2006 12:03 PM (e)

Larry wrote:

“Stoichiometry is simple — just basic arithmetic, proportions, and algebra. Nothing to it.”

So YOUR students learn it quickly and enthusiastically, right? What’s your secret? Inquiring educators would like to know…

Comment #75369

Posted by Flint on January 24, 2006 12:11 PM (e)

Once again, Larry is right. It was not, and should not be, the role of the judge to decide what is or is not accepted science. That’s up to the community of scientists, as reflected in scientific journals, conferences, and (certainly at the 9th grade level) standard texts. I’d need a lawyer to tell me if the federal court has any jurisdiction over any case contesting whether a state school board is free to violate state standard-setting procedures. My take is that the state school board is free to ignore or rewrite these standards as they see fit.

All the judge can do is determine if what is being represented as science is in fact religion in substance, even if it has been renamed to something misleading in an attempt to circumvent the constitution. And he did exactly that. The judge correctly found that (1) ID is entirely religious in nature, proposed and supported by religious believers, for religious purposes, and (2) that ID contains *absolutely no scientific content whatsoever*.

And that makes it unconstitutional. The fact that it teaches ignorance to students who deserve and expect actual knowledge is beside the point, really. Teaching nonsense to our children may upset people who value knowledge, but the judge can’t say anything about it UNLESS (1) The nonsense is religious doctrine motivated by religious fervor; and (2) contains nothing of secular value.

Comment #75371

Posted by GT(N)T on January 24, 2006 12:17 PM (e)

Why do you put up with us Larry? We refuse to acknowledge your superior knowledge or bow to your devastating logic. If I were you I’d leave us silly, deluded evolutionists to our damnation and doom. I know a man of your intellect and abilities has something better to do.

Comment #75376

Posted by rdog29 on January 24, 2006 12:31 PM (e)

Jason -

I distinctly remember the scene you are describing. I don’t have a transcript, but I did record all the Daily shows that week.

You are right - Dembski was asked what came first, the religious conversion or ID. And Dembski clearly says “the conversion.”

So once again Dembski is caught in lying. Now there’s a surprise.

Comment #75377

Posted by Jason on January 24, 2006 12:34 PM (e)

Just have to show somebody that since Debmski’s minions have taken over his blog, they are showing their true colors, unabashedly. I’d go to the after the bar closes, but I’d have to register. I’ll do it later. Besides I want DaveScot and WmD to read this.

http://www.uncommondescent.com/index.php/archives/695#more-695

DaveScot wrote:

Someone needs to slap these clergy upside the head and tell them they don’t have to compromise their faith in God to accommodate some godless story of evolution foisted upon us by the likes of Richard Dawkins or the National Academy of Atheist Sciences.

http://www.uncommondescent.com/index.php/archives/694#more-694

#

Intimidation is rampant. What are they all afraid of that they want to compromise their beliefs in order to accomodate a so-called scientific position that’s nothing but a huge hoax perpetuated by atheists in the academy and the judiciary?

Comment by DaveScot — January 22, 2006 @ 5:18 am

I don’t mind atheists as long as they aren’t trying to force their faith in a godless universe down the throats of others in the public domain without equal time given to the vast majority who don’t believe in a godless universe. It’s all about using politics to provide a level playing field. On a level playing field the Darwinian narrative apologists don’t stand a chance.

Comment by DaveScot — January 22, 2006 @ 11:16 am

Sad little munchkin ain’t he?

So we have it. ID is the antithesis to GODLESS evolution. ID relies on GOD. ID is religious. This is coming straight from their mouths. I’d say that DaveScot deserves to be called an “expert” in ID, so even their “experts” consider ID to be the work of GOD.

Ah, screw it.

Comment #75380

Posted by blipey on January 24, 2006 12:52 PM (e)

That is not the context in which “honest” was used in the original comment. In the original comment, “honest” referred to “accepted science.

Honest doesn’t mean what we think it means, in fact it really means accepted.

Larry, how you IDologists talk to each other? Do you have a little dictionary that translates English into IDism speak? Or, perhaps you have your own special ESL classes?

Comment #75384

Posted by k.e. on January 24, 2006 1:03 PM (e)

I’m just waiting for them to ordain ID gurus maybe they could be called Designers and issue uniforms (Lab Coats) and get statues (IDols) start up churchs (Designer Temples), have sacred texts (Blueprints) pilgrimages (to Factories) baptisms (in Industrial Cleaning Fluid) they would have to have a suitable saint say Don Quixote ‘Count’ Dembski.

Comment #75385

Posted by k.e. on January 24, 2006 1:06 PM (e)

Then they could go door to door and say
‘Have you heard the word of the Intelligent Designer’
To which I would reply is Bill Gates finally dead?

Comment #75387

Posted by AD on January 24, 2006 1:10 PM (e)

I am noticing a rather disconcerting trend regarding the fact that Larry seems to rely on opinion polls, ad hominem attacks, and strawman arguments quite liberally.

More amusing, he accuses others of doing precisely what he is, himself, doing. Project much?

But maybe I’m wrong? If so…

However, I too would like an answer to why ID deserves equal time in science class when the scientific support is nonexistent? Can you refer me to peer-reviewed studies I may have missed? Published ID research reports and lab methodologies? Statistical evaluations and real-world observational studies?

I can’t seem to find any of this. Why should it be taught with zero support? Or am I just missing the support? Please note, by the by, that I’m not asking for a refutation of evolution. I’m asking for specific support and evidence for ID in a scientific context, if you want to teach it in a scientific classroom. Please refer me to this. Thank you.

Comment #75388

Posted by blipey on January 24, 2006 1:18 PM (e)

But what would they Designers preach? Don’t you have to have a creation myth to start a religion? All they could do is stand on my doorstep and say,

“Good afternoon, brother; may we discuss the word of the, uh…hmmm, our sacred, no the completely non-supernatural beings from…wherever they come from? You see, we have a deep and abiding faith, um…belief, no evidence, yes that’s it–evidence–that we got here somehow. Because, well, you know…we’re here and everything, so it’s obvious that we’re here. These are the truths of the universe and we would like you to join our small, but growing, number of believers. Help us, brother, so that we may let everyone know of the wonderful thingy that we can’t name…or find…because we aren’t allowed to look for Him it!. So, brother, you want in?

That’d be enough to make me join up…even though I’d be giving up the wonderous truth of Scientology.

Comment #75389

Posted by Tyrannosaurus on January 24, 2006 1:19 PM (e)

Larry posted,
We have heard almost nothing from those who are most affected by this controversy over teaching ID in the public schools — the students themselves. Students should be polled in regard to whether or not they want their courses to cover irreducible complexity and other non-religious criticisms of evolution theory
.

I guess that I have to poll the kindergartners at my son’s school with regard to whether or not they want their courses to cover Teletubbies or Sesame Street?
Students must master first the basics of science and the theories underlying those sciences in order to start gaining the appropriate tools to make any judgments (i.e., critically analyze).
Teaching non sense “because I say so, or I am more comfortable with it, etc.” is not the way to provide students with the skills necessary to make any analysis at all. Nor is raising straw man arguments to deflect valid criticisms on the lack of merits of ID.

Comment #75391

Posted by KL on January 24, 2006 1:21 PM (e)

Comment #75363

“Can I suggest an upgrade to the commenting software? Something like the Microsoft Clippy office assistant? So that when somebody writes:

“Larry, you…”

The clippy can pop up a helpful little bubble:

“It looks like you’re trying to respond to Larry Fafarman. He’s heard it all before, and he won’t change his mind. Are you sure you want to feed the troll?””

Thanks. I needed that.

Comment #75392

Posted by k.e. on January 24, 2006 1:21 PM (e)

Well AD I have asked the very same things and I predict you just will not get them.

The ID crowd are just a bunch of freeloading time wasters out to get whatever is in it for themselves political power, money, glory and in Larry’s case a LOT of negative Ego stroking.

Comment #75394

Posted by Larry Fafarman on January 24, 2006 1:26 PM (e)

Comment #75356 posted by Moses on January 24, 2006 11:40 AM

First of all the issue in Kitzmiller v. Dover was not the same as Peloza. In Kitzmiller we have religion masquerading as science, in Peloza we have a religious nut trying to redefine science as religion. Therefore, Peloza is not precedent for Kitzmiller, though it does carry weight as a precedent in other cases.

Wrong. If evolution theory is true, then irreducible complexity is wrong. So the courts’ finding in Peloza that evolution theory has a lot of scientific merit would have strengthened the Kitzmiller opinion and the Hurst v. Newman (El Tejon, Calif. case) complaint.

PELOZA SET UP THE DUALITY WHEN HE argued that the SCIENCE OF EVOLUTION was A RELIGION and NOT SCIENCE and thus violated his First Amendment rights. Therefore, and regardless of, your lack of understanding to the contrary, Peloza’s assertion required the Court to rule on evolution as science or religion to determine if Peloza’s First Amendment rights were being violated.

There is no “duality.” Evolution does not have to be either science or religion. Evolution could just be non-religious pseudoscience or non-religious scientific error. All the judges needed to do to decide against Peloza was just rule that evolution is not religion.

Just because Peloza asserted a 1st amendment violation and it was “evo-religion” that was violating his 1st amendment rights, doesn’t mean the Court must be uncritical and leave unexamined Peloza’s assertion of the facts.

The judges did not have to answer all of Peloza’s arguments — just enough of them to decide the case. This is called “judicial minimalism.” The US Supreme Court practices it all the time.

Anyway, I am wondering how many expert witnesses in the Peloza case testified for the scientific merits of evolution theory. LOL There was certainly a lot of such expert witnesses in the Kitzmiller case. I think the reason why the Peloza case has generally been ignored is that there was probably not enough expert testimony to support the finding that evolution has a lot of scientific merit.

And, in a cruel twist of irony, when PELOZA argued, he used some of the precedents and citations Judge Jones used in his opinion in Kitzmiller

How do you know so much about the Peloza case ? I have never seen it mentioned on pro-evolution websites.

Comment #75396

Posted by NotVeryBright on January 24, 2006 1:27 PM (e)

Thanks for the hat-tip. I am also looking into the transcript question.

Comment #75398

Posted by NotVeryBright on January 24, 2006 1:33 PM (e)

I just got the call back on that question. The receptionist answering the phone for the subcommittee has said there was no official recording. She also said that there would be “minutes,” not an exact transcript, and they are not released until they are approved at the next meeting, which occurs in March.

So it appears the only hope would be a news organization that could have taped it.

Comment #75401

Posted by blipey on January 24, 2006 1:41 PM (e)

Larry,

Are you assuming that just becasue you know nothing about the PELOZA case, no one else does, either? Another fine example of your critical thinking skills. You might not have noticed, but Moses was the one who posted the case in the first place…I am assuming (Though I do not know) that he had prior knowledge of this case and wanted to help the rest of us out by bringing it to our attention.

I’m sure he couldn’t know very much in comparison with you…who studied it in detail for, what, 30 seconds?

Please don’t base everyone’s critical thinking skills, knowledge, and other mental abilities on your own.

Comment #75402

Posted by Larry Fafarman on January 24, 2006 1:43 PM (e)

Comment #75366 posted by DJ on January 24, 2006 12:02 PM

If they know what’s good for them, can’t they have beer and wine with lunch? And how come they can’t smoke in class? We apparently aren’t listening to the students, because as I understand it we are foisting 10 pm curfews on them and fooling them with the ridiculous notion that they need to be adults to drink alcohol.

OK, kids are going to smoke on the sly, and drink alcohol on the sly, and have sex on the sly, and do all those bad things on the sly. And some of them will also study ID on the sly. And there is nothing anyone can do about it.

Comment #75403

Posted by improvius on January 24, 2006 1:44 PM (e)

Political Prayer Heats Up Nebraska Senate

I think I like this Ernie Chambers guy:

Sen. Ernie Chambers of Omaha has long criticized the Legislature for allowing prayers to be offered on the floor and makes a point of not being present when the morning prayers are given.

He stormed onto the floor after Swartley was done and in a raised voice called the pastor’s comments outrageous and out of line.

“The day has been poisoned for me,” said Chambers, who added that he had never been as enraged and furious in the Legislature, and that “donkeys” such as Swartley should be yanked from the podium in the future.

Comment #75404

Posted by blipey on January 24, 2006 1:48 PM (e)

Larry said:

OK, kids are going to smoke on the sly, and drink alcohol on the sly, and have sex on the sly, and do all those bad things on the sly. And some of them will also study ID on the sly. And there is nothing anyone can do about it.

You have nicely avoided the argument brought up here. In fact, it seems you may be equating IDism with other bad habits. Is this, in fact, your position: IDism is a bad habit, but we can’t (shouldn’t) do anything about it?

If this is not your position, would you mind clearing the issue up for us? Why should kids have a say only in their biology class and not everything else?

Comment #75405

Posted by Madam Pomfrey on January 24, 2006 1:48 PM (e)

Friends, IMHO arguing with a diehard IDC supporter (or trying to pin them down with logic and reason) is pointless. They are immune to the facts and put up walls against anything that pokes holes in their ID assertion.

The psychology here is quite interesting, actually. They desperately want recognition and engagement by scientists, whom they see as (undeservedly) superior in our culture, which is why they come here, repeat the same old debunked arguments over and over with a few bits of bait to drag us into a back-and-forth, then they vanish for a day or two, come back and start the same pattern over again. They are not here to question and learn, but to put down a stake in what they see as our territory, and to get us to pay attention to them.

The foregone conclusion takes precedence over everything. Means and methods are critical parts of the scientific process, but the integrity of methods means nothing to the creationists. They will use any tactic, any twist, any lie, any omission, any pretense, any amount of mental and verbal gymnastics to support the foregone conclusion – even postmodern relativism, “fairness,” “equal time” – all of which they railed against in the past. Everything lies in the realm of belief and politics for them, and they don’t see the difference between a “persuasive argument” and physical evidence. So they will never concede a point; they will just resort to all the old rhetorical tricks, basically the verbal equivalent of putting fingers in one’s ears and humming.

So, the challenge isn’t to convince the activist creationists. It’s to lessen their impact on the general public that isn’t well informed scientifically, some of whom have tacitly bought into their political and cultural argument.

Comment #75406

Posted by bill on January 24, 2006 1:50 PM (e)

Here you go. Daily Show panel discussion. The Dembski Moment is near the end.

The Link

Comment #75408

Posted by Raging Bee on January 24, 2006 1:51 PM (e)

OK, kids are going to smoke on the sly, and drink alcohol on the sly, and have sex on the sly, and do all those bad things on the sly. And some of them will also study ID on the sly. And there is nothing anyone can do about it.

Wrong again, Larry – ID is nowhere near as fun or interesting as sex or even drugs, so the last thing kids will do with their “sly time” is read a textbook full of lies. And they certainly won’t “experiment” with ID, because, unlike sex or drugs, there’s nothing in ID to “experiment” with!

Comment #75412

Posted by AD on January 24, 2006 2:08 PM (e)

I also notice Larry continues to avoid answering the questions posed to him…

“However, I too would like an answer to why ID deserves equal time in science class when the scientific support is nonexistent? Can you refer me to peer-reviewed studies I may have missed? Published ID research reports and lab methodologies? Statistical evaluations and real-world observational studies?

I can’t seem to find any of this. Why should it be taught with zero support? Or am I just missing the support? Please note, by the by, that I’m not asking for a refutation of evolution. I’m asking for specific support and evidence for ID in a scientific context, if you want to teach it in a scientific classroom. Please refer me to this. Thank you.”

Quoting myself. You’ve posted TWICE since I asked this with no answer.

Please respond… failing that, I’m going to simply assume you have NO evidence whatsoever and, thus, will be ignored in the future.

Comment #75413

Posted by Kim on January 24, 2006 2:14 PM (e)

Mike asked:

BTW, do you think a decent mathematician could get a teaching job in the Netherlands?

My impression is that they had a shortage for highschools, but the main question is, do you speak Dutch?

Comment #75415

Posted by Mike on January 24, 2006 2:40 PM (e)

Kim,

I’d learn to speak Dutch very quickly.

Really, my comment is an expression of the frustration I feel these days about the political and economic climate in the United States. Trying to explain science to someone like Larry is like talking to a brick wall. I could live with one or two Larry’s, but when we have so many, and many of them holding public office, I wonder where we are headed.

As an educator, my initial response to the debate we see going on in this thread is to redouble my efforts to teach my students to be critical thinkers and to understand science and mathematics. Some of them, I hope, will go on to be good and intellectually honest K-12 teachers and, perhaps in a generation, the societal trend favoring ignorance and ideology will end. In the meantime, I want my daughter to grow up in an enlightened society, so I find myself thinking about emigrating more and more these days.

Comment #75416

Posted by RBH on January 24, 2006 2:42 PM (e)

I note that in his fixation on irreducible complexity, Larry has not yet answered a real simple question, so, in the tradition of Lenny Flank, I’ll repeat it:

“Given the most recent operational definition of ‘irreducible complexity’ by the leading intelligent design “theorist”, is a regular three-legged stool, with its three legs and a seat, irreducibly complex?”

Simple question, Larry, that only requires a “yes” or “no” answer.

RBH

Comment #75417

Posted by Dave Thomas on January 24, 2006 2:52 PM (e)

In this comment, Larry the Crack Investigative Journalist writes

How do you know so much about the Peloza case ? I have never seen it mentioned on pro-evolution websites.

Here are a couple of Clues, Larry.

(1) Ever hear of the NCSE (National Center for Science Education)?

(2) On the NCSE Home page, there’s a link called “Resources.” (6th tab from the left)

(3) On the Resources page, the 3rd item is “8 Major Court Decisions against Teaching Creationism as Science”

(4) On that page, the 6th court case discussed is

6. In 1994, in Peloza v. Capistrano School District, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a district court finding that a teacher’s First Amendment right to free exercise of religion is not violated by a school district’s requirement that evolution be taught in biology classes. Rejecting plaintiff Peloza’s definition of a “religion” of “evolutionism”, the Court found that the district had simply and appropriately required a science teacher to teach a scientific theory in biology class. (John E. Peloza v. Capistrano Unified School District, (1994) 37 F. 3rd 517)

Ah, that wasn’t so hard, was it?

Larry, get a Google.

Dave

PS That page hasn’t been updated for Kitzmiller, but there’s a whole page for just that case on NCSE’s site.

Comment #75418

Posted by C.J.Colucci on January 24, 2006 3:04 PM (e)

Re: Teaching Bad Science v. Teaching Religion
If a truly, sincerely ignorant school board wanted to require teaching some sort of bad science because it didn’t know better, that wold be entirely constitutional. When I was a lad, my middle-school science texts gave more-or-less equal time to Big-Bang and Steady-State theories because that was the state of science at the time. Now, as I understand it, Steady-State is discredited and almost everyone is a Big-Banger. But an equal time for Steady-State law would pass constitutional muster because it’s merely bad science, not religion in the guise of science.
The example is unrealistic, though, because nobody pushes bad science out of ignorance. There never will be a sincerely deluded legislature or school board insisting on bad science. Unless religion is in play, any legislator or school board will defer to scientists on questions of science. Testimony, memos and the like from disingenuous defendant would always be nice, but it is icing on the cake. I daresay a judge would be entitled, given notorious facts of American history, to take judicial notice that no one pushes bad science UNLESS motivated by religion.
By contrast, some legislatures or school boards push bad history because it is “patriotic” or “politically correct,” and there is a lawsuit in Mass. over just that. That lawsuit is doomed to failure because bad history pushed for secular “political” reasons doesn’t violate any laws.

Comment #75419

Posted by Moses on January 24, 2006 3:13 PM (e)

Comment #75401

Posted by blipey on January 24, 2006 01:41 PM (e)

You might not have noticed, but Moses was the one who posted the case in the first place…I am assuming (Though I do not know) that he had prior knowledge of this case and wanted to help the rest of us out by bringing it to our attention.

I’m sure he couldn’t know very much in comparison with you…who studied it in detail for, what, 30 seconds?

Please don’t base everyone’s critical thinking skills, knowledge, and other mental abilities on your own.

Larry isn’t trained in this. I am, though I’m not an attorney and I can’t, legally, practice law outside my Supreme Court approved specialty. And, in fact, when my clients try to edge me down that road by doing things like “drafting a partnership agreement” or “reviewing a contract” I very clearly inform them that they should see thier attorney.

I think Peloza is an interesting case because the 1st Amendment “Evolution = Religion” was only a side-issue that never needed to be part of the case. The original issue was a freedom of speech issue in that Peloza was preaching Christianity and actively trying to convert students in the HS BIOLOGY CLASS that he taught. In response to Peloza’s active missionary work the District issued a Cease-and-Desist order prohibiting his missionary activities during “instructional time.”

The whole evolution aspect of the case was a red-herring that Peloza drug in when he decided to go over-board in response to the School District’s Cease-and-Desist letter informing him that he was not to share his religious beliefs during “instructional time” because that was prohibited under the Establishment clause. This is a classic “fundamentalists causing their own problems because they can’t keep their mouths shut” error Lenny frequently talks about.

Had Peloza not gone nuts and went about the process in a frenzied “throw everything in and see what sticks” scatter-shot fashion we wouldn’t have had this result. The District, being sued for damages, chose to make a defense on the two prongs of Peloza’s complaint:

1. Peloza could not get damages because his preaching was banned under the Establishment Clause and the District did not err in limiting his preaching during “instructional time” while he was the defacto representative of the school district and functioning in his capacity as a school official.

2. Peloza could not get damages for the alleged “forced religious-Darwinist preaching” because evolution was a science, not a religion, and thus his 1st Amendment rights were not being abrogated by the District forcing him to be subject to a religion.

(And BTW, Larry, “Nuh-uh” is not a legal defense. Mere assertions don’t fly very far in the legal world and what something “is” must be determined, not just what it “is not.” Peloza argued “evolution was religion.” Without a counter-argument of “evolution is science,” Peloza wins by default of the District not presenting a defense. And since this was core to the complaint and defense, it HAD to be ruled on. Despite anything you might say.)

Anyway, Peloza lost on all grounds. He appealed. He again lost, though there was some dissent on part of the “prohibiting preaching to students” by one of the judges (as frequently happens in appeals), the case stood. And, if I remember right, Peloza had to pay the District’s legal fees, too. Which means not only did he lose, but the general rule of ‘legal fee awards’ indicates he lost big in the eyes of the court.

Comment #75420

Posted by Moses on January 24, 2006 3:18 PM (e)

(2) On the NCSE Home page, there’s a link called “Resources.” (6th tab from the left)

Wow, I never knew about that resource! Thanks! I’ll rush off and bookmark it.

I came about Peloza as a “First Amendment Freedom of Speech” case with competing First Amendment duties and privileges between two parties - the Government and it’s employee. The evolution aspect was secondary to the primary issue of “Can a governmental employee’s free speech be justifiably limited by the Governmental employer?”

Comment #75421

Posted by Steverino on January 24, 2006 3:22 PM (e)

LARRY!

Please answer.

Why do you feel it is so important to teach something that has not yet been proven to have any scientific value?

Comment #75423

Posted by rdog29 on January 24, 2006 3:42 PM (e)

AD -

I sympathize. IDiots are very loud when they complain about the “flaws” in evolutionary theory. You know, “Darwinism can’t account for this”, “Evolution can’t explain the existence of that”, or “I can’t imagine it happening.” (sound familiar, Larry?)

But when it comes to evidence, they suddenly become very silent. Or they put up an army of strawmen.

Either way you won’t get a straight answer.

Which reminds me, Larry has yet to explain why “I can’t imagine it” is a valid criticism of a scientific theory.

Comment #75424

Posted by gwangung on January 24, 2006 3:51 PM (e)

How do you know so much about the Peloza case ? I have never seen it mentioned on pro-evolution websites.

Research.

Try it.

(Pigs may fly, but….)

Comment #75425

Posted by Larry Fafarman on January 24, 2006 3:54 PM (e)

Comment #75401 posted by blipey on January 24, 2006 01:41 PM

Larry,
Are you assuming that just becasue you know nothing about the PELOZA case, no one else does, either? Another fine example of your critical thinking skills. You might not have noticed, but Moses was the one who posted the case in the first place…

Moses showed an astonishing depth of knowledge about a case that is relatively obscure (it is not one of the big ones, like Edwards v. Aguillard and Epperson v. Arkansas). For example, he said, “in a cruel twist of irony, when PELOZA argued, he used some of the precedents and citations Judge Jones used in his opinion in Kitzmiller.” I checked the Peloza opinion and could find no mention of the precedents and citations that Moses mentioned. So it seemed to me that either Moses read the briefs in the Peloza case or found out some other way that Peloza and Judge Jones used some of the same precedents and citations (whoever made that finding would also have to know a lot about Judge Jones’ Kitzmiller opinion). And Moses knew all this stuff and an awful lot of other stuff about the Peloza case just off the top of his head. So I asked him how he knew so much about the case. I think that was a reasonable question. So instead of jumping to conclusions yourself, why don’t you just let Moses answer my question if he wants to ? Hey Moses, were you one of the plaintiffs’ attorneys in the Kitzmiller case ? I think that is the only possible explanation. See, I really am a great detective. Anyway, it would be interesting to know how Peloza and Jones used the same precedents and citations.

Anyway, I found that the defendants’ court costs and attorney fees at the district court level amounted to only $32,000 (Peloza did not have to pay because the appeals court ruled that his suit was not entirely frivolous), so there was probably little or no expert testimony about evolution in the case.

Comment #75426

Posted by AD on January 24, 2006 3:55 PM (e)

Larry,

““However, I too would like an answer to why ID deserves equal time in science class when the scientific support is nonexistent? Can you refer me to peer-reviewed studies I may have missed? Published ID research reports and lab methodologies? Statistical evaluations and real-world observational studies?

I can’t seem to find any of this. Why should it be taught with zero support? Or am I just missing the support? Please note, by the by, that I’m not asking for a refutation of evolution. I’m asking for specific support and evidence for ID in a scientific context, if you want to teach it in a scientific classroom. Please refer me to this. Thank you.””

Comment #75432

Posted by mynym on January 24, 2006 4:26 PM (e)

Syntax Error: mismatched tag 'a'

Comment #75437

Posted by Ubernatural on January 24, 2006 4:42 PM (e)

Hey Moses, were you one of the plaintiffs’ attorneys in the Kitzmiller case ? I think that is the only possible explanation. See, I really am a great detective.

The great internet detective thinks it unlikely that someone else found more information than him on the internet.

Comment #75438

Posted by Steve Reuland on January 24, 2006 4:46 PM (e)

Be warned: Off-topic posts will be sent to the Bathroom Wall.

Comment #75453

Posted by lamuella on January 24, 2006 5:37 PM (e)

I’ve finally come to the opinion that we should allow ID in science class.

The real question is the percentage in which we allow ID and evolution to coexist. The only fair way to do is proportinally. At the start of every academic year, we take the total number of hours allowed in the curriculum for teaching the origin of species, and we divide it according to the percentage of scientific papers published in peer reviewed papers in the preceeding year supporting each theory, rounded to the nearest second. So, for example, in the 2005-2006 school year the school would devote zero (0) seconds to the teaching of intelligent design.

Does this sound fair to everyone?

Comment #75456

Posted by Larry Fafarman on January 24, 2006 5:45 PM (e)

Comment #75419 posted by Moses on January 24, 2006 03:13 PM

Peloza argued “evolution was religion.” Without a counter-argument of “evolution is science,” Peloza wins by default of the District not presenting a defense. And since this was core to the complaint and defense, it HAD to be ruled on.

I disagree. The courts in the Peloza case could simply have ruled that evolution is not religion and left open the question of whether evolution is good science or bad science (i.e., pseudoscientific or erroneous). The ruling that evolution is good science was not necessary. That may sound like hairsplitting, but courts often split hairs.

Comment #75457

Posted by gwangung on January 24, 2006 5:49 PM (e)

Research, Larry, research.

Always a good thing.

Comment #75460

Posted by lamuella on January 24, 2006 5:58 PM (e)

the reason they specified that it was a valid scientific theory was because Peloza was accusing the school district of teaching a religious belief as a valid scientific theory. It was appropriate to affirm that what was being taught as valid science was valid science. It did not overstep any bounds to do so.

Comment #75462

Posted by Raging Bee on January 24, 2006 6:06 PM (e)

The ruling that evolution is good science was not necessary. That may sound like hairsplitting, but courts often split hairs.

Translation: “Well, gosh, (*SNIFF*) you didn’t have to embarrass me in front of all those people…”

So now you admit that there was indeed a ruling that evolution is good science, but protest that the ruling wasn’t necessary. Thanks for admitting (again) that you and the ID faction have lost the debate.

Comment #75468

Posted by AD on January 24, 2006 6:32 PM (e)

Larry,

“““However, I too would like an answer to why ID deserves equal time in science class when the scientific support is nonexistent? Can you refer me to peer-reviewed studies I may have missed? Published ID research reports and lab methodologies? Statistical evaluations and real-world observational studies?

I can’t seem to find any of this. Why should it be taught with zero support? Or am I just missing the support? Please note, by the by, that I’m not asking for a refutation of evolution. I’m asking for specific support and evidence for ID in a scientific context, if you want to teach it in a scientific classroom. Please refer me to this. Thank you.”””

I’m just going to keep adding quotes until you answer my question, Larry. There’s no way you simply missed the fact that a request for you to support your argument has been posted repeatedly (4+ times now).

Comment #75471

Posted by Moses on January 24, 2006 6:37 PM (e)

Lexis/Nexus.

Comment #75473

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on January 24, 2006 6:46 PM (e)

With the possible exception of Kitzmiller v. Dover, I could find no court opinion that ruled that evolution is genuine science.

From my website:

In 1981, a prominent creationist in California sued to have the teaching of evolution removed from the classroom on the grounds that it violated his and his children’s Constituional right to free exercise of their religion. In response, the California Superior Court ruled that teaching evolution in science class does not establish a religion or interfere with the religious rights of any citizens (Sacramento Superior Court,Segraves v California, 1981).

The issue came up again in 1994, when a California biology teacher sued the state and the local school district, claiming that teaching evolution illegally established the “religion of secular humanism”. The teacher also claimed that the state and school district were conspiring against him as a result of their “group animus towards practicing Christians” (US Circuit Court, Peloza v New Capistrano School District, 1994).

The Court ruled, “Adding ‘ism’ does not change the meaning nor magically metamorphose ‘evolution’ into a religion. ‘Evolution’ and ‘evolutionism’ define a biological concept: higher life forms evolve from lower ones. The concept has nothing to do with how the universe was created; it has nothing to do with whether or not there is a divine Creator (who did or did not create the universe or did or did not plan evolution as part of a divine scheme). “ (US Circuit Court, Peloza v New Capistrano School District, 1994)

The court rather sardonically notes that, “On a motion to dismiss we are required to read the complaint charitably, to take all well-pleaded facts as true, and to assume that all general allegations embrace whatever specific facts might be necessary to support them. Charitably read, Peloza’s complaint at most makes this claim: the school district’s actions establish a state-supported religion of evolutionism, or more generally of ‘secular humanism.’ According to Peloza’s complaint, all persons must adhere to one of two religious belief systems concerning ‘the origins of life and of the universe:’ evolutionism, or creationism. Thus, the school district, in teaching evolutionism, is establishing a state-supported ‘religion.’ We reject this claim because neither the Supreme Court, nor this circuit, has ever held that evolutionism or secular humanism are ‘religions’ for Establishment Clause purposes. Indeed, both the dictionary definition of religion and the clear weight of the caselaw are to the contrary.” (US Circuit Court, Peloza v New Capistrano School District, 1994)

“Evolutionist theory is not a religion,” the Court ruled. “Plaintiff’s assertions that the teaching of evolution would be a violation of the Establishment Clause is unfounded.” (US Circuit Court, Peloza v New Capistrano School District, 1994) The court concluded that Peloza’s case was “frivolous” and ordered him to compensate the state and school board for costs and attorney fees.

Comment #75474

Posted by Moses on January 24, 2006 6:48 PM (e)

Oops. Accidentally hit the post button…

Lexis/Nexis is your friend Larry. When you deal with the law as part of your profession. The amount of legal/case information that is available is astounding. This includes court cases, newspaper accounts of court cases, legal analysis of the impact of court cases.

They have every State and (I believe) Municipal code (annotated) in the Untied States. Plus foreign treaties. Law and tax commentators & citators like BNA, Shepards, Mertens, Matthew Bender & Anderson.

Lexis/Nexis is the information world’s oyster. At least for people in my profession.

http://www.lexisnexis.com/

Comment #75476

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on January 24, 2006 6:52 PM (e)

How do you know so much about the Peloza case ? I have never seen it mentioned on pro-evolution websites.

It’s on mine.

Comment #75477

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on January 24, 2006 6:57 PM (e)

There is also this snippet from the Maclean decision:

“The defendants argue in their brief that evolution is, in effect, a religion, and that by teaching a religion which is contrary to some students’ religious views, the State is infringing upon the student’s free exercise rights under the First Amendment. Mr. Ellwanger’s legislative findings, which were adopted as a finding of fact by the Arkansas Legislature in Act 590, provides:

Evolution-science is contrary to the religious convictions or moral values or philosophical beliefs of many students and parents, including individuals of many different religious faiths and with diverse moral and philosophical beliefs. Act 590, &7(d).

The defendants argue that the teaching of evolution alone presents both a free exercise problem and an establishment problem which can only be redressed by giving balanced treatment to creation science, which is admittedly consistent with some religious beliefs. This argument appears to have its genesis in a student note written by Mr. Wendell Bird, “Freedom of Religion and Science Instruction in Public Schools,” 87 Yale L.J. 515 (1978). The argument has no legal merit.

If creation science is, in fact, science and not religion, as the defendants claim, it is difficult to see how the teaching of such a science could “neutralize” the religious nature of evolution.

Assuming for the purposes of argument, however, that evolution is a religion or religious tenet, the remedy is to stop the teaching of evolution, not establish another religion in opposition to it. Yet it is clearly established in the case law, and perhaps also in common sense, that evolution is not a religion and that teaching evolution does not violate the Establishment Clause, Epperson v. Arkansas, supra, Willoughby v. Stever, No. 15574-75 (D.D.C. May 18, 1973); aff’d. 504 F.2d 271 (D.C. Cir. 1974), cert. denied , 420 U.S. 924 (1975); Wright v. Houston Indep. School Dist., 366 F. Supp. 1208 (S.D. Tex 1978), aff.d. 486 F.2d 137 (5th Cir. 1973), cert. denied 417 U.S. 969 (1974).”

Comment #75478

Posted by Larry Fafarman on January 24, 2006 6:58 PM (e)

Comment #75421 posted by Steverino on January 24, 2006 03:22 PM

Please answer.

Why do you feel it is so important to teach something that has not yet been proven to have any scientific value?

Well, I can’t answer everyone at once, particularly when people badger me with frivolous questions based on straw men, quoting me out of context, nitpicking criticisms, etc..

OK, the question is why I think that criticisms of evolution theory (e.g., irreducible complexity) should get special treatment that other alleged pseudoscientific and unscientific subjects – e.g., astrology and alchemy – do not get. My answer is that there is a HUGE controversy over evolution theory. The controversy might not be real big in the scientific community ( though a small but substantial number of scientists have doubts about evolution theory), but it is certainly huge in society at large. Here is some evidence of the great size of this controversy –

(1) A big organization with the broad title National Center for Science Education appears to be dedicated exclusively to “defending the teaching of evolution in the public schools” ( however, this organization appears to be even more dedicated to excluding criticisms of evolution theory from the public schools )

(2) On the homepage of the website of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), evolution is the only scientific subject listed under the heading “featured areas”

(3) Evolution is the only scientific subject with its own rating in the Fordham Foundation report on state standards for science education – 3 possible points out of a maximum possible total of 69 points. The chief editor of the report was going to drop Ohio’s overall grade from B to F just because of that state’s evolution standards ( by my own calculations, the grade should have dropped to a B-minus or a C-plus at most), but was prevented from doing so because none of the state reports are being revised (Kansas kept its 3 points even though the state was rated in the executive summary as “not even failed’ on evolution standards).

Many people complain that this controversy was manufactured by the PR of the Discovery Institute and evangelists like Pat Robertson. However, for whatever reason, the controversy exists, and public opinion polls show that the majority of the public wants ID or creationism to be taught in public schools as well as evolution. The way things are going, I just feel that a person today cannot be considered to be fully educated without an understanding of both evolution theory and criticisms of that theory. I feel that the church-state separation issue is an artificial one and can be avoided by proper presentation of the criticisms of evolution. For example, I think that the name “intelligent design” is unfortunate because it implies the existence of an intelligent designer. I think that they should stick with names like “irreducible complexity.”

Comment #75481

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on January 24, 2006 7:03 PM (e)

Friends, IMHO arguing with a diehard IDC supporter (or trying to pin them down with logic and reason) is pointless.

Larry is not an IDC supporter. Larry is just a crank who gets off on getting a rise out of people (and craves the attention).

No IDC supporter could have gone one-tenth the period of time that Larry has, without dragging his religious opinioins into it.

Comment #75483

Posted by Moses on January 24, 2006 7:07 PM (e)

Comment #75481

Posted by ‘Rev Dr’ Lenny Flank on January 24, 2006 07:03 PM (e)

Friends, IMHO arguing with a die hard IDC supporter (or trying to pin them down with logic and reason) is pointless.

Larry is not an IDC supporter. Larry is just a crank who gets off on getting a rise out of people (and craves the attention).

No IDC supporter could have gone one-tenth the period of time that Larry has, without dragging his religious opinions into it.

I mentioned that in a different thread after scouting Larry out on the internet.

As a subject, Larry is very interesting. He seems to gadfly around the Internet taking “unpopular” positions and getting into flame fests, writing letters to editors, yada, yada, yada.

I suggested to Larry that he use his engineering skills to excite children to the joys of science and engineering in the Los Angeles area. Or maybe ride his bike. Or get into partitive public advocacy issues.

Comment #75485

Posted by Stephen Elliott on January 24, 2006 7:12 PM (e)

Larry,
You really should post on AtBC.

Reasons.
You keep trying to nitpick. You use all sorts of arguments to back you up. Most if not all of your supporting arguments are incorrect.

Thus you leave us with only 2 choices.
1. Point out the errors and derail threads.
or
2. Ignore your errors and give a false idea to lurkers that the errors don’t exist.

You have done it again in comment 75478. Should I point out inconsistencies or ignore them? This time I will not dispute them here. Not because I can’t but because you make so many it is impossible to keep on topic while doing so.

Yes I do realise the irony of this post in relation to staying
on-topic.

Comment #75489

Posted by Steviepinhead on January 24, 2006 7:19 PM (e)

Larry wrote:

The way things are going, I just feel that a person today cannot be considered to be fully educated without an understanding of both evolution theory and criticisms of that theory.

Larry, you want us to believe that you are out of high school. Maybe even college. Maybe even engineering school. Right?

So you ought to know how by now in your (approximately) long life how to go about obtaining an education. But, just on the off chance that you don’t:

First, the “student” needs to accept the responsibility to do a little work. That involves, among other things, doing the reading assignments and the other homework.

We’ll get to the other bullet points once you demonstrate your willingness to actually do the work of obtaining an evolution education.

Until then, frankly, nobody cares what you think about becoming “fully educated.”

(And, no, our responding to “your” posts doesn’t mean that we really are interested in what you think. We’re not talking to you, but to the “silent majority” of lurkers out there who have real questions and concerns about evolution and ID.)

Comment #75490

Posted by Larry NOT F on January 24, 2006 7:21 PM (e)

I am thinking of changing my name. Does anyone know a name that is not connected to ID / Creationism?

Comment #75493

Posted by Arden Chatfield on January 24, 2006 7:23 PM (e)

I am thinking of changing my name. Does anyone know a name that is not connected to ID / Creationism?

“Richard Dawkins”?

Comment #75496

Posted by Steviepinhead on January 24, 2006 7:37 PM (e)

(With a nod to you older music fans:) Steve Lawrence?

Comment #75497

Posted by AD on January 24, 2006 7:43 PM (e)

And, as Larry claims to be unable to answer the post because of other concerns, and then goes off on yet another tangent…

““““However, I too would like an answer to why ID deserves equal time in science class when the scientific support is nonexistent? Can you refer me to peer-reviewed studies I may have missed? Published ID research reports and lab methodologies? Statistical evaluations and real-world observational studies?

I can’t seem to find any of this. Why should it be taught with zero support? Or am I just missing the support? Please note, by the by, that I’m not asking for a refutation of evolution. I’m asking for specific support and evidence for ID in a scientific context, if you want to teach it in a scientific classroom. Please refer me to this. Thank you.””””

I suppose it would be too much to ask to have everyone else refuse to speak to Larry until he answers that question, as I’m hardly the only one asking it?

Comment #75501

Posted by Larry Fafarman on January 24, 2006 8:07 PM (e)

Comment #75485 posted by Stephen Elliott on January 24, 2006 07:12 PM
2. Ignore your errors and give a false idea to lurkers that the errors don’t exist.

Many of the evolutionists on this website don’t give a damn what “lurkers” think. Wesley Elsberry kicked me off his thread just because of my on-topic comment that the Ohio Board of Education should have heard the public comments about the evolution lesson plan before voting on it. What would a lurker think of that ? I no longer post on or even read his threads anymore.

You have done it again in comment 75478. Should I point out inconsistencies or ignore them? This time I will not dispute them here. Not because I can’t but because you make so many it is impossible to keep on topic while doing so.

I don’t see why a major deviation from the topic is necessary, but if you are worried about it, why don’t you just ask for permission to do it ?

Comment #75502

Posted by Larry Fafarman on January 24, 2006 8:12 PM (e)

Comment #75489
Posted by Steviepinhead on January 24, 2006 07:19 PM

This is the last time I will waste my time responding to a comment that does not address the issues.

Comment #75503

Posted by Steviepinhead on January 24, 2006 8:17 PM (e)

(Heh heh. Now we’ve got him talking to himself… Let’s try to keep it that way.)

Comment #75504

Posted by gwangung on January 24, 2006 8:25 PM (e)

Many of the evolutionists on this website don’t give a damn what “lurkers” think

Wrong. Posters answer creationists PRECISELY because of lurkers.

This is the last time I will waste my time responding to a comment that does not address the issues.

Good. Then you’ll shut up until YOU start addressing the issues.

Preferably with research.

Try a library. That has all sorts of things. Like Lexis-Nexis….

Comment #75506

Posted by Larry Fafarman on January 24, 2006 9:16 PM (e)

Comment #75477 posted by ‘Rev Dr’ Lenny Flank on January 24, 2006 06:57 PM

From McLean v. Arkansas Board of Education decision –
“Assuming for the purposes of argument, however, that evolution is a religion or religious tenet, the remedy is to stop the teaching of evolution, not establish another religion in opposition to it. Yet it is clearly established in the case law, and perhaps also in common sense, that evolution is not a religion and that teaching evolution does not violate the Establishment Clause”

The above ruling from McLean only finds that evolution is not religion – it does not find that evolution is good science. In fact, it does not even say that evolution is science at all.

The Kitzmiller v. Dover opinion says on page 136 –
“Repeatedly in this trial, Plaintiffs’ scientific experts testified that the theory of evolution represents good science, is overwhelmingly accepted by the scientific community ……”

– but then adds – “To be sure, Darwin’s theory of evolution is not perfect.”

So far, then, I have seen only two cases that say that evolution is good science – the Dover opinion ( while admitting that evolution has flaws) and Peloza v. Capistrano Unified School District (see Comment #75314 , this thread ). The Peloza case’s ruling that evolution is good science has been ignored and is likely to continue to be ignored because there must have been little or no expert scientific witness testimony at the district court level – the defendants were initially awarded expenses of only $32,000.

Comment #75510

Posted by Flint on January 24, 2006 9:27 PM (e)

Well, I for one am rather shocked that Larry finally answered a legitimate question with a straight answer. The reason anti-science should be taught AS science is because (ta daa!) evolution violates the religious convictions of so many fundamentalists that unless their doctrine is taught as science, they’re never going to shut up!

This sounds suspiciously like Carol’s “elephant” rationalization. We should teach superstition in science class because Christian fundamentalists are both so vocal and so intolerant, and have raised such a national stink as a result, that we really ought to downplay things like facts, evidence, inference, testing, and the like to keep them happy. Praise Jeezus!

I suppose one might logically argue that UNTIL we actually teach our children science, and they grow up actually knowing anything, the Forces of Ignorance will NEVER shut up. One might even observe that the political battle is being waged to PREVENT our children from growing up knowing anything. But logic and observation are Larry’s confirmed enemies.

Comment #75511

Posted by Flint on January 24, 2006 9:34 PM (e)

— but then adds — “To be sure, Darwin’s theory of evolution is not perfect.”

So far, then, I have seen only two cases that say that evolution is good science — the Dover opinion ( while admitting that evolution has flaws)

No, the Dover decision didn’t say evolution has flaws. It said evolutionary theory is not perfect. NO scientific theory can EVER be perfect, of course. But imperfect doesn’t necessarily mean wrong. It might mean incomplete. And of course, at the cutting edge of ANY science you’d damn well better find controversy, disagreement, battling hypotheses. Without these, science has died.

I’ve long since lost count of the times when a Believer has criticized science on the grounds that scientific explanations keep changing. As though that were a weakness of science. The ability to improve, to become more accurate over time, is exactly what sets science and religion apart.

Comment #75513

Posted by Larry Fafarman on January 24, 2006 9:50 PM (e)

Comment #75497 posted by AD on January 24, 2006 07:43 PM
I can’t seem to find any of this. Why should it be taught with zero support? Or am I just missing the support? Please note, by the by, that I’m not asking for a refutation of evolution. I’m asking for specific support and evidence for ID in a scientific context, if you want to teach it in a scientific classroom. Please refer me to this. Thank you.****

The Discovery Institute claims that there have been a few peer-reviewed papers on ID that were ignored by Judge Jones in the Dover decision. I don’t know — I am not in a position to comment on that.

Suppose, for example, that a school district decides to add astrology to an astronomy course. The reason given is that astrological observation was a precursor of astronomical observation and that hence astrology is being added as a historical topic in astronomy. The courts cannot do anything about this because there is only separation of church and state, and no separation of pseudoscience and state.

Then suppose that a school district decides to add irreducible complexity to a biology class. The reason given is that there is a big controversy over irreducible complexity and that the students should be informed about the controversy. The district promises that nothing having anything to do with god, religion, or the supernatural will be mentioned. Opponents complain that IC is pseudoscience or unproven science and therefore should not be taught in a science class. But there is no separation of pseudoscience and state, and no separation of unproven science and state. So on what grounds can a court keep irreducible complexity out of biology class ?

Many opponents of irreducible complexity keep insisting that it is just a religious concept (it is not) so that they can use the church-state separation principle to attempt to keep it out of public-school science classrooms (and even out of public schools altogether).

Comment #75516

Posted by Doc Bill on January 24, 2006 10:09 PM (e)

Larry, you idiot. I answered this question already. Are you stupid? Sorry, rhetorical question.

The professional ethics of Science Teachers would prevent astrology, IC and all sorts of non-scientific nonsense from being taught in the science classroom. End of story.

It’s not science.

Please read (if you can read) the above aloud.

It’s not science. It’s not going to be taught. EVER. Never ever. n.e.v.e.r.

(Sorry, PT’ers, I know I took the pledge but this idiot, Larry, is beyond JAD and DaveScot and other nut cases we’ve had to deal with. And with sadness I plead to the Masters of PT to please ban this idiot before we start to bleed from the ears to his abject STUPIDITY.)

OK, swearing off PT for 60 days. By, y’all.

Comment #75522

Posted by Steviepinhead on January 24, 2006 10:31 PM (e)

Larry is all exercised about how the district court judges in Peloza and Dover “unnecessarily” validated evolution as science. With his usual loose way with the facts, in discussing Peloza, Larry somehow winds the circuit court’s award of attorney’s fees into an airy speculation about what hypothetical experts may or may not have told the district court.

But has Larry actually bothered to read the district court opinion before flying off on his latest tangent??

What? Larry do his homework? What’s your guess (don’t peek at the answer)?

Well, knowing Larry as we do, you could, of course, lay a pretty solid bet: of course Larry hasn’t actually read the opinion about which he waxes so wearisomely.

What actually transpired? The district court in Peloza was presented with the claim of a creationist teacher that, in being “forced” by his school to teach evolution as part of the California science curriculum–that is, by his employer expecting him to perform his job!–that this was tantamount to being forced to preach the religion of “evolutionism.”

The court gave this argument short shrift. It did not try the case. It did not take testimony from experts, as far as the district judge’s opinion discloses. It instead resolved the issue on the school’s pretrial Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss.

Such a motion assumes the truth of any well-pleaded facts in the plaintiff’s complaint (i.e., that the plaintiff teacher was indeed directed to stop teaching creationism and to get back to teaching the subject), then applies settled law to these facts by asking, “Even if we assume this is all true, do these facts, or any reasonably conceivable state of facts that plaintiff might be able to prove, afford plaintiff–as a matter of law–with any legal recourse?” If not, then the courts don’t have to waste their time, or our tax dollars, with a pointless trial.

Because the arguments that (1) evolution was a religion, and that (2) the religious claims of creationism had some entitlement to be taught in the public schools, had already been authoritatively dealt with by higher courts, the district court judge tossed the teacher’s claims. The Ninth Circuit, likewise, didn’t waste much time in affirming the lower court’s ruling.

Along the way, the district court accorded “judicial notice” to the California curriculum standards (accepted that they said what they said, over any possible hearsay and authenticity objections, given that they were official government documents).

The district court also briefly recognized that:

Evolution is a scientific theory based on the gathering and
studying of data, and modification on new data. It is an
established scientific theory which is used as the basis for
many areas of science. As scientific methods advance and become
more accurate, the scientific community will revise the
accepted theory to a more accurate explanation of life’s
origins.

If the court didn’t get this from Larry’s hypothesized “expert testimony,” what was the source? The opinion doesn’t give one. Maybe the court relied on the state curriculum standards, of which it had taken judicial notice. Or the court may have simply been condensing and paraphrasing from the several higher-court opinions that had already thoroughly considered similar issues, and that the Peloza court had already discussed and cited. Heck, maybe the court had just bothered to read the dictionary definitions for “science” and “evolution” (something that our wingnut legislators never seem to get around to doing).

But the honest answer is, we just don’t know, because the court didn’t tell us. I know this will prove disappointing to Larry, and that he will continue to speculate deep into the night, but that’s as far as the documents available on the Internet take us.

Of course, if Larry really cared about the facts–instead of his own cherished opinions–he could dig a little deeper for us and locate the briefs (he lives right there in L.A., and Capistrano–the school district in question–is just down the coast: the district court can’t be too far away).

But I wouldn’t bet on it.

(Larry, as brighter folks than I have strongly suggested, you really do need to make friends with the nice people behind the library desk. It would sure save the rest of us a lot of work in chasing down the facts to rebut your fanciful speculations. And, just maybe, if you got out and lived a little, it would do you some good.)

Comment #75523

Posted by McE on January 24, 2006 10:33 PM (e)

'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank wrote:

Larry wrote:

How do you know so much about the Peloza case ? I have never seen it mentioned on pro-evolution websites.

It’s on mine.

And on the Legal Issues page of the Ohio Citizens for Science website.

Comment #75524

Posted by Steviepinhead on January 24, 2006 10:40 PM (e)

Larry:

The Discovery Institute claims that there have been a few peer-reviewed papers on ID that were ignored by Judge Jones in the Dover decision. I don’t know —- I am not in a position to comment on that.

Folks, this is a simple lie. Larry, if you can work your computer well enough to while away your time with us, you certainly ought to be able to work it well enough to go to the DI’s website, locate their list of publications that allegedly support ID and IC, then track those babies down in turn, etc. Then do a little further research (many have been thoroughly debunked here, on TalkOrigins, and in other quite accessible places) and get yourself in a “position to comment” intelligently.

For once.

You know, do a little work for your own lazy shiftless dishonest space-wasting tiresome pointless self. For once.

Ooh. Was I a tad harsh there?

How perfectly dreadful. Good night, Chet. Good night, David. Good night, clocks. Good night, socks.

No, Larry, you don’t get to go to bed yet. You’ve got some homework to do.

Comment #75526

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on January 24, 2006 10:47 PM (e)

The Discovery Institute claims that there have been a few peer-reviewed papers on ID that were ignored by Judge Jones in the Dover decision.

The Discovery Institute lied.

There has never been, in the entire history of the United States of America, a single peer-reviewed paper on ID published anywhere.

None. Not a one. Zip. Zero. Zilch. Nada.

Comment #75529

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on January 24, 2006 10:54 PM (e)

Sorry, didn’t notice that this was the crank I was replying to.

I don’t give a flying fig what the crank says. About anything. (shrug)

Comment #75536

Posted by Henry J on January 24, 2006 11:19 PM (e)

Re “ […] and that concerns me - it tears my heart apart.”

Re “But remember, this has nothing to do with religion.”

Right! Apparently, it has to do with cardiovascular anatomy. ;)

Henry

Comment #75537

Posted by Moses on January 24, 2006 11:23 PM (e)

If the court didn’t get this from Larry’s hypothesized “expert testimony,” what was the source? The opinion doesn’t give one. Maybe the court relied on the state curriculum standards, of which it had taken judicial notice.

In part, they used Merriam-Webster and in part, case law which (contrary to Larry) has established evolution as a scientific theory.

In a recap of the case:

In 1994, in Peloza v. Capistrano School District, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a district court finding that a teacher’s First Amendment right to free exercise of religion is not violated by a school district’s requirement that evolution be taught in biology classes. Rejecting plaintiff Peloza’s definition of a “religion” of “evolutionism”, the Court found that the district had simply and appropriately required a science teacher to teach a scientific theory in biology class. (John E. Peloza v. Capistrano Unified School District, (1994) 37 F. 3rd 517)

And in the opinion:

We reject this claim because neither the Supreme Court, nor this circuit, has ever held that evolutionism or secular humanism are “religions” for Establishment Clause purposes. Indeed, both the dictionary definition of religion(4) and the clear weight of the case law(5) are to the contrary. The Supreme Court has held unequivocally that while the belief in a divine creator of the universe is a religious belief, the scientific theory that higher forms of life evolved from lower forms is not.

And the District Court found:

Since the evolutionist theory is not a religion, to require an instructor to teach this theory is not a violation of the Establishment Clause…. Evolution is a scientific theory based on the gathering and studying of data, and modification of new data. It is an established scientific theory which is used as the basis for many areas of science.

I don’t know how it could be clearer without putting a billboard in Larry’s front yard. So much ignorance to dispel, so little time.

Comment #75540

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on January 24, 2006 11:31 PM (e)

There is also the Segraves v California case.

The crank, of course, has never heard of it.

Ten bucks says that doesn’t prevent him from spouting off about it anyway, though.

Comment #75544

Posted by gwangung on January 24, 2006 11:52 PM (e)

I don’t know how it could be clearer without putting a billboard in Larry’s front yard.

So who’s contacting the billboard company?

Comment #75550

Posted by Chiefley on January 25, 2006 12:51 AM (e)

Actually, I find evolution theory requires me to make much greater leaps of faith than irreducible complexity does. Irreducible complexity does not require me to imagine such far-fetched things as jawbones evolving into middle-ear bones. It is just impossible for me to visualize macroevolution actually taking place without assuming intervention by supernatural forces.

This is what Kenneth Miller calls argument by “personal incredulity”. Or in other words, “anything I personally find hard to believe must not be true.” How can anyone with a straight face call this intellectual honesty.

In real science incredulity must be suspended at the get-go. Common sense intuition gathered from everyday life is a terrible predictor of the value of scientific theories. For examples:

- The mass of an object is a function of its velocity
- Continents move around and bang into each other.
- Time is not defined at the center of a black hole.
- The speed of light is constant across all inertial reference frames.
- Light is both particular and wavelike.
- A single photon of light behaves like a wave.
- Certain knowledge of the momentum and the position of a subatomic particle is mutually exclusive.

None of this would have been arrived at if people stopped doing science whenever the results seemed hard to believe. But in fact, personal incredulity is the foundation upon which specified complexity and irreducible complexity is based. There are absolutely no examples in the scientific, nor in the popular literature where anything other than, “I find that hard to believe” has ever been applied to detecting design. None of Dembski’s math has ever been applied as far as anyone knows, and this includes Dembski’s publications as well. There are zero dollars, zero time, and zero math going towards research into detecting the threshold of “design”.

When zero dollars, zero time, and zero research is going into something that claims to be science, one can only conclude that it is a strictly ideological pursuit, not a scientific one. And when all the money behind a concept such as this is all going into marketing and pr, you can be sure it is more than ideological, it is political as well. DI is not a scientific institution. It is a political action committee.

This is my first posting here. Greetings from the benighted state of Ohio.

Chiefley

Comment #75557

Posted by Carol Clouser on January 25, 2006 1:38 AM (e)

Flint,

“This sounds suspiciously like Carol’s “elephant” rationalization. We should teach superstition in science class because Christian fundamentalists are both so vocal and so intolerant, and have raised such a national stink as a result…”

This is a grotesque distortion of what has popularly been dubbed around here as my “elephant argument” and you know it. I never supported teaching superstition or even ID in science class. I did support analyzing and contrasting different viewpoints in this debate with an eye on what the views are based upon, and that this be done within the broader context of a lesson on “opinion formation”.

Comment #75569

Posted by natural cynic on January 25, 2006 4:47 AM (e)

Larry’s little pearl of logic:
For example, I think that the name “intelligent design” is unfortunate because it implies the existence of an intelligent designer. I think that they should stick with names like “irreducible complexity.

followed by

Then suppose that a school district decides to add irreducible complexity to a biology class. The reason given is that there is a big controversy over irreducible complexity and that the students should be informed about the controversy. The district promises that nothing having anything to do with god, religion, or the supernatural will be mentioned.

So, in bilogy class, the teacher mentions that some things may be irreducibly complex. Then what? Obviously someone who is half-awake is going to ask HOW things get irreducibly complex. Can you separate IC from ID? Not likely

Comment #75594

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on January 25, 2006 8:15 AM (e)

I never supported teaching superstition or even ID in science class.

Neither does Discovery Institute. (yawn)

Hey Carol, tell us again why science should give a flying fig about your religious opinions?

Comment #75610

Posted by Larry Fafarman on January 25, 2006 9:12 AM (e)

Comment #75511 posted by Flint on January 24, 2006 09:34 PM
No, the Dover decision didn’t say evolution has flaws. It said evolutionary theory is not perfect.

Picky, picky ! Flawed, imperfect, what’s the difference ?

Comment #75516 posted by Doc Bill on January 24, 2006 10:09 PM
The professional ethics of Science Teachers would prevent astrology, IC and all sorts of non-scientific nonsense from being taught in the science classroom. End of story.

Crock Bill –
No – beginning of story.
If the proponents of astrology, alchemy, etc. can persuade school boards to add these pseudosciences to science classes for whatever reason (historical interest, comparison, etc.), then I say the more power to them. So long as the subject matter steers clear of religion, I feel that the courts have no right to interfere.

In Peloza, the court ruled that evolution is not a religion and hence requiring Peloza to teach it was not a violation of his 1st amendment rights. Similarly, irreducible complexity per se is not religion and hence teachers could be required to teach it. In the Dover case, at least some teachers refused to read the ID statement, which was read by an administrator instead. Maybe this problem could have been prevented if the school board had accepted teachers’ recommendations for changes to the ID statement.

Comment #75522 Posted by Steviepinhead on January 24, 2006 10:31 PM
With his usual loose way with the facts, in discussing Peloza, Larry somehow winds the circuit court’s award of attorney’s fees into an airy speculation about what hypothetical experts may or may not have told the district court

Pinheaded Stevie,

I simply put two and two together (something that you seem to have trouble doing). I observed that since the defendants’ district court expenses were apparently only $32,000 in Peloza, there must have been little or no testimony by expert scientific witnesses. And that is why I believe that Peloza was not cited in the Dover opinion or the Hurst v. Newman (El Tejon, Calif.) complaint. If you can think of a better reason, please let me know.

If the court didn’t get this from Larry’s hypothesized “expert testimony,” what was the source?

Good question.

Comment #75524 posted by Steviepinhead on January 24, 2006 10:40 PM
You know, do a little work for your own lazy shiftless dishonest space-wasting tiresome pointless self. For once.

Pinheaded Stevie,

When I bring something to someone’s attention, I do so politely (unless I am responding to an impolite post). It is obvious that many of the evolutionists on this website do not care about the image that they convey to the lurkers.

Comment #75529 posted by ‘Rev Dr’ Lenny Flank on January 24, 2006 10:54 PM
I don’t give a flying fig what the crank says. About anything.

But yet you and others keep responding to my posts. LOL

Comment #75537 osted by Moses on January 24, 2006 11:23 PM

“If the court didn’t get this from Larry’s hypothesized “expert testimony,” what was the source? The opinion doesn’t give one. Maybe the court relied on the state curriculum standards, of which it had taken judicial notice.”

In part, they used Merriam-Webster and in part, case law which (contrary to Larry) has established evolution as a scientific theory.

The dictionary plays no part in judging the merits of scientific theories. And the case law that supposedly established that evolution theory is good science – or even science at all – was not cited (which should have been apparent from the preceding statement that the opinion does not give a source).

Comment #75540 posted by ‘Rev Dr’ Lenny Flank on January 24, 2006 11:31 PM
There is also the Segraves v California case.

Why should I do your research for you ? The time that I showed that legislation and case law actually supported your position, you sneered, “when did you become a lawyer?”

Comment #75550 posted by Chiefley on January 25, 2006 12:51 AM

This is what Kenneth Miller calls argument by “personal incredulity”. Or in other words, “anything I personally find hard to believe must not be true.” How can anyone with a straight face call this intellectual honesty.

No, it just means that the burden of proof is especially heavy. What I like about irreducible complexity and other scientific criticisms of evolution is that they present doubts about evolution in objective forms for discussion and analysis.

None of this would have been arrived at if people stopped doing science whenever the results seemed hard to believe.

The ones who really lack inquiring minds are the evolutionists who think that once they believe that they have “refuted” a particular criticism of evolution, they will never need to look at that criticism again, even when new arguments and/or evidence are presented. I wish I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard an evolutionist say, “we refuted that fifty years ago.”

DI is not a scientific institution. It is a political action committee

I don’t have this hangup about automatically rejecting something just because the fundies support it.

Greetings from the benighted state of Ohio.

When is that big lawsuit going to be filed in Ohio? It has been over a week since the Ohio board of education voted to keep the evolution lesson plan.

Well, if ID is banned from schools, I wonder what the result will be. Will books on ID be banned from school grounds ? Will students sneakily read ID books in the bathrooms while posting a lookout to warn if a school staffer is coming ( like kids used to sneak smokes in bathrooms when I was in school ) ? LOL

Comment #75617

Posted by Larry Fafarman on January 25, 2006 9:25 AM (e)

Comment #75569 posted by natural cynic on January 25, 2006 04:47 AM

So, in bilogy class, the teacher mentions that some things may be irreducibly complex. Then what? Obviously someone who is half-awake is going to ask HOW things get irreducibly complex. Can you separate IC from ID? Not likely

And the teacher mentions that jawbones evolved into middle-ear bones. And then a student is going to ask how that happened. And the teacher will answer, “the intelligent designer did it.”

Comment #75620

Posted by ben on January 25, 2006 9:29 AM (e)

Was that a joke, Larry?

Comment #75624

Posted by Ohioan on January 25, 2006 9:33 AM (e)

Larry wrote:

“Well, if ID is banned from schools, I wonder what the result will be. Will books on ID be banned from school grounds ? Will students sneakily read ID books in the bathrooms while posting a lookout to warn if a school staffer is coming ( like kids used to sneak smokes in bathrooms when I was in school ) ? LOL”

Larry,

Do you find there to be a difference between

a) banning an idea from discussion and

b) the BOE establishing it as a subject to be studied

???

I think the law does…

Comment #75627

Posted by Larry Fafarman on January 25, 2006 9:38 AM (e)

Comment #75620 posted by ben on January 25, 2006 09:29 AM

Was that a joke, Larry?

Which one ?

Comment #75643

Posted by Steve Reuland on January 25, 2006 10:17 AM (e)

Jack Krebs wrote:

Do you know who from the DI was there? Just curious.

I’ve finally found out now that it was Logan Gage. I have never heard of him.

Anyway, I’m going to have to send this message to Jack individually because there’s no way he’s going to read through this UTTER TRAIN WRECK of a thread. Since being unable to discuss the event in question defeats the whole purpose of having a comments section, I’m closing it.

For those handful of you who insist on making comment after comment just to hear yourselves talk (and you know who you are), please note that you are making PT less useful for everyone else.