Sunday, February 08, 2015

Does the Discovery Institute want Intelligent Design Creationism presented to public school students?

There are legal issues about teaching anything that smacks of religion in American public schools. This is why the leading Intelligent Design Creationists are very careful to avoid saying that they want to mandate teaching of Intelligent Design Creationism in the public schools.

Recently, a reporter for the Sioux Falls (South Dakota, USA) Argus Leader wrote an article about teaching IDC. He implied that the Discovery Institute lied to him when they said they weren't pushing Intelligent Design Creationism in public schools. The Discovery Institute didn't like that at all [Journalistic Malpractice in South Dakota: Argus Leader Won't Correct Misleading Story.

Here's their policy as outlined on their website [Darwinian Evolution, Intelligent Design and Education Policy].
Don’t Require The Teaching of Intelligent Design
All of the major pro-intelligent design organizations oppose any efforts to require the teaching of intelligent design by school districts or state boards of education. The mainstream ID movement agrees that attempts to mandate teaching about intelligent design only politicize the theory and will hinder fair and open discussion of the merits of the theory among scientists and within the scientific community.

Teach More About Evolution
Instead of mandating intelligent design, the major pro-ID organizations seek to increase the coverage of evolution in textbooks by teaching students about both scientific strengths and weaknesses of evolution. Most school districts today teach only a one-sided version of evolution which presents only the facts which supposedly support the theory. But most pro-ID organizations think evolution should be taught as a scientific theory that is open to critical scrutiny, not as a sacred dogma that can't be questioned.

Protect Academic Freedom
Although pro-ID organizations do not advocate requiring the teaching of intelligent design in public schools, they also believe there is nothing unconstitutional about voluntarily discussing the scientific theory of design in the classroom. Pro-ID organizations oppose efforts to persecute individual teachers who may wish to discuss the scientific debate over design in an objective and pedagogically appropriate manner.
Get it? The policy clearly states that the Discovery Institute doesn't want to require, or mandate, teaching Intelligent Design Creationism. Instead, it greatly favors a policy where evolution will be "correctly" taught. That includes "voluntary" coverage of design theory in the classroom.

They include a link to The Theory of Intelligent Design: A Briefing Packet
FOR EDUCATORS
where they explain the correct way to teach Intelligent Design Creationism, if educators choose to do so voluntarily.

They also link to an article about the (American) law [Teaching About Evolution in the Public Schools: A Short Summary of the Law]. They say,
... school boards and administrators need to bear in mind that any presentation of a science curriculum dealing with evolutionary theory should focus on scientific evidence and theories reasonably inferable from that evidence, rather than upon claims that rest upon religious beliefs. Resources discussing scientific criticisms of aspects of neo-Darwinian and chemical evolutionary theories include the Icons of Evolution Study Guide and the Icons of Evolution Curriculum Modules.
In other words, if you voluntarily choose to teach the controversy then the Icons of Evolution book by Jonathan Wells would be a good choice.

Now you know. The Discovery Institute wants very much to get Intelligent Design Creationism into the public schools but they'll sneak it in the back door by pretending that it's part of legitimate scientific criticism of neo-Darwinism.

Note: I think it would be a great idea to get students to read Icons in high school biology classes in my home province of Ontario, Canada. I'd be happy to visit any schools who want to try this and explain why the book is a load of crap. It would be a good exercise for students to engage in critical thinking and examine the evidence. I like the idea ot teaching the controversy. It usually ends up by revealing that one side is wrong.


52 comments :

  1. What does the discovery institute want taught? Well I remember reading some document about a wedge.

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  2. "Does the Discovery Institute want Intelligent Design Creationism presented to public school students?"

    Yes, although I think that imposed on or forced on is a more accurate term than presented.

    That the IDiot-creationists still deny that they want IDC pushed into public education (and politics/public policies and everything else) and that they believe they are fooling anyone with a clue, is a PROFOUND display of their dishonesty and arrogance.

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  3. I find myself agreeing with a substantial amount of what the DI has written above, particularly the "Teach More About Evolution" paragraph, though I suspect my vision of what that entails is not quite commensurate with theirs. For example, I doubt genetic drift or nearly neutral theory are on their list, as they would be on mine.

    The quite amusing thing is the "Protect Academic Freedom" paragraph, which must come from some line of American court cases in an alternate universe. They certainly don't have anything to do with legal precedent here in the real world. Sorry, but when a teacher "voluntarily" presents ID to students who are mandated by law to attend those classes, and the state "protects the teacher's freedom" by being apprised of it and approving its continuation, there's little or no legal distinction between that and the situation where teaching ID is mandated by the state in the first place.

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  4. Here's an interesting question, to me anyway: If, as the DI claims, Intelligent Design is not a religious idea (like creationism), but rather a scientific theory with abundant evidence to support it, then why shouldn't it be taught in public school science classes?

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    Replies
    1. The premise of your interesting question (the "If" phrase) was specifically debunked for ID by a court of law in the U.S. The losing party (those supporting ID and the foundation that supplied their legal counsel) decided not to appeal.

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    2. I believe their claim is that it isn't ready for prime time yet. Of course we know that that sentence would be better served by leaving off the "yet".

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    3. The premise of your interesting question (the "If" phrase) was specifically debunked for ID by a court of law in the U.S.

      Courts of law do not decide whether something is science or not. Much of Intelligent Design is perfectly scientific. That's why we discuss a lot of their claims on science blogs. A good deal of the theistic evolution position promoted by the likes of Francis Collins and Ken Miller is also well within the realm of science.

      It may be science, in my opinion, but it's incorrect science (i.e. bad science). That's very different from what Judge Jones decided 10 years ago. He was (mostly) wrong.

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    4. Re Prof. Moran

      Judge Jones relied on the testimony of philosophy professor Barbara Forrest, who testified that methodological naturalism if a necessary condition for doing science. Prof. Moran doesn't agree with Prof. Forrest relative to this matter. However, she was there and testified and Prof. Moran was not. Thus, based on the testimony he heard and the arguments with which he was presented, he made the correct call. It would, in fact, have been serious judicial misconduct for him to contact Prof. Moran for advice and guidance on the subject.

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    5. @colnago80

      That's a very strange argument. We agree, I assume, that there are two sides to the issue and that many prominent philosophers and scientists disagree with the experts who testified at the trial. One of the experts who testified was Roman Catholic theologian, John Haught, who strongly believes that science and religion are different ways of knowing about truth.

      What you're saying, correctly, is that Judge Jones only heard one side of the demarcation debate so he had no choice but to agree with the experts he heard.

      I agree, but that doesn't make him correct and it doesn't mean that the philosophical debate has been settled by a Pennsylvania judge.

      The judge heard exactly what the National Center for Science Education wanted him to hear. It's their position that science and religion are compatible and that science, by definition, can't have anything to do with religious questions because it's outside of the domain of science.

      If there's ever another trial they will be forced to call people like Jerry Coyne (scientist) and Maarten Boudry (philosopher) as witnesses. Jerry's book, which is due to come out in May, will set you (and Judge Jones) straight.

      Meanwhile, for those of you who don't know about this debate, read: Territorial demarcation and the meaning of science to see why Judge Jones doesn't get to have the definitive say in the matter. .

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    6. Jones didn't decide the philosophical issue, but he decided the legal issue. Not at all the same thing. He did not decide the legal issue for the entire country, but the trial did establish how much it might cost to test the decision, and did establish the likely outcome. If this were not true or believed to be true by the DI, , it would have been appealed.

      I do not believe there is any prohibition against teaching ID in the context of the history of science.

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    7. Jones didn't decide the philosophical issue, but he decided the legal issue.

      I agree. Whenever anyone asks you if intelligent design questions are science then you (and judmarc) can reply as follows.

      The issue is controversial. There are many philosophers and scientists on both sides although the trend these days is to avoid dismissing ANY question as outside of the domain of science. However, ten years ago a judge in Pennsylvania has ruled that ID is not science and can't be taught in science class. The next time it comes to trail another judge could easily be persuaded differently based on the philosophical literature. This is not an issue for judges and lawyers to decide.

      BTW, the Discovery Institute wisely withdrew from the case since it was very clear that the school board members were motivated by religious beliefs. They knew the case was unwinnable and at odds with the DI position on teaching Intelligent Design Creationism. They were smart to withdraw. .

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    8. That's very different from what Judge Jones decided 10 years ago. He was (mostly) wrong.

      He scrupulously followed U.S. Supreme Court precedent on the meaning of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. It's therefore not up to "a judge in Pennsylvania" or "another judge...based on the philosophical literature." It's up to the U.S. Supreme Court to reverse decades of precedent that all lines up one way, or would require changing the First Amendment after more than two centuries (fat chance).

      Judge Jones could be "(mostly) wrong" in your view philosophically, but a court case is not a philosophical debating society. Lower courts, like the Federal District Court in Pennsylvania where Judge Jones presided over the Kitzmiller case, are legally bound by precedent - at the lowest level, previous cases in that federal district; at the next level, precedent in the Federal Circuit (for the District Court, that would be the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit); and finally, at the highest level, precedent in the U.S. Supreme Court, which can only be overturned by the Supreme Court reversing its legal position.

      Under the applicable Supreme Court precedents, teaching creationism in primary and secondary schools is an un-Constitutional establishment of religion. Copying and pasting to change "creationists" to "design proponents" (or "cdesign proponentsists") doesn't change that in the U.S. legal system.

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    9. Just to correct the record, there was no appeal because, in between the end of the trial and the judge's decision, the school board was voted out of office, and the new school board declined to appeal. The Dishonesty Institute had no standing to file an appeal, only the school board did.

      On the issue of methodological naturalism, the defendants could have raised this as an issue but, for whatever reason, declined to do so. So the claim that the judge only heard what the NCSE wanted him to hear is not correct. The other side could have raised the issue but did not. After all, they did have a philosopher, Steve Fuller, testify for them.

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    10. By the way, Dr. Moran, where ever did you get the idea this was somehow Judge Jones making his own unfettered decision on a philosophical question, rather than following controlling Supreme Court precedents on an issue of law, as he was legally bound to do? All the citations to and discussion of those controlling precedents in the judges opinion should have indicated to you they were at least important in his reaching the result he did, and asking a decent U.S. lawyer would have gotten you the answer about just how important. (Please don't tell me you relied on the DI for your information!)

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    11. Dr. Moran,

      I really appreciate your candid defense of the scientific nature of ID.
      Your statement that judges don't decide scientific questions is laudable.

      May I call you Larry?

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    12. Mr Reynolds,
      you clearly cherry pick what you want to read, but Larry did say this about ID;
      "It may be science, in my opinion, but it's incorrect science (i.e. bad science)."

      Do you still want to call him Larry?

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    13. Your statement that judges don't decide scientific questions is laudable.

      Might be laudable, but that doesn't cut any ice with the Supreme Court, as it ought not to: since the answers to legal disputes depend on resolving that question, courts don't have the option of ducking it.

      For what constitutes scientific evidence in a court of law in the U.S., Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals is the leading case.

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    14. colnago80 writes,

      On the issue of methodological naturalism, the defendants could have raised this as an issue but, for whatever reason, declined to do so. So the claim that the judge only heard what the NCSE wanted him to hear is not correct. The other side could have raised the issue but did not. After all, they did have a philosopher, Steve Fuller, testify for them.

      Everyone agrees that the defense in the Dover trial was incompetent.

      Let's talk about NSCE and the plaintiffs. The NCSE leaders knew back in 2005 that there were conflicting views on the nature of science. They knew that some scientists and some philosophers did not restrict science to just the study of the natural world thereby ruling out of science anything that smacks of supernatural beings. They knew that some of us thought that investigating the efficacy of prayer, for example, was perfectly good science. They knew that some of us saw a conflict between science and religion, a conflict that could not be avoided by promoting methodological naturalism and science & religion as separate, but equally valid, ways of knowing (i.e. nonoverlapping magisteria).

      It was, and is, in NCSE's best interest to defend the idea that science and religion are compatible but different. That's the only view they presented at the trial. Judge Jones bought it because nobody presented any other view.

      If the new state laws (e.g. Luisiana Science Education Act of 2008) are ever challenged in court there's going to be a lot more debate about the nature of science.

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    15. judmarc says,

      Might be laudable, but that doesn't cut any ice with the Supreme Court, as it ought not to: since the answers to legal disputes depend on resolving that question, courts don't have the option of ducking

      I don't pretend to understand the bizarre intricacies of how judges have interpreted the US Constitution over the past 230 years. What I'm addressing is the part of Judge Jones' decision where he asks if Intelligent Design is science. He concludes that it is not. Therefore, it is religion and must not be taught in public schools in science classes.

      I disagree with his conclusion that Intelligent Design is excluded from science simply because it postulates the existence of an intelligent designer. I believe that is a perfectly legitimate science question. We have used the scientific approach to investigate whether there's any evidence for their claim and found none. Therefore, we conclude, scientifically, that the claim is false.

      If intelligent design is completely unscientific then how are we supposed to determine whether it is true or false? Are we supposed to use religion to investigate Dembski's claims about specified complexity, Behe's claims of irreducible complexity, and Jonathan Wells' attacks on the icons of evolution?

      What are we supposed to teach our children? Is it okay tell them they can believe whatever they want about intelligent design because it's not science? What are they supposed to think about evolution if we agree that intelligent design is just another way of knowing about the natural world—a way that's possibly correct but just not part of science.

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    16. judmarc says

      All the citations to and discussion of those controlling precedents in the judges opinion should have indicated to you they were at least important in his reaching the result he did, and asking a decent U.S. lawyer would have gotten you the answer about just how important.

      I tend not to ask lawyers about science and neither did Judge Jones.

      Here's the decision. Read section #4: "Whether ID is Science."

      (Please don't tell me you relied on the DI for your information!)

      You are an idiot.

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    17. So if I've got this straight:

      - You "don't pretend to understand the bizarre intricacies of how judges have interpreted the US Constitution over the past 230 years," i.e., you don't have a proper context within which to evaluate Judge Jones' discussion of and decision regarding whether ID is science as it relates to the legal issue to be decided in the case. This is like an individual trying to understand, for example, the issue of "junk" DNA without the context of evolution.

      - Nevertheless, you criticize this consideration and decision at some length;

      - When I, frustrated that you would be so critical of something you have admitted you haven't taken the time and effort to properly understand, ask that you please don't tell me you relied on the DI (of course I know you didn't - but criticism of Judge Jones' decision without proper understanding sounds more like something they'd do than what I expect from you), I'm an idiot.

      OK, fine, I hope we're done negatively characterizing what frustrates us about each other for the moment. I also hope you'd consider learning more about the context (i.e., the law) before commenting on Judge Jones' decision specifically.

      Yes, I get it that what constitutes "science" in U.S. jurisprudence for various specific legal purposes (First Amendment Establishment cause cases; criteria for admission of expert scientific evidence) does not jibe with your criteria regarding what constitutes science. Essentially, you see a continuum from good to bad science; somewhere along that continuum, U.S. jurisprudence draws a line and says "Everything from this point on is not considered science for purposes of the issue before us." For me, it's fine to criticize the latter as not fitting your notions of what is science. To say that Judge Jones in particular got it wrong by following precedent in this area, as he was legally bound to, to me simply means that because you didn't understand the context, you got it wrong in terms of identifying where the cause of the disagreement lies.

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    18. Re Lawrence Moran

      Both sides asked Judge Jones to make a determination as to whether ID was science. Based on what her heard, I fail to see how he could have arrived at a different conclusion. In fact, had he ruled that it was science, he would have been hard put to justify excluding it being taught in science classes. There is no constitutional preventing teaching bad science in science classes. For instance, astrology, which is not religion based, could conceivably be legally taught in public schools.


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    19. But the facts of this case made it clear that the motivations of the school board members was to promote religion. So, even if Jones found ID to be a scientific idea, could he not still have found the board's actions in violation of the Establishment Clause?

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    20. lutesuite asks,

      So, even if Jones found ID to be a scientific idea, could he not still have found the board's actions in violation of the Establishment Clause?

      I'm not a lawyer so I don't know the answer to your question. My lawyer friends tell me that there were many reasons for ruling in favor of the plaintiffs. So, I think the answer is "yes."

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    21. colnago80 says,

      Both sides asked Judge Jones to make a determination as to whether ID was science. Based on what her heard, I fail to see how he could have arrived at a different conclusion.

      I agree with you. That doesn't mean he was right.

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    22. I'm not a lawyer so I don't know the answer to your question. My lawyer friends tell me that there were many reasons for ruling in favor of the plaintiffs. So, I think the answer is "yes."

      Conceivably. It would have made ruling for the plaintiffs far more difficult, though.

      The primary issue was, did what the school district wanted to do amount to a state "establishment" of a religion in violation of the First Amendment? The legal tests used in deciding that issue come from precedential cases. One that I'll set forth here is called, after the plaintiff in the case, the "Lemon" test:

      1.The [school district's actions] must not result in an "excessive government entanglement" with religious affairs. (also known as the Entanglement Prong)
      2.The [school district's actions] must not advance or inhibit religious practice (also known as the Effect Prong)
      3.The [school district's actions] must have a secular legislative purpose. (also known as the Purpose Prong)

      If ID is religious rather than scientific in nature, you can see how that fact would have significant bearing on the Lemon test criteria. Now there was other evidence showing religious intent and purpose, but certainly finding ID wasn't science added a great deal more evidentiary weight on the side of failing the Lemon test.

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    23. judmarc says,

      When I, frustrated that you would be so critical of something you have admitted you haven't taken the time and effort to properly understand ...

      I'm pretty sure I understand the demarcation problem better than most lawyers and most judges. And better than you. I've been writing about it for more than 20 years.

      ... ask that you please don't tell me you relied on the DI (of course I know you didn't - but criticism of Judge Jones' decision without proper understanding sounds more like something they'd do than what I expect from you), ...

      What in the world ever gave you the idea that I don't understand the nature of science and the concept of methodological naturalism? Do YOU understand it?

      I agree with you that criticizing something you don't understand is a characteristic of IDiots.

      The premise of your interesting question (the "If" phrase) was specifically debunked for ID by a court of law in the U.S.

      Back in 2005, some obscure judge in Harrisburg PA declared that ID wasn't science.

      Nobody seems to have noticed (except lawyers). Ten years later, we're still discussing whether Behe was right about the edge of evolution and whether Meyer was right about the Cambrian explosion and whether junk DNA exists. All those debates look very much like science to me.

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    24. Sorry, copy and paste error (for all the "cdesign proponentsists" fans) - prong #3 of the Lemon test above should have the word "legislative" removed.

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    25. Dr. Moran quotes me as saying:

      When I, frustrated that you would be so critical of something you have admitted you haven't taken the time and effort to properly understand ...

      The quote is accurate. However, it leaves out what I was saying Dr. Moran doesn't understand, where I quoted him as follows:

      You "don't pretend to understand the bizarre intricacies of how judges have interpreted the US Constitution over the past 230 years,"

      I then proceeded to write about what I saw as the effect of Dr. Moran not, as he stated himself, taking the time and effort to understand the legal context of the judge's decision.

      After the partial out-of-context quote, Dr. Moran then proceeds with a response to an issue I did not raise: his understanding of the "demarcation problem." I am very happy to grant all day long that Dr. Moran has given considerably more thought to this issue than I have and understands it far better than I ever will. This is irrelevant, however, to what I was actually talking about, which, once again, is the legal context in which the judge made his decision on the issue of whether ID is science.

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    26. Judge Jones ruled:
      and I quote:
      "
      After a searching review of the record and applicable caselaw, we find that while ID arguments may be true, a proposition on which the Court takes no position, ID is not science. We find that ID fails on three different levels, any one of which is sufficient to preclude a determination that ID is science. They are: (1) ID violates the centuries-old ground rules of science by invoking and permitting supernatural causation; (2) the argument of irreducible complexity, central to ID, employs the same flawed and illogical contrived dualism that doomed creation science in the 1980s; and (3) ID's negative attacks on evolution have been refuted by the scientific community. …It is additionally important to note that ID has failed to gain acceptance in the scientific community, it has not generated peer-reviewed publications, nor has it been the subject of testing and research. Expert testimony reveals that since the scientific revolution of the 16th and 17th centuries, science has been limited to the search for natural causes to explain natural phenomena.
      "
      He rules ID isnt science, based on three grounds. Where any one viololation, he rules, would be sufficient to exclude ID as science.
      Bullit 1 is why they've tried to come up with a designer, not being a god, and certainly not the xtian god.
      Bullit 2 is still a toughy.
      Obviously, bullit 3 and the peer review are the reason why Biocomplexity is here. Except, not one ID based paper has been published outside BC or ID based magazines and the nagetive attacks still haven't stopped.

      But, the context clearly has changed since 2005 though.

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    27. OK, Larry clearly does not understand Judge Jones' decision even though he links to it.

      Larry says: "What I'm addressing is the part of Judge Jones' decision where he asks if Intelligent Design is science. He concludes that it is not. Therefore, it is religion and must not be taught in public schools in science classes.

      I disagree with his conclusion that Intelligent Design is excluded from science simply because it postulates the existence of an intelligent designer."


      Larry falsely portrays Judge Jones as saying ID is not science for ONE reason, "simply because it postulates the existence of an intelligent designer".

      Luckily for us, Ed copies from Judge Jones' actual decision, which (briefly summarized) gives THREE reasons why ID is not religion. To copy it again:

      Judge Jones: "We find that ID fails on three different levels, any one of which is sufficient to preclude a determination that ID is science. They are: (1) ID violates the centuries-old ground rules of science by invoking and permitting supernatural causation; (2) the argument of irreducible complexity, central to ID, employs the same flawed and illogical contrived dualism that doomed creation science in the 1980s; and (3) ID's negative attacks on evolution have been refuted by the scientific community."

      Larry's misrepresentation makes Judge Jones look pretty dumb.

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    28. But there's more.

      To recap, Larry said: "[Judge Jones] concludes that it [ID] is not [science]. Therefore, it is religion and must not be taught in public schools in science classes."

      Larry also here misrepresents Jones, who did not argue that because ID is not science, therefore it is religion. The definition of "religion" used by federal courts, and the legal conclusion that creationism fits the definition of religion, was a well-established LEGAL PRECEDENT set by other federal courts years before Dover v. Kitzmiller, the most relevant case being Edwards v. Aguillard (1987), a SCOTUS case which concluded that teaching creationism in public schools was establishing a religion. Edwards v. Aguillard was frequently referenced in the Dover case because Edwards in 1987 stimulated the Foundation for Thought and Ethics to immediately rewrite Of Pandas and People, systematically searching for the word "creationism" and replacing it with "intelligent design", changing no other ideas or definitions, which led to the ridiculous portmanteau cdesign proponentsists where "creationists" used to be.

      Thus, Larry is blissfully unaware that previous federal precedents established a definition of "religion" and acknowledge that creationism is religious. Judge Jones' entire decision could have been reached merely by concluding that ID was a type of creationism and then following legal precedent, including pre-established definitions of "religion." If legal precedents say creationism is a religion, and Jones concludes that ID is creationism, it follows by syllogistic logic that ID is religious. Judge Jones did not, as Larry says, claim that ID is not science, therefore it is religion.

      The reason why Jones establishes that ID is not science (rightly or wrongly) is because it is relevant to the third prong of the Lemon test: does government have a legitimate secular purpose in teaching Intelligent Design in science class? Since ID is not science, there is no secular purpose to teach it in science class, so it fails the Lemon Test, and therefore there is a government establishment of religion.

      Larry, by contrast, falsely states that Judge Jones "[Judge Jones] concludes that it [ID] is not [science]. Therefore, it is religion..." which is a misrepresentation of Jones' reasoning.

      Larry should know something about the legal precedents before he sets about criticizing a big complicated mess that he doesn't understand. US law is a big complicated mess but you have to understand it before you can criticize what's wrong with it. Judmarc, by contrast, is an actual lawyer and Larry owes him an apology for calling him an idiot.

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    29. "Larry's "misrepresentation" makes Judge Jones look pretty dumb.
      He is pretty dumb when it comes to bio/chemical evolution. He was trained to distinguish inadequacies

      I think if Professor Moran places his name on it even though he may not like it, because it is against his values or something, I would listen...I think he is on to something but my knowledge ends here sorry

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    30. Re Lawrence Moran

      Everyone agrees that the defense in the Dover trial was incompetent.

      I don't think they were especially incompetent, they just had no case. They might not be the sharpest knives in the drawer but I don't thing even a brilliant attorney could have won the case, given the overwhelming preponderance of the evidence. There wasn't much they could do the rehabilitate Bonsall and Buckingham after they were caught lying on the witness stand something that no judge likes. Witnesses said that Judge Jones turned red in the face after he took over the questioning of Buckingham from the plaintiffs while listening to his prevarications.

      As for the expert witnesses, Minnich and Behe were probably the best that they could hope to testify for their side.

      IMHO, they knew from the get go that the case was hopeless and were hoping for a favorable ruling on appeal to the SCOTUS.

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    31. I appreciate the thought, Diogenes, but I tweaked Larry pretty hard with that "Tell me you didn't get your take on this from the ID folks" remark and reaped the whirlwind, to some extent deservedly. My apologies for the remark.

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  5. If the truth is not allowed then the government is breaking contract with a free people about freedom of thought/education in their schools.
    If the gov/courts say creationism can not be taught in subjects expressily dedicated to truth in origins THEN OBVIOUSLY the powers have decided what is true and not true on these matters.
    THEN because of this it means they have said certain religious doctrines are officially false and SO BREAK the very law they invoke for the censorship.
    one can't hide behind a ban on religious teaching to hide they are saying same religious.
    THERE is no way around the equation.
    Government censorship teachings are false in subjects touching on these teachings.
    There is no way around the equation.
    government/court censorship in subjects dealing with truth MEANS same power has decided they are not true.!!
    Otherwise they would be admitting truth is not the priority in such subjects. A ABSURDITY.
    Then the law they invoke for the censorship is compromised by the powers decision on whats true.
    there is a great case here for a true Supremecourt where members were selected for merit and not otherwise.
    Oh those yankees!!

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  6. I think "Of Pandas and People", or whatever its latest version is, would be the better source than "Icons of Evolution". Just my personal opinion.
    Of course, because Pandas was attacked so heavily at Dover over the wording of its drafts, it will probably be considered a pariah in the school society.

    Okay, Larry, you've made a fair presentation of the DI's position, yet you seem to see some skullduggery in their providing advice and resources for teachers who want to voluntarily teach some weaknesses of Darwinism.

    But, this is quite legitimate, isn't it?
    Some teachers' consciences may move them to present a less sparkly version of evolution than the curriculum requires. It only stands to reason that they get some guidance on what they can and cannot say, legally speaking at least, and I think also in the actual scientific content of what they can say.

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    1. Mr Reynolds, you wrote:
      "Some teachers' consciences may move them to present a less sparkly version of evolution than the curriculum requires. "

      Yes, I agree ID is clearly a less sparkly version of evolution, ID basically lacks any evidence to support it's claims.

      Or do you mean, that you also wouldn't mind it if teachers conscience may move them to present a less sparkly version of the holocaust, ie denying holocaust?

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    2. Why stop there? I'm sure Mr. Reynolds wants teachers to teach less sparkly versions of other subjects too.

      Let's have a less sparkly version of everything.

      Astronomy --> Less sparkly --> Astrology

      Chemistry --> Less sparkly --> Alchemy

      Psychology --> Less sparkly --> Exorcism

      Geography --> Less sparkly --> Flat Earth

      Medicine --> Less sparkly --> Witch doctoring

      C'mon people, help out ol' Ed Reynolds. Suggest some less sparkly versions of modern subjects.

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  7. I think I begin to see what's happening here. Apparently, Prof. Moran is of the opinion that requiring methodological natural as the sin qua non for investigating scientific claims means that religious claims can't be investigated using the methods of naturalism. This has wiffs of Gould's non-overlapping magisteria proposal. I can't speak for the NCSE but I agree with Dawkins, when religions make scientific claims, the methods of methodological naturalism can used to investigate them. For instance.

    It is claimed in the Hebrew Bible that the Sun stood still in the sky for a day. That's a scientific claim that science can certainly investigate.

    It is claimed in the Hebrew Bible that there was a worldwide flood which killed all but eight humans who proceeded to repopulate the earth. This is a scientific claim that can be investigated.

    It is claimed in the Christian Bible that a man was executed at sundown on Friday and then rose from the dead by the following Sunday. This is a scientific claim that can be investigated by science.

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    1. As I understand it, Gould's NOMA idea does not rule out any of those issues being investigated by science. It just allows that there are other religious questions (as well as questions in other fields) that cannot be answered by science. That does not mean, of course, that a method to answer those questions necessarily exists.

      NOMA, in effect, presents a challenge to the magisterium of religion: Science has a method of evaluating claims, and look how well it works. What is your method?

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    2. Re lntesuite It's been a long time since I read Gould's book on non-overlapping magisteria but my recollection is that he argued that science and religion were separate entities that should not trod on the other's ground. People like Dawkins believe no such thing and he has strongly criticized Gould's proposal.

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  8. Nobody here has cited the documents in which the Discovery Institute has actually promoted teaching Intellligent Design in public schools, which is quite remiss. Any discussion of the DI's position on public schools should link to their original position, which was that public schools should teach Intelligent Design and if they DON'T teach ID, that's dangerous and they can be sued for viewpoint discrimination.

    Larry only copied the current, public position of the DI on Intelligent Design in public schools, which is not the whole story because the DI changed the policy sometime around the early 2000's, when it was clear to them that Dover v. Kitzmiller (2005) would be a massive defeat for their side. It's also irrelevant because the DI sneaks always say one thing and DO THE OPPOSITE. To the skeptical public the DI presents their exoteric doctine: ID is totes scientific and comes from the peer-reviewed scientific literature; then to their slavering evangelical fire-eater audience, they present their esoteric doctrine: ID starts with the Bible and is just "just the reality of God!".

    Let's compare the above to what lying David Klinghoffer wrote in 2013. Kling is angry that the NY Times says the DI promotes ID in public schools, so he's accusing them of lying, and in the process, lies himself. Oh, the irony:

    [Kling, 2013]: Actually there's more than one falsehood there [in the NY Times]... Discovery Institute has consistently opposed, not "backed," trying to get intelligent design taught in public high schools. We've been absolutely clear about that -- see our policy here. [On Discovery Institute and Intelligent Design, New York Times Egregiously Distorts the Record. David Klinghoffer. ENV. September 2, 2013. ]

    It's ENV so the skunks are lying. Compare Kling in 2013 to a few references pre-Dover where the DI supported teaching Intelligent Design in public schools.

    From the "Wedge Document", the secret internal DI fund-raising document from 1998:

    "Five Year Goals [note: this was 1998]
    ...
    We will also pursue possible legal assistance in response to resistance to the integration of design theory into public school science curricula."
    [The Wedge Document [pdf, text], Discovery Institute Center for Renewal of Science & Culture, 1998]

    Resistance is futile! More damning examples to follow.

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    1. Continuing on the Disco Tute's historical position demanding that ID must be taught in publi schools:

      Now let's compare Klinghoffer's 2013 lie (above) to what Stephen Meyer wrote in 1999. Here Meyer, DeWolf and DeForrest (DI shysters) argue, not only that public schools should teach Intelligent Design, but that they must teach ID, or else they may be sued for viewpoint discrimination if they exclude it:

      [Stephen Meyer, DeWolf, DeForrest, 1999]: "Thus, when science teachers seek to present design theory to their students... school officials need to make every effort not only to encourage them but also to assure that they are not subjected to unwarranted legal or social intimidation. Indeed, the exclusion of design theory from public school science curricula may constitute a form of viewpoint discrimination that not only undermines academic freedom but also violates the First Amendment's Free Speech Clause.

      ...To summarize, the safest course is one in which a school board permits a biology teacher to teach the full range of scientific theories about origins. In doing so, the board would be following the specific guidance issued in Edwards v. Aguillard, as well as upholding the more general efforts of the Court to avoid viewpoint discrimination. On the other hand, a school board that rejects a teacher's effort to teach the full range of scientific theories would place the board on a collision course with the First Amendment.


      Got that? You will be sued if you do NOT teach INTELLIGENT DESIGN! So said the Disco Tute in 1999!

      ...In a misguided effort to avoid litigation, a school board might very well create its own minefield of illogical and unenforceable guidelines. Instead, we suggest, the school board should encourage the biology teacher to teach the controversy. This approach not only helps a science curriculum fulfill its scientific objectives, but also provides it with the soundest footing from a legal standpoint.

      The DI's "soundest footing" cost the Dover school board a million dollars.

      ...Moreover... school boards have the authority to permit, and even encourage, teaching about design theory as an alternative to Darwinian evolution--and this includes the use of textbooks such as Of Pandas and People that present evidence for the theory of intelligent design.

      ...the Supreme Court's decision in Edwards v. Aguillard, explicitly permits the inclusion of alternatives to Darwinian evolution so long as those alternatives are based on scientific evidence and not motivated by strictly religious concerns. Since design theory is based on scientific evidence rather than religious assumptions, it clearly meets this test. Including discussions of design in the science curriculum thus serves an important goal of making education inclusive, rather than exclusionary.
      [Intelligent Design in Public School Science Curricula: A Legal Guidebook. David K. DeWolf, Stephen C. Meyer, Mark E. DeForrest.1999.]

      For more of the Disco Tute promoting Intelligent Design in public schools, also see: ["Teaching the Origins Controversy: Science, Or Religion, Or Speech?" [pdf] David K. DeWolf, Stephen C. Meyer, Mark Edward, DeForrest, Utah Law Review, 2000.]

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    2. Continuing, Casey Luskin in 2000 supported teaching intelligent design in public schools. In a private letter to Jonathan Wells, leaked to the internet by an ID supporter, he writes:

      [Casey Luskin, 2000]: "I think that by looking at what [the NCSE] does, a good strategy can be developed which might be very successful for pro-ID people, creationists, and any others who want to end the OSToE [one-sided teaching of evolution] but don't necessarily know where to begin.

      Of course Luskin in 2000 casually conflated creationism and ID, but in later years Luskin started lying and saying they had always been distinct.

      ...After talking to the local clergy and university scientists,

      Yes, those two groups deserve equal amounts of input into determining the SCIENCE curriculum!

      give each member of the local school board a free copy of [Jonathan Wells'] Icons [of Evolution]. Let them read it and say, "We'll be back in about 2 weeks to present all of this stuff all over again and make our case, but we just wanted to give you a chance to read up on this before we come." In 2 weeks, come back, make the case, and get the OSToE [one-sided teaching of evolution] out of the curriculum and perhaps even get some ID ideas into it [the curriculum]! These are just some thoughts I had." [Private letter from Casey Luskin to Jonathan Wells, 2000, cited here. Luskin admits the letter was his at Research Blogging.org.]

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    3. Take a look at this:

      http://web.archive.org/web/20040622202727/http://www.discovery.org/scripts/viewDB/index.php?command=view&id=1694&program=News-CSC

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  9. I 've been reading of late a bio of John Locke. Its amazing how exactly these ideas were what he opined on in his day.
    It was all then about censorship and control in universities/schools and publications on doctrines of government and religion regarding free speech/words.
    Locke argued, in main things, that freedom must be allowed in order to find truth.
    Truth the objective. SO censorship from anyone is a statement/decree of what is not true and dangerous to truth.
    What we need in North America is a tolerance law to overcome the present censorship and hostility to Christian doctrines especially where they cross other ideas in regards to origins or history.
    A tolerance bill does not establish what is right or wrong in conclusions and so the government would not be endorsing a truth like creationism or evolution. the government/courts would be neutral.
    Right now the government by its censorship is not neutral but saying one idea is wrong and so wrong that its dangerous and must be stopped.
    Then they say its only wrong because its religious bUT they are not to make a statement on religious truth and so break their own law.
    They probably know this and keep it quiet.
    Thats why agitation by creationists on this would open the wound very quickly.
    Thats what John Locke would say.

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    1. So Robert, I conclude that you support a law which would make it ILLEGAL for Christian schools and universities to fire a professor for teaching evolution, or for attacking Christianity, or mocking or ridiculing it, or proving that it's codswollop. As you know, many, many professors have actually been fired from Christian colleges for believing in evolution-- most recently at William Jennings Bryan College-- and these stories are true, unlike IDcreationist lies about "persecuted" ID proponents, which are hoaxes or gross exaggerations. And when Christian colleges do it, no one disputes that they fired the professors because they believed in evolution-- no, the administration comes right out and admits that they fired the professors for believing in evolution; that's never in dispute.

      Since you demand a "tolerance law"--"What we need in North America is a tolerance law to overcome the present censorship and hostility to Christian doctrines"-- such a law must apply to everyone, so we reply to your demand by saying "What we need in North America is a tolerance law to overcome the present censorship and hostility to evolutionary theory practiced by Christian schools and colleges" and that law will stop the persecution of evolutionists by Christians, period. Moreover, such a law means that teachers at Christian schools can teach whatever they want and not get fired. They can teach that Catholicism is the one true apostolic church, or that Christianity means believing in the Quran and worshipping Allah, and no Christian school or college can fire them. Freedom, Robert! This censorship by Christians of non-Christians must STOP.

      And you cannot evade this by saying, "Oh but Christians schools need their special freedom to fire, to persecute, to censor evolutionists", you can't say that because you have told us "Locke argued, in main things, that freedom must be allowed in order to find truth. Truth the objective. SO censorship from anyone is a statement/decree of what is not true and dangerous to truth." Since you have cited this principle approvingly, you MUST agree that Christianity has no access to truth, because it has the most censorship and the most persecution of dissidents.

      More censorship, less truth-- that's what you said Robert. So you must agree that since Christians have more censorship than anybody, must have less truth than anybody.

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  10. Mr Byers writes:
    "What we need in North America is a tolerance law to overcome the present censorship and hostility to Christian doctrines especially where they cross other ideas in regards to origins or history."

    To determine which christian doctrines have to be protected, each would have to be specified in the law. Each christan doctrine would have to be explicitly mentioned or else you might miss one and exclude it from 'much needed protection'. Thus, the WBC would have to be included, but also protestants, catholics, Lutherians, KKK, TV evangelists and many many others.

    Every time a split takes place and a new christian doctrine pops up, the law would need to be changed to accomodate the new religion. The whole US legal system and government would grind to a halt, they would have to change the law on a day to day basis.

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    1. Come to think of it, I seriouusly doubt a law as such will ever pass through congress and the senate.
      There will be huge fight which christian doctrines should be added. Seeing how Andy W attacked newbie for being JW, many christians are willing to fight the inclusion of JW into such a law.
      Futhermore, I really doubt many christians would like to be mentioned in a law which also mentions and protects the WBC or KKK as being christian.

      It would actually be rather amusing if such a law would ever be proposed though, I would expect the republican party will implode on itself with infighting over which denominations are christian and which are not. Not to mention they will lose tonnes of votes if they try to exclude one particular christian denomination say WBC (republican proponents of freedom of religion/ speech/ choice will go ape) or if they do confirm WBC to be christian.

      I reckon such a law mr Byers will shake the foundation of the US to it's core. We might even get some good ol' civil war over this...

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    2. You misunderstood.
      Right now a censorship is placed in public institutions on conclusions from religious doctrines.
      This therefore means origin subjects with creationist conclusions/criticisms are censored in subjects dealing with what is true about origins.!!
      SO the gov is SAYING these "religious" conclusions are wrong.
      otherwise they are saying truth is not the objective of subjects dedicated to the truth. A ABSURDITY.
      Anyways.
      A tolerance act/law , before the overthrow of the censorship, is a option for everyone of good will.
      It would make the gov neutral and so free up conclusions and so teaching etc.
      The censorship laws are illegal and its poor/bad judicial decisions only that accounts for the present oppression.
      In the meantime creationism should advocate for the old tolerance laws that had to be done in old England.
      It can be done easily.

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  11. Professor Moran, I wholeheartedly disagree with you when you say that Intelligent Design deserves a hearing. Remember, we're talking here of our children and grand-children's educations. Teach science in science classes and religion in Sunday School! The two are polar opposites. On the one hand science works on testable, falsifiable evidence gathered and observed, measured and classified. On the other, ID, and it's forerunner Creation Science starts with the premise that "God did it!" and they go downhill from there.

    Intelligent Design is a reworking of the Creation Science arguments which were put forth by the founders and members of the Discovery Institute back before the turn of the century. ID/CS is religion, not science! There is nothing scientific in anything they say. They are Young Earth Creationists, "christian" fundamentalists, many with dubious academic credentials but all with an undying faith in their lord and saviour, Jesus Christ. Their arguments are bogus, falsehoods, outright lies and often delusional. The Kitzmiller vs. Dover trial mentioned above exposed ID for what it is, a religious idea, and Judge Jones rightly saw through the very weak arguments for it and therefore ruled that it was not science. PBS Nova did an excellent documentary on it - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x2xyrel-2vI And if you want to believe in a god and still do proper science, look up Ken Miller on YouTube, he has all the arguments you need to see through devious methods used by the Discovery Institute to get ID into the minds of young people.

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