ID movement gets trampled in Dover, PA

Just over a year ago the Dover School Board (PA) mandated the teaching of Intelligent Design which believes that the universe is so complex that it must have been created by an unspecified higher power. The decision to include ID in science classes was immediately attacked as a subversive attempt to implement religion (read Christianity) into the school curriculum.

The ruling in Kitzmiller v. Dover School District was released this morning and it was nothing less than devastating for the ID movement.

Presiding Judge, John Jones, blasted the defendants by saying they were disguising ID’s real purpose (imposing religion in science class) and then anticipated their “activist judge” counterattacks by including the following statement in his conclusion:

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.

OUCH. That must hurt…

I think religion is going to play a big part in the 2006 elections and carry over to the Presidential elections in 2008. But, I doubt anyone from the two-party system will take the same stance that Badnarik did and plead the 6th… Article six of the Constitution that is. He never answered the question “What are your religious beliefs” during the campaign. Article VI of the Constitution states (my emphasis added):

The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the members of the several state legislatures, and all executive and judicial officers, both of the United States and of the several states, shall be bound by oath or affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States

Anyone disagree?

posted by mikehorn
  • BPD

    Why don’t these hyper Christians learn how to lock out TV channels from their children, instead of trying to push a new ‘science’. What’s the matter, is the old science to hard to learn? Why are we still wasting time and money on this issue? Anybody that thinks for themselves beyond blind faith gets it, why don’t they? Children should learn right from wrong and the fact that all types of faith exist, not have it force feed from birth. Is there no free will left? Should we all become faithfully blind zombies for the 700 Club and send in 10% of our paychecks, so Pat Robertson can buy another $3000 suit?

  • c.levin

    Its so rediculous that some people call ID a “scientific theory” when 98% of scientists disagree. ID has no proof, ID has no way to be tested, ID has no prediction of future facts. How on earth does ID become a scientific theory?
    “Learn alternative theory”, why not learn alternative theory in physice and chemistry?
    Its even more stupid to deny their motivation in court, did God tell them to lie?

  • http://www.fullmoon.nu Harry Stottle

    A wonderful – and ironic – Christmas present for rational humans everywhere.

  • Stephen VanDyke

    Doonesbury did creationism/ID in a comic this past Sunday. Jacqueline has the link.

  • truth machine

    “Just over a year ago the Dover School Board (PA) mandated the teaching of Intelligent Design which believes that the universe is so complex that it must have been created by an unspecified higher power.”

    Can we please get the basics right? ID is the claim that *certain aspects of life on earth* is too complex to have *evolved*, and that therefore it must have been “intelligently” (i.e., consciously, intentionally) designed. The distinction is important a) because numerous evolutionary biologists, including Kenneth Miller who testified for the plantiffs in Kitzmiller, believe that the universe was created by a higher power b) so many people are so ignorant on this subject, and it doesn’t help when a self-proclaimed “rationalist” and “polymath” adds to it. If you’re so into reading encyclopedias, then I have to wonder why you haven’t read, e.g., http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kitzmiller_v._Dover_Area_School_District
    and
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intelligent_Design

  • http://americanliberty.blogsome.com Jake Porter

    98% scientists disagree, where is your proof. I will admit that most disagree but I think your number is a bit high.

    I think that this should be up to the local school districts and to be honest I don’t see the big deal you are creating about it, why not talk about how socialist history teachers are castrating the Constitution?

    But Mike, I would like to thank you because you presented this post in a fair manner to everyone (You didn’t talk about why you think ID is wrong, you kept the subject on politics).

  • Stephen Gordon

    I’m going back the the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster theory on this issue. We should mandate that form of instruction in all of our schools.

  • http://americanliberty.blogsome.com Jake Porter

    Stephen Gordon,

    If the locals will go for it I support it. At least once we give schools back to control of the locals and get the feds the hell out.

  • http://jacquelinepassey.blogs.com/ Jacqueline

    I am getting tons of hits to my post from this post but I don’t see the link. I am confused.

  • http://americanliberty.blogsome.com Jake Porter

    Jacqueline,

    Read comment number 4.

  • truth machine

    98% scientists disagree, where is your proof. I will admit that most disagree but I think your number is a bit high.”

    And yet you offer no basis for thinking so. It’s nice that you will “admit” that most scientists think ID isn’t a scientific theory; will you also “admit” that most scientists think astrology and alchemy aren’t scientific theories?

    98% is actually quite low — even major proponents of ID agree that it isn’t a scientific theory.

  • truth machine

    “why not talk about how socialist history teachers are castrating the Constitution?”

    Perhaps because, unlike religion, there’s nothing in the Constitution that bears on the issue. Have you ever read the document?

  • http://americanliberty.blogsome.com Jake Porter

    Truth Machine,

    It appears you like to argue. All I asked was some proof of the claim that 98 percent disagree, I was curious more than wanting to start a debate with you.

    I don’t know what most scientist think and to be honest with you many times I don’t give a damn.

  • http://americanliberty.blogsome.com Jake Porter

    Your damn right I have read the document, I was asking Mr. Horn why he didn’t post something about the Constitution not being taught in school, I as a libertarian am more interested in that.

  • http://americanliberty.blogsome.com Jake Porter

    Where in Article 1, Section 8 does the federal government have the power to be involved in education, that is the reason I don’t think it is an issue I am as concerned about. That is why there is state and local governments

  • truth machine

    “It appears you like to argue.”

    Don’t be such a hypocrite.

    “All I asked was some proof of the claim that 98 percent disagree, I was curious more than wanting to start a debate with you.”

    No, in fact you demanded proof in an argumentative way. But ID is prima facie not a scientific theory — you would be hardpressed to find even a fraction of a percent of scientists who claim it is.

    “I was asking Mr. Horn why he didn’t post something about the Constitution not being taught in school”

    You’re lying; you asked why he didn’t post something about “how socialist history teachers are castrating the Constitution”.

    “Your damn right I have read the document”

    Perhaps you overlooked the 14th amendment, which extended the scope of the 1st amendment to include state and local governments.

  • mikehorn

    Truth Machine:
    One of the problems (And contributing factor to their loss) of the defendant’s presentation to the court was their ever-changing definition of “intelligent design.” Because of the Edwards v Aguillard ruling anti-evolutionists had to change their terminology from “creation science” or “creationism” to “intelligent design.” Along with modifying the label of the movement adjustments to defining it were necessary so they could continue shopping test cases around the country.

    Ultimately the definition of ID is irrelevant since it was blatantly obvious that the Dover School Board’s intentions were to implement a religious belief into the curriculum. When ID was connected to creationism, it was over.

    As a rationalist I am open to suggestions and corrections. Thank you for pointing out the Wikipedia entires to me which just reinforced my statement that the definition of ID is pliable.

  • mikehorn

    Jake asks:
    Where in Article 1, Section 8 does the federal government have the power to be involved in education, that is the reason I don’t think it is an issue I am as concerned about. That is why there is state and local governments

    I agree! The federal government should not be involved in education… which would make this argument unecessary. But, since it’s out there… :)

  • truth machine

    “Because of the Edwards v Aguillard ruling anti-evolutionists”

    Yes, well, that’s the point — they’re anti-evolutionists, but your statement made no reference to evolution. As I noted, many evolutionists, such as Ken Miller, believe in a universal creator; polls indicate that over 50% of biologists believe in a creating deity of some sort, and the numbers are higher in other sciences. (I’m not endorsing these beliefs, merely stating them — I myself am a strong atheist.)

  • truth machine

    P.S.

    “The decision to include ID in science classes was immediately attacked as a subversive attempt to implement religion (read Christianity) into the school curriculum.”

    Not Christianity in general — the Catholic church, for instance, supports (and teaches) evolution.

  • truth machine

    “I agree! The federal government should not be involved in education… which would make this argument unecessary. But, since it’s out there… :)”

    The federal government is not invloved in education; this was a local school board action. However, parents brought suit against the school board as a violation of their 1st amendment rights and, as I recall, the 1st amendment is in the U.S. Constitution … and thus under the jurisdiction of Federal courts.

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  • Edward Russell

    Science is not the enemy of religon. Id is just not science. Leave Id in church where it belongs

  • mikehorn

    Truth Machine:
    As I noted, many evolutionists, such as Ken Miller, believe in a universal creator; polls indicate that over 50% of biologists believe in a creating deity of some sort…

    50%? I’m actually surprised it’s that low. I have no doubt that many scientists have religious beliefs, but I am sure that many will agree (I’m guessing here) that faith does not belong in the science class.

    Truth Machine:
    Not Christianity in general — the Catholic church, for instance, supports (and teaches) evolution.

    Right, not in general, thanks for clarifying that.

    Out of curiosity… is your alias from the title of the James Halperin novel “Truth Machine?” I really liked that book… I’m trying to remember what the inventor mentally recited to bypass the machine’s capabilities. If only machines like that were available during political debates

  • truth machine

    “I am sure that many will agree (I’m guessing here) that faith does not belong in the science class.”

    Same here.

    “Out of curiosity… is your alias from the title of the James Halperin novel “Truth Machine?””

    No.

    “If only machines like that were available during political debates”

    Or /any/ utterance by a politician.

  • Unsympathetic reader

    truth machine,
    Regarding your comments (in #5 above): You will find that “mainstream” ID makes no clear distinction between the origin or life on Earth and the origin of the universe and its physical laws. They say that “some aspects of *nature*” require intelligent intervention. Go check out the Discovery Institute’s web site.

    Here’s what Stephen Meyer has to say: “In contrast, the theory of intelligent design holds that there are tell-tale features of living systems and the universe that are best explained by an intelligent cause.”

    Even the first sentence of the second wikepedia URL you provided states this. The scope of ID is not limited to living systems.

  • http://goldenliberty.blogspot.com AB

    No one disagrees!

  • truth machine

    I suggest that you read the Kitzmiller ruling, which is the subject here. ID is proposed as an alternative to evolution; that is what the debate is about, and it’s what people like Behe, Dembski, and Minnich address in their supposedly scientific efforts. Such notions as irreducible complexity and specified complexity refer to life on earth. Even the fine-tuning argument, which addresses the whole universe, argues that it was created in just such a way that life on earth would be possible — it is those fine-tuned physical constants that “are tell-tale features of … the universe … best explained by an intelligent cause”. Mike’s statement that ID holds that “the universe is so complex that it must have been created by an unspecified higher power” simply isn’t true — that’s not what Meyer said, nor the wikipedia sentence which was drawn directly from the Discovery Institute literature. Continue on to read the /second/ sentence and beyond.

  • truth machine

    From wikipedia:

    “Intelligent design in summary

    Intelligent design is presented as an alternative to purely naturalistic forms of the theory of evolution. The stated[6] purpose is to investigate whether or not existing empirical evidence implies that life on Earth must have been designed by an intelligent agent or agents.”

    Got that? It goes on:

    “William Dembski, one of intelligent design’s leading proponents, has stated that the fundamental claim of intelligent design is that “there are natural systems that cannot be adequately explained in terms of undirected natural forces and that exhibit features which in any other circumstance we would attribute to intelligence.”[7]”

    But Dembski isn’t talking about solar systems or galaxies or gas nebulae being beyond explanation in terms of undirected natural forces — ID is all about /us/ not being an accident or coincidence.

  • http://www.austringer.net/wp/ Wesley R. Elsberry

    “But Dembski isn’t talking about solar systems or galaxies or gas nebulae being beyond explanation in terms of undirected natural forces — ID is all about /us/ not being an accident or coincidence.” — Truth Machine

    “The fine-tuning of the universe and irreducibly complex biochemical systems are instances of specified complexity, and signal information inputted into the universe by God at its creation.” — William A. Dembski, http://www.arn.org/docs/dembski/wd_actofcreation.htm [emphasis added]

  • Unsympathetic reader

    Wesley could also have added the “Priviledged Planet” video and book promoted by the Discovery Institute. Look that up under the “Video and Curriculum” section here:
    http://www.discovery.org/csc/

    The synopsis for the book is here:
    http://www.privilegedplanet.com/synopsis.php

    Regarding the wikipedia reference originally presented by ‘truth machine’ that I referenced in post #26… Here’s the first sentence (emphasis mine):
    “Intelligent design (ID) is the concept that “certain ***features of the universe*** and of living things exhibit the characteristics of a product resulting from an intelligent cause or agent, as opposed to an unguided process such as natural selection.”

    This is the part that ‘truth machine’ didn’t provide. Also missing is any acknowledgment that there is a separate header (“Fine-tuned universe”) prominently listed in the Intelligent Design “Concepts” section of the *same* wikipedia entry.

    Surf to that reference. Check it out.