Intelligent Design (The Debate Isn't Helping)

By Leon H Wolf Posted in Comments (203) / Email this page » / Leave a comment »

From the Diaries...

We've got another spate of diaries on Intelligent Design in the wake of the PA judge's ruling on the "Constitutionality" of teaching ID in the classroom. Also, not surprisingly, my least favorite columnist has chimed in in a post that is remarkable only for the mildness of its offensive nature (at least he isn't calling ID proponents unwashed window breakers anymore). While I normally find Charles Krauthammer to be an interesting read, I have cringed in anticipation of his latest anti-ID screed in response to the Pennsylvania ruling.

For myself, I'm not going to comment whatsoever on this whole business. At least one of our diarists thinks that's because I'm afraid that Krauthammer and his ilk will think less of me. I can assure you, if I were offered the estimation of Charles Krauthammer and John Derbyshire as a Christmas present, I would check the box for a receipt. I choose to abstain from this discussion in political forums because of something I've realized about it:

There is no possible victory involved for conservatism in this debate.

More below the fold:

Now, I used to think differently on this matter. After all, I once penned this beauty (still the record-holder for most comments at RedState). But as I've watched and observe the tides ebb and flow, I've come to realize that while there is a valid place for this debate, political pundits should be the last ones to engage in it.

I have observed this from the perspective of someone who believes in outright creation science, if not Intelligent Design, and let me tell you how I have perceived the comments of Krauthammer and Derbyshire: here you have two political commentators, one a mathematician by background, the other a psychologist, blasting political conservatives over what science is, and calling them the "Great Unwashed". It's not something, as one of their fellow columnists once noted, that warms the hearts of average conservatives who either believe some of ID, or indeed, don't hate it intensely.

Now, I certainly do not intend to say that because one is not a "sceintist" (as Krauthammer and Derbyshire are not), they are not allowed to have an opinion on ID. The problem is that the reason Krauthammer and Derbyshire have been given column space is because they are political commentators, charged with using their column inches to comment on politics. Ostensibly, both wish to advance the cause of conservatism. Instead, they periodically take diversions to needlessly insult a significant portion of the conservative base over an issue whose political significance is extremely marginal at best.

In other words, my feeling about Krauthammer, Derbyshire, et al is basically this: if you wish to denigrate ID and insult its proponents, go find an ID discussion board (they are legion) and do so there - don't use the pages of NR or your token space in the WaPo to do it in. What possible benefit to the cause of conservatism could come about by you propounding your opinion on a topic which is neither your calling nor your area of expertise, and which will insult a significant portion of the Republican coalition? None at all, I say. Accordingly, Derbyshire and Krauthammer would do themselves and the cause well by shutting their trap on this issue, or taking the discussion perhaps to a blog/newspaper of their own - at the very least if they simply can't manage to discuss it in a non-insulting and condescending manner.

Then I applied the same logic to myself. Certainly, I have beliefs about the scientific validity of evolution. However, I am not a biologist by trade or expertise. This does not disqualify me from offering an opinion on the subject, certainly - just because I don't play professional football, doesn't mean that I can't tell what professional football is. However, the directors don't give me column space here to talk about Intelligent Design - they give it to me to talk about politics.

If I were to abuse that trust by consistently posting pro-ID/creation science articles that were insulting and condescending to conservatives who believe in evolution, I would expect a number of legitimate complaints, and I would further expect the rest of my work not to be taken as seriously. After all, I don't really read Krauthammer anymore, and I've found myself reading the corner less and less, and NR not at all, as a direct result of the attitude of Krauthammer and Derbyshire. I'm also self-aware enough to know that my own tone can sometimes come across as condescending and crass to my opponents, and don't wish the message of RedState and the cause of conservatism to suffer accordingly. Therefore, if I want to debate the merits of creation science and/or ID, I go to one of the many discussion boards that exist on the internet about the topic, and discuss it there.

There are times for strident and passionate debate between conservatives about the issues that matter most to us, and will define us as a political movement - even if there are some hard feelings in the short term - see Miers, Harriet. But I've witnessed how ID discussions always - and I mean always turn out: personal insults, condescension, hard feelings and parted ways. And the end result of these fights is inevitably nothing whatsoever. There's no political bonus for either side whatsoever if they win - just the satisfaction of sticking out their tongue and saying, "Neener, neener, neener."

No, thanks, I'll pass on such a pointless discussion that rends good political allies asunder and alienates potential Republican voters. I'll also reject the argument that this is a legitimate political concern, as manifested in school board decisions like the ones in Dover. To the extent that it is a political issue at all, the issue concerns whether control of education curriculum should be local or federal. The fact that the issue happens to be ID is irrelevant to the actual political issue - it may as well have been sex ed or any other emotionally charged issue. The bile over ID is just not necessary to effect any political change whatsoever.

Therefore, count me out of this mudfight. At least here.

I'd encourage Krauthammer, Derbyshire, and the ID proponents here to at the very least consider this course of action themselves.

But the debate isn't pointless.  As soon as you start demanding that ID be taught to students, the debate does have very real consequences.  Yes, it may be get ugly, but since people have decided they must take action to make sure kids are forced to learn ID, the discussion is meaningful and forced.

[B]ut since people have decided they must take action to make sure kids are forced to learn neo-Darwinist evolution, with none of the critiques or alternatives, on the collective taxpayer's dime, regardless of his wishes, and without any local or state control, the discussion is meaningful and forced.

Yes, because just thing of all the boorish ignoramuses our school systems will produce if our children are not forced to recapitulate the theory that eyeballs came from amoebas.

See here? Pointless.

If you want to fit this into a larger argument about school choice, that is fine, but ID is just a handy issue to hang your insult/disdain peg on.

When you purposely lie about what what Darwin's theory of evolution by natural selection is, and how it is being taught.

If you wish to change it, the discussion has to be had.

It pretty much always devolves to this kind of mudslinging, and it pretty much never effects how successful our schoolchildren will be in the real world. Unless you define "success" as "sharing your belief about Darwinian evolution."

The debate itself is not pointless. However, within the context of advancing the cause of political conservatism, it is.

Assuming that you didn't get booted for that already.  Which, frankly, would be a reasonable response.

Right now, an imperial judiciary tells us what we may and may not do. The discussion should be on removing their power here, not on the merits themselves.

Your one warning, buckaroo. If even Moe's chiming in, you're on thin ice.

Didn't know we got there yet.  And although you may not consider the biology/medical field a successful career, some do.  And some of our kids do eventually go on to study genetics/mutations, etc.

Having a basic understanding of what science has observed so far is quite important to them.

deal in mutations. Except they call it selective breeding. They did it before God created Darwin.

You might have the belief that this is all very important to you, and that one can't understand genetics or mutations without also believing in Darwinism (a strange proposition, given that Mendel did not believe in evolution, and seemed to understand the principles of genetics just fine). Whatever.

Insofar as this is a political discussion at all, it is a discussion about school choice, or a discussion about local control of education. NOT about ID.

Again, there is a discussion about ID to be had, but this just isn't the appropriate forum.

Is Darwinism the teaching of eyeballs from amoebas?  Or perhaps as the other diary linked to suggests, that all people who believe natural selction plays a part in our genetics cannot believe in God.  It's just not true.

Is Darwinism the teaching of eyeballs from amoebas?

Hmm. So Darwinism doesn't teach that the vastly complex forms of life (say, eyeballs) all ultimately evolved from single-celled organisms (like amoebas)? I learn something new every day.

This is the real story here. A judge is telling a school system what it can and cannot teach. I happen to think that ID shouldn't be taught in science classes, but I don't see where this is a judge's call. See Ramesh Ponneru's latest comment on this topic at the Corner.

And that's the last hint you need.

say that eyeballs come from some kind of "primoridal soup" as that produced the amoebas that produced the eyeballs.

that this is a judge's call because the case was taken to court. That's not the judge's fault - a judge does not decide which cases come before him.

It seems a stretch to blame the judiciary for making a judgement.

Ideally what I would like to see is the Scientific community come up with a standards organization like ASCII, ISO, or SAE have, then schools receive accreditation based on this.  That way we can have the market (college admission) sort this out.  There will be schools that teach ID in science, but I'd have to imagine it would be about equal in proportion to non-accredited universities.

of jurisdiction. No federal question.

one page order vs 160 pages

Is thrown around with in incoherent meaning in politival debate.

And the term died off to explain scientists about a hundred years ago.  What you are talking about sounds like evolutionary theory, not Darwinism, if Darwinism is meaning you ascribe to the observatons that specimens that are better suited for life tend to carry on.  Also included would be that a species changes over time.  That is Darwins work that remains standing.  Other theories of his such as orgins of species have long since been modified by the scientific community.

The official definition of Darwinism is this:

   1. Species are comprised of individuals that vary ever so slightly from each other with respect to their many traits.

   2. Species have a tendency to increase in size over generations at an exponential rate.

   3. This tendency, given limited resources, disease, predation, and so on, creates a constant condition of struggle for survival among the members of a species.

   4. Some individuals will have variations that give them a slight advantage in this struggle, variations that allow more efficient or better access to resources, greater resistance to disease, greater success at avoiding predation, and so on.

   5. These individuals will tend to survive better and leave more offspring.

   6. Offspring tend to inherit the variations of their parents.

   7. Therefore favorable variations will tend to be passed on more frequently than others, a tendency Darwin labeled `Natural Selection'.

   8. Over time, especially in a slowly changing environment, this process will cause the character of species to change.

   9. Given a long enough period of time, the descendant populations of an ancestor species will differ enough to be classified as different species, a process capable of indefinite iteration. There are, in addition, forces that encourage divergence among descendant populations, and the elimination of intermediate varieties.

I see nothing in there that assumes common origin, or states that all mutations occur by natural selection.  There are evolutionary theories which do hold those beliefs, Darwinism is not one of them.  There is nothing to deny the existence of God.  All it says is that species change over time.  It is based on observations, making very little assumption about how far back the process goes.

the theory is that eyeballs emerged from cells that were first created as being sensitive to imbalances in light and darkness, and this reaction eventually evolved into cells that could actively detect differences in light and darkness.  Some of these cells over time naturally developed the ability to not only distinguish light and darkness, but then movement.  Active eyesight comes at the end of a long chain.  Just because your brain hurts after the first few steps doesn't make it less true.

it doesn't make it true.

but if you guys want to keep driving the educated classes who are traditionally republican voters out of your party, have at it.  Trust me when I say I've seen it first hand from some pretty formerly stalwart republicans who got sick of the shenanigans in Kansas.  This issue may not get doctors to vote democrat automatically, but they're at least thinking about it.

expound on this subject because it is politically badfor conservatives. these political commentators want it out of the arena as quickly as possible as damage control.

in other words, they don't like being associated with the ID doofuses.

in other words, they don't like being associated with the ID doofuses.

That's a perfect explanation of why my post was exactly right, and also why you've just taken your One Bite™.

is "you guys."

If "you guys" are those who say evolution as a explanation of the diversity of species has holes you can drive a truck through, then I'm one.

I don't have a scientific theory as to how we got here. Clearly natural selection explains somethings but it doesn't explain more than it obscures.

What I object to the the bovine lack of critical thought that says any challenge to evolution is the equivalent Creationism.

I don't think the "educated classes" are all that important to either party, though we do have more of that demographic than the Dems, as we aren't class oriented parties. I certainly don't think they will leave us over this any more than Steve Case fled the Dems because of their advocacy of confiscatory tax rates.

just listened to the voters of the Dover Area public schools.

Did you have a germane point to contribute to the discussion at hand?

In my world (which also happens to contain Dover, PA), judges aren't supposed to listen to voters. They're responsible solely to the law.

It's the members of the school board who should determine the proper curriculum in Dover Area public schools. They, unlike federal district court judges, should be and are subject to the vagaries of voter judgment.

I was just making the point that the voters of Dover don't want ID in the classroom and that this whole argument is ridiculus and a waste of time.  I commend the voters of Dover for understanding what and what is not science.  

Funny by nc

But pointless.  You have taken a fairly complex theory and simplified it for purposes of ridicule.

First, while it not terribly germane to the overall thrust of your post, there is nothing about evolution that is inconsistent with the Bible.  Its simply a theory that explains how we got here once the initial cells were here.  The Bible says God created the world, it doesn't describe his m.o.  Why can't God have used evolution? Its not like he did not have enough time to let natural selection do its work.

Second, as to whether ID should be taught in public schools--well thats a tough question.  From a policy standpoint and as a voter, I'd say no.  Its bad science. Saying that evolution has holes, does not make it true that ID therefore must be right or even that its alternative theory based on evidence.  As a constitutional matter, I guess the question is whether the teaching of ID violates the establishment clause.  I think thats a complicated question.  I think there are arguments both ways on that point.

Someone bothers to differentiate between every evolutionary theory concieved, and Darwinism.

Streiff has it right here with the differentiating between the observation of natural selection (Darwinism) and evolutionary theory.  Which does have large gaps, but generally isn't taught in high school either.

My point being this, to lump any and all evolutionary theory together and tie it in with other biological observations is a fallacy.  And one I think is done on purpose.  Probably so that the more improbable theories will detract credability from the more probable ones as well.

Except I don't know the motive, since the more credible do not conflict with religion.

It's the members of the school board who should determine the proper curriculum in Dover Area public schools. They, unlike federal district court judges, should be and are subject to the vagaries of voter judgment.

Correct me if I'm wrong because I haven't paid all that much attention to the Dover, PA story, but weren't those "members of the school board who determine the proper curriculum" voted out of office by the people of Dover, PA?

Or am I confusing Dover with another town?

it can have some test (scientific and peer reviewed) that shows the theory could have sound foundations.  I have no problem with questioning the holes and lackings of evolutionary biology, but that does not automatically take us to an alternate theory with no scientific grounds at all (why not teach scientology beliefs alongside evolutionary theory and ID as well).  

shouldn't be taught in a science class. It is a pretty silly concept. I'll give evolution some considereation as soon as some one can "prove" a Peterbilt didn't evolve from a lawnmower.

Re-read the story and comment only if you have something on topic. Thanks.

although I do largely believe that people who criticize the theory of evolution are largely missing the missing the boat, there's a reasonable point to be made here.

ID is certainly not alone in causing some separation, but there are a number of positions that are prominent among conservative Republicans that really turn off a large number of educated voters.  This includes ID, as I said, but it also includes positions about global warming, gay marriage, and just about every "social" issue except abortion.  Most (obviously not all) educated folks are convinced that evolution is mostly right, or at least more right than anything else we've got going on.  Continuing to see conservative support for these projects drives away voters who would otherwise be happy members of the Republican coalition.

Now, there is always the "Who cares?" response.  Or, to put it less flippantly, there is the response that says these folks need to deal with the fact that the GOP is the "conservative party" and doesn't agree with them.  That might be right, but it seems like political suicide.  Refusing to act like a majority party seems to me a surefire way to stop being a majority party (ignoring for a moment that Democrats can't seem to figure out which way is up).

I think Derb and Krauthammer represent a demographic that simply IS a lot different from the rank and file conservatives, and I think they are not just battling to advance the conservative movement, but are also arguing about how to make it better.  Moving in lockstep for the sake of the politics has helped get the Democrats where they are today and there's no special reason why we should follow that model.

On top of that there's still an ethical argument.  If you think evolution is right and ID is wrong (or dishonest, or whatever), then maybe you have an obligation to state that view.  Even if you're paid to be a political commentator, maybe you have a responsibility to use your public forum to fight the good fight.

would you agree for ID to be discussed in "health" class to warn unsupecting children of various predators they could encounter as latch key pedestrians? Or, alternatively in a tolerance and diversity class just after the moral equivalence lesson between PLO suicide bombers at Pizza Inn and Israeli planes bombing artillery sites?

Also, could my kids attend the free speech school where these scientific peer reveiw oracles can discuss anything? That must not be one of "our schools?

ID is certainly not alone in causing some separation, but there are a number of positions that are prominent among conservative Republicans that really turn off a large number of educated voters.  This includes ID, as I said, but it also includes positions about global warming, gay marriage, and just about every "social" issue except abortion.

And there you've hit the crux of the issue, haven't you? The difference, of course, is that gay marriage is a legitimate political issue, whereas ID is not (or, is very marginally political, if at all).

I understand we're going to have some friction, by why have an all-out foodfight over a non-political issue?

Now, there is always the "Who cares?" response.  Or, to put it less flippantly, there is the response that says these folks need to deal with the fact that the GOP is the "conservative party" and doesn't agree with them.  That might be right, but it seems like political suicide.  Refusing to act like a majority party seems to me a surefire way to stop being a majority party (ignoring for a moment that Democrats can't seem to figure out which way is up).

So, if I have this straight, the GOP should stop being the conservative party, so as to attract non-conservative voters, in an effort to accomplish what?

I understand the benefits of moderation for the purposes of coalition growing, really I do - but that's not what this is. It's sneering condescension - it is, as Derbyshire candidly admitted, a desire to separate oneself personally from the "Great Unwashed" masses. THere's a political ideology that's quite at home with that attitude, and it's not conservatism.

I think Derb and Krauthammer represent a demographic that simply IS a lot different from the rank and file conservatives, and I think they are not just battling to advance the conservative movement, but are also arguing about how to make it better.  Moving in lockstep for the sake of the politics has helped get the Democrats where they are today and there's no special reason why we should follow that model.

I'm dying to hear an explanation for how accepting evolution makes us better as either a party or a political movement. Really, I am.

On top of that there's still an ethical argument.  If you think evolution is right and ID is wrong (or dishonest, or whatever), then maybe you have an obligation to state that view.  Even if you're paid to be a political commentator, maybe you have a responsibility to use your public forum to fight the good fight.

Again, the only thing I can really say to this is that I wish you'd expand. You've got an ethical responsibility to believe in and preach evolution?

The people of Dover had one of those election thingies and chose school board members who had campaigned against the teaching of ID. I presume that's because they decided they didn't want ID taught to their children.

That's why we have those elections, to allow us to choose people who make those detailed decisions about (among other things) how school systems ought to be run. In the next election, they might choose differently -- that is, unless some overreaching federal judge decides they're not competent to make those choices for themselves and hands down a decree that removes them completely from the decision loop and replaces them with his own "enlightened" judgment.

I'm dying to hear an explanation for how accepting evolution makes us better as either a party or a political movement. Really, I am.

I guess I was making two separate points there.  For Derb and Krauthammer (and others), the argument about ID/evolution is an argument about cleansing the conservative movement of a bad strain.  In their eyes, what they're doing is good for conservatism.

The second point was that telling them to shut up because their sniping is bad for the movement is not necessarily a great idea.  A little internal division may keep us strong, in that internal unity certainly hasn't helped the other guys much.  I didn't say we all need to accept evolution (even though, in my heart of hearts, I'll admit I do believe that), only that aversion to conflict may not be a positive.

Again, the only thing I can really say to this is that I wish you'd expand. You've got an ethical responsibility to believe in and preach evolution?

My argument isn't that you DO have that responsibility, but that it's reasonable to believe that people think you have a similar responsibility.  If I am Derb for a moment and I think ID is a bad thing - it's scientifically implausible, its proponents are dishonest, it's just another attempt to get religion into schools, whatever - then it's not at all hard to see that I would envision myself as having some responsibility to use my public forum to point all that out.  You believe abortion is a great moral wrong, so you use your forum to tell everyone about that.  Obviously, if both are moral crimes (and I think they are), ID is not even close to on par with abortion.  But for people who think ID is bad, there would exist some responsibility to say so.

I agree with Leon H in that ID is really not a good issue for the GOP in that it tends to split Republicans and not unite them.

Science and the culture wars unfortunately don't really go well together because science cannot change to fit the public's beliefs.  To see how this is the case, just consider another issue, the definition of marriage, which works much better for Republicans in the culture wars.

I think it's reasonable to say that a majority of Americans believe that gay marriage is wrong (for various reasons) and that some form of ID/Creationism is the reason of man's existence.  The former is a great issue for uniting Republicans, the latter is a terrible one.  Marriage is a social issue, and therefore its definition in the end depends simply on what the public decides to do, and you can theoretically change the definition of marriage (not to get into that argument, but it is a social issue in the end).  Evolution, on the other hand, is a scientific theory, and what is and is not a valid scientific theory is in the end not a definition that can be reasonably changed.  Science is what it is, whether the public accepts it or not.

So, while you can argue the marriage issue based on morality and compromise with people's faith to unite the party, you will have a much, much tougher time if you try to argue with science.  ID/Creationism is a poor issue for Republicans in the culture wars because it separates those who reconcile their faith with science from those who hold their faith above science.

weren't religion with the serial numbers filed off, he would have lacked the standing to throw it out. C'est la vie. If you feel that religious instruction in the public schools should not be considered an establishment of religion, I suggest you lobby for a law to that effect; personally, I can't imagine a worse fate for any creed that putting it into the hands of the public schools.

I guess I was making two separate points there.  For Derb and Krauthammer (and others), the argument about ID/evolution is an argument about cleansing the conservative movement of a bad strain.

I would suggest that if you're talking about "cleansing" the conservative movement of people who have very serious questions about evolution, you're talking about actually destroying the conservative movement.

The second point was that telling them to shut up because their sniping is bad for the movement is not necessarily a great idea.  A little internal division may keep us strong, in that internal unity certainly hasn't helped the other guys much.  I didn't say we all need to accept evolution (even though, in my heart of hearts, I'll admit I do believe that), only that aversion to conflict may not be a positive.

I'm all for conflict when it serves an actual political goal (as you may have noticed during the Miers debacle), but this doesn't. All it does is separate the "enlightened" from the "unenlightened." The fact that Derb and Krauthammer aren't even scientists makes it even more puzzling.

If I am Derb for a moment and I think ID is a bad thing - it's scientifically implausible, its proponents are dishonest, it's just another attempt to get religion into schools, whatever - then it's not at all hard to see that I would envision myself as having some responsibility to use my public forum to point all that out.

This is nonsense. If I think the Packers are a terrible football team (they are), that their quarterback is highly overrated (he is), and that their uniforms resemble my dog's puke (they do), I don't have any more right to use RedState to propound that view than Krauthammer does to use his token WaPo space to bash conservatives over ID.

You believe abortion is a great moral wrong, so you use your forum to tell everyone about that.

Abortion is, by contrast, highly relevant to politics these days, if you haven't noticed.

Obviously, if both are moral crimes (and I think they are), ID is not even close to on par with abortion.  But for people who think ID is bad, there would exist some responsibility to say so.

Now, wait, now you are not only saying that ID is wrong, but that it's a "moral crime" to believe in it? I'm sorry, but that's patently absurd.

This issue doesn't seem any more pointless and divisive than any other social issue that comes around these parts. And the level of name calling doesn't even approach the Schiavo threads from last Spring.

A decent definition of a social issue is one where a justification begins "I believe" -- I believe in a 6,000 year old earth; I believe in a 6 billion year old earth; or for that matter I believe that life begins at conception or I believe that Google is a good stock buy. If the center of the argument begins with "I believe" then it's a duty to convince the unbelievers of the validity of my "I believes".

So I would disagree with the pointlessness of the debate, both here and elsewhere. Changing minds isn't something that happens in a single day on a single thread. However over time minds are changed, even (probably especially) in the most raucous debates.

Opinion evolves -- not quickly, but gradually and fierce debate is a part of it. To go back to the topic at hand -- maybe it follows Stephen J. Gould's evolutionary model of "punctuated equilibrium".  Long periods of stasis followed by relatively quick changes.

One last point:

The bile over ID is just not necessary to effect any political change whatsoever.

Sure it is. Anything worth changing is worth raising the hackles of opponents and allies alike. Without the occasional gush of bile political leaders may see easy, risk free sanctuary positions in a debate that actually is ongoing. Patronizing answers cannot be allowed as an easy way out.

Give me the rough and tumble of free debate anyday over a false consensus. This applies to ANY political issue, not just this particular debate. People's feelings may occasionally get hurt, but concensus comes much faster that way.

"Intelligent" design is just a last ditch effort by people who are hopelessly uneducated to have some say or place in our country's future.

I suppose no one can discount a higher power creating this world and creating a set of rules to govern the evolution and emergence of species--but if you flat out think the world is 5000 years old and that natural selection/evolution is just a "theory" then you clearly have not taken the time to educate yourself.  Species have evolved, and they are still evolving.

Until you've compared DNA/amino acid sequences of individual proteins across species, you really can't appreciate what has happened over the course of time.  If you look at the amino acid composition of ion channel proteins, transporters, and enzymes you'll see that our own versions of these proteins are closer to primates than chickens--closer to chickens than amphibians--closer to amphibians than to  cartilaginous fish, closer to cartilaginous fish than to sea urchins, etc., etc. all the way down to insects and yeast. It's fascinating--no, it's awe inspiring and so unbelievably elegant.

Scientists are working so hard to unravel all these mysteries.  It's not a liberal conspiracy. We have no interest outside of ascertaining the truth.  We form and test new theories every day,  and I think we've made incredible progress.

To have a group of woefully ignorant people step in and try to essentially debunk everything we have done with an ill-conceived, untestable, "yeah but you can't say it couldn't have also happened this way" hypothesis is a slap in the face to the scientific community.  This isn't about scientists wanting to take God out of public life, or out of the origin of our earth.  This is about us being insulted by such a cheap tactic being used to instill skepticism in the minds of the next generation--while providing nothing concrete or factual.

Genesis was written 2000 years before we figured out the world was round.  I think it is safe to assume that there are going to be some misinterpretations of our world present in the text.  Why is it that we can so easily cast aside portions of the old testament that we disagree with, yet other parts of the text are not open to reinterpretation?

Wake up America--look where our nation is going.  Look where economy and our livelihood is going.  We aren't going to be farmers and manufacturers much longer--we are going to be a nation that lives and dies by its innovation and intellectual property.  Our children will need foundations in science so they can be competitive in the global workplace.      

I'm not sure it rates a 5, but it's fairly well thought out, and nicely done. I disagree to some extent, but still, good comment.

You can bluster about bovinity as long as you want, but public conservative advocacy for ID is likely to flip the Bozo Bit for people with a science education. Unfair? Maybe, but so's life. While that will probably have a minimal influence in the grand electoral picture, it means that scientists will be increasingly unreceptive to, say, warnings about the moral hazards of stem-cell research, because the people who are making the warnings have been mentally tagged as bozos. I would prefer that conservatives not waste moral influence on something as useless as ID, rather than on genuine moral issues in biotechnology.

I would suggest that if you're talking about "cleansing" the conservative movement of people who have very serious questions about evolution, you're talking about actually destroying the conservative movement.

I see two things here.  The first is that ID is not synonymous with "serious questions about evolution".  ID is a specific program with a specific thesis.  I don't think (I might be totally wrong) there are very many scientists who honestly believe that there's nothing wrong with current evolutionary theory.  ID is a different thing entirely.  That said, you may be right that Derb and KH (I'm tired of typing his name) are embarking on a project that would destroy the conservative movement, but I sincerely doubt that.  They don't want to kick people out, only change their minds - not that they're likely to do that, which I take to be the meat of your argument.

This is nonsense. If I think the Packers are a terrible football team (they are), that their quarterback is highly overrated (he is), and that their uniforms resemble my dog's puke (they do), I don't have any more right to use RedState to propound that view than Krauthammer does to use his token WaPo space to bash conservatives over ID.

I guess this is just where there's a fundamental disagreement.  You don't have the right to use your RS space to say those things because they have nothing to do with RS's stated goals re: conservatism.  But Derb and KH (and a whole lot of other people) take ID to be a political issue, making a political column the right place to talk about it.  This also bears directly on your argument here, although I'm not sure it's resolvable.  For a lot of people, education is a national goal (that might be the problem) and they are going to want to debate the content of education at a national level.

Now, wait, now you are not only saying that ID is wrong, but that it's a "moral crime" to believe in it? I'm sorry, but that's patently absurd.

You don't think there's any of that in Derb and KH's commentary?  They certainly seem to think there's a deep moral wrong in believing ID - teaching children things that are false, refusing to recognize evidence that's right in front of you, etc. - so it's not odd to see an ethical argument in the making.  (For the purpose of this part, I was pretending to be Derb and KH.  While I do think ID is indefensible, I don't think this is the place for that discussion and I'd like to leave it off the table.)

If evolution is right (and it is, it is, it is), then we need to educate people about it.  When they say, "I don't believe it," we need to show them why they should believe it.  If evolution is science and not faith, then the rational mind has no choice but to come around to our side when the evidence comes in.

Nonsense like this "wake up" crap doesn't get anyone anywhere.  And insulting people doesn't change their minds; it only makes them more trenchant.

His last stand?

I agree with you. The pro ID school board members overreached, and paid the price by getting voted out.

But I'm not quite sure on how this judge overreached. It's not like we're talking about some liberal activist judge - though I recognize it is the tendency of many to suggest just such a judge when cases are decided in a certain fashion.

The judge, a Bush appointee, obviously anticipated the reflexive activist cry and wrote the following:

"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-formed faction on the 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."

I have to take issue with one thing about this story. While conservative causes and values may coincide frequently, as in the pro-life movement and, to me anyway, the war in Iraq, there are times when values outweigh any particular cause. I may be wrong about this but IMO personal loyalty is one of the most precious of conservative values, which is why I disagreed with the anti-Miers crowd - reading it as disloyalty to the President at a time when he was already politically weakened, FWIW. Fair enough, but in this case it matters less whether ID is an essentially conservative cause and more the fact that many conservatives need our support in what they feel to be a critical fight. It isn't to me, I can easily balance evolution and ID in my own head and heart, but I don't think there's anything wrong in supporting our comrades and showing them some loyalty when they need it, whatever the political costs. Yeah, I'd also prefer to not hear any more about it, but in the meantime we need to remember that unity is based on loyalty.

You have twice indicated that Charles Krauthammer wasn't a scientist. Didn't Charles Krauthammer earn an MD degree? If that doesn't qualify him as a scientist, I don't know what else he needs to do to become one. I can tell you as an employee in a Geoscience department at a major university that the evolutionary holes (or missing links) are being filled every day with new discoveries of fossils. Fossils are only rarely preserved in nature, so it would be expected that there would be "missing links". I can tell you from experience that there are many fewer "missing links" today than just a few years ago.

I should be fair. Being an MD (Psychiatrist) does involve a fair amount of science, as science is defined by experimentation and testing and those sorts of things - however, he is not a biologist, or anyone who has had reason to have a particular personal stake in this issue. Like our good friend DITR, for instance.

you need to retake freshman biology.  All Mendel knew was that certain traits were inherited in pea plants.  The concept of genes came years and years later.  

Just so you know, mendel didn't believe in double stranded DNA either.  

who contends that the earth is only 5000 years old, or that species are not evolving. If you believe that they do, you're wasting valuable righteous anger on a position you obviously haven't taken the time to examine in even a cursory way. This leaves you in somewhat less than an ideal position from which to lecture others on the woefullness of their ignorance.

Proponents of ID simply focus their attention on natural systems that they claim, for various reasons, cannot be explained by undirected natural means. They are not, as you seem to imply, attempting to replace wholesale the entire Theory of Evolution with the "Adam's Rib Postulate".

Apparently, you've been slapped in the face by a strawman of your own construction. Ouch. I hate when that happens.

I found this link after reading a news item regarding the origins of the HeLa cell culture, an apparently immortal strain of human-derived cells used widely in research.

Peer-reviewed sources are cited, etc.  I'm not try to stir the pot, I just think its a useful read for the sake of balance.

... I think it's hilarious that you feel the need to trumpet your terminal degree in your userID.

Does your high academic achievement make your pompous condescension in lieu of polite correction more acceptable?

And God said, "Let the waters bring forth swarms of living creatures and let birds fly above the earth across the dome of the sky." So God created the great sea monsters and every living creature that moves, of every kind, with which the waters swarm, and every winged bird of every kind. And God saw that it was good. God blessed them, saying, "Be fruitful and multiply and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth." And there was evening and there was morning, the fifth day.

And God said, "Let the earth bring forth living creatures of every kind: cattle and creeping things and wild animals of the earth of every kind." And it was so. God made the wild animals of the earth of every kind, and the cattle of every kind, and everything that creeps upon the ground of every kind. And God saw that it was good. Then God said, "Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air and over the cattle, and over all the wild animals of the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth."

So God created humankind in his image,

in the image of God he created them;

male and female he created them. God blessed them, and God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth." God said, "See, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit; you shall have them for food. And to every beast of the earth, and to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food." And it was so. God saw everything that he had made, and indeed, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.

Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all their multitude. And on the seventh day God finished the work

Is the story of Creation actually an evolution in itself???

I understand what you meant. I just wanted to point out that Mr. Krauthammer's personal interest in this matter is that he has taken a Large number of biology classes to become a doctor, and he has been thoroughly exposed to evolutionary theory and understands it and its limitations.

Then the judge wouldn't get to pontificate.

for cleaning my laptop of all this spewed diet Root Beer.

Howso?  It is the president and other Republican politicians that brought it into the political arena.  And a forced court cases have given it the spotlight as a political issue.

I'll agree that it's a loser of a political issue, but it is a political issue.  It could have been avoided as one, but activists made it so.

In other words, the can is open and the worms are everywhere.

Opinion evolves -- not quickly, but gradually and fierce debate is a part of it. To go back to the topic at hand -- maybe it follows Stephen J. Gould's evolutionary model of "punctuated equilibrium".  Long periods of stasis followed by relatively quick changes.

You might say that debate (competition) forces the weak ideas into extinction.  While the arguments that can stand up to scrutiny persist, and even gradually become elaborated upon in order to suit the course of the debate.

The conversation itself is a Darwinian Process.

guilty-not guilty

for the plaintiff-for the defendant

damages amount

affirmed-reversed-remanded

dismissed

plus harriet miers gets confirmed-haha

motto-pontificating is for pontiffs

can someone call george will

but my point was to present krauthamer et al's view of the situation:

force the disassociation of what they view to be an undesirable cause from conservatism.

to say that 'posting on id boards' would not advance this goal is rather evident.

Perhaps it could be calling large swaths of the conservative population "doofuses." That's just a hunch, though.

force the disassociation of what they view to be an undesirable cause from conservatism.

THe point is that it's irrelevant, either way, to conservatism.

until you have received a government grant to study something of little consequence and write a "paper" full of interesting, but useless, information.

Maybe Derbyshire would get more credit for what you say, if he'd spend less time describing how much in awe of scientific advancement he is, less time asserting that scientists have improved society far more than anyone else, less time telling us how British conservatives make sure never to dare discuss their religion openly, for fear of offending someone, and more time explaining how conservative it is to give federally-funded scientific researchers and teachers free reign to teach what they want without any voter or legislative control.

As it is, on matters like this, he sounds like someone beaten into submission by lefty scientists and academics, and afflicted with a bit of Stockholm Syndrome.

what exactly is the objection to scientific researchers and teachers teaching what they want?  These are people who are educated in those fields.  Why exactly is my mother, with an associate's degree in accounting, qualified to tell my school what they can teach me in biology class?  Other than simple prejudice, what could she contribute to that discussion?

Also, who has improved life more than scientists?  Medicine, technology, communications... these are all scientific advancements.  I mean, I love a good book as much as the next guy, but I'm not planning on living to be 90 years old because someone's pumping out great fiction.

The objections to letting people teach what they want in public schools are several.  First, our schools are taxpayer-funded, and the taxpayers should get to say how their money is used.  Second, our schools are not voluntary, and parents should get a say in what their children are told as fact.  Third, it defeats the purpose of a school to allow people to teach falsehoods, so we should prevent that.

Would you have us a historian to teach in public schools some fascist, anti-Jew form of history, such as that taught in Saudi Arabia, for example?

As for your mother, she's your mother.  It was social right and obligation to raise you, so as long as she was mandated to send  you to school, it's her right to control what goes on in it.

As for improvement, science is neutral in its improvement of society.  Scientists produce descriptions of the world.  How those descriptions are used is up to the engineers, the governments, and the people.

Would you have us a historian to teach in public schools some fascist, anti-Jew form of history, such as that taught in Saudi Arabia, for example?

It seems the most likely way that would occur is for some school district in, say, Detroit, to declare itself a madrassa. After all, why should a tyrannical judiciary interfere with the desire, expressed through duly-elected representatives of the taxpayers, to teach that the Jews are the sons of pigs and monkeys?

is that folks like Krauthammer & Derb employ the tactic of attacking those they disagree with personally.  

Evolution is inherently "anti-God" - I know there are good people who'd like to say they can co-exist, and there are plenty of folks who believe the Creator's mode of creation was evolutionary in nature (but not "EVOLUTIONtm").  

Who's to say He can't create however he sees fit?  He's God.

I understand Derb to criticize ID because - he holds - it has to explain how we got here to be "science" and saying "God made us" doesn't cut it because that's "faith", not "evidence."

Very well, then - Derb should just treat ID as a criticism of Evolution(tm) and answer the criticism.

It'd be interesting to see that done.  

I've generally stayed away from the argument.  I wasn't there when it happened ... come to think of it, neither were the folks who are so adamant that it was Evolution(tm), Evolution(tm) and only Evolution(tm) ....

IMO, the folks generally on the right who blow a gasket over ID consider its adherents the modern day equivalent of the John Birchers that Bill Buckley ran out of the conservative movement.  Problem is they've not calibrated their guns to the point that regular folk who believe God made the Heavens and the Earth won't be offended by their screeds against ID.

It could get awfully lonely in "Their" conservative movement if they ran us out the door.

is that folks like Krauthammer & Derb employ the tactic of attacking those they disagree with personally.  

Evolution is inherently "anti-God" - I know there are good people who'd like to say they can co-exist, and there are plenty of folks who believe the Creator's mode of creation was evolutionary in nature (but not "EVOLUTIONtm") - but the "true believers" deny any role for a Creator.  As for me, who is man to tell God how he can create?  He's God.

I understand Derb to criticize ID because - he holds - it has to explain (with evidence) how we got here to be "science" and saying "God made us" doesn't cut it because that's "faith", not "evidence."

OK, then, Derb - ID is a criticism of evolution.  Can you tolerate it's existence now by, say, answering the criticism honestly, directly and without condescension?  It'd be interesting to see that done - from what little reading I've done in the debate (I generally stay away from it), it's rarely, if ever, attempted.

I agree with Leon that this fight - the conservative v. conservative aspect of it, that is - is bad for the conservative movement.  The folks who are generally on the right who blow a gasket over ID seem to consider its adherents the modern day equivalent of the John Birchers that Bill Buckley ran out of the conservative movement.  They seem to want to do the same to IDers.

But they've not calibrated their guns very well; right now, regular folk who believe God made the Heavens and the Earth are going to get (or have already gotten) the idea that they think we're morons.

Now, I know the Left has always believed that about all of us, but when there starts to be fire coming at us from our own lines .... well, let me just say it could get awfully lonely in "Their" conservative movement if they ran us out the door.

Evolution is inherently "anti-God"

I don't know where to begin in refuting this.  I suppose I could start with the Vatican's official position (BTW - they are into science to the degree that they operate their own telescopic observatory in Arizona IIRCC) and go on to cite further cliches.

Alas, I lent my Dead Horse Beating stick to my boss for the weekend, she really needed it.

I don't equate discussing in a school setting the possibility of an intelligent agent (who I would call God) in explaining natural events that do not seem to be accounted for by evolutionary theory, or discussing whether it is so that such natural events exist with the establishment of religion. If you actually do equate them, then I have to suggest that the words "establishment" and "religion" don't mean what you think they do. The notion that publicly acknowledging the mere possibility that God exists and was not idle "establishes" a state religion in any conceivable way is a stretch of interpretation so far from the original meaning of the Constitutional phrase that my imagination cannot accommodate it.

And regardless of your view or mine regarding the wisdom of introducing that concept in public schools, there's no need to lobby for a law allowing it, because there's no law (certainly not the Constitution) prohibiting it.

Instead, if you disagree as a matter of education policy, you are free to push for laws prohibiting it, or to vote for school board members who agree with your policy aims -- don't twist the plain and clear text of the Constitution to suit your personal views.

Well, I take it from your tone that you don't like the idea that this scenario might happen.  What do you propose we do about it, then?  Who are to be our science mullahs, since you seem to mistrust elected school board members?

My solution would be to disband the whole government system, but that's not going to happen soon, so I'll settle for as much local control as I can get, with a strong side of homeschooling.

Fortunately for us proponents of evolutionary theory, being "true" isn't one of the requirements of being a well-respected and valid scientific theory.  

Phew!  Almost had me worried for a second there.

in the next few decades will be awsome and ubiquious.

The underlying mecanisms of evolution are crucial to the information age. This can not be emphasized enough when this opic is debated. This isn't a matter of ideology, it's global competitiveness.

The power of the mechanisms of evolution are increasingly being used throughout our sciences and applied throughout our industries. The importance of understanding the mechanisms of evolution,  and how through natural selection and other mechanisms a thing can become more complex and/or more streemlined to a given task, is essential for students of engineering, medicine, bioengineering, nanotechnology, pharmacology, software engineering, manufacturing, business management, economics, etc.

It's extremely important that conservatives make a clear distinction between conservatism and fundamentalism. We need to make it clear that facts and evidence trump faith where our policies and platforms are concerned. This is why this is an extremely imortant issue for us to stay involved in.

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ID conjecturers must either present evidence of an intelligent designer or show that evolution is impossible without intelligent inervention. They have not come close to doing either.

At this point there is no question that evolutions happens. It has happened and it has been observed. There mechanisms and the impact of the mechanisms we call evolution are also undeniable. It's these mechanisms and the ongoing impact they have on ALL things that are most important to be taught. The idea that all life evolved from mud is not so important and can be left out of science class with the caveat that it should be known that the mechanisms of  evolution do make this a possibility.

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no one person has any right to tell everyone else what can and cannot be heard in any venue outside their own home. And while parents may teach their kids anything at home they have no right to be certain that their children never hear anything to the contrary.

Re: Evolution is inherently "anti-God"

The majority of Christians in this world, and Christendom's most ancient churches, have no problem with evolution.  I really wish North American Protestantism would come to the same realization that Rome and Constantinople and Augsburg and Geneva and Canterbury have-- and then get back to the teaching the Gospel and not worry about science.

Belief in ID entails a belief in supernatural and extra-scientific forces acting on the material world. That's probably more organized than the Unitarians right there, and they're generally accepted as a religion. As for "establishment," I think that "promoting in a public institution with taxpayer dollars" is sufficient to constitute "establishment". Obviously, some people here would like to take a more narrow view of the term, and might consider it merely a prohibition against explicit recognition by the state of a preferred religion. The broader construction, as gamecock has pointed out, is that presently established by legal precedent and the decisions of the Supreme Court. I think either view may be considered a plausible gloss on the text, and that the phrase "establishment of religion" is innately ambiguous. (Unlike, for instance, "To regulate Commerce with ...among the several States," which is not secret code for "anything it pleases".) Given this ambiguity, legislative clarification and definition of the phrase strikes me as an excellent recourse for those dissatisfied with its current judicial interpretation.

I'd also suggest to leave religious beliefs out of science... they're really not on the same playing field.  All the local governments have to decide is a) are they going to teach science in school and b) if so, which theories out of the massive body that is science will be presented?  (I suggest that the more popular ones are the most useful.)

That second decision should not be made based on compatibility with religion, because that's not good science.  And if you're going to teach something, you should teach it well.

Once you've made the decision to teach good science, I think one would be making an error to assume that ID will come off looking better than evolution in a head-to-head matchup.  ID really is a nascent theory (whether it deserves the venerable title of "theory" is very much in contention), and it's not going to fare well against a heavyweight.

a mother with two kids and too much stuff to pack, my standard joke is:

If Darwinism really worked, women would grow an extra hand with each pregnancy.  (My friend who has three children under three agrees with me wholeheartedly!)

Additionally, we really would have eyes in the back of our heads.

your little scenario of moral outrage wherein relying upon experts results in the teaching of things we find repulsive. Whether the final arbiter of curricula is a star chamber of experts, Judge Jeffries, or King Mob, it's always possible that children will wind up being taught something awful. Now, I agree that as a legal matter, as long as there should be public schools, it's best, generally speaking, to leave curricular matters in democratic hands, because I don't see a way of establishing a legally watertight consensus of experts on everything we'd like to teach, nor indeed a consensus on who is an expert. As a moral matter, the idea that the results of a general vote are to be preferred to that of the consensus of practitioners strikes me as a vile and a Jacobin creed.

Moreover, this isn't even a terribly good case to rant at the judiciary; the only reason this falls under judicial purview is the religious nature of ID. If fanatics had been bent upon introducing, say, anti-vaccination curricula, there would have been no possibility of judicial interference in the matter. It's not really the scope of local autonomy that's at issue here so much as the scope of the Establishment Clause.

You correctly cite me as acknowledging the present 5-4 split and precedents back to Everson and Engle that take a very broad view of establishment clause both substantively and in applying it to the states. I don't agree with it at all based on the founders clear intent as expressed in numerous writings incl the Federalist Papers, and am confident that when Alito replaces Sandra, order will be restored.

The fundamental problem in this area besides the application of the clause to the states at all, is that God is not "a religion." A religion refers to a particular sectarian group. God exists or doesn't whether or not man institutes a religion.

Judge Roy Moore made this the one and only argument in his case precisely becuase he refused to even enter into the Lemon or any other test since he at no time referred to any sectarian group.

Suop Ct law in this area is made up fiction. Based partly on a made up incorporation doctrine thru an amendment meant to make freed blacks equal to whites and a letter written by Jefferson that told a state church that the fed govt couldnt help them throw off its states est church. A joke, worse than Roe.

In fact, establishment had a very precise meaning to the founders that fled a nation with an est church.  Moreover, states were allowed to have est churches. ONLY the fed govt was not allowed to impose one on all the states. All the states voluntarily phased out their est churches by 1840.

Regulation of commerce, by contrast was much more broad and vague.

Compulsory education requirements compelled students of other faiths to be educated in the beliefs of the prevailing religion of the elected school board members. Accordingly, the states empowered members of less popular religions to establish and operate their own privately financed schools. Minority believers who did not establish their own schools instructed their children of their faith in the home. The complainers in this situation are parents who continue to rely upon the public schools to instruct their children about the existence of a supreme being and their other religious beliefs.

requires no "belief" at all. It's simply an avenue for discussing those aspects of reality that don't seem unaccountable by evolutionary theory. Nor does study or discussion constitute "promotion".

Of course I'm aware of the court precedents that broadened the interpretation of the plain text (and ignored the very clear original meaning) of the 1st Amendment. Adherents of the "Living Constitution" school are no doubt very pleased by the course the court has taken, but those who favor originalist interpretations shouldn't be. Neither need they consider it to be a settled issue -- wrongs are always liable to be righted, and there's a first step on every journey back from where the court shouldn't have gone.

Finally, if ID seems charged with more religious fervor than modern day Unitarianism, it's not alone. The defense of the primacy of evolutionary theory by the scientific establishment is similarly fervid.

Why is there no discussion of the following? (which are the real issues as far as I can tell)

  1. Why is there an ardent and religious commitment to naturalism in our society?

  2. Why is there no discussion about the potential problems (relative to and from the perspective of traditional values) that can result as a society operates with a commitment to naturalism over time?

  3. As a result of 1 and 2 above, why don't we assign as much value to philosophy classes in school as we do to this naturalistic thing called science that so many of us are afraid to not worship?

The question ought not be should ID be taught in "science" class, because science by most definitions MUST rest on a commitment to naturalism. We ought to either remove science from its pedestal, or raise up some education in philosophies to that very pedestal.

As a bonus, maybe then we might raise some children to be a bit less shallow, having been forced to think in deeper ways.

I qualify....

Advanced judicial CYAing.

Judges are, after all, just another set of politicians.

Have conservative believers come to believe that Truth can only be found through science ? Is not science limited to the discovery of only that which can be both perceived and understood by human beings ?  Is human perception and understanding capable of identifying and defining the Intelligent Designer, if any ?.  Is not I.D. merely repackaged metaphysics and cosmology ?

You mean local communities could decide via a school board on curricula?  And they could get State money if they follow certain guidelines?  And a State could get Federal matching money for recommending and establishing those guidelines?  Sound to good to be true.

Sarcasm aside, is there not a additional issue in that if a community did decide to ditch reality and teach Joe's Backyard Science and Life Philosophy as a public school curricula, they would not receive State funding, yet would still pay taxes for such?  Although, you are probably correct in that this would fall under the Establishment Clause, even if Joe didn't form a 'church' as per charitable organization or 'religion' as defined by the IRS.

I believe in your last statement there is a greater meaning.  Fanatical things have been pushed into our public schools by liberal socialists, yet there is no judicial recourse because it is not a recognized religion, yet...

I agree with you about the compulsory school law. I would go to a totally private school system with vouchers maybe. But the real complaint is more that the fed judges redfined the est clause to run local schools which are forced to trash the local, traditional, american, judeo-christian values for 6 hours  a day and the threat of law suits for free speech.

Jeffersonian happiness pursuit maximization depends on local majority rule where like minded gather together.

Minorities will always be with us. They have rights. MINORITY rights. They dont get to rule. Thats what a king was and what a 5 man sup ct oligarchy is. Minorities can flood a district and rule there. See the Quakers or Amish.

The fed cts teach children that their parents that believe in god are fools.

Look, I'm no worshipper of the masses, or believer that there is one true Will of the People that must be obeyed, but as long as we have public schools, the content of their curricula become political questions.

And I think elections are the way to solve political questions, so for this matter, they seem to be the worst solution, except for all the others.

Would you agree that the existance of public schools is the real root of the problem here?

As a society and in law, we treat children as irrational people.  They don't have the right to consent to anything, they don't have the ability to make a decision, and they are considered to be easily influenced by adults.

So if we allow any adult the legal authority to influence children, without giving the parents veto power, we seem to be undermining the concept of parenthood, and endangering our children.

I can't accept that.

no one person has any right to tell everyone else what can and cannot be heard in any venue outside their own home.

But I know of an unelected Federal District Court judge in Pennsylvania who would disagree with this statement. He (all by himself) has forbidden the mention of Intelligent Design in classrooms.

it's rather young and will be expanded upon and no doubt even turned on its head at some point. it's highly doubtful, though, given the last 1000 years of thought, that it will be replaced by anything remotely resembling Intelligent Design, Creationism, or the Flying Spagetti Monster.

liberals and conservatives are often saved from themselves by rational decisions like the Dover case. The GOP ought to be thanking this judge, and thanking Dubya for putting him on that bench.

Voter lack of interest in school board elections is what gave control of the schools to teacher unions, liberal special interest groups and the judiciary. Their not voting in local school board elections was their abandonment of the students to these people. Both the local majority and minorities do not choose to vote in school board elections creating a vacuum for these hustlers to fill.

I was thinking that protection from things like the Test Acts would be tantamount to favoring a bundle of religions not easily circumscribed by a single creed, but I suppose that's really covered by the Free Exercise Clause, so I'm inclined to concede the point to you on original intent.

On the other hand, I disagree with the idea that religion is generally understood to imply sectarianism. If memory serves, there's a fairly broad gap between the number of people professing to be religious and regular church attendees, which suggests to me that many people without specific creedal attachments consider themselves "religious". (There's also the question of whether such a definition would make some of the more squishily Deistic founders irreligious, but perhaps it's best not to open that can of worms.) That current jurisprudence should reflect the present national understanding of religion doesn't strike me as a gross offence any more than the establishment of an armed service which is neither, strictly speaking, an army nor a navy.

"Establishment", I think, is far more susceptible to attack; e.g., take the line that only something with a complex (irreducibly complex?) creed can be "established," while a profession that "God exists and sometimes changes the natural world in supernatural ways" (ID) is too simple to support an establishment. Hence my suggestion; it makes more sense to clarify the meaning of "establishment," legally, than to force the law to take an artificially narrowed view of "religion". I don't see how you could clarify the Commerce Clause in the same manner. ("Commerce between the several States shall be interpreted to mean commerce which actually takes place between several States, blast your eyes!" is inspiring, but not quite suitable for an amendment.)

that equality of outcomes != equality of opportunity except by intervention of supernatural forces, we'd be all set ;)

I think the imbalance here is simply because the right is more likely to champion religious causes, and that's the one place where there exists a judicial power to intervene. It would certainly be possible to take a non-leftist, "bad science" position that wouldn't be susceptible to review by the judiciary. For example, imagine a school board implementing a white supremacist curriculum on a strictly eugenic basis. (I'd expect them to get the bum's rush immediately, of course; just trying to provide an example of a cause the left wouldn't take up.)

It's sorta like my views on national healthcare, come to think: in theory, having the state provide a basal level of healthcare funded by taxation might be more efficient than sauve qui peut. But because it's under political control, there would inevitably be political demands to gold-plate everything and push it past the point of diminishing returns, so I'm agin' it.

You kinda touched a nerve in objecting to "the experts," which I realize probably wasn't your intent. There does seem to be a strain of thought that rises in these debates, where they want to have the approval of science and reason for their pet extensions of "common sense," while declining to acknowledge that expertise in science has any value, or indeed any function other than to propagate conspiracies against their ideals.

Now, fields of expertise do, sometimes, rot entirely: education, for instance. But the fruits of education are clearly rotten; the fruits of science are too plentiful and tasty (though some, perhaps, were better forbidden) to credibly make this argument. (At least, this is so with respect to the natural world. Its excursions into metaphysics seem to have largely borne Zoacum.)

it just amuses me that most proponents of ID don't have much of a background in the sciences.  It'd be like me trying to argue constitutional law.

on the nature of religion; part of the discussion in the ruling covers whether this was actually a neutral "study" and "discussion". (No; as the decision points out, despite the facade of neutrality, "[the] objective student can reasonably infer that the District's favored view is a religious one, and that the District is accordingly sponsoring a form of religion.")

The "fervor" is entirely your own. The point, which you seem completely to have missed, is that Unitarianism is generally considered to be a religion, and it has a creed of comparable complexity to ID. Ergo, religion does not necessarily imply sectarian/creedal complexity.

the PA Constitution states that "no preference shall ever be given by law to any religious establishments or modes of worship," so rolling back incorporation only changes things, as best I understand, insofar as it puts it into state court (although theoretically then, I suppose they could take a narrower construction of the PA Constitution's clause than the analogous Federal one). So assailing incorporation doctrine is sort of a sideshow for this case, as I see it.

I agree that good science tends to be good, but the problam is that there's a lot of questionable stuff out there pushed by 'experts', such as the UN's "hockey stick" chart of global temperatures, Linus Pauling's obsession with vitamin C, or Stephen Jay Gould's radical theories of evolution.

Educated adults can read carefully and decide for themselves, but children can't.  So if I come across as skeptical of science in general in ID debates, it's only because I don't trust children to make the same distictions I feel capable of making.

I'd have to strain to find the political columnist who kept everything strictly on topic. A columnist has a column and they're expected to fill it, preferably with politics, but they can get away with patriotic stuff. George Will even published a big book filled with the dozens of utterly off-topic baseball columns his written in his "political column."

I also have to disagree. The point of a column is to be insightful and interesting. Its not to unite Conservatism, advance Conservatism, it is simply to state your opinion whether it marches in lock step with what someone else thinks or no. Those who write only to advance a movement, never express any dissent from a party line or say anything that might offend a reader get recognized as soulless shills.

I've gotten past the point where I right people off because of one column. I recognize whose on my side for the long term not just the momentary fight of the second. So, I'll still read Krauthamer if he has something interesting to say, because in the end they're not politicians they're dispensers of information and opinion. And as my father used to say regarding church, you "take the meat and throw away the bones."

to what extent you are joking.

However, the thought of humans and Darwinian evolution by natural selection does spark some interesting questions.  We know, for example, that natural selection was at work in our not too distant past.  We know that different races of people all tend to share some common qualities.  Moreso in the past than now, given that geography isn't really the constraint it once was.  During the black plauge, people of Scandanavian and Nordic descent were more suited to survive it because of a certain genetic trait most of them shared.  So we saw more of their population come out of the plague and multiply.  They had a genetic advantage, and their genes ended up more widespread because of it.  It was Darwinism at work.  Darwinism isn't really any more complex than that.  It isn't the freak generation of traits many on here make it out to be.  That is more along the lines of other evolutionary theories.

But anyway, to eventually get to the point.  We have seen natural selection evident in humans in recent history, at least recent in terms of the existence of humanity.  A bit further back than the plague, we have seen evolution at work in the form of skin pigment.  The skin pigment of indigenous peoples corresponds with latitude far too precisely to be coincidence.  And it only makes sense that darker skin was a competetive advantage in regions with more direct sunlight.

But what we see today in the case of both skin pigment and the plague is human intellect overriding natural selection.  Our ability to develop clothing has caused us to outgrow the need for skin pigment changes.  There is nor real advantage to having a perticular pigment in certain geographical regions, so pigment is no longer a genetic competetive advantage. (excluding rascism)  The same with disease resistance and modern medicine.  Although we aren't quite to that point with medicine, our genetic studies are getting us there.

Being strong and muscular is no longer an absolute competetive advantage since so much work is done at the computer.  And since money is just as powerful in attracting the opposite sex as physical conditioning or appearance, we have negated the effects of natural selection along those lines with technology.

So if this is true, we could also say that the new competetive advantage would be intellect (or the ability to earn money).  Now here is where we stumble.  Do to our own intellect causing the development of birth control, abortion, etc.  We have cut natural selection out of the picture.

Most humans desire to mate.  In times past, that would mean more offspring.  The desire to mate with the most suitable specimen would mean the most suitable genes are passed on more often, causing the eventual guiding of the species.  Much like we see today in the beef industry, only we have controlled and sped up the process.  But in the case of humans, mating and the oppertunity to mate no longer directly correlate with genes being passed on to offspring.

So through technology, we have effectively been removing natural selection.  We are effectively intellegently designing ourselves.  It seems the only areas where natural selection still applies to humanity are capitalism and warfare.  This at onces sheds light on how barbaric these elements are, and also how instinctual they are.

Those things are so basic that we still simply see the survival of the fittest.  And capitalism is more a model of a Darwiniam process, since it does not apply really apply to the perpetuation of a species.  Especially given the level of society and the security given to those who don't do so well in the capitalist system.

So really, outside of warfare and certain diseases, humans no longer evolve through natural selection.  Of course natural selection does still play a much larger role in underdeveloped countries.  But as for our own, we would have to guide the evolution of any new traits on our own.

So to some it all up, no third arm for you unless you can get a scientist to engineer it for you.  Humans are overpowing natural selection.  In more than just our own species.  Beef, as mentioned above is a prime example of that.

All that said, Darwinian evolution by natural selection is a very sound theory and is an underlying foundation for most current biology.  When left to the nature of things, it's been pretty much dead on.  Darwinian evolution by natural selection does not discount evolution by other means either.  In humans, we do see evolution by design.  And will continue to see more of it, and less of natural selection.

If this makes no sense, I apologize.  I'm only semi-coherent at this point.

I have a friend who is from a very religous family and has a PhD in BioChem. He doesn't see a conflict between his studies and his personal belief in god and the teachings of christ. His livelyhood is based on understanding how microorganisms evolve and gene manipulation. He just doesn't interpret everything in the bible as literal truth; rather he views them as valuable stories to provide guidance.

And I know a second person who's a lab tech for a biochem professor. He's mega-religious. But he also doesn't see a conflict between the theory of evolution and his christian faith. Again, he uses the bible and his faith to guide him through life and make him a better person. He doesn't look to the bible to figure out how to splice a gene and he doesn't look to science textbooks to figure out how to treat his fellow man.

How nice that your friends pick and choose what parts of received divine wisdom they believe, and which they ignore.

Cafeteria-style Christianity proves Ted Koppel wrong, apparently.  I guess they are the ten suggestions, at least to some people.



Their way of thinking doesn't cause conflict, is consistent with the teachings of christ, and solves real-world problems (like diseases.)

Seems to me that the judge - again, a conservative Bush appointee - made that statement more along the lines of:

"Look, I know exactly what you guys are going to say. You say it every time when a decision doesn't go your way. So don't try that here. Been there, done that."

I don't know what he's CYAing for. He seemed pretty determined and resolute in his decision.

Very Bush-like actually.

I have no problem with a wide variety of religious beliefs.  So, I'm sorry for replying so harshly.  I just don't like it when these views here are presented so smugly, like the're inherently smarter and superior to, say, more literal interpretations of religious documents.

Call it a reflex from defending my fellow religious conservatives when they get attacked by liberals, but I should have controlled it.

I must say I didn't expect to find myself sharing a handbasket with, say, Shelby Spong, for my suspicion that Job 38 might be metaphorical in nature. Well, life is full of surprises.

I should have written "My fellow conservatives who are religious," to make it more clear that I am not exactly among them.

I swear, every time I open my mouth about religion here, I get myself in trouble.

As you might guess from my choice of example, I'm not very big on the camp that seems to think the Bible can be adequately condensed into "It's cool, man. Peace out." But I think there's a lot to be said for a view that accomodates human observation and reason. In part, this is because I'm a scientist, and I know scientists, and when people try to explain how it is that science doesn't support their religious views, they so often resort to invoking the Vast Secular Conspiracy. There are certainly annoying blowhards like Dawkins who are out to get religion, but evolutionary theory is not just a contrivance of scheming secularists, and I am tired of that accusation.

Again, apologies, and all the best.

Thanks for understanding.

by the founders meant entities like the Church of England, the Roman Catholic Church, etc. There was to be no national established religion ala, what they fled in the Old World. States were allowed to have established churches and 9 states did until 1840, although no state demanded oath or allegiance or prohibited free exercise.

The roberts-alito copurt will soon claify what the founders meant by establishment next year and it will echo mine, given their writings and associates predictions.

I don't think the "plain meaning" here necessarily coincides with the original intent, but I'm not going to run screaming into the street or anything if the Roberts court takes an originalist line on this. While this decision fortuitously coincides with my views on ID and science, the judiciary really isn't generally empowered to be the bad science police, so any robust defense of science in the schools will have to take different measures, anyway.

Judges are no less susceptible to public politics than are any other politicians. He's doing damage control, because here comes another battle in the culture wars.

The more useless the better!  Especially if it can be used as a springboard for finding even more useless information.

Actually, you may think completely incoherent, but here goes:

I can bite on the idea that the young men and women who died young due to excessive sunburns weren't able to breed so skin got darker, but on a larger scale, some things don't make as much sense.  

For example, why are there some prey animals and some predator animals?  The prey animals (rabbits, mice, frogs, etc.) always reproduce at a much faster rate so they are not completely depleted, but how did they survive long enough to develop the ability to mature in two weeks versus two years?  Wouldn't they have simply become extinct?  And if survival of the fittest is the key, what possible reason would any prey animal have for remaining a prey animal and just multiplying more frequently instead of becoming a predator, or at least less predator friendly?

Re: Belief in ID entails a belief in supernatural and extra-scientific forces acting on the material world.

This is not entirely true. It's possible to formulate an ID theory that is wholly naturalistic, that invokes an innate self-organizing principle in nature to account for the design elements. Of course this would make ID a lot less attractive to religious critics of Darwinism who see ID as a theistic alternative.

His majesty, the Judge, has said there will be no more of that pesky debate or discussion on pain of the wrath of his majesty's court.

We have no debate here. No way, no sir.

We only have court imposed holiday titles, court imposed admission policies, court imposed abortion rights, court imposed class curriculum.

There is no room for debate here.  

the problem being that Behe, who is probably the sharpest knife in the ID drawer (and no, I don't, in fact, mean to damn with faint praise) couldn't really present a coherent alternative to a supernatural, super-intellectual designer; indeed, he seems to disclaim entirely the idea of the design arising by natural processes (which I presume a "self-organizing principle" would be).

Re: So if I come across as skeptical of science in general in ID debates, it's only because I don't trust children to make the same distictions I feel capable of making.

Children do not stay children. They grow up into adults and can then make rational (or irrational) judgments just like any adult. Which is why I am not too concerned about what children are taught in schools (or even at home) since there's no reason to think they will accept those teachings uncritically foreover.

Have made sure that any mention of religion is now considered a greivous establishment of religion.

Our friendly tolerant atheists, so strong and confident in their beliefs, seem unable to stand even seeing something with a possibly religious inference on it in the public square.

Their radical intolerance and narrow minded reactionary stand against anything that might force them to see a religious idea or hear a religious word makes me wonder how sincere their atheism really is.

It certainly does not demonstrate confidence or good will. Rather it demonstrates a brittle fear deriven belief.

It will be interesting to see how long this tiny minority is allowed to dictate to the majority.

I don't like the fact that a court is dictating what can and can't be taught in a public school, but again, the case was brought and a (verbose) decision was made. As a center- to left-leaning independent, I'm a little put off by these discussions about what are 'good' and 'bad' issues for the two dominant parties. It's elevating politics over policy, which is occuring far too frequently among Rs and Ds.

As for ID, it's frustrating because there appears to be little scientific foundation for its discussion in a science class. It seems far more suitable for other classroom settings as part of a larger discussion on religion, science, etc. As another poster said, if you're going to teach ID in science class, then  you might as well start bringing in astrology and other competing theories that also have little to no scientific evidence to support them. But the U.S. is already starting lag far behind other developed countries in the sciences, so I'd hate to introduce another distraction into a situation where there are already significant hurdles that need to be addressed.

Re: So if we allow any adult the legal authority to influence children, without giving the parents veto power, we seem to be undermining the concept of parenthood, and endangering our children.

I disagree with you. Simply as a practical matter there is no way in the world (short of locking one's children in their rooms until they turn 18) to prevent children from ever encountering opinions contrary to one's own. Moreover I have trouble understanding why people care. Surely if you are a good parent overall then you will raise good children and the specific details of what they do and do not believe ought not to matter that much, and this whole debate over evolution strikes me as a rather trivial matter in the overall scheme of things. Children are human beings in their own right, not parental property and certainly not parental clones. When I see parents trying to live vicariously through their children I usually fear that the results will be the exact opposite of what the parent wants.

and I have expressed (on previous threads) a dislike of federal judicial interventions in these matters.

Their shared distrust of the electorate and its elected representatives compel dogmatic conservatives and liberals to banish those guilty of confusing an already too gullible public. Their noble "..would rather be right than be President...." principles makes them martyrs to the insatiable need of democracies for corrupting "compromise".  The shared dream of orthodox conservatives and liberals is to replace political deal-making and compromise with an incorruptible, wise and guiding dictator who will eliminate both heretics and the need for martyrdom.

The Vatican's position is that God the Creator used the evolutionary process to form His creation.

Evolution(tm)'s position is that all of this happened by chance - there is no room in pure evolutionary theory for a creator.

You might want to give thought to the point that, for whatever reason, folks who hold to your opinion can't seem to have a civil discussion about this topic.

Insult isn't argument - in fact, all it is is evidence of lack of argument.

a substantial number of people who endorse evolution, and the exclusion of ID (as described from Behe et al.) from science curricula do not endorse "evolution(tm)" as you have described it might account for a certain testiness.

doesn't take a stand on evolution one way or another.

"the teaching authority of the Church does not forbid that, in conformity with the present state of human sciences and sacred theology, research and discussions . . . take place with regard to the doctrine of evolution, in as far as it inquires into the origin of the human body as coming from pre-existent and living matter--[but] the Catholic faith obliges us to hold that souls are immediately created by God" (Pius XII, Humani Generis 36).

But thanks for playing anyway.

Judges are no less suscerpitble to public politics than are any other politicians?

I don't follow that. This judge was appointed. By President Bush. Because he's a conservative judge. Appointed by a conservative President. What would he be afraid of?

He just delivered a stern, resolute, confident, and thorough gloved slap to the face of the Dover ID folks. He was not having any of their nonsense, and to his idea of additional nonsense, he basically said, "Don't even bring that stuff in here."

No, this judge, a CONSERVATIVE himself, doesn't seem the least bit worried about some battle in the culture war. Certainly, the text of his decision did not read, in any way, like he was concerned. He swatted the Dover, PA ID folks away like a fly.

There was nothing delicate about it.

I might agree with you. The Dover approach to inserting ID into the curriculum, in particular, seemed wrong to me -- I'd prefer to see ID discussed not as an alternative to evolutionary theory, but as a way of exploring criticisms of it.

But I emphatically disagree with the notion that discussing ID constitutes an establishment of religion in the 1st Amendment sense. A federal court should never have heard the Dover case.

Republican is no reason to assume the judge is a conservative.

I've seen you draw this inference in other places on this thread. Do you have any evidence (other than the party of the appointing president) that this judge is a conservative?

Off the top of my head, I can name several judges appointed by this president who have a very expansive view of constitutional interpretation. I don't like to use the terms "liberal" or "conservative" in evaluating judges, btw, because both philosophies admit of activism. "Originalism" is a far better benchmark, and Judge Jones hasn't shown any evidence that he respects the original meaning of the Constitution.

forgive me if I'm wrong as I'm a pretty lay-christian but it seems to me most different groups (catholics, protestants, methodists) pick and choose from the bible what they want to emphasize.

And aren't most of them rather smug about their interpretations being the right ones?  I'm pretty sure each group believes they're the only ones (and not just those I've listed, I mean every religion) going to heaven.

As for myself, I don't believe in a literal interpretation of the old testament based on what we know now, but that doesn't mean the book doesn't hold a lot of truth.  

the evolutionary process is more likely to have worked the other way around. Human beings began as dark skinned (since all evidence points to an origin in tropical Africa) and those who migrated to far northern climates eventually lost the heavier pigmentation. Also, predator animals tend to be larger than their prey (for obvious reasons) so that their gestation and maturation times will necessarily be slower than that of their prey (that is, as proto-predators grew larger, their young matured more slowly, resulting in fewer young overall).

He did not call conservatives who believe in ID or any others the "Great Unwashed" (which isn't really a slur anyway).  He is using that phrase to characterize the attitudes of "intellectuals", who are atheists or agnostics but who are willing to support and encourage religious belief in others in order to maintain social order, towards those who have religious beliefs.  

He is suggesting that conservative "intellectuals" like Irving Kristol and his wife Gertrude Himmelfarb are such people, and that their support for ID is predicated not on the merits of the idea itself but is in fact a "noble lie" intended to preserve social order.

Here we have a guy who plainly doesn't believe in God, but who thinks that well-padded intellectual elitists like himself ought to evade the issue in public for fear of demoralizing the proles and perhaps jeopardizing some padding thereby. I can't think of anything nice to say about that; and in fact, the only things I CAN think of to say would not be suitable for a family website.

This probably doesn't affect your main point but in fairness to him I don't think he's calling names.

I'd say that the point of view of the results is the determining factor of whether the data collected by some grant is worthwhile or not. I did a study of the 9 remaining unidentified remains of Custer's troop killed at Little Big Horn, which were originally interred in one mass grave. When the Park Service decided to try to bury the remains individually, 9 sets of remains were not easily identifiable with the records of the soldiers to whom they belonged. Our results clarified some, not all, of the remains' origins, which might have been of value to the relatives of those killed, but to the general public might seem worthless. It's all in the point of view, but it's still all science.

of namecalling, contempt, and disdain for those who profess an interest in ID. He regards them as inferior beings. In contrast, his criticism of "intellectual elitists" who neither share that interest in ID nor his contempt for it is directed at those he considers to be his peers. His sneering reference to the "Great Unwashed" is much more typical of the content of his diatribes.

going on when philosophical materialists use the "randomness" of evolution to support their contention that evolution as a whole is  void of purpose. "Random" in the context of scientific and mathematical parlance has a very precise meaning, one without any philosophical overtones. Unfortunately the materialists (and often enough their critics) imbue the word with its common, everyday meaning when discussing whether evolution implies a purposeless nature.

To see the distinction here, let's suppose you scanned every sentence posted on this thread and sampled the last letter of each sentence. You would have a non-deterministic set: you could observe at most certain patterns ("j" and "q" are never found; "e" and "s" are very commonly found) but you could not use the data to make any predictions about what the last letter of the very next sentence posted would be. Your set would indeed to random, but it would be a very far leap from that fact to a claim that therefore the letters found here are random in any larger sense: meaningless and void of purpose.

(Note: I am indebted to recent First Things article by Stephen Barr if I recall correctly for this point.)

a question, a relevant question that will always come up,  than a theory to be taught. I was taught evolution in grammar and or high school in the 70s when we still had prayer and even devotional time from the Bible (moral lessons, not evangelism) but there was no explicit alternative 7 day creation taught alongside. There were questions and the teacher discussed how they could be consistent for all kinds of reasons. Kids declared they did not come from an ape. Then we went back to the text!

by origin, and to the English, and to the English, indeed to Europeans in general, even sincere and devout Christians, the debate over evolution we are having in this country makes no sense.

I agree that the fight isn't helping, for a number of reasons -- especially when articles like the following appear. For the independent swing-voter, it only reinforces the perception that "conservatives" do in fact want to use public schools to teach the Bible.

THE DEVIL'S IN DARWIN

Pastor J. Grant Swank, Jr.

...Of course those espousing Intelligent Design mean by it GOD. And they mean GOD as the God of the Holy Bible. That's plain. It's simple. Therefore, I say that those supporting Intelligent Design need to go into the classrooms to state that God must be placed alongside Darwin's make-believe for it is GOD who created all from nothing.

In other words, believers should quit playing word games. Come out and say what you truly intend. You are trying to get the students of Today and Tomorrow to realize the truth of the Bible. It is that God created all things from nothing because God is God. Just be up front with it...

if the issue is identified with conservatives?

including the president, many prominent conservatives have weighed in on the controversy, on the side of ID. you don't see any democrats on this side of the fence.

so how is it not relevant to conservatism, and why should commentators concerned with politics ignore it in their political observations/advocacy? by taking a public stance, the president himself has made the issue relevant to conservatism.

I don't follow that. This judge was appointed. By President Bush. Because he's a conservative judge. Appointed by a conservative President. What would he be afraid of?

The law of unintended consequences.

Prove he's conservative.

Heck, prove Bush is.

He just delivered a stern, resolute, confident, and thorough gloved slap to the face of the Dover ID folks. He was not having any of their nonsense, and to his idea of additional nonsense, he basically said, "Don't even bring that stuff in here."

Pointless, really, because the 3rd Circuit is next, and if they disagree with him, the Appellants will indeed bring it, and he'll have to accept it.

No, this judge, a CONSERVATIVE himself, doesn't seem the least bit worried about some battle in the culture war. Certainly, the text of his decision did not read, in any way, like he was concerned. He swatted the Dover, PA ID folks away like a fly.

Well, this was pretty confident, too:

An extra price will be paid by those who themselves disapprove of the decision's results when viewed outside of constitutional terms, but who nevertheless struggle to accept it, because they respect the rule of law. To all those who will be so tested by following, the Court implicitly undertakes to remain steadfast, lest in the end a price be paid for nothing. The promise of constancy, once given, binds its maker for as long as the power to stand by the decision survives and the understanding of the issue has not changed so fundamentally as to render the commitment obsolete. From the obligation of this promise this Court cannot and should not assume any exemption when duty requires it to decide a case in conformance with the Constitution. A willing breach of it would be nothing less than a breach of faith, and no Court that broke its faith with the people could sensibly expect credit for principle in the decision by which it did that.

Great result on that one, really.

And again, just announcing that the fellow is a conservative is (1) irrelevant and (2) not proven.

First, our schools are taxpayer-funded, and the taxpayers should get to say how their money is used.

I don't think we'll be likely to find common ground on this one, but I'll just go ahead and disagree anyway.  Taxpayers have no right to say how their money is used except insofar as they elect the people who appropriate the funds.  If there were some way to have a public referendum about the military and the American people decided to discontinue fighter jets, I would be more than happy to see that decision ignored.  The bottom line is that there are things the public simply does not understand and we should be more than willing to pay no attention to them.  Science is a big one.

Second, our schools are not voluntary, and parents should get a say in what their children are told as fact.

Of course our schools aren't voluntary, and it's precisely because there are great reasons why parents are not good enough authorities.  Putting that decision-making back into their hands is a gross perversion of public education.

Third, it defeats the purpose of a school to allow people to teach falsehoods, so we should prevent that.

I agree, but this is a much bigger problem for ID than it is for evolution.  And it's also a great reason why taxpayers shouldn't be making the decisions.  They believe all kinds of things that aren't true.

"Tread carefully, tread carefully" I say to myself.

My understanding is that some of the groups you list, augment the Bible by drawing on a continuing revelation.  The Catholics, and the groups that broke away from them, have centuries of popes and their insight to lean on in addition to the Bible.

However some people have no such thing to base their reasoning on when they deviate.  Some groups, like Unitarian Universalists, expressly put their own power of reason over the reasoning of everyone who came before them and the traditions that came out of it.

That's the sort of group that irks me, really.  Even if I can't say anything about their theology, I do know that the basic premise (the power of personal reasoning) is totally anti-conservative, and thus probably isn't a good idea.  It's arrogant, and enough so that it really gets to me.

should no more be taking sides on this issue than they should be debating Transubstantiation or the dual procession of the Holy Spirit in the political arena.

And it's also a great reason why taxpayers shouldn't be making the decisions.  They believe all kinds of things that aren't true.

And yet we allow these credulous cretins to choose our leaders! What were we thinking??

And IANAL or IANALY.

I'll give evolution some considereation as soon as some one can "prove" a Peterbilt didn't evolve from a lawnmower.

I'm sorry.  Was that comment intended to sound intelligent?

Questions to follow up: Do lawnmowers reproduce?  Do they have a genetic blueprint encoded anywhere inside their bodies?  Do they speciate?  Do they die?  Do you understand what evolution is?  Doesn't sound like it.

Let's apply the scientific method to lawnmowers and Peterbilts. We can easily observe a pretty rich and complete fossil record (go to any junkyard to see their most decidedly dead bodies). The record shows a continuous chain of incremental refinements and intermediate forms linking the lawnmowers to the Peterbilts. And we can speculate that these successive refinements constitute adaptations that suit particular individuals more or less well to particular tasks and environments, and lead to the continued survival of those adaptations.

Now of course we may not speculate as to whether there is any particular purpose for these successive adaptations along the chain between lawnmowers and Peterbilts, or indeed (dare we say it) whether there is any sort of intelligence at work that determines either the form or the teleology of lawnmowers, Peterbilts, or any of the intermediate forms. Proper science excludes such speculations a priori, as a methodological constraint.

Now of course you realize I'm laughing at you, slippytoad, but I hope you think the joke is funny. But this argument is quite isomorphic with how science approaches the evolution of organisms.  (I recognize such a statement is blasphemous [sic] to a scientist.) The only difference is that causation and design are obvious in the case of the lawnmowers, so you wouldn't even undertake a scientific study of the question. There's at least a non-zero chance (deny it if you will) that causation and design also applies to living organisms, although the mechanism is unseen to us. If this is true (and I won't ask you to accept it), then can you see how silly evolution would appear to be?

I can feel for you in this, because I have the same feelings about the abortion debate as you do about this. Yet does that mean that neither of us should talk about either? You conscientiously abstain from doing what is against the interests of this site because you take your responsibilities seriously, which is to be applauded in anyone, and rightly marks you out as a proper person to have been given responsibility.

I think it is true to say that there are many opposing arguments that are futile to fling against each other, yet that does not mean that all arguments in this field are futile, or that all need be futile. Rather, I really do believe that there are arguments that can be made that are not futile, in regard of this matter, whereas in the abortion debate I could only make arguments that I would see as being meaningless to those who do not already agree with me, because of my particular angle. Now if you feel unable to speak on this, and I feel unable to speak on that, perhaps we complement each other?

One of the things my opponents hate about me in this regard - those who are so truly wedded to their view that they wish to deny the facts - is my science credentials. Biologist I may not be, but Physics is respected everywhere that the unwashed are disrespected, because they cannot decry the unlearned without acknowledging the learned. Heretic they can call me, but fool they cannot.

So I wonder again if it is good to initiate arguments that can be heard by both sides so as to establish common ground as far as possible, despite having my own opinion that is more radical; for there will always be arguments, because people care. The question then, is which?

The real question for me is not so much about whether people can force Darwin on or off the curriculum or ID on or off the curriculum, as to how anyone decides what should be taught as fact. Two arguments are equally invalid for teaching as fact:

  1. That a thing is true because it assumes the existence of God

  2. That a thing is true because it assumes the non existence of God.

Both are equally statements of belief - unless, of course, one has met God, and can say for definite. But it remains a belief in the mind of the one who has not; he ought them to be obliged to 'repeat the experiment' of the one who claims to have met God. That's proper science etiquette.

But I think it is reasonable to say that Darwinism is not 'proven' unless one first disbelieves in God. Now one may disbelieve in God, but that does not prove anything, and is not a basis for the proof of anything. Neither belief or disbelief is proof of anything in scientific terms.

The mistake is made in supposing the possibility of God existing, is faith. It is not. It is open-mindedness. The same can be said for considering that God might not exist. If one assumes of God only that he might exist, one is being reasonable. If one says, there is no God, therefore Darwin, therefore there is no God, that is circular, and any mathematician will tell you that such a view is utter nonsense. You can say 'there is no God, therefore evolution', and be making a statement of belief, and an inappropriate deduction in truly scientific terms. But no God / evolution / no God is an utter nonsense in the eyes of a logician, whether God exists or does not. It is a universally invalid mode of argument; A therefore B therefore A. That should not be taught by anyone, ever; and yet it is the line of argument that appears to me to be prevalent. That does not make all other arguments on either side wrong; but I think there is value in identifying some arguments as universally and always wrong, so that calmer debate can be had based only on the valid form of argument.

A useful guiding principle for schools would be, that things should not be taught as fact when the argument for them assumes that God does or does not exist. That is fair on all, and most of all, it is fair on logic. In that regard, secular humanism has every bit as good a reason to be debarred from schools as ID, yet secular humanism comes from the theocracy of the self-selecting educational elite. It has no right to be be taught in schools, for the courts have found it to be a religion. When will someone have the decency to see this?

There are a number of valid distinctions that I can draw, and I'm afraid that I'm too tired to do your post justice right now, so I'll merely make a few points.

First of all, not only is abortion still a live issue in the United States (whereas not so much in the United Kingdom, from what I understand), it's a political issue at its core. I disagree that ID/evolution is such, and I'd really hate to see it made one. Insofar as it is a legitimate political issue, it is one that basically comes down to local control of schools/school choice - ergo, the issue is not ID itself, but rather some other thing, which ID is a helpful catalyst for.

Second, it may be true (I have no idea) that abortion is a poison pill for the Tories - not so much for the Republican party here in the States, which has more or less flourished since taking a pro-life stance in the party platform in the wake of Roe v. Wade. My personal feeling is that no good can come of this ID business, as it will merely split off from the conservative movement some of our otherwise most able thinkers, and alienate the grassroots folks from the leadership. That's mainly my problem with seeing folks like Derbyshire, who write for National Review, using that platform to cast firebombs at significant portions of the conservative base. Not only is it not helpful, it's actively destructive, and it needs to stop.

I can see your point. What I would say is that it is possible to post in a way that shows (or at the very least argues) that the debate is normally conducted between equally fallacious positions, and that to do so might possibly bring about just the kind of results that you prefer; less argument.

I agree the thing is a proxy for other things, because usually neither side really understands the arguments they are making. What is a makable case, given that the courts have defined both atheism and secular humanism to be religions, is that it is equally reasonable to wipe theories that assume atheism or secular humanism off the syllabus along with any other required faith. The reality in schools today is that they are based on the regular intake of stances based on atheism or secular humanism, and they should never be taught as fact in a country that can consider preventing Christianity. That the educational establishment would probably not know what to teach, as it would reduce so much of their courses to blank pages, is their problem. The argument is the same.

I have reviewed my 'ultimate nullifer' and got it down nearer to naked logic, which runs the risk of making it so boring that none will read it; but I continue to hope that an argument can be made that will cause people to realise that evolution vs ID is a waste of time, and that it is fair for schools to teach both as theories without detriment to the cause of either side.

But finally, what I'm saying, is that though I am sure you can make an argument regarding abortion that reaches others, I don't believe I can, because my arguments are based on things that no one could believe without experiencing them; to use others would be to demean what has happened to me, but I can't expect unbelievers just to accept that. I am wondering if the opposite applies; that you are not capable of making a post on ID that will help others, whereas I might be. I don't know that I'm right, but it seemed an interesting symmetry.

Having said that, I don't care about the issue so much that I post or don't post, and your opinion is a knowledgeable one. Ultimately if I did post I'd find out what the repsonse was, and I suspect that if I invest in an appeal to reason I have some chance here, but I am sure I have none amongst liberals. I've tried. They just tell me I'm unscientific, which is outrageous.

So who should our Science Mullahs be?  Who will be a part of our Guardian Council, that unelected, unaccountable body that ensures the purity and correctness of science in our schools?

(the Catholics, Orthodox and other Eastern churches, and to some extent the Anglicans) the source of religious knowledge and Doctrine is Tradition (big "T"). Scripture is in no way separate from Tradition but is part and parcel of it. The Roman Catholics hold that Tradition can be increased, mainly through the teaching office of the Papacy, though also through Ecumenical Councils. The Eastern Churches hold that Tradition is complete, but can be understood more profoundly through the teaching authority of the whole Church, and through the canons of ecumenical Councils. The Catholics (since Aquinas at least) hold that Faith and Reason should work together; both traditions affirm that there is conflict between religion and science, and that nature also declares God's glory and providence. Perhaps the most important point is that since these churches are secure in their concept of ecclesial authority and their ancient methods of doctrinal understanding. They are not therefore threatened by a non-literal handling of Genesis.

this particular battle is a big loser, so pro-ID conservatives would do well to back away from it lest they ignite a civil war in the party, and wind up a minority party.  

Big Hint: the way not to have the debate is to stop talking about it.  You'd think, given that the whole point of ID is to try to sneak it under the radar by replacing references to God or a creator with "intelligent design" (the text search and replace on Pandas), that the need to hide this agenda due to it's broad rejection by a majority of the public, would have tipped folks off that it should not be discussed.

Yes, I'm a former country-club Republican not sorry to see the (using your words) "unwashed window-breakers" who've hijacked the party lose this one.  If it makes you feel any better, I am an Episcopal - so by your view, I don't go to a real Christian church either.  

But that doesn't explain much.  If the theory is survival of the fittest, why does anything develop into the smaller, prey animal with shorter gestational periods?  I am fully aware that bigger animals have slower gestational and maturation periods, and therefore produce fewer young, but the question is why?  

How, under Darwin's theory of survival of the fittest did, anything survive (avoid extinction, actually, as the prey themselves actually don't survive at all) by producing more offspring instead of becoming more predatorial?

and there's no way to answer it easily.  I realize you are indicating your opinion of the possible answers, with I suspect the goal of indicating that democracy is the worst way to decide, except for all the others.  And that may be true, but I'm not sure I buy it.

Universities do a pretty good job of making sure the science that gets taught is the good stuff (we'll just skip right over all the other kinds of things universities get away with teaching outside of the sciences), and I suspect it's largely because they leave the decision-making in the hands of the scientists who are doing the research in the first place.  I realize this doesn't work so well in schools because the teachers aren't exactly well-versed enough to make good independent decisions about what current science has to say, but there's probably a solution to be found in there somewhere.

Though I'm not a lawyer or law student, I can tell you that if you rest all your cases like you just did, without providing any evidence, you will lose all your cases.

Lionel Hutz: "I rest my case."

Judge: "You rest your case?"

Lionel Hutz: "Oh, I thought that was just a figure of speech..."

Re: I am fully aware that bigger animals have slower gestational and maturation periods, and therefore produce fewer young, but the question is why?  

The larger the animal the longer it takes for it to grow up. That's not a so much a matter of biology as it is of simple physics, and it has nothing really to do with evolution or natural selection. One might just as well ask why human beings do not evolve wings since it would save a certain number of us from dying if we fall from a great height and as such it ought to have survival advantages. But there are also physical constraints that prevent that from happening so it does not.

Re: How, under Darwin's theory of survival of the fittest did, anything survive (avoid extinction, actually, as the prey themselves actually don't survive at all) by producing more offspring instead of becoming more predatorial?

I don't know what to say to this except that it was possible so it could happen (yes, I know that's a tautology). It is after all, fairly to easy to obtain vegetarian food: herbivores are much less at risk of starvation than predators are. It's not like there is just one and only one survival strategy in nature: there are many (just as there are many profitable career paths a person can follow in the economy), and as long as a species keys in to a viable strategy it will succeed. For predators both the relative scarcity of their food and their larger size limits their numbers; for smaller herbivores the relative abundance of food and their small size allows for quicker gestation and maturation and larger numbers of young.

We can OBSERVE the mechanics behind building a lawnmower and a Peterbults.  We can scientifically deduce that these systems were built by design and intent.   We have the blueprints even.  

We cannot do any such thing when it comes to evolution or ID.  While it is reasonable to believe that an intelligent design occurred there is no empirical evidence to show that it did.  

They're called DNA. The existence of human-generated blueprints doesn't give science a way of talking about formal design or teleology, any more than does the existence of DNA. Science isn't permitted to say of either blueprints or DNA whether they are the cause or the effect of some design or intention.

Your knowledge that lawnmowers and Peterbilts were designed is a revealed truth, not a scientifically deduced theory. It just so happens that this particular revealed truth is noncontroversial. The various revealed truths about organisms are indeed controversial, however, so people of a certain turn of mind choose to accept as objectively true only what can be described by science.

"work" was.  A jury of taxpayers doubtlessly would. Your defense is to stand up and plead guilty. Do I have to present a case of the painfully obvious? I think not. You did it for me.

Can't answer because you can't "prove" otherwise. Plus, it is implied that a lawnmower and a Peterbilt fossil would be examined a few million years later by people with your level of intellect. I accept that you are sorry. Bad news. The comment would sound intelligent to those that are.

we must accept that some things are universal truths.  

Science is MOST CERTAINLY permitted to say that a lawmower was built by design.  They can know this through OBSERVATION.  They can observe that lawmowers were built because of a human need and that humans created the design.  

Science can say that DNA are the blueprints but they have no way of knowing how the blueprints came to be in the first place.  Perhaps it was some higher being.  Perhaps it was dumb luck.  Science, at least at this point, can't say.  

Science can accept revealed truths.  Scientists, as a matter of fact, MUST accept them because otherwise science would be too busy trying to prove things that we already know to be fact.   Can you give me an example of a revealed truth that is controversial?

The most consistant discipline employed by evolutionists is "What you don't know, you make up"

You missed the concept that deductions would be made from the fossilized remains of a lawnmower and a Peterbilt by people who would have no more an idea why they existed than we do as to why dinosours existed. Not by those who have toured the factories. Try thinking in that context.

You were trying to create a hypothetical based outside of reality in an attempt to further your point of view.  Right.

A pretty weak analogy since it requires a bunch of counter-factual assumptions to be made.  

No one disputes that someone may have designed everything, well at least not enough people to matter.  

Science is MOST CERTAINLY permitted to say that a lawmower was built by design

How might that happen? We may hypothesize that blueprints precede lawnmowers. The fossil record makes this clear, since it's easy enough to find artifactual blueprints that are morphologically equivalent to particular lawnmowers, which in turn can be proven by independent lines of evidence to be less old than the blueprints. The same applies to all the intermediate species all the way up to Peterbilts.

Now, how does a blueprint spring into being? Well, we may observe the modes of their production. They are often produced by computer printers. You can trace this back to computer inputs produced by teams of humans that are functionally designated "engineers." How do the engineers produce the inputs? Well, by electromechanical impulses driving their fingers and originating in their brains. At the point, the trail gets murky. We are still untangling the complex molecular-level biochemistry that produces the impulses. But when that is accomplished, we will be able to link the biochemical processes to quantum-mechanical processes occurring within the brains of the engineers.

At this point, you have a scientifically complete description of how lawnmowers come into being. You can also infer (as I said in my prior post) that random, incremental refinements in mechanized implements produce successively better adaptations to particular tasks and environments, and this explains the plainly observable evolution from lawnmowers to Peterbilts.

Now for you to say that design forms any part of this process is methodologically not admissible in the scientific description. Science is concerned with mechanisms and efficient means, but not with formal or teleological causes. If you disagree, then I challenge you to explain the design of lawnmowers scientifically.

Now you are growing impatient with me because it's common sense that lawnmowers are designed. And yet I repeat that this is not a statement which is in the competence of science to make. Science has no access to "common sense," which is the domain of philosophy.

If it were somehow evident to you or anyone else that organisms are designed, then the whole theory of biological evolution would appear just as tortured and silly as my theory of lawnmower evolution does.

"You were trying to create a hypothetical based outside of reality in an attempt to further your point of view."  

No one disputes that someone may have designed everything, well at least not enough people to matter.

To suppose that life was designed and to explore the  intentions of the putative designer is a process that's completely accessible to human reason, but not to science, because of the methodological constraints of the latter. Since you blithely, almost casually accept that biological design is real, and indeed that an insignificant number of people disagree with it, you're saying something very important and very limiting about science. And that is that there is an extremely interesting subject for inquiry about which science is silent. As interesting, revelatory, and practically important as science has proven to be, it pales to triviality in the context of the design question.

And now all of a sudden I can see why so many people are adamantly opposed to exposing the design question to schoolchildren. There's nothing threatening about science, because its explanatory power is so ultimately so pallid. But philosophy and religion are far more powerful, since they can explain to us the nature of our minds and hearts. This kind of knowledge is powerful indeed, so I can see why people would want to protect their children from it.

A few weeks ago, I made an ironic statement here that no one challenged, so I don't know if anyone even noticed the parody. This seems like a good time to repeat it:

That whereof science [sic] may not speak, thereof it must remain silent.

where you're going with this.

You apparently misunderstood me....

Since you blithely, almost casually accept that biological design is real, and indeed that an insignificant number of people disagree with it, you're saying something very important and very limiting about science.

I said that design is a real POSSIBILITY.  But we have no empirical evidence that would suggest that it is any more likely than random chance.  

I am NOT adamantly opposed to exposing children to design questions.  I think it's a great exercise.  What I personally oppose is the attempt to have intelligent design and evolution compete against each other for no other reason than because you don't find the concept of evolution palatable.

We should certainly teach students concepts such as ID but not in science class.  It fits as well in science class as it does in English or History class.  

Whether science, philosophy, or religion are more powerful than the other is entirely irrelevant.  Science is a methodology.  It is not a belief system.  As such it is limited in scope to that which can be tested and measured.  Religion and philosophy aren't limited in such a way.  So in that sense they cover far more ground.  The advantage that science has over the other two is that its findings are generally incontravertible, at least they are to those without an axe to grind.

in that "current science" is regualrly replaced by new science.

I said that design is a real POSSIBILITY.  But we have no empirical evidence that would suggest that it is any more likely than random chance.

If by "empirical evidence" you mean mechanistic evidence that would be acceptable to a scientist, then you're right. We'll also never get this kind of evidence.

The advantage that science has over the other two is that its findings are generally incontravertible, at least they are to those without an axe to grind

With this you're showing the axe that you yourself have to grind. Science does not make incontrovertible findings, quite the opposite. It seeks to make statements that can be proven false by experiment. Some people may think that general relativity is an incontrovertible finding. And these same people would probably have said the same thing about Newton's theory of gravity if this were 1900.

If you accept that life may have been designed, then you have to accept that we need a language other than science to debate the question. At this point, you will either discount the importance of the question precisely because it's not scientific (which shows the limitations you have set on your own mind), or else you consider philosophy to be an invalid or at least compromised mode of inquiry because it's not scientific (in which case you're declaring yourself agnostic on the question of design).

Which is it?

If by "empirical evidence" you mean mechanistic evidence that would be acceptable to a scientist, then you're right. We'll also never get this kind of evidence

No.  Empirical evidence is precisely that.  Observable evidence.  We may or may not get that sort of evidence.  I can't speak about the future.

With this you're showing the axe that you yourself have to grind. Science does not make incontrovertible findings, quite the opposite. It seeks to make statements that can be proven false by experiment. Some people may think that general relativity is an incontrovertible finding. And these same people would probably have said the same thing about Newton's theory of gravity if this were 1900

Both the special and general relativity theories are just that, theories.  They can be disproven.  Science seeks to make statements that CANNOT be proven false.  When I say cannot I mean statements that withstand all scrutiny.

If you accept that life may have been designed, then you have to accept that we need a language other than science to debate the question.

I completely agree.  That's why I don't believe that the discussion should be in science class.  I  think the question is important but that doesn't mean that I want to pretend that ID is science so that we can ask the question.  The question needs to be asked in the proper venue.

You seem to believe that science is too limiting.  If this is true then why would you want the question asked in science class?

Observable evidence.  We may or may not get that sort of evidence

I already gave you the observable evidence for how lawnmowers evolve into Peterbilts. You never gave me observable evidence that lawnmowers are designed by humans: that's a just-so story, that just so happens to be incontrovertible. This gets to the essence of why science is limited on the question of design.

You seem to believe that science is too limiting.  If this is true then why would you want the question asked in science class?

I don't care where the question gets asked, and I've never said that it should be asked in science class. But I do care that it gets asked somewhere.

Many people seem to have a strange admiration and respect for science as a high-quality source of true statements. (I grew up around literature and the performing arts, which to me are much more true than science is.) Yet you agreed that scientific theories like gravity (which has been superseded) and general relativity (which to date has not been, although the string theorists are working on it) are not so much true as they are incontrovertible, at least until they are controverted according to science's particular  methodological rules (which are actually linguistic in nature).

I don't think science is too limiting. It's perfectly good at what it does, which is limited. But people who insist that scientific statements are the only incontrovertible truth are limiting themselves. That amounts to elevating the avoidance of disagreement ("controversy") above a richer understanding of the world. It's fine with me if that's what you want to do.

(Hmm. That's actually an interesting thought, isn't it? You may actually believe that propositions acquire the value of truth to the degree that they are assented to by a large proportion of disinterested and skeptical observers. I never would have guessed that until you made me think of it. I always thought it went the other way around.)

Again, you present no evidence that the study I helped with was worthless. It is obvious it is of value to those whose relatives were killed. It is obvious, also, that the techniques we used on those old bones would be useful in future forensic studies, too. Useless? Only if you don't understand what science is all about. I guess that's obvious, too.

Additionally, the study I helped with was only about  one third of the $5000 study we did. We identified five of the nine unknown skeletons, saving the government $50,000 ($10,000 per unknown individual that would have to have anthromorphic reconstruction done on the skulls). Maybe you'd like to pay the extra $45,000 out of your taxes, but don't take it out of mine. Science may be expensive, at times, but it can also save you money.

 
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