Skip to comments.For the Science Room, No Free Speech
Posted on 01/04/2006 12:55:35 PM PST by A. Pole
Will the federal courts, and the people who rely on the federal courts to enforce secular ideals, ever get it? The anti-school-prayer decisions of the past 40 yearsnot unlike the pro-choice-in-abortion decisions, starting with Roe vs. Wadehavent driven pro-school-prayer, anti-choice Americans from the marketplace of ideas and activity.
Neither will U.S. Dist. Judge John Jones anti-intelligent-design ruling in Dover, Pa., just before Christmas choke off challenges to the public schools Darwinian monopoly.
Jones contempt for the breathtaking inanity of school-board members who wanted ninth-grade biology students to hear a brief statement regarding Darwinisms gaps/problems is unlikely to intimidate the millions who find evolution only partly persuasiveat best.
Millions? Scores of millions might be more like it. A 2004 Gallup Poll found that just 13 percent of Americans believe in evolution unaided by God. A Kansas newspaper poll last summer found 55 percent support for exposing public-school students to critiques of Darwinism.
This accounts for the widespread desire that children be able to factor in some alternatives to the notion that natural selection has brought us, humanly speaking, where we are. Well, maybe it has. But what if it hasnt? The science classroom cant take cognizance of such a possibility? Under the Jones ruling, it cant. Jones discerns a plot to establish a religious view of the question, though the religion he worries about exists only in the possibility that God, per Genesis 1, might intrude celestially into the discussion. (Intelligent-designers, for the record, say the power of a Creator God is just one of various possible counter-explanations.)
Not that Darwinism, as Jones acknowledges, is perfect. Still, 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 scientific propositions.
Ah. We see now: Federal judges are the final word on good science. Who gave them the power to exclude even whispers of divinity from the classroom? Supposedly, the First Amendment to the Constitution: the odd part here being the assumption that the free speech amendment shuts down discussion of alternatives to an establishment-approved concept of Truth.
With energy and undisguised contempt for the critics of Darwinism, Jones thrusts out the back door of his courthouse the very possibility that any sustained critique of Darwinism should be admitted to public classrooms.
However, the writ of almighty federal judges runs only so far, as witness their ongoing failure to convince Americans that the Constitution requires almost unobstructed access to abortion. Pro-life voters and activists, who number in the millions, clearly arent buying it. Were to suppose efforts to smother intelligent design will bear larger, lusher fruit?
The meeting place of faith and reason is proverbially darkish and unstablea place to which the discussants bring sometimes violently different assumptions about truth and where to find it. Yet, the recent remarks of the philosopher-theologian Michael Novak make great sense: I dont understand why in the public schools we cannot have a day or two of discussion about the relative roles of science and religion. A discussion isnt a sermon or an altar call, is it?
Equally to the point, what does secular intolerance achieve in terms of revitalizing public schools, rendering them intellectually catalytic? As many religious folk see it, witch-hunts for Christian influences are an engrained part of present public-school curricula. Is this where they want the kids? Might private schoolsnot necessarily religious onesoffer a better alternative? Might home schooling?
Alienating bright, energized, intellectually alert customers is normally accounted bad business, but thats the direction in which Darwinian dogmatists point. Thanks to them and other such foes of free speech in the science classroomfederal judges includedwe seem likely to hear less and less about survival of the fittest and more and more about survival of the least curious, the least motivated, the most gullible.
Equine feces. If schoolteachers really feel the need to fill the heads of children with anti-Darwinian nonsense, they can legally teach Lysenkoism.
don't understand why we can't have a day or two of discussion about the relative roles of science and religion."
Should churches start examining criticisms made of them made by scientists? I don't see what one has to do with the other, at least not as far as requiring them to be taught together.
Also I think that the religion is more important than science and that this is reflected by the US Constitution. Attempts to import the Soviet Separation of Church and State by the former pro-Communst fellow travelers even if successful, will not bring more good than it did in Soviet Union.
The irrational fear of hearing the words "Creation" of "Intelligent Design", and that pure Evolution is not watertight, is science's PC anomaly. They want everything but the theory of evolution to be sidelined and call those who think otherwise "irrational" and "agenda-driven". However, all the folks who question evolution want is to have the other theories allowable. It seems so very left-wing somehow.
What is wrong with talking about Lysenko? Are the courts going to ban all theories which do not fit in the present canon of what students might be exposed to?
BTW, I read Lysenko out of curiosity and his writtings were superior to the popular and faulty beliefs in psudo-Darwinian theory. And Lysenko was certainly for the Separation of Church and state!
First, it's interesting that this article seems to cede that ID posits a deity. Secondly, by no means did this judge, or any other judge, seek to remove a discussion of possible supernatural causes or intervention in natural history. What they are saying, based on testimony by scientists (who ARE competent to judge what's science and what isn't) is that such a discussion should not be presented as science, but as philosophy.
Your argument has a few holes in it, ones you could comfortably put a stadium into and still have room.
Basically, you teach SCIENCE in a SCIENCE class. What the kids DESIRE is irrelevant. And claiming ID is science requires one or two basic rules of science to be ignored or dropped.
Or, in simpler terms, calling a hand a foot does NOT mean that Nike makes a sneaker that fits properly. . .
Many churches do, and it is not illegal yet. But you miss the point, the churches are owned by the believers. The public schools are owned by the public and not by the courts or by barking moonbats. It is school boards and local taxpayers/parents who should make decisions.
ID does not belong in a "science" room because it is not based in "science". Wouldn't want someone introducing French into a Calculus class either. However, I have no problem with ID being discussed in philosophy class or some other more appropriate class for non-scientific topics of discussion.
Beliefs are not science.
Yeah. And they have lots of people who watch the "haunted houses" shows on the travel channel too.
The school's curriculum should be determined by the elected school board, not some judge.
If you don't like what the local school board determines the curriculum should be, then go to a private school or move.
And that swings both ways.
"I don't see what one has to do with the other, at least not as far as requiring them to be taught together."
I would think that rather than any aspect of evolution, the confusion would lie at the fundamental root of biological science. Scientists can explain to their satisfaction the workings of an organism down to the cell, but cannot explain the last little bit that is life.
Should the courts supervise this separation between French and Calculus? What evil things will happen if some school board dares to violate this?
Beliefs are not science. There is belief content in science and the religion is not all mysticism and belief.
Also there are thing which are being taught is schools like human rights or justice which have religious origin. Science by itself amoral - it can find ways to cure diseases and the way to poison people.
Secularism was tried in Soviet Union and proved to disastrous. It was tried in France and it created vacuum for Muslim invasion. Why the former fellow travelers insist on repeating this failed experiment?
When I read the title, I wasn't sure if it was Scientologists, Moonies, or Flat-Earth theorists who were complaining that their views weren't being taught in science classrooms. Once I started reading the article, I found out that it's much worse. :)
Whenever the subject of ID vs Darwinism comes up its always a laugher for me to see how sensitive and defensive Darwinists are over the precious theory. You would think it was religion to them......
And sometimes the Darwinists are down right mean...ouch...
You debate them at your own peril...the insults and sarcasm are thick enough to cut with a knife...still its fun anyway..:)
Interestingly, Lysenko (or rather, Lamark)may have somewhat more validity than once thought. One of the hot topics in molecular and cancer genetics is non-Mendelian inheritance, in particular, epigenetic inheritance that allows for acquired patterns of expression to be passed from generation to generation.
"Science by itself amoral - it can find ways to cure diseases and the way to poison people."
Organized religion (not 'God', per se) is also amoral. It has found ways to provide aid to people in need and has found ways (and reasons) to kill those which it deems to be witches/unbelievers/infidels,etc.
Howdy, Electric Strawberry, I wore the patch in Vietnam 1967-68
However, my purpose in responding to your comment is to agree with it.
Evolution is based on science--testable and retestable propositions.
ID and Creationism, etc, etc, are based on faith, which cannot be tested or proved, no matter how much their backers raise objections.
The point is that SCIENCE and FAITH are like two ships passing in the night--they may see each other, but they can never come alongside each other or come into congruence.
I have been recently drummed out of my Sunday School class for expresssing such sentiments.
Oh well, such is life amid extreme religionists.
ID and Creationism is the depths of ignorance and if it becomes widespread enough, it will mark the begining of the end of America as this land slips into the 3rd world.
Nothing like a little hysteria to show one's true colors. LOL
Nothing, as far as the court is concerned. Of course, his ideas are discredited and would not be suitable for a biology class, and any school board that adds it to the science curriculum should face a furious constituency. (History would be another matter.) But as I said, his theories are perfectly legal to teach.
Are the courts going to ban all theories which do not fit in the present canon of what students might be exposed to?
Uh...did you actually read the judge's ruling? What language or logic did you find in it that would ban the teaching of Lysenkoism?
From what I have read from various sources is that this decision is saying is that a teacher cannot even mention the fact that there are theories other than evolution.
The only thing the school board was allowing was for teachers to make a brief statement that not everyone agrees with evolution, there are opposing theories, and students should make up their own minds. There wasn't even anything being taught about any other theory. Just that brief statement.
For evols to get so bent out of shape over something like that shows they are more interested in brainwashing students than in educating them.
The problem with ID is that it posits something (super-natural intelligence that guides evolution) that is not scientifically testable. That very fact alone means that it is not a valid scientific theory. Therefore, it is not valid to teach ID in the science classrooms of public schools.
Simple logic is all that is required to reach this conclusion, but unfortunately "activist judges" are required to stop those who would turn science into public-opinion polls.
Does the Theory of Evolution have problems? Of course it does. So do our theories dealing with particle physics, for example, but you don't hear activists trying to push non-scientific alternatives. But the so-called "Science Establishment" can and does modify those theories as better explanations come about. ID is not one of those better explanations.
Reading the court transcripts is an excercise of perseverance, but I was struck by how comically Michael Behe (a leading proponent for ID) evaded stating the mechanism behind ID after having been caught to have said, "Intelligent design theory focuses exclusively on the proposed mechanism of how complex biological structures arose."
(www2.ncseweb.org/kvd/trans/2005_1018_day11_pm.pdf page 63ff)
For proof of this argument, I highly recommend reading in today's WSJ the review of Christine Rosen's book "My Fundamentalist Education". This woman was taught that the world was created in 6 24 hour days, and that all the dinosaurs drowned in the Great Flood. Yet, she survived, and wrote a book about it.
Add to it inter species genetic exchange and cooperation? Or reverse writing of information INTO DNA?
But such new (or old) ideas might be illegal in American classrooms! What would happen with blind randomness and Dickensian XIX century struggle for survival?
Maybe teaching about the genes should be made illegal? Genes were introduced AFTER Darwin by a ROMAN CATHOLIC MONK!
"Organized religion (not 'God', per se) is also amoral. It has found ways to provide aid to people in need and has found ways (and reasons) to kill those which it deems to be witches/unbelievers/infidels,etc."
Ahh, but when said organized religion killed those witches, unbelievers, infidels, etc, it was done in the name of God (and thus though to be the moral thing to do). This is not amoral but rather immoral.
Science, on the other hand, is truly amoral because morality is irrelevant to it (though not irrelevant to its practitioners).
I'm a Christian, but I was heartily in favor of taking prayer and Bible study out of public school. Most kids made a mockery out of these things. Practice religion in your home, at your place of worship, and how you relate to other people.
Are you saying that if in some remote corner of Alabama the local school board lets creationism to be taught in school this small puncture will explode the balloon of American greatness?
I think that Celebration of Diversity and homosexual training does more harm. And the way to the 3rd world is through the open borders.
Could you mention in the science classroom that it is wrong to steal? "It is not a valid scientific theory"!
A 2004 Gallup Poll found that just 13 percent of Americans believe in evolution unaided by God.Now there's a way to do science: poll the general public.
By that measure, we should be teaching flying saucers in modern history class.
The difference being that I'm talking about something with a basis in science while you are not.
"Beliefs" have no place in a science room in any manner, only that which is true "science" belongs, you know...all that stuff that follows the scientific method. WTF has said that religion is all mysticism and beliefs? I was talking about ONLY this notion of ID being a "belief", but if you wanna go there, NOTHING having to do with religion belongs in a SCIENCE classroom, you know...the basis of your headline. Nice strawman though.
Things like "human rights" and "justice" which may have notions of spirituality that are taught in school have nothing to do with the evolution/ID debate and the attempt to discredit the ET in a science class by introducing into a science room the baseless notion of ID. Nice red herring.
Science being or not being amoral has nothing to do with any discussions on this matter, that's a subjective judgement that can be foisted upon ANYTHING. Police can be amoral too, so can doctors, so can YOU. "Amorality" is yet another red herring.
Slippery slope alert. Communist secularism and French secularism have nothing to do with what is happening in the United States unless you follow the illogic of a slippery slope argument.
"Could you mention in the science classroom that it is wrong to steal? "It is not a valid scientific theory"!"
Apples and oranges. Sure, you could mention it, but don't pass it off as a scientific theory. That's what ID is doing here, and this is simply unacceptable in public schools.
This is not amoral but rather immoral. "
OK - I see your point there.
"Science, on the other hand, is truly amoral because morality is irrelevant to it (though not irrelevant to its practitioners)."
As it should be. 'Good science' is about being objective and keeping emotion out of observation.
Nothing so long as the rest of the story is told. Those were some very bad days for some scientists.
My intention here is not to say that the discussion of ID doesn't belong in the SCHOOL, just that it belongs in a non-science class like philosophy or theology (if they even teach that any more). Science classes are for teaching science and scientific thinking, not for debating baseless and unprovable hypotheses.
Not quite correct. That's not what the statement said. To clarify, I've posted the complete statement below.
The statement clearly and plainly stated that 'ID is an explanation of the origin of life that differs from Darwin's view' and also recommended the 'reference' book, "Of Pandas and People".
The problem is that Darwin's theory doesn't address the origin of life and the 'reference' book is thinly-veiled creationism.
First, the board passed a resolution that said that they were going to teach "other theories of evolution".
ID is not a theory of evolution, but of the origin of life.
As an aside, the boards resolution plainly stated, as seen in blue, that they were not going to teach the origin of life.
But, in the statement they gave to teachers to read, we see that they are plainly stating that "Intelligent Design is an explanation of the origin of life".
And to further muddy the waters, the teachers' statement says that the "school leaves the discussion of the origin of life to individual students and their families."
All of it is one lie layered on another and they got caught.
This is why they lost the case and why they got booted out of office afterward.
On October 18, 2004, the Defendant Dover Area School Board of Directors passed by a 6-3 vote the following resolution:
Students will be made aware of gaps/problems in Darwins theory and of other theories of evolution including, but not limited to, intelligent design. Note: Origins of Life is not taught.
On November 19, 2004, the Defendant Dover Area School District announced by press release that, commencing in January 2005, teachers would be required to read the following statement to students in the ninth grade biology class at Dover High School:
The Pennsylvania Academic Standards require students to learn about Darwins Theory of Evolution and eventually to take a standardized test of which evolution is a part. Because Darwins Theory is a theory, it continues to be tested as new evidence is discovered. The Theory is not a fact. Gaps in the Theory exist for which there is no evidence. A theory is defined as a well-tested explanation that unifies a broad range of observations. Intelligent Design is an explanation of the origin of life that differs from Darwins view. The reference book, Of Pandas and People, is available for students who might be interested in gaining an understanding of what Intelligent Design actually involves. With respect to any theory, students are encouraged to keep an open mind. The school leaves the discussion of the Origins of Life to individual students and their families. As a Standards-driven district, class instruction focuses upon preparing students to achieve proficiency on Standards-based assessments.
"Are you saying that if in some remote corner of Alabama thelocal school board lets creationism to be taught in school this small puncture will explode the balloon of American greatness?
I think that Celebration of Diversity and homosexual training does more harm. And the way to the 3rd world is through the open borders."
No....but if enough little pissant school boards around the country do it......it would be a start down hill
on your comments on 'Diversity' and the open borders, you are 100% correct.
That's a misconception. The concept of species struggling for superiority comes from Lamarck. Darwinism has no intentional "motive"; it's just death-take-the-hindmost.
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