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A victory for science!

edited December 2005 in Everything Else
Court rejects 'intelligent design' in class

Some choice quotations from the ruling judge:

"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."

"...the facts of this case make[] it abundantly clear that the Board's ID Policy violates the Establishment Clause. In making this determination, we have addressed the seminal question of whether ID is science. We have concluded that it is not, and moreover that ID cannot uncouple itself from its creationist, and thus religious, antecedents."

Perhaps my favourite:

"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."


  • This is a very good thing, and a sound victory for science.

    But I'm worried. I was listening to one of the podcasts that Scott had suggested, Digital Debates, and the episode with Pat Buchanan I just listened to yesterday. His comments reveal to me one of the principle foundations of the craziness that is damaging our country, the idea of Judical Tryanny, or the idea of the Judiciary overthrowing the laws passed by congress. Which means any thing like this is going to be seen as an example of an overly powerful court.

    I know, I know. It's stupid. But that seems to be the idea. Nevermind the fact that, in many ways, our system is supposed to have bulwarks against the hordes of popular stupidity, of which the Judiciary is the last guard, supposed to be insulated from these popular prejudices.

    I have more thoughts along these lines, but that's what my blog is for, I suppose. So, Yay Science! Go Courts, slap down those crazies.
  • How dare those activist judges go against His word; they shall no longer be touched by his noodley appendage.

    Seriously, though, this is awesome on a lot of levels, even if it is going to generate a lot of flak from the pro-ID crowd. The cynic in me, of course, says that this won't really accomplish much, and I'm just waiting for the White House to weigh in on this.

    But at least this shows that there is still some sanity left in this country.
  • I like the quote in this post []:

    "It's a total victory. It's Hiroshima for ID. Game over, thank you for playing, we have some lovely parting gifts for you. It couldn't be any better if I had written it myself."

    If only that were true. I doubt it will be game over, but it is a tasty slice of victory for now.
  • While Buchanan is a nutty guy, he's not stupid. His problem, which is a problem many people have, is the seperation of ideology and stance on specific issues. A political/economic ideology is something like free trade vs. protectionism, capitalism vs. socialism, powerful congress vs. powerful judges, state's rights vs. federal rights, etc. Issues are things like abortion, sweatshops, separation of church and state, civil liberties, etc.

    Too often people attach stances on issues to ideologies. I mean, the civil war is when they attached the issue of slavery to the ideology of state's rights. They made it seem like if you were for one you were for both. I see no reason why I can't be for state's rights and against slavery, and in fact that's what I am.

    The way I see it today people like you, and Pat are for/against "activist" judges because you see them acting in a way you do/don't desire on issues. I seem to have mostly the same stance on the issues that you do and Pat does not. However, I agree with Pat's political ideology.

    Think about this. If the judges were all crazy righties and the congress and the president were all lefties, but we had the same situation of a weak congress and "activist" judges. Would you be calling the judges activist? I bet you would. Would Pat be saying the same things you are saying that the judges aren't activist. I bet he would. I would say that congress is still not doing it's job properly causing judges to have too much power, no matter what stance on issues the judges or congress had.

    Being in favor of free trade doesn't mean you like sweatshops. Being in favor of states rights doesn't mean you like abortion or slavery. Being in favor of powerful congress doesn't mean you disagree with the actions of current judges or agree with laws congress is making. Stop changing the way the government works because it might be more advantageous to your "side". Follow the constitution and then push your side within the framwork of a properly working government.
  • I realized Pat wasn't stupid. I spent the first half of the show in disbelief, finding that I had some agreement with him about some aspects of international politics.

    The problem you talked about is right, the problem of seperating a stance on specific issues and the ideology. But part of the problem is what do you do when your stance on a specific issue conflicts with your legal stances? I suppose this problem is one of the biggest that plauge people. I don't have a good answer to what I would do, or how I would stand. I know the structure of this system decently well, hopefully at least as well as you do, so I know what I can do to push my side from inside the structure of the constitution.

    About your thought experiment: You have a good point, but I suppose that is another place that I have a problem with Pat. He only sees the Judicary overstepping its bounds, but that's part of the problem I have with his view. The Congress is the only branch that has let it power slip. Both the president and the courts are stepping into the areas of making law because congress isn't taking its primary role in our goverment. I think the problem of a over-zealous Executive is currently the more dangerous.

    I don't want to change the way the goverment works to benfit my "side," beyound making sure we follow the law, and removing the ability to buy the goverment that you desire.
  • Science is awesome.

    You may be interested in reading the actual decision:

    It's long, and I'm only 20 pages in, but it's interesting reading. It shines a rather damning light on the ID movement.
  • Mine favorite quote so far is

    "390). Moreover, in turning to Defendants’ lead
    expert, Professor Behe, his testimony at trial indicated that ID is only a scientific,
    as opposed to a religious, project for him; however, considerable evidence was
    introduced to refute this claim. Consider, to illustrate, that Professor Behe
    remarkably and unmistakably claims that the plausibility of the argument for ID
    depends upon the extent to which one believes in the existence of God. (P-718 at 705) (emphasis added). As no evidence in the record indicates that any other
    scientific proposition’s validity rests on belief in God, nor is the Court aware of
    any such scientific propositions, Professor Behe’s assertion constitutes substantial evidence that in his view, as is commensurate with other prominent ID leaders, IDis a religious and not a scientific proposition.

    wow.. that's just great ^_^ ID depends on how much you believe in a god!!! wow.. someone just lost the arguement right there!
  • Well, WE know they lost the argument, but some of these ID proponents don't really have anything like logic or reason. It's a frustrating thing, really.

    But the court decision still makes me all warm and fuzzy inside.
  • Well, just as Pilitus feared, cries of "activist judge" are flying...
  • The Judge predicted this would happen.

    “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.”

    I would have to say this is one of the best lines ^_^
  • For being the first court ruling I’ve ever read this has been highly amusing page 78 says.

    “In fact, on cross-examination, Professor Behe was questioned concerning his 1996 claim that science would never find an evolutionary explanation for the immune system. He was presented with fiftyeight peer-reviewed publications, nine books, and several immunology textbook chapters about the evolution of the immune system; however, he simply insisted that this was still not sufficient evidence of evolution, and that it was not “good enough.” (23:19 (Behe)).”

    I think that would be the definition of getting “pwned”

    (can you tell I'm reading it at work)
  • I hate being right about this. Because it really sucks when you assume the worst of people, and they meet those assumptions. I like that quote, but it ignores the fact that the people who are crying activist aren't going to read it. at all. We are going to read and quote-mine it, because we like this decision, it's well written, and it has importance to the issue at hand in terms of case history.

    And I really need to read this decision, sounds like I'm going to like reading this. Good thing I have a digital press sitting behind me.
  • I figured I'd post this.. It's a link to Evolution 101 a explainatory podcast on Evolution (and biology in general) I found it to be a very informative overview of Evolution and Biology. (so far)
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