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The War On Science: ID & The Dover Case

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What is astounding about this case brought before the US District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania is that it ever got to this level at all.

If one reads the pretrial memorandum of the ACLU and one examines the statements made by Bill Buckingham, the school board’s curriculum committee chairperson it is utterly amazing this case is occurring in the 21st century. Buckingham, in June of 2004, criticized the biology text being used at the time, Miller and Levine’s Biology, for being “laced with Darwinism.” I quote here:

Responding to concerns that it might not be proper to favor Christianity over other religions, he declared that ‘this country wasn’t founded on Muslim beliefs or evolution’ but was instead founded on Christianity, and our students should be taught as such. Buckingham announced that the curriculum committee would look for a textbook presenting creationism as well as evolution. At the next board meeting Buckingham denied that the Constitution calls for a separation of church and state; he lamented that the public-school students no longer prayed and read the Bible in class as they had in his day; and he criticized ‘liberals in black robes’ [for] taking away the rights of Christians.

THIS is the face of Intelligent Design unmasked. There are hundreds of Buckinghams around this country who are at this moment in various stages of pushing their fundamentalist ideology down the throats of school children.

Make no mistake: Christian fundamentalists would like to roll this country right back to 1692.

Ed:LisaM

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About Marlowe

  • practical joe

    Make no mistake: Extreme left wing liberals want to unroll what this country stood for right up to 1964 and Madyln Murray O’Hare — and to keep right on unrolling everything that is left of what the Founders established.

  • http://www.fifthdentist.blogspot.com The Fifth Dentis

    The issue is not what Madyln (sic) said. It’s what Madison said.

    In describing the First Amendment he wrote: “Congress should not establish a religion and enforce the legal observation of it by law, nor compel men to worship God in any manner contary to their conscience, or that one sect might obtain a pre-eminence, or two combined together, and establish a religion to which they would compel others to conform (Annals of Congress, Sat Aug 15th, 1789 pages 730 – 731).

    Against the establishment of religion he said: “The experience of the United States is a happy disproof of the error so long rooted in the unenlightened minds of well-meaning Christians, as well as in the corrupt hearts of persecuting usurpers, that without a legal incorporation of religious and civil polity, neither could be supported. A mutual independence is found most friendly to practical Religion, to social harmony, and to political prosperity” (Letter to F.L. Schaeffer, Dec 3, 1821).

    He only reiterated these beliefs about 5000 more times.

    Which side of this debate has no regard for the Framers’ intent? I think its obvious.

  • http://sussfr.blogspot.com Matthew T. Sussman

    Creationism. Intelligent Design.

    NOT THE SAME THING.

  • Maurice

    I think there are enough holes in both theories that neither should be taught as a science.

  • Alethinos

    Practical Joe… So “liberals” want to “unroll” the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, bring Hitler back to power, see Blacks enslaved again, see the average lifespan for an American male pushed back to 41 yrs, see child labor laws abolished, etc., etc?

    You might want to rethink your post…

    Alethinos

  • Alethinos

    Mr Sussman… Creationism and ID ARE EXACTLY the same thing… The point is the same, the poltical drive behind them is the same – the people who saw creationism FAIL turned instead and began promoting ID…

    You might want to do a bit more research into this…

    Alethinos

  • http://sussfr.blogspot.com Matthew T. Sussman

    So if they ditched creationism for ID, then they’re not the same thing.

    B-b-b-b-but you said they are the same thing! (Brain meltdown)

    But Alethinos, here’s your research.

    Creationism: Adam and Eve danced around naked, Eve some bad advice from a snake and ate something she shouldn’t have (also got some illegal insider stock tips), thereby ending their perpetual fuckfest in Eden.

    Intelligent design: Advanced organisms have features which are “irreducibly complex,” meaning that some of their features are so delicate random evolution cannot account for them, because without one of any crucial ingredients to that feature, the design is useless and the creature falls behind the 8-ball in nature’s survival-of-the-fittest.

    Do I buy into it? Not necessarily. But I know the difference.

  • Alethinos

    Maurice… You may want to return to a college course in biology. There are no “holes” in the evolutionary science. What is “missing” is what is to be expected – there are always new finds, new pieces of the puzzle that fills in more of the picture of life on earth… At no time have scientists made finds that have conflicted with the basic concepts of evolutionary science.

    What is SO SAD about this is that such narrow-minded fundamentalists are actually shooting themselves in the foot.

    I believe in God. I believe that we were created and given a rational soul. I believe that humankind has ALWAYS been JUST that – “human” no matter what our OUTER appearence might have been. But I cannot deny the overwhelming truth of the mountain of facts we have before us: evolution is a fact – it is PROVEN in fossil records and can be proven in the lab.

    At this point science as it is currently being taught and I part company – WHICH IS FINE. Science is concerned with WHAT CAN BE PROVEN CONCRETELY. I cannot expect scientist to “prove” this – at least at this time. MY FAITH IS STRONG ENOUGH THAT THIS DOESN’T BOTHER ME… BUT I WOULD BE A FOOL AND A HYPOCRITE IF I CLOSED MY EYES TO THE TRUTH BEFORE ME, literally a planetful of evidence.

    Alethinos

  • Alethinos

    Sussman… No, there is no “irreducibly complex[ity]” that science cannot explain. They are actually EXPLAINING it DAILY! For God’s sake man – get yer ass to a library or subscribe to SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN, or DISCOVER, or SCIENCE DAILY or at least read the science section of the New York Times every Tuesday.

    This is what is so pathetic about the people pushing ID – they don’t realize what SCIENCE IS. Science doesn’t deny the spirit – it says, “we can’t prove it – we are concerned ONLY with what can be physically proven, what is testable and repeatable in a lab”.

    This has NOTHING to do with whether God created the Universe. He may have. But there is no way it can be PROVEN.

    God is BEYOND creation. He is BEYOND our existence – He HAS TO BE in order to BE the Creator. There is no door leading to Him via science.

    Now I know a good number of scientists, and on a starry night they do look up, and will admit that they believe in an Intelligence behind it all – but there is NO WAY to prove it.

    But sorry, this “irreducibly complex” argument that IDers keep tossing out doesn’t wash.

    Alethinos

  • http://sussfr.blogspot.com Matthew T. Sussman

    Turn OFF the caps LOCK for A second, slick. It makes your comments easier to read.

    It’s not a Christian-based theory but several creationists are latching onto it. Religion or God isn’t even a necessary component of it.

    It has lots holes. It has criticism, moreso than evolution. And, like I said already, I don’t necessarily buy into it. But I know the difference, as you asked me to elaborate.

    Now let me ask you to elaborate on this:

    Now I know a good number of scientists, and on a starry night they do look up, and will admit that they believe in an Intelligence behind it all – but there is NO WAY to prove it.

    Do you believe it is OK for a professor to mention this in class?

  • Maurice

    Alethinos

    I am a Design Engineer (and an athiest) so I find holes in every theory. There are many holes in the theory of evolution but the main problem is the concept of beneficial mutations. Mutations always lose genetic material and are sterile. In other words entrophy is at work everywhere. Expecting a lesser being to mutate into a greater being is not good theory.

  • JR

    Maurice: Mutations always lose genetic material and are sterile.

    Blatantly false. You aren’t qualified to speak on the subject.

  • Alethinos

    SUSSMAN!!! SORRY ABOUT THE Caplocks I just haven’t had a lot of coffee yet…

    A professor? In college? Where there is a great deal more freedom? Sure. I’ve heard professors say it.

    But ID is not provable. I think where the common layperson gets confused with evolution is in the ubiquitous phrase, “theory of evolution”. They assume that “theory” means there is little evidence for it. Nothing could be further from the truth. We have the “theory of gravity” in physics – are you going to insist that there’s no proof for gravity?

    Almost ALL (sorry but you know it would be nice if they had BOLD and ITALIC so that these posts flow more like conversation) of science is “evolving”. There is always more to learn – so most of science is theory.

    And here is the root of the problem – the vast majority of people who promote ID are Christian fundamentalists. Their agenda is blatantly clear. Simply because a few people with Ph.Ds behind their names promote ID doesn’t make it “science” at all.

    Alethinos

  • Maurice

    JR

    yes I am unqualified. Is it alright if I speak?

    Do you know of a case where a mutation gained genetic material?

  • JR

    Maurice: yes I am unqualified. Is it alright if I speak?

    Well, it’s legal; but it’s not particularly helpful.

    Do you know of a case where a mutation gained genetic material?

    Yes.

  • Alethinos

    Maurice can you tell me any cases that support your supposition here? A mutation, by it’s very nature speaks to an alteration in gentetic structure. That is the organism is changing to adapt to its environment. This is no place more readily seen than in viruses and bacteria. They are constantly mutating in order to survive an extremely hostile environment…

    Is this what you’re trying to get at?

    Alethinos

  • Dr. Kurt

    Gain genetic material? Happens every day: triple X syndrome, Kleinfelter’s, etc.
    Regarding entropy? Check out the last 20 years of research on living systems and nullentropy – it may be enlightening for you. For instance Prigogine & Stengers, 1984.
    ID is not science; it is a stubborn, angry reaction to science.

  • td

    American Scientists, including many who were both nobel prize winners and christians, have been able to rise to the top of their fields without ID being included in science text books.

    Why is this needed now?

  • td

    Here’s another question.

    If you want ID in science class to debate against evolution, is it okay if we bring evolution into religion class to debate the existence of God?

  • Maurice

    RJ

    thanks for letting me voice an opinion. Your link seems to support what I am saying. Transposons damage genes and are considered ‘parasites’. They do not improve the genes but cause genetic damage. Also you will notice they affect ‘asexual organisms’.

    I see holes in all theories of origination. I will admit to being ‘unqualified’ for this dicussion but since nobody knows, we are all just expressing our opinions.

    In my opinion ID, Creationism, and Evolution are all ‘best guesses’.

  • Alethinos

    Maurice – the point is that there is evidence for evolution. Tons of it. Mountains of it. There is none for ID. ID is the equiv., of the attempts by medieval Church Fathers to “prove” God existed. IT was a terribly sad and futile effort.

    The error there – as with ID is that there must be “some link” between the physical Universe and the realm of Spirit. The axiology that brought this all about is long and complex – and has a great deal to do with the inherant Materialism of (esp) Northern European culture…

    Science deals strictly with the physical world. God and such are in the realm of Spirit. There is no link between the two that we could ever prove –

    Now we can deduce, if we wish, from the beauty and complexity of our Universe that there must be Intellgence behind it all – but you can never prove this – because, again, God is BEYOND Existence. He has to be – in order to BE the source of all the God-like attributes we assign Him.

    Alethinos

  • JR

    Maurice: Your link seems to support what I am saying. Transposons damage genes and are considered ‘parasites’. They do not improve the genes but cause genetic damage.

    They can, but don’t always. Let’s look at this sentence again: “While transposons may confer some benefits on their hosts, they are generally considered to be selfish DNA parasites that live within the genome of cellular organisms.”

    Also you will notice they affect ‘asexual organisms’.

    Not exclusively. Maize and fruitflies reproduce sexually.

    “Transposons are found in all major branches of life.”

  • http://www.fifthdentist.blogspot.com The Fifth Dentist

    SUSSMAN:

    PLEASE EXCUSE THE ALLCAPS BUT MY CAPSLOCK HAND IS OCCUPIED RIGHT NOW.

    SINCE MATH IS THE LANGUAGE OF SCIENCE, LET ME EXPLAIN THINGS TO YOU IN MATHEMATICAL TERMS:

    ID = CREATIONISM
    IRREDUCIBLE COMPLEXITY = HORSESHIT
    DOVER SCHOOL BOARD = MORONS
    DEMBSKI = ASSCLOWN
    HOLES IN EVOLUTION = HOLES IN YOUR
    FUCKING HEAD
    SCIENCE != RELIGION

  • http://sussfr.blogspot.com Matthew T. Sussman

    Funny you bring up the number system:

    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 __ 9 10

    What’s the missing number?

    Evolution says it’s 8, and it can only be 8.

    Intelligent design, or any other theory, supposes it may not be (or may be) 8.

    And we all have 7 holes in our fucking heads, Dentist No. 5. It’s how we were made.

  • http://www.fifthdentist.blogspot.com The Fifth Dentist

    Sussman: There is no point in debating the merits of ID v. Evolution or even whether ID is really science or religion. I also assume that you accept that the issue of whether religion should be taught in schools is settled dispositively by the First Amendment. Therefore, let me concede for the purposes of argument that ID is a bona fide scientific theory with no religious element. The real problem here is whether it is proper for a school board to teach what is at best a theory accepted only by a tiny fringe minority of scientists or teach mainstream science. If ID has some validity, over time it will become a mainstream theory. Right now it is not accepted. I base this on the fact that 99.99999% of scientists in this field believe that ID is snake oil. That group of scientists is who you’ve got to convince if you want to teach something in public schools. The price of admission to that debate is that you’ve got to obtain a PHD and do some research in the field. In other words, you’ve got to devote your life to it and expose your work to peer review. You don’t enter that debate by joining a school board or starting a weblog. It is improper not to mention criminally stupid for a school board to substitute its judgment for that of the mainstream scientific community on the issue of what to teach in the schools. And what do you think their motive is here? Which do you think is more likely that the Dover school board is composed of amateur bioligists or fundamentalist christians? And what if these schmucks decide that they don’t believe in quantum mechanics or just don’t understand or it constradicts some passage in revelations? What if some clownish school board wants to teach kids astrology? You up for that?

  • http://www.blogcritics.com T A Dodger

    This ID debate seems to happen every week on blogcritics and it never seems to go anywhere beyond “ID is not science!” “It is too!!!” so I don’t see any point in wading into the argument. I will say though, that Hume addressed the question of an intelligent designer from a philosophical perspective in Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion. It’s thourough treatment of the logical arguments on each side (though not the scientific ones), and I highly recommend it.

    Andra