Scopes II Monkey Trial Decided The Right Way This Time

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In the original Scopes Monkey Trial, high school teacher John Scopes was found guilty of teaching evolution. This time the modern day creationists are found guilty of teaching religion.

U.S. District Court Judge John E. Jones III has issued a 139-page opinion ruling:

"The citizens of the Dover area were poorly served by the members of the board who voted for the ID policy."

Judge Jones also finds that the good Christians on the Dover school board are liars. To wit:

"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."

And he concludes:

"We find that the secular purposes claimed by the board amount to a pretext for the board's real purpose, which was to promote religion in the public school classroom….Our conclusion today is that it is unconstitutional to teach ID as an alternative to evolution in a public school science classroom."

NEXT: Stop the Planet of the Apes, I Want To Get Off! (Joe Stalin Edition)

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  1. They’ll be needing barf bags over at The O’Reilly Factor today.

  2. Does this mean we can stop talking about it now?

  3. Right answer wrong reason, again. It’s not (just) that it’s religion, it isn’t science.

  4. This decision will be vacated. Just seeing these snippets, you can tell already. The appeals court is not going to take kindly to this judge’s tone or loose logic. Mark my words.

  5. Judge Jones rocks. He hits the nail right on the head.

    But GODDAMN IT!! WHAT IS FUCKING “IRONIC” ABOUT IT? EXPLAIN THE IRONY!!

    His profound ignorance of a basic literary device really takes the wind out of his argument. People need to fucking take Lit 101 again. It’s really not that hard of a concept to grasp.

  6. But Dave W., I thought that courts and the discovery process were the proper venue for setting questions of science?

  7. Q: Why isn’t God taught in schools?
    A: Because he’s only had one major publication.

  8. I could have issued a two-word opinion: “Um, no.” Next case, bailiff.

  9. Right answer wrong reason, again. It’s not (just) that it’s religion, it isn’t science.

    You’re right, of course, in that if Science is the application of logic to the natural world and Intelligent Design is a supernatural explanation, then Intelligent Design has no place in a Science class.

    You wouldn’t support it if it was taught in A Social Studies, though, would you? The government has no business teaching religion in public schools. The judge reaffirmed that. Score one for the idea behind the Establishment Clause.

  10. Mr. Nice Guy:

    Ironic is a euphuism for hypocritical these days.

  11. It is ironic to people who actually expected these people to be honest.

  12. I remember that one, Jeff P. See the whole list of reasons God was denied tenure here.

  13. I’m against ID (of course). But is it unconstitutional? Just because it’s not science? Or because it’s religion?

    If the court is saying it’s religion, I guess the decision makes sense.

    But I’m always wary of falling into the “it’s bad policy so it MUST be unconstitutional” trap.

    The Constitution isn’t there to stop us from making bad policy choices. If people elect pro-ID idtiots, they may sometimes have to deal with the consequences.

  14. thoreau:

    You’re not going to let up on Dave W., are you?

  15. naughty, Thoreau 🙂

    did yer prematurely go off with this ruling (ha ha).

    and it sounds like a fundie has some corn syrup instead of sand you-know-where (cartman will explain where)

  16. Mr. Nice Guy
    Sing it brother!

  17. I’ve been exposed! I’m suing you, Mr. Corn Syrup, for the diabetes I might get from reading your sweet, sappy prose!

  18. did yer prematurely go off with this ruling (ha ha).

    To answer that question you’ll need to sue me and force me through the discovery process.

    I think he and I are both having fun. He gets to use me as the object of frustration when he vents (“T thinks this, T thinks that”) and I get to tell corn syrup jokes.

    It’s a mutually beneficial exchange. But if you want to know the precise benefit that I derive, you’ll have to sue me and subject me to the discovery process.

  19. jtuf,

    I don’t know that it’s a euphemism for one particular thing; it seems to be used pretty haphazardly by most people to describe situations that are funny but also sad or irritating in some way.

  20. RECALL NOTICE:

    Though I put a lot of thought in the design of humans, unfortunately there is a small glitch in all weight-height proportional females manufactured between the years of 1985-1994. Pertinent models are to report immediately to the residence of Mr. Nice Guy for a quick adjustment at no cost.

    I apologize for the inconvenience.

  21. Scab, the Constitution is intended in many respects to prevent the majority from abusing the minority in any given matter. So, even if the majority of a town wants to make everyone praise Jesus and condemn Darwin before Biology 1 class, it’s still illegal. Of course, get a large enough majority, and you can amend the Constitution.

    Private schools and homeschooling are completely viable options, and either of them is a perfectly fine place to teach in a science class how Eurynome lay with the North Wind to make order out of chaos.

  22. DAMMIT! I meant 1976-1985! I really killed that joke.. erase.. erase..

  23. I really killed that joke.. erase.. erase..

    Or made it better.

  24. I need to take MATH 101 again..

  25. If the court is saying it’s religion, I guess the decision makes sense.

    It is. And it does.

  26. The use of words expressing something other than their literal intention… now that! is! Irony!

  27. “Right answer wrong reason, again. It’s not (just) that it’s religion, it isn’t science.”

    I don’t think that this is true. I’m not aware of any constitutional obligation to teach science in school. If the school district were to teach children that 2+2=69, then there would be no recourse in federal court. Schools are constitutionally allowed to teach incorrect math (even if it may have metephoric value).

    The issue here was that ID, at least as adopted by this school board, was a nano-thin pretext for religion and, therefore, violates the Establishment Clause.

    Of course, one must wonder about the school board’s motivation in trying to replace an accepted scientific theory with a concept that barely qualified as pseudo-science. Call me cynical, but I suspect that it might have been to advance a religious viewpoint.

    ID’s lack of scientific credibility was not the justification for the court’s ruling, but it served as proof of the board’s intention to sneak in some of that old-time religion.

  28. So the law found for science? Thank God.

  29. You wouldn’t support it if it was taught in A Social Studies, though, would you?

    No, I would not but, not having read all 139 pages, it doesn’t look like the decision has prohibited that. If he said ID = religion, that’s one thing but it looks half-assed to me in saying ID was a tool of this religious group rather than religion itself and thereby someone can weasel it back in if they can convince some yuk they aren’t Prince of Peace pushers.

    “Our conclusion today is that it is unconstitutional to teach ID as an alternative to evolution in a public school science classroom.”

    I’ll happily stand corrected if the judge has confirmed it as religion and given it the boot on a more permanent scale.

  30. I am an opponent of ID. It is part of the fundies Orwellian ambition to stop people from thinking and make everyone compliant to the central authority. But I am not happy with the courts deciding on the minutia of class curriculum. I personally would prefer the original scopes outcome, where the stupid law was upheld but its stupidity was exposed. However, I agree with the court that ID is religious teaching and that the first amendment prohibits such teachings in public institutions.

    Or does it? Would ID be prohibited in Social Studies? It would certainly be acceptable as part of a ‘Survey of Religious Beliefs’ class. Would such a class be allowed under the constitution in a public school? What offends me personally is the way ID is being sold as science. But being personally offended does not a violation of my inalienable rights make. Indeed censoring religious discussion in a public school would also run afoul of the first amendment.

    This is why I believe public schools are unconstitutional. It is not possible to respect the free exercise rites of the people, when the state assumes the education of their children.

  31. Eddy, ID itself isn’t a religion, but “God created us” is a religious belief, and ID says “God created us”. Thus it has no place in public school unless there is also a scientific basis to say “God created us”, which of course there is not.

    It’s not as if you have to include the entire religion in your curriculum in order to be found to be teaching religion.

  32. But GODDAMN IT!! WHAT IS FUCKING “IRONIC” ABOUT IT? EXPLAIN THE IRONY!!

    His profound ignorance of a basic literary device really takes the wind out of his argument. People need to fucking take Lit 101 again. It’s really not that hard of a concept to grasp.

    Wow MNG, I never imagined someone could get so pedantically double F-bomb worked up over the misuse of the concept of irony. How ironic ;)~

    But at least when all those teenage girls start arriving at your place you can instruct them in the proper use of the term. 🙂

  33. What a cruel blow to Flying Spaghetti Monsterism. Beware, lest ye be bitch-slapped by His Noodly Appendage!

  34. This shit is bananas.

  35. Its always good to see that we have judges running our schools and institutions rather than elected officials. Even if you agree with the decision, its appalling to have a judge overruling elected officials. I for one do not welcome our new robed overlords.

  36. Sorry for the confusion, my bad. My first post was a lament that I thought the judge was limiting it to science class. Having reread it, it doesn’t convey what I originally intended. If it was found to violate the establishment clause then I’m good with that.

  37. Judges are supposed to overrule elected officials sometimes. That’s why we have three branches of government.

  38. . Even if you agree with the decision, its appalling to have a judge overruling elected officials.

    Would it have been appalling had a judge overruled the elected officials in New London? Or how about if a judge had overruled the elected officials who gave us McCain-Feingold? My point is, unless you’re a pure majoritarian, there are legitimate times for judges to overturn elected officials. You can debate whether this was one of those or not (I think it was) but the mere fact that a judge overruled elected officials doesn’t make it wrong.

  39. But Dave W., I thought that courts and the discovery process were the proper venue for setting questions of science?

    I don’t think I said that, but whatever I did say aside:

    the court, if the plaintiff chooses, will have its published paper peer reviewed by a higher court. I am saying that if this paper gets peer reviewed, it will get slaughtered. If it doesn’t get peer reviewed, then the scope of its effect will be limited and other people will write other (public!) papers that will get peer reviewed. That is the procedure and it works well because it anticipates and accounts for poorly reasoned opinions, like the one here.

    btw, based on early descriptions of this case, I thought it was going to be a good decision on ID, more along the lines of looking at the motivations of the particular people who did the Dover thing and showing that they were wingnuts deep down. Instead, the judge seems to have put ID itself on trial, and, in the process of doing that made a lot of incorrect statements about id generally. In other words, the judge tried to look at the science when he *should* have been looking at motives.

    I am more interested in the part where the school spiel explained that evolution is *not* a theory of origins. I hope that gets to stay in. I think that is the crux of the problem, even tho both sides are so politicized that nobody *wants* to find the substantial common ground and associated obvious solution here.

  40. You’re stuck if you have the one size fits all and you-must-pay-for-it-no-matter-what-you-would-prefer school system. You are forced to be extremely conservative about the establishment clause because we have defined the school to be a government institution.

  41. Yes Brian, there are legitimate times for judges to overrule legislatures, but the circiculum of our schools is not one of them. You just like the outcome and are lazy and would rather have a judge do the work rather than the political process. What happens when another judges rules that you have to teach ID as a matter of the 1st Amendment Right to free expression? You won’t like that too much I bet. If one side can do it, don’t think the otherside won’t too. Like I said above, I hope you enjoy living under our new robed overlords.

  42. Dave W.,

    You’re assuming that the School Board appeals the decision. Given the recent election there they may not.

  43. Yes Brian, there are legitimate times for judges to overrule legislatures, but the circiculum of our schools is not one of them. You just like the outcome and are lazy and would rather have a judge do the work rather than the political process.

    Oh, snap!

    What happens when another judges rules that you have to teach ID as a matter of the 1st Amendment Right to free expression? You won’t like that too much I bet.

    I certainly wouldn’t like it, and I would say the Judge is a little crazy, and I would fully expect his decision to be overturned on appeal. I wouldn’t complain about the legislative branch’s ability to limit the powers of school boards.

  44. john:

    please explain to us how speech can be compelled by the judiciary under the 1st amendment right to freedom of expression

    thanks

    (yes, this is sarcasm and rhetorical, but if you can actually make a coherent argument, I’ll be amazed)

  45. I’m not procedurally any happier with judges deciding everyone’s education than I am with legislators deciding everyone’s education. Judges are elected for the most part, though, so I don’t think it is especially worse either.

    As far as I’m concerned, there is no procedural out that is desirable until we stop calling public education curriculum a function of government.

  46. I wouldn’t complain about the legislative branch’s ability to limit the powers of school boards.

    …Any more than I would complain about the Supreme Court’s ability to rule on the constitutionality of eminent domain cases.

  47. biologist,

    Quite easily, I am a high school teacher and believe in ID and should not be prevented from expressing my views in the class room by a nosy school board or state legislature. It is my First Amendment right to question science put out my views on the creation of the universe. A school board could not get away with telling a teacher that he couldn’t say other political views in the class room, why is ID any different? I don’t expect you to agree with that. I am not sure I do either, but it is at least as plausable an argument as many liberal court cases on the 1st Amendment and it is entirely believeable that an agenda driven Evengelical judge could make such a ruling. Why would it necessarily be overruled on appeal? Are you saying its okay for judges to rule the country as long as they are your judges? Do you not think there could be agenda driven Evangelicals on appeals courts too?

  48. Mistah Niceguy, you loathe Alannis Morrissette, don’t you? 😉

    John, I’ll ask you the same question I asked kwais: should apublic school board be able to order its teachers to instruct her students that Jesus is Lord, and those who don’t have a personal relationship with him are going to hell?

    If a school board did indulge itself in that way, would the parent of a Jew be entitled to relief from the courts?

  49. You just like the outcome and are lazy

    Heh. No, I’d rather not have the government running the schools at all, but as long as they do they are bound by the constitution. ID is clearly and unequivocally religion no matter how one tries to spin it, and as such the school board was making a “law respecting the establishment of religion” in demanding that teachers tout it to their students as an “alternative” in a science (!) class (of all places). So I believe this was a perfectly legitimate time for a judge to overrule elected officials and it is not just merely being lazy (though I may be that as well).

  50. Joe,

    You apparently equate any idea of their being a higher power to mean some vulgar parity of Christiantiy. The answer to your question is no, but since teaching ID has nothing to do with teaching Jesus is lord, it utterly irrelivent in the current debate. Schools already do teach outright scientific falsities about subjects such as global warming, the value of recycling and much of history. If people have a right to go to the courts of the teaching of the admittedly unscientific ID, I think others should have the right to go to the courts over the teaching of psudo science like global warming. Truthfully neither case belongs in the courts and we would be better off settling it at the balot box and through allowing parents to choose the schools to which they send their children.

  51. I am happy about this decision and I think that most of the proponents of ID are attempting to present religion as science, but I am not sure that the hypothesis that species are the result of intelligent design is an unscientific hypothesis. From Philosphers’ Magazine:

    [It] seems unreasonable to claim that the hypothesis of intelligent design is unprovable. Most scientists regard natural selection as a proven fact. If this is true, then scientists must be able to tell the difference between evidence for natural selection and evidence for design. If they cannot make this distinction, then the hypothesis of natural selection would, of course, be undercut because the relevant evidence would be in doubt. Assuming that scientists can recognize evidence for natural selection, then they would presumably also be able to recognize evidence for design. If this is the case, then the intelligent design hypothesis would be provable in the sense that supporting evidence would be recognizable. Of course, being provable merely means that it could be proven–it does not mean that it is or even will be proven.

    It is not unscientific to proclaim that, say, an arrowhead or a bit of pottery was fashioned by an intelligent designer (humans); so why should it be unscientific to proclaim that species are so fashioned? (By the way, I think ID is a crock.)

  52. Quite easily, I am a high school teacher and believe in ID and should not be prevented from expressing my views in the class room by a nosy school board or state legislature

    Is this decision saying you can’t express your views, or is it saying that the school board can’t make all teachers express theirs?

  53. actually, thanks for demonstrating my point by not providing the logic behind your hypothetical court ruling compelling speech.

    I don’t think it’s OK for judges to rule the country, but then again I don’t think they are. I think that this is clearly a 1st amendment issue on 2 grounds: compelling speech and violation of the establishment clause. I don’t agree that the judge’s decision is based on his personal agenda.

    Quite easily, I am a high school teacher and believe in ID and should not be prevented from expressing my views in the class room by a nosy school board or state legislature. It is my First Amendment right to question science put out my views on the creation of the universe.

    but doesn’t the elected school board or elected state legislature have the right and power to determine curriculum as you implied in your post

    Its (sic) always good to see that we have judges running our schools and institutions rather than elected officials. Even if you agree with the decision, its appalling to have a judge overruling elected officials. I for one do not welcome our new robed overlords.

    Comment by: John at December 20, 2005 03:19 PM

    a science teacher should feel free to express his SCIENTIFIC views of various theories, including his opinion of the prevailing view, whether he is for or against it. if you disagree with the prevailing view, you should make it clear that it is your opinion only, but not the opinion of the majority of scientists. you do not have the right to present your religious beliefs as scientific fact. evidence for and against various theories should be discussed, although that might quickly become too complicated for 9th and 10th graders. your dissenting opinion regarding prevailing scientific theory should be fact-based, not religious-document based.

  54. The answer to your question is no, but since teaching ID has nothing to do with teaching Jesus is lord, it utterly irrelivent in the current debate. Schools already do teach outright scientific falsities about subjects such as global warming, the value of recycling and much of history.

    Oh, brother.

  55. Is this decision saying you can’t express your views, or is it saying that the school board can’t make all teachers express theirs?

    The latter.

  56. John,

    My email didn’t go through to the address you provide yesterday. I’m sorry to hear about your mom.

    Now, down to bizness: “The answer to your question is no, but since teaching ID has nothing to do with teaching Jesus is lord, it utterly irrelivent in the current debate. Schools already do teach outright scientific falsities about subjects such as global warming, the value of recycling and much of history.”

    First, ID has a great deal to do with teaching that Jesus is Lord – they are both religious doctrines.

    And that’s the key here – it’s not just that ID is a false doctrine, it’s that it, unlike your other examples, is a religious doctrine. It provides mystical answers based on faith, in order to further a religious purpose. We can’t have our government establishing religious doctrines.

  57. Just got here so I dunno if someone’s alrady addressed this, but one thing I wondered about while listening to NPR discuss this during lunch break was that they said it would be okay to bring up ID in a different context, but to bring it up in a science class violated the establishment clause. On the face of it, I wasn’t sure why it was establishment of religion if brought up in a science class but not elsewhere. Sure, they said it wasn’t science, but is it unconstitutional to teach non-science as science? Why is it any less a violation of the establishment clause to bring it up in another class? They didn’t address any of these questions on NPR, but I guess I have my theories. Perhaps presenting a religious veiw surreptitiously as science lends it creedence it wouldn’t have if presented honestly as a religious view and thus is a more powerful vehicle for proselitization (sp?)? Perhaps in the other classes they have to make clear that they are not endorsing the view being presented? These seem like plausible possibilities, but it seemed a little annoying that it was taken for granted that the environment of a science class was perfectly sufficient reason to distinguish when presenting ID was not constiutional. And while I’m certainly not saying I disagree, I kinda hate it when what people are allowed or not allowed to do depends on such ambiguious distinctions. Of course, maybe this wasn’t so much about what people are allowed or not allowed to do but what a school board is allowed to foist on its employees and customers.

  58. Thanks Joe. It’s lunchtime for me and I didn’t have the patience.

  59. Mr. Nice Guy (or God, whichever):

    I think the ‘irony’ is that the Christians had to lie in order to promote the ID agenda; their method of promoting the Christian religion was by being bad Christians.

    John:
    Certains forms of speach are forbidden in the schoolroom, including in this case speech that promotes a religious idea. The schoolroom does not qualify as a public place in the same sense that a public park does. I’m guessing that if you read the fine print in your teachers’ contract you will find certain behaviors and types of speech are forbidden, under penalty of dismissal.

  60. In response to John:
    Joe,

    You apparently equate any idea of their being a higher power to mean some vulgar parity of Christiantiy. The answer to your question is no, but since teaching ID has nothing to do with teaching Jesus is lord, it utterly irrelivent in the current debate. Schools already do teach outright scientific falsities about subjects such as global warming, the value of recycling and much of history. If people have a right to go to the courts of the teaching of the admittedly unscientific ID, I think others should have the right to go to the courts over the teaching of psudo science like global warming. Truthfully neither case belongs in the courts and we would be better off settling it at the balot box and through allowing parents to choose the schools to which they send their children.

    Ok first of all, Recycling is valuable in that it DOES reduce raw material use, and global warming/climate change is now an accepted fact. What’s not a fact is the future effects of these facts. As for evolution, genetics has proven it true in too many cases to be false. Also, we have observed it in several places in the past. Just because some limitations of our logic dont allow us to apply the theory to everything does not make the theory incomplete/false. I dare you to apply quantum mechanics to a simple ball falling from a height. It wont work, or the mathematical compexity will be too much for you. That doesnt mean Quantum Mechanics is wrong, or that a higher power exists for the problem that quantum mechanics does not seem to work. Upon further study, you will see that qm works in principle, but our humanly limited abilities will screw us and not allow it to be intuitive. So in short, ID is not a valid reason for replacement/correction to evolution.

    Finally, the remark about a human creating a pot…that human didnt need any “higher power” or magic to create the pot…the laws of science/physics created it. ID tends to suggest magical things, which I personally believe to go in a social studies/religion class, NOT SCIENCE!

  61. ethan:

    regardless of what philosophers’ magazine claims, most scientists would instead claim that ID is not science not because it can’t be proven, but because it can’t be disproven. we don’t prove anything in science and all theories can be challenged, with evidence. Richard Dawkins has stated that biological organisms appear to be designed. scientists don’t claim that organisms weren’t designed. biologists and scientists in general are committed to scientific naturalism, which prevents us from referencing supernatural phenomena in our explanations of observed phenomena (also known as “facts”). Phillip Johnson, a lawyer, has criticized this aspect of biology on philosophical grounds, but few agree with him. scientific naturalism dovetails nicely with Ockham’s razor (do not needlessly multiply explanations).

    fyodor:

    for the same reason that I studied comparative religions in 6th grade, but the teacher wasn’t allowed to tell me which one was the “correct” one

    slainte’:

    exactly. I’ve often said that exact thing.

  62. I don’t think it follows that natural selection being accepted implies that any arbitrary form of design must be falsifiable by contrast.

    What should be falsifiable (and is) is the notion of perfect design. However, this is not to say that crappy design must be distinguishable from evolved form.

  63. follow up: slainte’: I was referring to your response to mr nice guy

    also, John are you a science teacher? a biology teacher? even if you are, a biology teacher is a much different thing from a biologist.

  64. Jason Ligon:

    clarify, please

  65. for the same reason that I studied comparative religions in 6th grade, but the teacher wasn’t allowed to tell me which one was the “correct” one

    Duly noted. But, and correct me if I’m wrong, doesn’t the ID rule being struck down only require teachers to present ID as an alternative? How is that different from presenting various comparative religions as acceptable alternatives? I agree that the surreptitious aspect is slimy, but is it unconstitutional to be slimy?

  66. You apparently equate any idea of their being a higher power to mean some vulgar parity of Christiantiy. The answer to your question is no, but since teaching ID has nothing to do with teaching Jesus is lord, it utterly irrelivent in the current debate. Schools already do teach outright scientific falsities about subjects such as global warming, the value of recycling and much of history. If people have a right to go to the courts of the teaching of the admittedly unscientific ID, I think others should have the right to go to the courts over the teaching of psudo science like global warming. Truthfully neither case belongs in the courts and we would be better off settling it at the balot box and through allowing parents to choose the schools to which they send their children.

    I am a high school teacher

    It’s a public school, right? 🙂

  67. “DAMMIT! I meant 1976-1985!”

    Aw man, you got my hopes up for a second there!

  68. Duly noted. But, and correct me if I’m wrong, doesn’t the ID rule being struck down only require teachers to present ID as an alternative? How is that different from presenting various comparative religions as acceptable alternatives? I agree that the surreptitious aspect is slimy, but is it unconstitutional to be slimy?

    Because it’s brought up in a science class, it’s more than slimy. Since it’s science class, mentioning ID as an “alternative” to evolution tells the students that it’s a scientific alternative, although in reality it obviously ain’t.

  69. fyodor: because ID isn’t science. nobody has (to my knowledge) published a peer-reviewed paper in a scientific journal (and there are hundreds, if not thousands, of varying rigor). I sincerely doubt that any ID papers have even been submitted for review to a peer-reviewed journal, not because it counters evolutionary orthodoxy (although it does), but because there is not a case to be made for ID. the only arguments I’ve read from ID supporters amount to “evolution can’t explain this, therefore some unidentified intelligence must have done it”. by not specifying the intelligence as a god, specifically the Christian god, they hope to get around the Establishment Clause. even if evolution is eventually disproven (EXTREMELY unlikely, IMHO), that doesn’t prove ID. to present ID as a viable alternative to evolution is disingenuous at best.

    as far as challenging orthodoxies goes, I saw a presentation this weekend at the Entomological Society of America conference where a presenter got very personal about what he considered the mistakes of others, and he named names. I’ve never seen that many upset entomologists before (they were slightly less calm than usual). Personally I think he’s right, at least to some degree. if his view is accepted, Hamilton’s rule, a long standing orthodoxy of social biology, will be overthrown as an explanation for sociality in insects. the critical thing here is that HE HAD AN ALTERNATIVE EXPLANATION THAT CAN BE DISPROVED BY EXPERIMENTATION AND OBSERVATION. unlike ID.

  70. Speaking of ID, Spell-o-holics are in fact the first level of daemon–built by enlarging the thalamus at the expense of the frontal cortex–placed upon chat groups for the purpose of diminishing the human spirit. Their creator was a man named Webster, a daemon who attempted to codify language in a singular form for the purposes of creating the myth of static linguistic consistency over variable phonetics.

  71. It’s pretty tough to side with the ID crowd, even if I tend to be a Deist. I certainly don’t think that the concept that the Universe was created/designed by some sort of intelligent power (God, essentially) is something that needs to be taught. It’s a pretty obvious possibility that doesn’t seem to require a lot of lesson planning…

  72. biologist:

    I was responding to Ethan’s quoted remarks about whether ID is falsifiable. The author of the article indicated that since most scientists agree that the forms of life we see today are the result of natural selection, it follows that most scientists must have some way to distinguish naturally selected forms from designed forms.

    I don’t believe that analysis is valid. We can easily distinguish perfectly designed forms from evolved forms by way of listing design imperfections, but I don’t think that one could argue that an evolved form necessarily is distinguishable from an imperfectly designed form. An ID proponent could always say, ‘Oh yeah? God made it that way on purpose, and you don’t understand His motivation!’

    In other words, ID is not falsifiable, and the scientific consensus around the origin of current species does not put a dent in the truly commited.

  73. I am a high school teacher and believe in ID

    John, I thought you said you were a lawyer for the military? When did that change? But anyway, teachers are supposed to teach the curriculum, not “discuss their views in class.” I know that when I was a teacher, that was pretty much how it worked. Personally, I was and am of the view that Hemingway blows, but he was on the curriculum so I had to teach him.

    If a teacher believes the Holocaust never happened, but was just a Zionist sympathy ploy to garner support for the new nation of Israel, does the teacher have the right to say this to his students during class hours? I would say not.

  74. also, there was an article in the New York Times last week (ok, take it with a grain of salt, or an entire salt lick) that the Templeton Foundation, which exists to promote harmony between science and religion, had offered grants to support ID research, but hadn’t received any applications. if ID is science, there would have been applications for money to research ID.

    jason ligon:

    thanks

  75. An ID proponent could always say, ‘Oh yeah? God made it that way on purpose, and you don’t understand His motivation!’

    True enough. Like His apparent fixation with beetles… I mean there are more than a third of a million species of beetles (that we know of)! That’s more than all plant species and more than six times the number of all vertebrate species. What’s the deal? Did He get to beetle species number 257892 and say, “Jesus! Still not quite right. Oh well, guess I’ll try it again tomorrow.” He was nothing if not persistent in designing the perfect beetle. Thank God for beetles.

  76. Yeah, I doubt they will appeal. Even if the original school board was in place, I’m not sure an appeal would be in order, from their strategic POV. Jones smacked em down, hard. Right now that case is only the law in Pennslyvania. Take it up the circuit appeals court, it becomes the law in several states. Take it to the Supremes, and you’ve got yourself a nation wide ban on ID in the classroom.

    If they’re smart, they retreat, lick their wounds, and try to come back with a case where the connections between the ID pushers and religion are harder to find. I think they’ll still lose, but if they can put that in front of a court, they’d have a fighting chance.

  77. Just for the record, I don’t think John is actually a teacher. I think he was speaking hypothetically.

  78. wow, an evolution comment thread with fewer than 100 posts in four hours. that’s got to be a first!

  79. …any idea of their being a higher power…

    Missed one, Stevo. That should read they’re I think.

  80. stevo, that’s excellent!

  81. Also, rather mean and petty of me.

    Oops, I also missed Christiantiy.

    Now I’ll stop.

  82. I love that the troglodytes at LewRockwell are carping that we should teach ID just to be contrarian…despite the Constitution. Sometimes, I think the Rockwellians unite for/against something just to be iconoclastic (i.e. a pain in the ass).

  83. thedumbfish:

    you’re both wrong. it should be there

  84. you’re both wrong. it should be there

    Well, that was supposed to be funny. Not that I can prove it. Hell, it’s even funnier if my mistake was unintentional. Ironic, even.

    I think John’s post above would be what spelling nazis refer to as a “target rich enviroment”.

  85. wow, an evolution comment thread with fewer than 100 posts in four hours. that’s got to be a first!

    Actually that’s just because there were two evolution threads today, splitting the vote, if you will. You should include the (as of now) 89 comments on the other thread to get a more accurate total.

  86. “target rich enviroment“.

    I assoom you where bean ironick, their?

    🙂

  87. Um. Yeah. Sure. See how it makes it more funnier that way.

    Nothing to see here. Let’s move along.

  88. Because it’s brought up in a science class, it’s more than slimy. Since it’s science class, mentioning ID as an “alternative” to evolution tells the students that it’s a scientific alternative, although in reality it obviously ain’t.

    fyodor: because ID isn’t science.

    Neither of you have addressed my question. Okay, okay, I agree wholeheartedly that ID is not real science and is a surreptitious and slimy (okay, even “more than slimy”!) way to get a religious view into a science class. Why is that any more of a breach of the establishment clause than presenting different religious alternatives in a comparative religion class? Assuming, that is, that I’m correct that the teacher is not required to say ID is correct, only that it is an alternative the school board wants its students to know about?

    To make what I’m saying as clear as possible, I am not disputing that ID is not science. I am questioning why that in particular is what makes it constitutionally verbotten compared to bringing it up in other classes.

  89. Fyodor, I thought it went without saying, but teaching a religious belief as science lends scientific weight to said belief. Simply presenting religious ideas as religious ideas, and nothing more, lends no implied factual weight to any of those ideas, and thus is not endorsing any religion or religion in general.

  90. OK! As of this point on, no more making mock of people’s typing error’s!

  91. You answered your own question, fyodor. A comparative religions class is just that: comparing religions. There is no alternative to science. Introducing ID to science is like introducing Christian science as a viable alternative to medicine: it just doesn’t work and is faith-based. Studying religion is fine, teaching it as a viable alternative to fact is not.

  92. Basically, what zach and Ayn said, but more precisely from a legal standpoint, teaching religion in a science class is inherently endorsing it as so, whereas in a philosophy class it is more “something to think about”. (Else Greek Mythology would violate the establishment clause as well.)

    As to the specifics of the case, it wasn’t merely an alternative but presented as the (superior) alternative to evolution.

  93. I would support the idea of prefacing the study of evolution with a disclaimer from the teacher about the fallibility of evolution only if that was immediately preceded by a disclaimer about the fallibility of teachers. And maybe one more before that about the fallibility of disclaimers.

  94. fyodor: to expand on my point

    teachers present information in class as facts, but from different perspectives in different courses.

    in comparative religion studies, the facts being presented are “members of this religion believe these things”

    in science, the facts being presented are “this is the way the world operates”

    if you present ID as an alternate explanation of the way the world operates, you are implying that the existence of an intelligent designer is an accepted fact.

    when you present in religion that christians believe that Jesus was the son of God who died and was resurrected, the factual portion is that this is the belief of Christians. the instructor can’t state that this is what actually happened, or that all the other religions are wrong without running afoul of the Establishment Clause.

    disclaimer: this is my opinion. IANAL.

  95. Additionally, the expansion of religion into the world of fact is not only unconstitutional, it should be an outrage to a country founded on Enlightenment principles. If ID people had their way, they would inject faith into math too:

    “Why is Pi so complex?”
    “It’s obvious God made it that way”

    I am frightened that this will be the state of our schools someday.

  96. furthermore, even though my opinion is that evolution is the best explanation for biological phenomena such as diversity and adaptation, I accept that evolutionary theory may be challenged by a superior alternative explanation. I just haven’t heard one yet. science teachers should try to impress on their students that all scientific knowledge is conditional on the outcome of observation and experimentation, and is never final and NEVER proven.

  97. biologist,

    IAAL, and I think your parsing is about right.

    Though whether teaching “Christians believe X” is endorsement of religion seems to be a fact-specific inquiry – “Christians believe X, those heathen savages believe Y. Compare and contrast.”

  98. Brian Courts:

    good point. I retract my statement of incredulity.

  99. Biologist:
    What data does the entomologist have to counter Hamilton?s rule? I only know a hand full of case studies, but they all supported Hamilton?s rule and his logic seems sound from a theoretical perspective.

  100. fyodor:

    Schools are allowed to teach religious beliefs if the follow two rules. First, they can?t endorse the belief. Second, the beliefs must be relevant to the class. Teaching ID fails the second condition, because it isn?t science. A history teacher could teach Puritanism and how it differed from Anglicism so the students understand by the pilgrims came to America. Ten years from now, a history teacher might teach ID when he teaches about this court case so students understand the why it did or didn?t violate the 1st amendment.

  101. Ayn Randian:

    Sorry to nit pick, but Pi isn?t complex. It is real and irrational. Hat?s of to any one who gets that.

  102. Joe:

    The hallmark of religion is moral teachings, not a belief in the supernatural. In it?s original form, Reconstructionist Judaism rejected all belief in the supernatural. Would you allow teachers to tell students they should become Reconstructionist Jews? If not, how is telling students they should save endangered species any different?

  103. We shouldn?t teach ID because it is not supported by scientific evidence. We shouldn?t environmental values, ie recycling is good, because they are based on morals more than science. The likely consequences of an environmental choice are with in the realm of science and can be taught. However teachers shouldn?t label actions or consequences as good or bad, because there is no way to test if they are good or bad with the scientific method. Check out Gould?s NOMA principle.

  104. jtuf:

    two problems I have with scientific conferences:

    too much information to absorb
    too little time to get the details

    my recollection is that he claims that other investigators haven’t been properly calculating the cost coefficient of the behavior and not properly calculating the coefficient of relatedness.

    I met one of the top researchers in this area after the talk and he said it was interesting but wanted to see details in writing (this was only a 20 minute oral presentation). The research I spoke to after the talk stated that he had published a significant paper on this subject in Science earlier this year.

    Bivoltinism as an Antecedent to Eusociality in the Paper Wasp Genus; Polistes
    HUNT, JH; AMDAM, GV.
    Science 2005. Vol.308, Iss.5719; p.264-267

  105. I for one am glad that we won’t have a national ID. I’ve been following this very closely, and thankfully, this judge has protected us from another intrusion into our privacy. No National ID!

  106. Sorry to nit pick, but Pi isn?t complex. It is real and irrational. Hat?s of to any one who gets that.

    I assume that by ‘real and rational’, you mean it can be calculated. Ie, it has no known end to its final place, but we can continue to calculate further and further out, if we choose to do so. If that’s what you mean, then yes, I get it.

    However, that hasn’t stopped researchers from suggesting that if its calculated out far enough, that a ‘message from god’ will appear.

    Paul

  107. For a purportedly-big-L Libertarian message board, I’m surprised nobody has trotted out the big-L talking points here. So I’ll step up to the plate.

    I disagree with the ruling, because I don’t see how this is a Constitutional issue, nor do I see why the Federal Government should be involved. The First Amendment says “Congress shall make no law”; it doesn’t address itself to the states. (And, given that other amendments do make restrictions on the states, we can assume this was intentional.) If I recall correctly, public education is run by the states, though they get money (and regulation) from the USG. If the case had been about a Federal law requiring schools to teach ID, the First Amendment would have been relevant. But this case concerned a school board in Pennsylvania–it’s hard to see how a case could get more local than that. Why is the Federal government involved here? What does the Constitution have to do with it?

    Then again, the other facet to the big-L view is that public education is an abomination and should be abolished immediately. Discussions about whether or not ID belongs in a science class are a symptom of the one-size-fits-all educational system we have in this country. In a big-L society, all schools would be private, and you could choose what school to send your kids to from an open market in education. We’d surely have religious high schools that taught ID, and non-religious colleges refusing to accept their hapless sabotaged students.

    How’s that?

    larry

    p.s. For the record, I am pro-science and anti-ID. Like Roe v. Wade, I am happy about the outcome of this ruling, but I think the ruling itself is seriously flawed.

  108. The First Amendment says “Congress shall make no law”; it doesn’t address itself to the states.

    Sorry Larry, but it is well settled constitutional law that the first amendment is applicable to the states through the fourteenth. So this is a constitutional issue.

  109. In case you did not notice, Larry, this is emphatically not a “big-L” message board: it’s for free minds and free markets. Granted, the tired (but true and completely relevant) arguments you raise should be instituted, but until the Libertopia comes true, I will applaud the de-shackling of science to dogmatic I.D. pseudosciences, in the name of free minds.

    Furthermore, I think that the Fourteenth Amendment extends the rights of citizens not to have to pay for the establishment of religion to the states. Additionally, there is usually no standing for local governments to make decisions because their existence is based on the whim of the state.

  110. Damn you Brian! Foiled again. That’s what I get for being too verbose…however, your point is dead-on.

  111. Paul,

    Yeah, I read Contact, by Carl Sagan, too. For those who haven’t, a minor spoiler is that at the end, an “interesting” pattern appears in the base-11 expansion of pi. But if pi’s digits are randomly distributed, wouldn’t it be the case that that at some point any interesting sequence would appear?

    jtuf,

    I would probably say pi is real, irrational, and non-polynomial.

  112. Pi isn’t complex. It is real and irrational.

    Actually &#960 is all three. All real numbers are complex numbers, or at least all real numbers can be complex numbers, depending on how you want to look at it. Whether it is complex or not depends on the underlying number field being considered. Let z=&#960+0i &#8712 C &#8594 &#960 &#8712 C.

  113. Just back from my atheist meeting in Sinincincinnati where we gave the decision a round of applause in the announcement segment of our meeting. Another announcement was from Ed Kagin, the founder of Camp Quest, the summer camp for atheist kids. Seems the Barbara Walters special will mention Camp Quest in a few minutes (Eastern).

  114. Stevo,

    Your 4:42 post…

    I read John’s phrase “vulgar parity of Christianity,” and just assumed he was calling me a moral relativst barbarian.

    There was a time, not too many years ago, when people like John were calling me a moral relativist barbarian quite frequently. Good times, winter 01-02. Good times.

  115. Brian:
    Good point. Zero coefficients mix things up.

  116. Should ID be taught in school?

  117. jtuf, even if “the hallmark of religion is moral teaching” was correct (which it’s not)…

    it does not then follow that all moral teaching is religious,

    or that supporting good moral instruction in school is incompatible with opposing religious indoctrination.

  118. ID in school?

    Just as long as they don’t use your Social Security Number as your ID.

    That kid in Rhode Island didn’t even read the book!

  119. Brian Courts,

    <pedant>

    Well, it all depends on how we define “complex.” I learned the definition, “an ordered pair of real numbers with the following operations defined: addition, multiplication, and scalar multplication.” In that case, although the real number ? may map quite nicely to the complex number (?, 0), it isn’t a “complex number,” because it isn’t an ordered pair, which that definition requires.

    </pedant>

  120. Brian Courts,

    OOOOPS!!! I reread your post, and you are correct. SO SORRY! 🙂

  121. Can they at least teach the EGO?

  122. On appealing –

    I agree it seems unlikely the newly elected school board would want to appeal a decision they were elected to make in the first place….

    But I heard somewhere that the judge also ruled the school board must pay the plantiffs’ lawyers’ fees.

    Not being a lawyer – Can the school board appeal the decision on the fees mandated in the decision, while not appealing the actual decision?

  123. Joe:
    Philosophy and religion overlap some. Some moral teachings fall under philosophy, others fall under religion. Belief in a certain number of gods is just one belief out of the hundreds that a typical religion has. Yeah, the government schools shouldn’t teach about G-d, but I think teaching about right and wrong in government schools is worse.

    Most Atheists and theists are OK, but you can find examples of indoctrination and government coups in both camps. Communism is a prime example of how much damage a belief system can do if attached to a government even if it is atheistic.

    Anyway, I think we’ll have to agree to disagree, since it’s getting late.

  124. Fuck you, “libertarian” hypocrites. Apparently, libertarianism means applauding the government for forcing atheist bullshit on our kids and establishing it as the state religion at taxpayer expense. I hope your kid is the next one to be asked how often he gives blowjobs because – oh, yeah, the government doesn’t think you have the right to raise your own kids either, and you’re not allowed to complain if schools take this kind of poll. Some libertarian bunch you are, shitheads! When you get to Hell, say hello to Horace Mann for me.

  125. We’ll huff, and we’ll puff, and we’ll blow that strawman down!

  126. Brian (and Ayn_Randian): It’s also “well settled” that the President can take us to war without an explicit Declaration Of War passed by Congress. They’ve been doing it for more than fifty years. But that doesn’t mean you can find it in the US Constitution.

    I don’t agree that the Fourteenth Amendment “equal protection” phrase translates into English as “States can’t pass laws restricting freedom of speech” (et al), but I’m kind of a literal-interpretation guy. I don’t go in for penumbras and all that jazz. (After all, if I followed conventional wisdom, I wouldn’t be here in the first place.)

    Don’t get me wrong, I’d be thrilled if there was explicit language in the Constitution making states beholden to Congress’s restrictions in matters of human rights. I just don’t see one–neither in the Fourteenth, nor in the nebulous Ninth, nor the toothless Tenth.

    Strictly yours,

    larry

  127. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States

    Larry, please explain to me your interpretation of that clause…and I am not being a smartass, I am honestly asking, and you already know mine. To me, it seems clear, but I am interested in your view.

  128. To Reason: I like the new preview comments screen!

  129. Question for those who claim to be libertarian but nevertheless regularly vote Rethuglican: What would Alito do?

  130. Ayn_Randian: Sure, no problem.

    Section 1 of the Fourteenth Amendment does come close, I will admit. The only section I see as being relevant is “No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States”; I don’t think the “due process” or “equal protection” are at all relevant. (I can expand on that notion if you like.)

    Therefore the question becomes: what “privileges or immunities” are these? Again, with my strictest constitutionalist hat on, they would be those explicitly spelled stated in the Constitution. For instance, a State couldn’t pass a law abrogating the Third Amendment (quartering soldiers) or the Fourth Amendment (unreasonable search and seizure). Those Amendments specify rights of the people.

    However, the First Amendment specifies things which Congress may not do. The Fourteenth Amendment makes statements about what States may do with respect to the people’s rights. So I don’t see it as germane to the First.

    And yeah, I realize I’m out on a limb here. Any reasonable person would say “the intent of the First was that people have the right to free press &c, and the intent of the Tenth Amendment was to protect rights that weren’t explicitly spelled out. So the Fourteenth Amendment says that states must honor those rights.” I agree, that does seem to be the intent. But I feel that a strict, literal interpretation of the Constitution is fundamental to procuring and maintaining our freedom. Start talking about “intent” and “penumbras” and pretty soon you can justify Federal agents destroying a woman’s private crop of medical marijuana using the Commerce Clause.

    “Intent” is in the eye of the beholder,

    larry

  131. Since the incorporation doctrine comes up in a variety of contexts on Hit and Run, maybe it makes sense to create a thread devoted to it on grylliade’s forum. So we can just hash it out there.

  132. See, Larry, I read almost all of the amendments as things the government can’t do, especially, per your example, the third:

    ” No soldier shall, etc.” seems to be a limitation by the government NOT to do something

    And the fourth, which I will quote more fully: “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

    Yes, the fourth starts with the rights of the people, but these were considered automatic, I read this amendment as something the government cannot do , with the relevant areas in bold.

    I read all these things that the government can’t do as extended to the states by the Fourteenth. Although it may not be the strictest (I am no scholar), it seems to be a reasonable interpretation. Although I understand that interpretation is not your thing.

  133. A liitle thought exercise here about the logical implications of this case. Suppose you have a theory (of whatever, it does not matter), the theory seems to be valid and scientifically rigorous. This theory also appears to confirm the theology of a particular religious group. Members of this push for this theory to be included in the curriculum of the relevent scientific field.

    By Judge Jones’ logic from the Dover case, would teaching this valid theory in government be unconstitutional or perfectly legal?

  134. As if the freaking constitution matters anyway. The constitution is routinely ignored by the courts, and is torturously interpreted by the Supremes to mean… any fucking thing they want it to mean.

    Growing Cannabis (or wheat) in your garden for your own consumption is an interstate commerce issue: yeah, right.

    “… the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” yeah, right.

  135. I hope your kid is the next one to be asked how often he gives blowjobs because – oh, yeah, the government doesn’t think you have the right to raise your own kids either, and you’re not allowed to complain if schools take this kind of poll. Some libertarian bunch you are, shitheads! When you get to Hell, say hello to Horace Mann for me.

    Comment by: BlowMeLibs at December 20, 2005 10:20 PM

    What’s the matter…are you afraid your kid might be asked how often he or she has to get down on their knees for the local priest, minister, or rabbi? Or for their father, stepfather, or mother’s new boyfriend? Or their own boyfriend, for that matter!

  136. *golf clap*

  137. *golf clap*

  138. Most ID proponents’ cases can be summed up as a number of critiques (mostly wrong) of Darwinian evolution followed by a non sequitured jump to a claim of the primacy of ID.

  139. I, like others, want to give round of applause to Prof. Behe for aiding us in this victory: http://pharyngula.org/index/weblog/comments/thank_you_michael_behe/

  140. This is for John. All I can say is: What lucky students you have!!! Captive to a blow-hard pontificating off-subject and out of context about “Intelligent Design” and other pet political theories.* Isn’t that against the Geneva Conventions?

    Reminds me of having been trapped once, years ago, under the hands of a chiropractor who lectured me about Jesus while he was adjusting my back. But unlike your students, I was an adult paying for a service and was free to walk out on the idiot and never go back, which is what I did.

    *P.S. I have no idea whether you have a constitutionally protected free-speech right to promote whatever the hell you want in class. But I must concede, one is frequently free in this country to be a jerk.

  141. most scientists would instead claim that ID is not science not because it can’t be proven, but because it can’t be disproven.

    Of course, you are right. Falsifiability is a much better indicator of whether a hypothesis is “scientific” or not. But it is not a perfect one: even the most scientific of claims can never be completely falsified as it is always possible that some future observation will force us to retrieve discarded theories from the dustbin. I fear that I may have quoted the wrong passage for the point I wanted to make. It seems to me, though, that a stripped-down ID hypothesis (minus the obvious attempts to make Genesis into science and other theological and supernatural aspects)such as “biological species were designed by some conscious mind(s), at least in part” is obviously scientific. Plants and animals are, among other things, physical objects, and so one can imagine a world in which they were constructed in some way according to a conscious plan. An archeologist who contends that some find is an artifact is obviously making a scientific claim. So, all else being equal, it would seem that the claim that animals were designed is on its face scientific.

    I am not making Paley’s Watch argument here; Hume dispensed with that sophistry quite well. The analogy between obvious human artifacts and biological species breaks down in a number of important places, but that just shows that ID is a really poor scientific hypothesis, not that it is not science at all. In fact, it seems quite common for people to argue against ID by pointing out how much evidence there is against it–but if there is evidence against it, doesn’t that qualify it as scientific?

    I am just trying these ideas on for size. Rip away.

  142. BlowMeLibs:

    Just about all libertarians want school choice or to get the government out of education all together. If that happens, you can send you kids to a school that teaches whatever you want. Until then, we would rather teachers don?t proselytize in government run school.

  143. “Fuck you, “libertarian” hypocrites. Apparently, libertarianism means applauding the government for forcing atheist bullshit on our kids and establishing it as the state religion at taxpayer expense.”

    But remember, folks, teaching Intelligent Design has nothing to do with establishing a religion. It’s just a scientific theory, with no religious connotations whatsoever, and the purpose being served by teaching it in schools is entirely secular.

  144. We may be at the end of this thread and of this discussion, for the moment, but I must unload about why I am bitter about religion being inappropriately drawn into the classroom.

    Years ago (70’s), my high-school government class was taught by a young, handsome, popular football coach who was an expert on the sport but knew little about history, political science or government. He was also very out-there about his religious beliefs. One day, he declared that a woman would never be President of the United States, because God had not designed women for the job, and then he mocked and humiliated a female student (not me) who tried to argue with him. What I, an entirely inarticulate teenager, wanted to ask him was:
    1) What, do you have a crystal ball?
    2) Is this government class, or Sunday School?
    3) If your female students have such diminished minds and limited leadership capabilities, what are we doing here in government class?
    4) Are God and religion really so uplifting? Gee, where can I sign up?!
    5) Is your penis really so tiny? Does it feel bigger now?
    Instead, I have quietly boiled about this incident (and too many similar ones from high school) ever since.

  145. there seems to be a new rhetorical tactic at work – or rather, newly popularized – in that anything “secular” is derided as being “state religion” or “liberal religion” and whatnot.

    i think it is VERY strange for religious people to devalue religion by making any set of beliefs a religion. then again, i do not see myself and my actions as being scrutinized by the personality behind the universe; perhaps if i were, i’d be more likely to see everyone else in the world working in opposition against me.

  146. Catalina,

    I sympathize with your experience, but I don’t think it would pass constitutional muster to outlaw flaming assholes.

  147. fyodor, yes, either flaming assholes or lousy teachers. (But how do they sleep?)

  148. Conversely (speaking of lousy teachers), I had a 6th-grade math teacher who gave me A’s on every assignment no matter what, because I was “sweet.” This math teacher applied his theory that his students’ self-esteem was more important than their ability to do math.

    My mind was literally saved (now speaking of magnificent teachers) by my 7th-grade math teacher, who wielded his red pen upon my homework liberally and suppressed a smile as I argued tearfully that he was mean. (But I did learn to do those problems correctly and in the following years, math was my best subject.)

  149. apropos of nothing in particular, my 6th or 7th grade math teacher (I can’t quite recall) would read us the bible in class during down times. he claimed the assistant principle said it was ok as long as he didn’t “teach” the bible, just read it to us. I was a believer at the time, so it didn’t bother me personally, but I did wonder how he could read the bible without teaching it, what it had to do with math, and how it might affect students with different belief systems.

  150. Dhex, exactly. I find that religious people tend to bestow and deny the title of “religion” as it suits them; i.e., when fundies call science a religion, or when gaius marius refuses to call evangelical Christianity a religion. Their arguments are so much easier to make with amorphous definitions.

  151. Teachers that preach in public school should be reprimanded, and/or removed. Fortunately, my k-12 teachers were very good. I was surprised by buy off topic comments some of my professors made in class. During one population genetics problem, the teacher set us to work on an example with the words, ?Let?s hope you can count better than Republicans.? He lost a lot of credibility in my eyes that day.

  152. jtuf

    right or wrong, I think at the college level the professors should have more leeway than K-12 teachers. on the whole, college students are adults and less likely to be influenced by comments such as those you cite, which sounds like an attempt at humor, even if he really meant it also.

    are you at uf?

  153. I was taught evolution…in a Jesuit school. They left creationism in religion class and only religion class. I guess they hadn’t thought of ID back then…or they were actually concerned about teaching as much as preaching.

  154. “taught by a young, handsome, popular football coach who was an expert on the sport but knew little about history, political science or government.”

    Catalina,
    My similarly-equipped high school history teacher could not say, “bomb,” when discussing wars. It was only, “bum,” provoking titters from the classroom, and early thoughts of, “Is there an alternative to government schools?”

    Then there was my church school teacher who posited that 2000 would be the “end of time.” (We are on the cusp of plus or minus five, so I’m only now beginning to breathe easy.)

  155. Eddy. from a Catholic point of view, if evolution is “true”, than it is just part of God’s Natural Law. Some Protestants hung up on Bishop Usher’s dating of the age of the universer can’t handle that.

    Sreparate school and state, I say.

    Kevin

  156. Eddy. from a Catholic point of view, if evolution is “true”, than it is just part of God’s Natural Law. Some Protestants hung up on Bishop Usher’s dating of the age of the universer can’t handle that.

    Sreparate school and state, I say.

    Kevin

  157. Ayn_Randian: I’m not sure I was totally clear in my previous posting. So lemme take another quick swing at it.

    My point is that I think the Fourteenth covers things which are described as the people’s rights (third, fourth); anywhere where the Constitution says “The people shall not “. But the First says “Congress shall not”, which has a very narrow focus, and I think one can easily argue the Fourteenth is not relevant. Yes, you can flip it on its head, and say “Congress shall not, because it is a right of the people”, and therefore a right that promulgates to a restriction on state law by the Fourteenth, but that’s more interpretation than I’d like to see happen.

    Also, my point about interpretation is that I feel a pessimistic view is in order. Otherwise the modern USG (and in particular the Executive branch) will always take the most favorable interpretation as befits their needs at the time. By limiting their leeway, we would tighten Jefferson’s “chains of the Constitution”.

    If I appear to be repeating myself–I most likely am.

    larry

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