Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Judge bans teaching intelligent design #3

[Continued from part #2]

Judge rules against 'intelligent design' in science class, CNN, Delia Gallagher and Phil Hirschkorn, December 20, 2005 ... Jones -- an appointee of President Bush, who backs the teaching of intelligent design -- defended his decision in personal terms. "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," Jones writes. "Rather, this case came to us as the result of the activism of an ill-informed faction on a school board, aided by a national public interest law firm eager to find a constitutional test case on intelligent design, who in combination drove the board to adopt an imprudent and ultimately unconstitutional policy," he said. [Sounds like a guilty conscience on the part of Judge Jones! But he has hit the nail on the head. He has been accused of being "an activist judge" on this issue at least. But I will leave that for my next post.]

... Richard Thompson, a spokesman for the Michigan-based Thomas More Law Center, which aided the school district, called Jones' verdict a "troubling decision." "The founders of this country would be astonished at the thought that this simple curriculum change established religion in violation of the Constitution that they drafted," Thompson said. [Agreed. This really is the reductio ad absurdum of the USA courts' rulings on the "religion". What was originally intended by the founders to be the prevention of a European-style State church, has been mutated into the banishment of religion (especially Christianity) from the public square, leaving effectively atheism as the established religion of America!] Jones said of the defendants, "It is ironic that several of these individuals, who so staunchly and proudly touted their religious convictions in public, would time and again lie to cover their tracks and disguise the real purpose" ... [See previous on their catch-22. The real question is why should Christians feel they have to "disguise the real purpose"? And what about Judge Jones' "real purpose"?]

U.S. judge rules 'intelligent design' can't be mentioned in biology classes, CNews, December 20, 2005 , Martha Raffaele ... HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - Intelligent design cannot be mentioned in biology classes in a Pennsylvania public school district, a U.S. federal judge said Tuesday, ruling in one of the biggest courtroom clashes on evolution since the 1925 Scopes monkey trial. Dover Area School Board members violated the U.S. Constitution when they ordered that its biology curriculum must include the notion that life on Earth was produced by an unidentified intelligent cause, U.S. District Judge John Jones ruled. .... Jones said advocates of intelligent design "have bona fide and deeply held beliefs which drive their scholarly endeavours" and that he didn't believe the concept shouldn't be studied and discussed. But, he wrote, "our conclusion today is that it is unconstitutional to teach ID as an alternative to evolution in a public school science classroom." ... [This is even more bizarre! So ID's advocates can "have bona fide and deeply held beliefs which drive their scholarly endeavours" yet students in USA public schools are not allowed to even be told what they are! Sounds more like the former Soviet Union that the USA!]

Judge rules against `intelligent design': `Religious alternative' to evolution barred from public-school science classes, MSNBC/AP, Dec. 20, 2005 ... HARRISBURG, Pa. - In one of the biggest courtroom clashes between faith and evolution since the 1925 Scopes Monkey Trial, a federal judge barred a Pennsylvania public school district Tuesday from teaching "intelligent design" in biology class, saying the concept is creationism in disguise. .... The ruling was a major setback to the intelligent design movement, which is also waging battles in Georgia and Kansas. [Agreed that this is a major setback to the ID movement, and personally am not sure that it will recover from it. But since I regard ID as true, I regard the real losers to be those who think ID to be false, and those who will never find out that ID is true, thanks to Judge Jones (and his ilk).]

... The old board's actions may still have an impact, however. Jones also ruled that the school board would have to pay the plaintiffs' legal fees, which are not insignificant. Plaintiffs' attorney Rothschild said compensation would be sought despite the turnover on the board, but that the cost was still being tallied. "We'll sort out who we might pursue for this remedy in the days ahead," he said. ... [These fees, quoted as being over $1 million, will certainly prevent any other board considering mentioning ID in its curriculum.]

'Intelligent design' teaching ban, BBC, 20 December 2005 ... A court in the US has ruled against the teaching of "intelligent design" alongside Darwin's theory of evolution. ... Judge Jones said he had determined that ID was not science and "cannot uncouple itself from its creationist, and thus religious, antecedents". ... [This is an example of the genetic fallacy, confusing the truth of an idea, with its origins:

"TO argue that a claim is true or false on the basis of its origin is to commit the genetic fallacy. For example: 'Jones's idea is the result of a mystical experience, so it must be false (or true).' Or: 'Jane got that message from a Ouija board, so it must be false (or true).' These arguments are fallacious because the origin of a claim is irrelevant to its truth or falsity. Some of our greatest advances have originated in unusual ways. For example, the chemist August Kekule discovered the benzene ring while staring at a fire and seeing the image of a serpent biting its tail. The theory of evolution came to British naturalist Alfred Russell Wallace while in a delirium. Archimedes supposedly arrived at the principle of displacement while taking a bath, from which he leapt shouting, `Eureka!' The truth or falsity of an idea is determined not by where it came from, but by the evidence supporting it." (Schick T. & Vaughn L., "How to Think About Weird Things: Critical Thinking for a New Age," Mayfield: Mountain View CA, California, Second edition, 1995, p.287)
On that basis, astronomy could not be true because its antecedent was astrology and chemistry could not be true because its antecedent was alchemy. Even if ID had "creationist, and thus religious, antecedents", so what? ID (as well as its creationist, and ... religious ... antecedents) could still be true. If only a theory with non-"religious antecedents" is allowed to be taught in USA school, then by definition only atheistic evolution can be taught, even if it is false!]

Stephen E. Jones, BSc (Biol).
"Problems of Evolution"

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