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Checking ID

From Dover, Pennsylvania, where the Enlightenment has been (you should pardon the expression) born again:

We first note that since ID is not science, the conclusion is inescapable that the only real effect of the ID policy is the advancement of religion.  (133-34)

Both Defendants and many of the leading proponents of ID make a bedrock assumption which is utterly false.  Their presupposition is that evolutionary theory is antithetical to a belief in the existence of a supreme being and to religion in general.  Repeatedly in this trial, Plaintiffs’ scientific experts testified that the theory of evolution represents good science, is overwhelmingly accepted by the scientific community, and that it in no way conflicts with, nor does it deny, the existence of a divine creator.

To be sure, Darwin’s theory of evolution is imperfect. However, the fact that a scientific theory cannot yet render an explanation on every point should not be used as a pretext to thrust an untestable alternative hypothesis grounded in religion into the science classroom or to misrepresent well-established scientific propositions.

The citizens of the Dover area were poorly served by the members of the Board who voted for the ID Policy. It is ironic that several of these individuals, who so staunchly and proudly touted their religious convictions in public, would time and again lie to cover their tracks and disguise the real purpose behind the ID Policy.

With that said, we do not question that many of the leading advocates of ID have bona fide and deeply held beliefs which drive their scholarly endeavors. Nor do we controvert that ID should continue to be studied, debated, and discussed. As stated, our conclusion today is that it is unconstitutional to teach ID as an alternative to evolution in a public school science classroom.

Those who disagree with our holding will likely mark it as the product of an activist judge. If so, they will have erred as this is manifestly not an activist Court. Rather, this case came to us as the result of the activism of an ill-informed faction on a school board, aided by a national public interest law firm eager to find a constitutional test case on ID, who in combination drove the Board to adopt an imprudent and ultimately unconstitutional policy. The breathtaking inanity of the Board’s decision is evident when considered against the factual backdrop which has now been fully revealed through this trial. The students, parents, and teachers of the Dover Area School District deserved better than to be dragged into this legal maelstrom, with its resulting utter waste of monetary and personal resources.  (136-38)

Well, now, it really wasn’t an utter waste, was it?  We get it in writing that fundamentalist members of the Dover school board “lie to cover their tracks,” and that their decision to drive their little ID wedge into the science curriculum is “breathtaking” in its “inanity.” So come on already—let’s look on the bright side, people!

But what about Judge Jones’s claim that “those who disagree with our holding will likely mark it as the product of an activist judge”?  Do you think?

Let’s ask the Discovery Institute what they think:

“The Dover decision is an attempt by an activist federal judge to stop the spread of a scientific idea and even to prevent criticism of Darwinian evolution through government-imposed censorship rather than open debate, and it won’t work,” said Dr. John West, Associate Director of the Center for Science and Culture at Discovery Institute, the nation’s leading think tank researching the scientific theory known as intelligent design. . . .

“This is an activist judge who has delusions of grandeur.”

Whoa!  Judge Jones was, like, so accurate!  He not only disposed of ID, he predicted the future! This guy totally rocks.  Hell, if I could predict the future word-for-word like that, I’d have me some delusions of grandeur too.

But you know what was coolest about the decision?  The part where Jones looked at the text of Of Pandas and People and pointed out that approximately 150 times, the word “creation” is crossed out and the words “Intelligent Design” are written in in crayon (32).

Hey, does anyone remember this blog saying that it would never post pictures of dancing badgers?

Me neither.

There are those who say that dancing badgers are so complex that they could not have arisen on this blog simply by means of natural blog selection.  These people, advocates of what is known as “Intelligent Web Design,” claim that this blog could only have developed dancing badgers by stealing them from Sadly, No!’s recent Weblog Awards celebration.  Well, let’s hope Judge Jones sends those people packing as well.

But for those of you who find dancing badgers to be, how shall I say, an intellectually thin response to Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District, The Dancing Panda’s Thumb just might have a post or two or twenty on the subject.  Go check ‘em out.

Posted by on 12/21 at 07:48 AM
  1. Yes, all well and good, and Festivus may now proceed full swing; but I do wax a tad curious what Mista Fuller would say about this utter repudiation of his bed-mates (once he was done condescending to your readers, of course).

    - MFA

    Posted by  on  12/21  at  10:32 AM
  2. To repeat myself from last comment thread, Judge Jones also wrote a paragraph specifically to check Fuller:

    “Science cannot be defined differently for Dover students than it is defined in the scientific community as an affirmative action program, as advocated by Professor Fuller, for a view that has been unable to gain a foothold within the
    scientific establishment.”

    Posted by  on  12/21  at  10:50 AM
  3. ”...Judge Jones also wrote a paragraph specifically to check Fuller...”

    He fought the law and the law won.

    (Or am I thinking of Bobby Fuller?)

    -MFA

    Posted by  on  12/21  at  10:57 AM
  4. Good point, the judge preemptively answering the next round of argument from the Discovery Institute. “The nation’s leading think tank researching the scientific theory known as intelligent design” didn’t have to duck into the telegraphed punch but maybe head shots don’t hurt them.

    Posted by  on  12/21  at  11:15 AM
  5. Judge Jones puts the ID concept into the proper historical context. He shows how the actions of the Dover school board were just the next step in the timeline of teaching creationism in school by dressing it up with pseudoscience. The out of court comments and action of the board members proves that their objective was religious in nature.

    Not all people of faith are buying into the ID arguments that evolution is wrong or that an acceptance of evolution threatens their beliefs. I was surprised after watching the NBC report on the ruling last night that my born-again Baptist wife’s only comment was “Some days, I wish we still had tails.”

    Posted by  on  12/21  at  11:17 AM
  6. I do wax a tad curious what Mista Fuller would say about this utter repudiation of his bed-mates (once he was done condescending to your readers, of course).

    You’re saying that he would stop being condescending?

    my born-again Baptist wife’s only comment was “Some days, I wish we still had tails.”

    And you’re saying you don’t have a tail?

    Posted by Michael  on  12/21  at  11:48 AM
  7. I don’t mind the dancing badgers.  Besides, to me the best commentary that could be made about this case was that by Judge Jones himself.  He must have relished writing the decision.

    Posted by  on  12/21  at  11:55 AM
  8. "The Dover decision is an attempt by an activist federal judge to stop the spread of a scientific idea and even to prevent criticism of Darwinian evolution through government-imposed censorship rather than open debate, and it won’t work,”

    Yes, because as we all know judicial decisions on what is permissable to teach in public school science classrooms extend to all speech anywhere.

    Posted by  on  12/21  at  12:02 PM
  9. Well, “Perfesser”, read my comment again. Clearly my wife said this and I in no way endorsed the sentiment. Is it any wonder that Steve Fuller holds your endeavors in such low regard or DHo has you on the Network for questionable teaching methods?

    Please don’t treat me like someone with a learning disability. I am aware we have tails. I just wish they had more utility beyond that of a musical instrument.

    (I regret that last comment as it takes the discourse of your fine and humble blog to lows not seen in some time. Say, a week and a half? But really, you would expect this of me.)

    Posted by  on  12/21  at  12:41 PM
  10. When i first read the opinion yesterday i really appreciated the following line (which you also quoted):
    “With that said, we do not question that many of the leading advocates of ID have bona fide and deeply held beliefs which drive their scholarly endeavors.”

    Aaahh, those “deeply held beliefs” in, oh, can we say, creationism?? I guess that might be a bit much, although that was exactly the term that they used in the first several drafts of the lovely dancing Panda book.

    Posted by  on  12/21  at  01:03 PM
  11. That you have allowed for Dancing Badgers to drive a wedge twixt the believers and non believers is despicable! The social consequences will be devastating. Please, a positive scientific alternative, (ID) to materialistic scientific theory, will without doubt be replaced with a science consonant with Christian and theistic convictions, not the dominant materialistic world view. http://www.badgerbadgerbadger.com/

    Posted by  on  12/21  at  01:28 PM
  12. I keep telling the badgers, it’s Tap Tap Tap Step Turn Step Tap.

    Posted by norbizness  on  12/21  at  02:42 PM
  13. "You’re saying that he would stop being condescending?”

    Well, no. But I suspect he would pause long enough to spout yet another superficially elegant rationale in defense of his part in the farce.

    (Part in the farce? Try saying that five times fast...still applicable.)

    - MFA

    Posted by  on  12/21  at  02:52 PM
  14. I have often thought it would be useful to have a prehensile tail, but I wouldn’t want to give up my opposable thumbs in exchange.

    Posted by  on  12/21  at  03:54 PM
  15. May the Flying Spagetti Monster rest in peace.  (or pesto)

    Posted by lutton  on  12/21  at  03:56 PM
  16. Judge Jones’ background is interesting. Dickinson College, Dickinson Law School, and an apparently unremarkable ascent through Pennsylvania Republican machine politics--his last job before being appointed to the District Court was as head of the state Liquor Control Board, a political plum if ever one fell from the tree. But given a chance to spread his constitutional-scholar wings, hoo boy! Almost as much fun as the discomfiture of the ID people is the weeping and wailing, not to say gnashing of you-know, that must be going on in whichever White House cubbyhole is charge of vetting court appointments…

    Posted by rootlesscosmo  on  12/21  at  05:48 PM
  17. "But I suspect he would pause long enough to spout yet another superficially elegant rationale in defense of his part in the farce.”

    He’s already got one in the current Times Higher Ed Supp - which is not online yet. A friend sent me a copy this morning. Much of it is already familiar from Fuller’s testimony and his comments here. He uses the peculiar stuff about Darwin being politically correctly atheist in contrast to Newton. Mondo bizarro.

    Posted by Ophelia Benson  on  12/21  at  06:40 PM
  18. I think I’ve found the article that Ms. Benson is referring to: The Times Higher Education Supplement, “Schools for the Enlightenment or epiphany?: Steve Fuller”
    http://www.thes.co.uk/current_edition/story.aspx?story_id=2026965

    I found it through the Butterflies and Wheels site, under the heading, “Steve Fuller on Intelligent Design”.
    http://www.butterfliesandwheels.com/

    It is rubbish, of course. Dr. Fuller apparently does not understand that Physics is not the same as Biology, for starters. He does not take into account the fact that a considerable period of time passed between the publication of Newton’s ‘Principia’ and Darwin’s ‘Origin of Species’. He ignores legal constraints against non-theistic theorizing that, for example, resulted in Copernicus not publishing until he was dying. And he again makes vague allusions to the benefits of science working in a religious framework—without, of course, specifying any of them. Ignorant, confused, or dishonest?

    Posted by  on  12/24  at  12:26 AM
  19. From Fuller’s essay:  “That IDT is more than an American quirk is suggested by the resurgence of Christian and Muslim fundamentalism worldwide. Secular societies insist on a segregation of science and religion that many thoughtful monotheists find arbitrary and even oppressive. “

    This doesn’t make sense.  Considering that this is a topic on which Fuller has allegedly been thinking about for a while, and which falls under his alleged field of scholarship, I’ll vote for dishonest.

    Posted by  on  01/06  at  03:26 PM
  20. This is a really good post. All the other articles attached are also good but for me the article “Sadly, No!’s recent Weblog Awards celebration” is most interesting. Thanks for sharing this.

    Posted by Moumita  on  12/31  at  01:38 AM
  21. I cannot follow the link “written in in crayon”. Will please explain it?

    Posted by Shiva  on  12/31  at  01:40 AM
  22. A generic drug is made with the same active ingredients and is available in the same strength and dosage form as the equivalent brand-name product. Generic drugs produce the same effects in the body as the brand-name drugs.

    Posted by Thanks!  on  12/06  at  01:07 AM
  23. Thanks,

    Interesting article! I read about this before. Thanks to author. Design is also pleased. Well,

    Our instruments and packages are affordable, inclusive, accessible and multi-cultural, they are suitable for SEN settings and they’re easy to teach, thanks to the excellent teaching guides and materials supplied.

    I like musical instruments.

    Thanks
    Roger

    Posted by Roger  on  03/21  at  05:31 AM

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