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December 21, 2005

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» Boy, they *really* don't get it from The Panda's Thumb
Ive got about 30 minutes to kill, so I might as well give some general thoughts on the IDists reactions to the cataclysmic Dover decision.... [Read More]

» Supernatural Causation and the Argument that ID is not a Science from Daily Phil
In his “Dovers Darwinist Judge Rules Against Competing Theory of Intelligent Design,” Jonathan Witt, a fellow at the Center for Science and Culture, the think tank that has become the intellectual center of the current Intelligent Design (h... [Read More]

» More Reactions to the Dover Decision on Intelligent Design (with special attention to the unfortunate intervention by Professor Alschuler) from Leiter Reports
This blog has a rather lengthy compendium of links pertaining to yesterday's court decision. The New York Times, meanwhile, has run a pleasingly direct editorial:Judge Jones's decision was a striking repudiation of intelligent design, given that Dover'... [Read More]

» The Court's Contempt from Cross-Currents
Prof. Albert Alschuler of the University of Chicago is blogging his reactions to the ID decision (as noted by Michael Hobson). Most of the Dover opinion says in effect to the proponents of intelligent design, “We know who you are. You’re Bible-thump... [Read More]

» "The Forbidden Preference" from Discriminations.us
Albert Alschuler, a highly regarded law professor at the University of Chicago, is no radicalrightchristian, but he is very critical of Judge Jones's opinion in Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District, which threw Intelligent Design out of the Dover, ... [Read More]

» "The Forbidden Preference" from Discriminations.us
Albert Alschuler, a highly regarded law professor at the University of Chicago, is no radicalrightchristian, but he is very critical of Judge Jones's opinion in Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District, which threw Intelligent Design out of the Dover, ... [Read More]

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ekf

The Big Bang theory came about as the result of studying scads of empirical data about the rate and direction of movement of star systems and matter across space from a galactic central point. No doubt people more scientifically gifted can speak to its conformity with scientific principles.

I think it's also worth noting that the Intelligent Design debate is not an isolated one with respect to the religious right's attempt to assert a Christian-faith-based understanding of the world in secular circumstances and, in so doing, claiming a falsely secular purpose (and therefore a right to equal time) and attempting to undermine the secular endeavor they are trying to replace. Intelligent Design might sound harmless enough -- we often hear cries about why it's such a big deal to assert that we might have been created for a reason (and aren't the scientist big, bigoted meanies for acting like we weren't) -- but those cries, while made by well-meaning people, ignore the man behind the curtain.

The deep pockets behind creationism promotion and Intelligent Design have a lot in common, as they do with efforts like teaching abstinence-only "sex education" (because it works! except that it doesn't), fighting for Ten Commandments plaques (because are laws are based on it! except that they're not) and promoting laws that let pharmacists single out which contraceptive prescriptions they won't fill (because they're concerned about women's health! except when they ignore other issues that affect women's health) and anti-gay-marriage ballot initiatives (to "protect the family"! except that it doesn't). Were Intelligent Design an isolated, independent effort, the purposes behind its promoters might be less suspect. But its supporters are part of a coordinated political effort to impose more religion in public spaces, and their tactics are they same in this case as they have been in every other case. It's not "guilt by association" or even the "vast right-wing conspiracy" as much as it is "I've heard this song before, and the chorus stinks."

At its most basic level, science is a search for answers, not a set of answers. Even without a background in the scientific method, it seems obvious that the Intelligent Design theory is not a theory requiring additional research -- it's an answer. It doesn't ask additional questions -- it shuts down discussion, because we can already know the answer to any remaining, nagging unknown. Is it complicated? Is it so complicated that we can't explain it with our current knowledge base? Well, then it must be part of our Intelligent Designer's Intelligent Design! It's handy and comforting, and religious people see through it as being a comforting, religious message with a wink towards those secular ninnies who don't know the Truth with a Capital T, but it doesn't fit with the purpose of science, which is to keep knowing more. And it also can be used to nudge out of favor any number of other scientific disciplines where we really don't know all the answers, like why normal cells become cancer cells (maybe we're intelligently designed to die and go to heaven! uh...ixnay on the eavenhay...), cloning challenges (can't do it right because we weren't designed to make clones of ourselves!) and other scientific frontiers where the religious right wants the power to govern the message but feels impotent to do so when restricted to playing by the rules of science.

Unsympathetic reader

Big Bang theories can be evaluated and rejected. Different results in the measurements of redshifts and the cosmic background radiation could have easily knocked the Big Bang out of contention. Such an outcome would have made Fred "Steady-State Universe" Hoyle a lot happier.

Note, it's not that ID couldn't be formulated as a scientifically testable theory, it's that nobody has succeeded in that task so far. As it stands now, ID is only a wistful glimmer. As Judge Jones properly observed after considering the evidence, there is *no substance* there. In addition to merely being possible, you've got to have some content too. Otherwise, why not teach "morphic resonance" or Raelian beliefs as if they were reasonable alternatives? Why not talk about invisible pink unicorns? Merely having a few scientists (out of the vast majority) who side with ID doesn't mean much. I can point to a couple biologists I know who are convinced of reincarnation. The facts are that right now, ID exists only as an empty placeholder. There's no science there.

Red Reader

I understand the arguments, but they are well downstream of the original intent of the 1st Amendment. The courts have far overstepped the bounds of the language. The language is clear as a bell. (Yes case law has extended it and I understand this issue has been dealt with many times.) But, would we be having these difficulties if the courts themselves had not gotten "entangled" in the establishment or dis-establishment of religion apart from actions of Congress?

"Congress shall make no law...." The Constitution no more prohibits the school board in Dover PA from making a law than the Constitution prohibits the Courts from "making law" by judicial fiat.

Deborah Spaeth

Professor Alschuler is obviously ignorant of the history of the creationist movement and their tactics and he obviously has spent very little time thinking about "intelligent design" and why it is scientifically vacuous.

Perhaps Professor Alschuler should read Judge Jones' decision a few more times. Eventually, he might gain a more accurate understanding of Judge Jones' holding and also a more accurate understanding of why "intelligent design" is worthless to scientists.

Professor Alschuler should also read ekf's post carefully because ekf has hit several nails very firmly on the head, just as Judge Jones did.

Finally, I would appreciate Professor Alschuler's answer to the following question:

ID "theory" claims that mysterious alien beings "intelligently" created every living species of organism that ever lived on the earth for the past 4 billion years.

How does ID "theory" distinguish between that fantastic and bizarre proposition and the proposition proposed by Enterocraftic Theory which states that mysterious alien beings defecated every living thing that ever lived on earth, including two infamously deluded creatures named Jesus Christ and Mohammed?

I'm very serious and I assume that Professor Alschuler has a very serious answer to this question. If he doesn't, then I expect Professor Alschuler to join me in demanding that Enterocraftic Theory be taught in science class.

Go for it, Professor Alschuler. Step up to the plate and try to be honest.

Good luck.

P.S. For the record, I'm an evangelical Christian and I am disgusted by the liars at the Discovery Institute, as we all should be.

ivy privy

-----------
"Congress shall make no law...." The Constitution no more prohibits the school board in Dover PA from making a law than the Constitution prohibits the Courts from "making law" by judicial fiat.
------------
Are we supposed to pretend that the 14th amendment didn't happen?

dani elf

I think that the Kitzmiller ruling actually does an excellent job of illustrating why motive IS relevant which is that in practice, children and parents will understand the subtext, particularly when the text is as clumsy and transparent as it is in this case.

It might be possible to build a version of ID which is not a clumsy and transparent attempt to put god into biological history, but it manifestly hasnt been done, as Judge Jones could see for himself very clearly having heard six weeks of evidence on the matter.

dani elf

I think that the Kitzmiller ruling actually does an excellent job of illustrating why motive IS relevant which is that in practice, children and parents will understand the subtext, particularly when the text is as clumsy and transparent as it is in this case.

It might be possible to build a version of ID which is not a clumsy and transparent attempt to put god into biological history, but it manifestly hasnt been done, as Judge Jones could see for himself very clearly having heard six weeks of evidence on the matter.

The Law Fairy

Here's the problem with the talk about radiation and other such things that could "falsify" the Big Bang theory -- they're based on what is essentially a guess about how the universe started. I could just as easily say, God built a nuclear reactor and set it off, and that's how the universe started. Sure, it's falsifiable, because if there aren't any trace effects from the reaction left in the universe, then I'm wrong. But that doesn't make it scientific. It's still a guess. It's a historical reconstruction based on educated GUESSES about what may have happened billions of years ago. But I honestly don't see how postulating a Big Bang is any more scientific than postulating an other natural First Cause. The Big Bang is just a way to explain the origins of the universe without having to appeal to God or something we can't fit into a laboratory -- essentially it's just a result of man's arrogance at thinking he can understand and manipulate nature, and anything he can't understand or manipulate is "unscientific."

As for being proud to be who I am, or not trying to hide my motivations, I'm happy to say I'm a Christian. I don't think everything in the Bible should be taken literally. I don't know if we evolved from monkeys or if everything was created in 6 days. I don't believe abstinence-only education works (Lord knows it didn't for me), I sure as hell think women have a right to birth control, I think anti-religious zealots are whining when they complain about a religious judge posting the Ten Commandments, and I think gay people should have the right to marry. I also think that there are legitimate gaps in evolutionary theory, and there's nothing unconstitutional or unscientific about people wanting to point those out, whatever their motivations are. Since when does the Constitution make it not okay to enhance our scientific understanding of the universe just because some of the people who want to do so are religious? In my mind, THAT'S the position that runs afoul of the First Amendment.

It is a logical fallacy to suggest that just because some members of a certain proponent group espouse wrong, illegal, or unpalatable ideas, necessarily means that the other ideas they espouse are similarly wrong, illegal, or unpalatable. If this were the case, we'd have to turn back the clock decades on our medical research, since we owe a lot of what we know, particularly about pre-natal care, to the brutalities inflicted by Nazi Germany on the men and women they tortured in their prison camps. It's simple-minded and intellectually lazy to attack an idea based on its proponents rather than based on its merits. This is why Judge Jones got it wrong -- this is why the revised Lemon test is probably wrong, too.

There are valid criticisms of ID theory, but there are also valid criticisms of evolutionary theory. So why does the law favor one for being secular? Since when is religious affiliation automatic grounds for suspicion? I think we're headed in a dangerous direction when we hold people's motives constitutionally suspect for no other reason than that they have closely held religious beliefs.

maurile

The Law Fairy wrote: "There are valid criticisms of ID theory, but there are also valid criticisms of evolutionary theory. So why does the law favor one for being secular?"

You're completely missing the point. The law doesn't favor one for being secular. The law favors one for being scientific.

There is no secular purpose for mandating the teaching of unscientific ideas in a science class.

What novel predictions does your nuclear reactor theory make that we can test? Big bang theory -- like evolutionary theory -- made novel predictions that have been confirmed. If you want to put your nuclear reactor theory on equal footing with them, let's hear some of its testable predictions.

The Law Fairy

Actually, maurile, you're incorrect. The Lemon test isn't a test of scientific soundness. Scientific soundness is up to school boards, and the school board in this case determined that ID was scientific. It was ruled unconstitutional under the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment -- which governs state endorsement of religion. Judge Jones ruled that the school board couldn't make a scientific determination about ID because it was religious. Thus, evolution is preferred by the COURTS because it is secular -- it may be preferred by school boards because it is scientific, but we're not arguing here what school boards should decide, we're arguing what they should be ALLOWED to decide.

And it seems to me many of the people here arguing against ID theory are throwing around the words "unscientific" and "religious" somewhat interchangeably -- that is to say, the primary problems people seem to have with ID theory are that many of its proponents make reference to God. I'll admit I'm not an expert on either ID or evolutionary theory -- but saying that something has religious overtones doesn't make it unscientific. Unless you'd like to rescind your earlier contention that you don't pit science and religion against one another.

Doug K

Let regilion run you're life not my country.

Deborah Spaeth

Law Fairy

"Scientific soundness is up to school boards, and the school board in this case determined that ID was scientific."

No they didn't. And here's where the willful mispresentation begins (am I surprise? No, because I read Judge Jones' case).

Read Judge Jones' case. Where was this "determination" of the scientific legitimacy of ID made, who made it, and how did they make it?

Or is that somehow not relevant, Fairy?

I have a theory called Enterocraftic Theory Fairy which says that mysterious alien beings defecated all the species of life that ever lived on earth for the past 4 billion years, and also defecated forth two infamous deluded creatures named Jesus Christ and Mohammed.

I have a Ph.D. in molecular biology. I have a few dozen friends who are professional scientists who will sign a statement that this theory is a legitimate alternative to "ID theory."

So let's teach it, okay?

I've got a bunch of other theories, too, Fairy. They are all designed to entertain schoolchildren and encourage them to "think critically" about deities, Messiahs, prophets and other "scientific" "forces".

Fairy also writes

"saying that something has religious overtones doesn't make it unscientific."

Nobody said that. Nice strawman, Fairy.

Professor Aschuler, please note that dustkickers like Fairy are commonplace in the creationist apologist barnyard. If I've seen one, I've seen five hundred.

Judge Jones had to listen to their garbage and wade through their testimony for six weeks. That's why he wrote the opinion that he did.

maurile

The Law Fairy wrote: "Actually, maurile, you're incorrect. The Lemon test isn't a test of scientific soundness."

I didn't say it was.

But the Lemon test does ask whether the government action under consideration has a primarily secular purpose or effect. Since there is no legitimate secular purpose for mandating that unscientific ideas be presented in science class, the court had to determine whether ID was a scientific idea.

Both sides presented their evidence and argument on that issue, and so aided by the parties, the court got the right answer.

maurile

Deborah Spaeth wrote: "Judge Jones had to listen to their garbage and wade through their testimony for six weeks. That's why he wrote the opinion that he did."

Exactly right.

Nick Matzke's post at the Panda's Thumb really hit the nail on the head perfectly.

http://www.pandasthumb.org/archives/2005/12/boy_they_really.html

Scott

The Law Fairy writes:

"...the school board in this case determined that ID was scientific."

Perhaps you didn't read the opinion or transcripts closely enough. From page 131:

"...most if not all of the Board members who voted in favor of the biology curriculum change conceded that they still do not know, nor have they ever known, precisely what ID is. To assert a secular purpose against this backdrop is ludicrous."

If they never knew what ID was, it seems impossible to conclude that they determined it was scientific.

Jay Byrd

Leo Strauss taught you well to lie to the rubes, eh Albert?

Jay Byrd

"It is possible to formulate a version of ID that is purely scientific (i.e., a testable, falsifiable theory)"

Actually, maurile, that isn't possible. ID is, fundamentally,

a) A negative claim against a scientific theory -- as such it is not the sort of thing that can be a scientific theory.

b) An argumentum ad ignorantiam -- a form of false dichotomy. A scientific theory cannot be based on a fallacy.

c) Explicitly silent on the very thing that such a theory would have to be vocal about -- the facts about the designer that would allow making predictions about its actions.

The Law Fairy

I'm not responding to each individual argument about the scientific soundness of ID. Here's the point I'm trying to make, if others can manage to open their minds a crack to see that I'm not, strictly speaking, making an argument for the scientific soundness of ANY particular theory. I'm not a scientist. I'm a lawyer. As a lawyer, it is not my place to determine what is scientific. The same would hold true if I were a federal judge. What WOULD be my place would be to determine if someone has violated the Constitution. I'm arguing that Judge Jones got it wrong. Just because people espouse a scientific theory because of their religious beliefs, doesn't itself make that theory unscientific. And even if it did, that's not the court's place to say.

Whether or not the board was correct in determining that ID was sound science -- which, regardless of their REASONS for believing so, is in fact what they determined -- is not for the court to say. The court is to leave those concerns to the school boards and the people. The people in this case voted in a new school board. Good for them -- that's their right as citizens.

What's troubling about this case is that a federal judge took it upon himself to beat down a group of religious people who have views about science that are different from the majority view. Here's the problem with the Lemon test: you can't look at individual people's MOTIVES in determining whether something is religious or not. Individual motives are separate from legislative motives. Judge Jones either became confused on this point or ignored it.

You want to talk about straw men, let's talk about the defendants in this case. I doubt any serious proponents of ID theory would choose these people as their poster children. Frankly, they're not the sharpest tools in the shed. That the judge devotes so much time to criticizing them and their ideology belies his own motives. Perhaps we ought to apply the Lemon test to judicial decisions themselves -- don't forget that the First Amendment says you can't inhibit religion, either.

Deborah, I applaud your efforts to seek out new answers to the ultimate questions of life. Way to avoid the trap of lazy thinking and step outside the box.

Unless, of course, you were being sarcastic. But I'm sure that, as a doctor, you know better than to simply accept what other scientists tell you as true as gospel. Whoops -- sorry, I used a religious word! Can't have that in the annals of real science...

Deborah Spaeth

Is Perfesser Albert ignorant or dishonest? Surely he is one or the other when it comes to the subject of promoting religion in public schools.

He writes

" The court’s response – “well, that’s what they say, but we know what they mean” – is uncivil, an illustration of the dismissive and contemptuous treatment that characterizes much contemporary discourse."

Here the Perfesser spits on "contemporary discourse" but consider: Judge Jones opinion is well over 100 pages long. He lays out the facts and the law as plainly as a judge can. His analysis and reasoning is presented for us to see and consider.

How is Judge Jones' opinion "uncivil," "dismissive," or "contemptuous"?

The answer is: it's not. It's the Great Perfesser Albert's smear piece that is uncivil, dismissive and contemptuous because it completely misrepresents what Judge Jones actually wrote and held.

I agree that contempory discourse is diminished. But it's dishonest propagandists like Perfesser Albert that are causing it to be so.

"Many evolutionary biologists undoubtedly regard religion as akin to sorcery"

How about Ken Miller, the biologist who testified that ID is garbage? He's a Christian. How about the evangelical Christian who heads the National Institute of Health who knows that "ID theory" is creationist garbage? What about the fact that most scientists who are Christians think that the ID peddlers at the Discovery Institute are worthless anti-science charlatans trying to establish a Christian theocracy in the US?

Somehow the Great Perfesser, defender of free thought, forgets to mention such simple facts when he smears Judge Jones' well-reasoned opinion.

But the Great Perfesser undoubtedly lives in a bubble with other great "thinkers" of our time where inconvenient facts are shoveled under the carpet and useful facts are "created" to tell a story that pleases the storyteller.

In the "old days" we'd call such people liars. Nowadays, I'm told that people like the Great Perfesser merely have a different "worldview."

Maybe someone should remind the Perfesser that he still lives on planet earth and some of us aren't drinking the kool-aid.

Jay Byrd

"And it seems to me many of the people here arguing against ID theory are throwing around the words "unscientific" and "religious" somewhat interchangeably"

No, only you are doing that, as with you first post:

"maurile --

It's interesting that you reject anything referencing the "supernatural" as unscientific."

Despite maurile's explicit and extensive denial of this characterization, you continue to make it. This is both dishonest and unintelligent -- ID is *both* unscientific *and* religiously motivated. Without the latter, Establishment wouldn't be relevant, and without the former, it wouldn't apply.

Jay Byrd

"if others can manage to open their minds a crack"

Pot to kettle. Your claims are disingenuous and wrong, but you are completely closed to seeing or acknowledging error in your own statements.

"Just because people espouse a scientific theory because of their religious beliefs, doesn't itself make that theory unscientific."

For the forty billionth time, this is a strawman. By your own admission, you are incompetent to judge whether ID is unscientific -- but those who ARE competent have done so and testified in Kitzmiller; THAT is why it's unscientific, not "because of their religious beliefs". Sheesh. Are you phenomemally dishonest, or just plain stupid? Take your pick.

Deborah Spaeth

The Fairy:

"What's troubling about this case is that a federal judge took it upon himself to beat down a group of religious people who have views about science that are different from the majority view."

The view of those "religious people" is that the practice of science -- i.e., methodological naturalism -- is inherently anti-religious.

That is why Bill Buckingham demanded that Dover "take a stand for Jesus" and teach that evolutionary biology "has flaws" and that "mysterious alien beings creating all the life forms that ever lived on earth" is a legitimate scientific alternative to the explanation favored by the overwhelming majority of experts.

The Judge showed that the views about science held by those "religious people" was WRONG. Not "different." WRONG.

Read the decision, Fairy. And try not to lie about it. You know, like the liars in Dover and the liars at the Discovery Institute.

Let's say for the sake of argument that my religion says that people named George are going to hell because they are dirty animals. I have every right to believe that. And I have every right to tell people my belief.

Let's say that my religion starts paying for ads that say "People named George are dirty animals. Going to hell! It is written by the Prophet!!!! Beware those who claim otherwise! They are heretics!"

And I broadcast this 24 hours a day for a ten years.

Now, everyone knows that people exist named George. And animals exist. So I go to my school board and I say, "Hey it's time to start teaching our kids this important scientific fact about people named George."

And I point to these hundreds of thousands of people who believe me that these Georges are dirty animals who are going to hell, including some Ph.D.s (DUDE, PH.Ds! WOW!) who are doing "research" that will "eventually" "show" "scientifically" that George is a dirty animal.

We even find some people named George who are really dirty. And we remind people that humans are animals! So philosophically it's hard to argue that there isn't some truth to our claim. And nobody can say FOR SURE that there is not a hell, so it's always a possibility there is one. Compelling huh?

Now, it so happens that just about every biologist on earth thinks that this claim that "every person named George is a dirty animal who is going to hell" is pure garbage.

Is it wrong for a Judge to "beat me down" when I claim that my "theory" is "scientific"?

Go for it, Fairy.

The only real distinction between my hypo and the facts in this case is that the evidence that some people named George are dirty animals going to hell is better than the evidence that mysterious alien beings created every life form that ever lived on earth for the past 4 billion years ....

... that and the fact that I didn't lie about the fact that I was trying to shove my religious beliefs down the throats of kids in public schools ...


Jay Byrd

I love this brethtaking bit of question begging by Prince Albert:

"While professing to offer no opinion concerning the truth of intelligent design, the court consistently reveals its contempt for this theory."

As the testimony in Kitzmiller clearly showed, ID is not a scientific theory. But that doesn't establish that it's *false*.

Consider the claim that George Bush is guided by divine providence. That could be true -- I suspect that Judge Jones, a churchgoer appointed by Bush, believes that. But directing teachers to suggest that as a possible cause of world affairs in political science classes would richly deserve contempt.

The Law Fairy

Wow, Jay, counting to forty billion is pretty impressive. Did your mommy teach you that?

It doesn't matter whether people in Kitzmiller testified that it was unscientific: until we make a law that says courts are the arbiters of science (which would be a bad law to make), presenting scientific testimony is a red herring. My point was and is that what constitutes "science" is up to the school boards. The fact that Judge Jones feels the need to kick the previous board while it's down, when it's practically a MOOT POINT because the new board will change the standards, is troubling.

My points about "supernatural" and "scientific" were made in reference to this quote from maurile, way back in the first comment:

"The same references to the supernatural (which is outside the proper domain of science)."

But, hey, go ahead and pretend I put words in maurile's mouth. It's easier to criticize me that way.

And I'm not making up what people have said. I'm not accusing all critics of ID of believing a certain set of ideas (though it would be nice if they would extend proponents of ID the same courtesy) -- but there is a link here between dismissing it as "religious" and "unscientific." The definition set out about empirically testing something that is scientific, and I'm not arguing that this isn't widespread in the scientific community, is biased against effects we can't test in a laboratory setting. There is a bias in society towards things that are termed "scientific." Thus, when you interchange "religious" and "unscientific" -- which the judge did by fashioning his opinion as one that rejecting the policy as unscientific as well as unconstitutional -- then you make religion inferior to science. When done by a government entity, THIS is unconstitutional.

It's not just the opinion, either. For instance, PantsB said:

"Their actions, this "compromise", was attempting to teach a concept in order to endorse a religious viewpoint. This is a religious motivation and not a secular one. This was not determined by 'psychoanalysis' but by numerous witnesses who testified to repeated lies under oath by the decision makers regarding their connection and the decision's connection to religious groups.

A motivation to teach religious views guised as science clearly violates the endorsement clause. Attempting to justify otherwise is a futile attempt in double think."

This criticism, regardless of its validity, isn't a scientific one. It's a political one. THIS is how we're confusing the issue. But, please, by all means, keep calling me disingenuous. It is a lot easier then confronting me on the validity of my legal arguments.

And, I can't resist. Here's a quote from Deborah:

"Professor Aschuler, please note that dustkickers like Fairy are commonplace in the creationist apologist barnyard. If I've seen one, I've seen five hundred."

Hmm. So... if someone as dumb as me will defend an idea... it's wrong! I think that's one of my favorite logical fallacies.

tnadelhoffer

Dear (Anonymous) Law Fairy,
I have a bargain for you and all of the other folks who think Judge Jones "got it wrong." We'll be sure to include a discussion in high school biology classrooms of the holes and gaps in evolutionary theory--after all, without such a discussion, budding scientists don't know what problems to examine. Indeed, any good biology teacher is ALREADY doing this--assuming, of course, they are even allowed or encouraged to give evolutionary theory more than a mere passing glance. Obviously, there's no harm in teacing students about some of the things evolutionary theorists have yet to explain. Moreover, this approach would not violate the 1st Amendment--indeed, the word "God" or "designer" would never need to be uttered.

Would this placate you and others of your ilk? No. Why? Because the point of teaching ID is NOT the mere negative one of showing the weaknesses of evolutionary theory. Rather, the point is to give students a theological alternative. This is precisely why Judge Jones got it RIGHT. If the IDiots were merely concerned with pointing out some of the weaknesses of evolutionary theory, they could have accomplished this by simply bolstering students' existent scientific schooling with a more detailed analysis of the successes and failures of evolutionary theory to explain the origins of life. But that is not what they did. They were not content to teach the problems with evolutionary theory, they wanted to teach alternatives. However, so long as we follow Bacon in defining science in terms of its research methodology, there are NO competing alternative scientific theories concerning the origins of life. For now, at least, the various versions of evolutionary theory are the "only show in town." Hence, Judge Jones ruled that the school board is not allowed to use public funds to deceive children into believing that "god did it" is a legitimate scientific explanation. Ultimately, I am willing to concede that there is a perfectly legitimate secular purpose for teaching the problems with evolutionary theory. But IDiots want more than this. Luckily, Judge Jones saw through their BS.

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