Grey Thoughts
21.12.05
 
Intelligent Design and Dover Roundup
The news is out. The trial, of whether teachers can be required to say that evolution is a theory not a fact, and an alternative theory exists and you can read about it in a book in the library, is over. Not suprisingly, the judge has ruled in favor of the darwinists.

What is suprising is the amount of (his ruling was 139 pages) fire and brimstone sermonizing he levelled at the Intelligent Design (ID) supporters. What is even more amazing is the level of 'authority' a judge is given to decide what is and isn't science. And why is whether something is 'science' or not relevant to the question of whether something violates the establisment clause? I must of missed that part of the clause that said 'excluding science'.

Of course, there is a lot of blog sphere activity on the decision.

By far, the best pro-ID analysis and commentary would have to be by Jonathan Witt. Jonathan highlights and rebuts all of the judges major findings, including this troubling aspect of the judgment
Essentially, what the judge has concluded is that if one is a religious citizen who offers an argument for a point of view consistent with your religious worldview, you will be segregated from the public square. But not because your argument is bad, but because of your beliefs and the company you keep or may have kept. I can't believe this could happen in America."
Make sure you read the whole thing.

Creation Safaris has it's usual expert commentary, saying
But Jones went overboard; his ruling is so full of bluster and emotion, it sounds like another shriek in the dying gasp of the materialists to maintain their stranglehold on education and to police student brains against entertaining doubts about the authority of Pope Charlie.


David Heddle, over at He Lives comments
There was no much doubt in the final outcome. The unknowns were: How activist is this judge? How far would he go? What degree of omniscience would he assume? The answers: very activist, he went very far, and he assumed godlike omniscience although without the attendant infallibility.

This was a lose-lose for everyone—although obviously the anti-ID side is crowing over their perceived victory. The problem is, today’s favorable (from whoever's perspective) judicial intrusion into an area where it doesn’t belong opens the door for tomorrow’s nightmarish decision.

In my opinion, the correct, founding-father-like ruling would have been: the school board was legally voted in—and what they decide to put in their curriculum is not the federal government’s business—and if you don’t like them, vote them out. (Which is in fact what has already happened.)

Judge Jones ruled that ID is not science. Of course, one wonders on what basis he is qualified to say what is or isn’t science.


Evolution news reports that the Discoverie Institute states "The Dover decision is an attempt by an activist federal judge to stop the spread of a scientific idea and even to prevent criticism of Darwinian evolution through government-imposed censorship rather than open debate, and it won't work,"

Of course, the Panda's Thumb people are unsuprisingly delighted, using what I think will call 'argumentum ad agreement', i.e. They guy agreed with our side so he must be balanced and correct, commenting that
That, you see, is what happens when the facts are given a genuinely fair hearing.


I have two points. In the judge's decision, he accuses the ID supporters of lying. Why are there no charges being laid for perjury? Surely if the judge can accuse them in his judgment, he should have a pretty solid case.

Also, Judge Jones, in the decision said
In making this determination, we have addressed the seminal question of whether ID is science. We have concluded that it is not, and moreover that ID cannot uncouple itself from its creationist, and thus religious, antecedents.
I have to wonder how any science is allowed then as it all had a creationist/religious antecedent. Oh well. Can't really expect consistency in these things...

I'll leave you with creation safari's insightful quip
Judge Jones clearly embraced all the arguments of the plaintiffs and their witnesses, lawyers and scientists, and accepted none of those on the other side.


Update: Southern Appeal also provides great insight, discussing the Judges statements about whether he is an activist.
Judge Jones does not understand who is suppose to be an activist in our constitutional system. A School Board is suppose to "act" and make policy and curriculum decisions. And if those decisions are ill-informed, then, as happened here, the School Board will be voted out of office and the decision reversed by a future Board. A federal judge is not suppose to decide what science is, or is not, and then "act" to overrule the School Board’s decision.

Comments:
I don't know why you would suggest that evolution cannot be referred to as a "theory."

A scientific theory, such as the theory of gravity, electromagnetism or evolution, is the highest degree of certainty that science offers. The theory of evolution is one of the most well supported theories in the world of science. Every new biological discovery since 1859 has supported evolution.

Gravity is another "theory," but I don't know anyone who would test it by walking off a cliff.

ID does not even rise to the level of "theory," since it does not offer any explanation of why we see evolution taking place, it offers no means of falsification, and it is incapable of making testable predictions. The theory of evolution meets all these threshholds.

Since ID is not even a theory, there is only one to choose from.

I am grateful for a sane judge.
 
The theory of evolution is one of the most well supported theories in the world of science. Every new biological discovery since 1859 has supported evolution.

Actually the opposite is true. The more we learn of the complexity and information content in life, the less sense evolutionary theory makes. Blood cells looked like simple blobs of matter that just carried nutrients and oxygen around. Now, we see them as complex machines that do things we marvel at and try to copy.

Gravity is another "theory," but I don't know anyone who would test it by walking off a cliff.

Stupid argument since you don't have to walk off a cliff to prove gravity. Anyways, talk with a mathematician or astonomer and they'll laugh at your comparing evolutionary theory to the theory of gravity.

ID does not even rise to the level of "theory," since it does not offer any explanation of why we see evolution taking place,

What we see are mutations that result in the loss of information. This makes perfect sense in terms of ID. Random changes to complex and information rich organisms do not result in greater complexity. Have you seen a lizard sprout wings?

it offers no means of falsification,

And evolutionary theory does? The theory itself has changed at least three times with new mechanisms added and their importance changed. What does it take to falsify macro evolution?

and it is incapable of making testable predictions.

I bet IDists are more like to assume that anything we see has some purpose to the organism. Compare that to the nonsense peddled by evolutionists about leftover organs and junk DNA. As Dr. Krell said, evolution is not necessary to perform any scientific research.

I am grateful for a sane judge.

The judge was far from sane and went on a 130+ page rant. The question is if ID theory is religious in nature. He went far beyond that question into whether it was science. A judge does not get to decide what is science.
 
Repack,

Before you start comparing evolutionary 'theory' with the theory of gravity, I would suggest you read Jerry Coyne's Of Vice and Men which tells you that "In science's pecking order, evolutionary biology lurks somewhere near the bottom, far closer to phrenology than to physics. For evolutionary biology is a historical science, laden with history's inevitable imponderables. We evolutionary biologists cannot generate a Cretaceous Park to observe exactly what killed the dinosaurs; and, unlike "harder" scientists, we usually cannot resolve issues with a simple experiment, such as adding tube A to tube B and noting the color of the mixture."

There is a big difference.

As to why I would suggest that evolution can't be referred to as a theory, I am not sure why you attribute that to me? The words came from the disclaimer that the Judge said was unconstitutional.

So in essence, the 'sane judge' which you are grateful for is the one you have been criticising.
 
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