January 5, 2006

On the Dover, PA Intelligent Design trial (1)

It's pretty incredible how creationists and ID advocates are spinning (i.e., twisting, distorting, misinforming, and outright lying, in their typical way) their total defeat in this trial.

For example, right off the bat we've had creationists all over the country, such as Phyllis Schlafly, lying to everyone by pretending that Judge Jones must be some kind of liberal activist judge ["False judge makes mockery of case for 'intelligent design'," townhall.com, 1/2/2006]. (No, according to these creationists, Jones couldn't actually just be taking science and the First Amendment seriously now, could he?) Of course, the truth of the matter is that Jones has a judicial record, and this record shows that creationists are just lying - and Jones himself explicitly discussed this very point in his ruling, predicting that this is one of the tactics of deceit that creationists would use, and he thus explained to creationists ahead of time why such an accusation would be wrong. But creationists didn't and don't care about the truth (which is, of course, one of the problems that provoked this trial in the first place), have ignored Jones' judicial record, have ignored Jones' warning about the error of this precise misrepresentation, and have been spouting this lie all over the country.

Look how these people are just foaming at the mouth over the ruling. Christine Flowers spins that the judge "believed that it was his duty to protect innocent children from a dangerous theory" ["Dover & the cult of science," Philadelphia Daily News, 1/4/2006]. The truth of the matter is that the judge - quite correctly - believed that it was his duty to uphold the Establishment Cause of the First Amendment and protect innocent children from religious zealots who would love to use public schools to force their religious beliefs down the kids' throats, and not only that but to falsely pretend that their religious beliefs are science.

Flowers spins that the Dover school board tried to "force science teachers to tell their students that evolution was not the only possible explanation for the origins of mankind," which seems like a pretty straightforward statement by Flowers except for the use of a single word that turns her statement into misrepresentative distortion. The school board tried to force science teachers to pretend to students that evolution was not the only scientific explanation of human origins. And that's just plain wrong, since evolution is indeed the only scientific explanation.

Flowers spins sarcastically that Jones with his ruling "put an end to the silly notion that evolution could be challenged in the classroom." Which is nothing more than a bald-faced lie. What Jones did very specifically was deal with the fact that ID is not scientific but religious, and thus is not a scientific challenge to evolution, and thus doesn't belong in a science class in a public school, and even when taught about in appropriate classes (such as social studies or religious survey classes) should be taught in a nonsectarian manner.

The profusion of misrepresentative distortions such as these that ID advocates and other creationists have built up for themselves over the years and decades has become such a standard part of their rhetorical vocabulary that they cannot bring themselves to acknowledge the errors of their ways, even when such events as this trial forces them to confront those errors.

The one and only lesson that ID advocates and other creationists should have taken and learned from the trial and the ruling is that if they want to claim that creationism or some aspect of creationism is scientific, then they must actually, genuinely do some real work in real science and come up with some results that legitimately back up what they claim. Until then, all they have is deceitful rhetoric built into a house of cards, and it will continue to collapse every time someone like Judge Jones blows on it with the tiniest puff of rationality. Of course, since ID really is religious and not scientific in the first place, this is the lesson that ID advocates and other creationists are completely ignoring.

Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District (Wikipedia)
Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District trial transcripts and documents
Full text of Judge Jones' ruling (12/20/2005) [PDF document]

1 comment:

Robert Baty said...


I've added a link to your blog to the links page of my little discussion list sponsored by YAHOO!

I tried again this morning from my WebTv system, and I still couldn't maintain the connection. After a few second the connection just blasts me off the WebTv connections and I have to reconnect.

I have managed to connect using another computer in the business center of my apartment complex.

I think maybe there is a problem with how this blog is set up; it seems to be unfriendly to us WebTv tyros.

Robert Baty