Monday, January 02, 2006

Schlafly Loses It

Phyllis Schlafly has weighed in on the big Dover decision. Now, I can't be certain, but I'm pretty sure she is unhappy about the way things turned out:


Judge John E. Jones III could still be chairman of the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board if millions of evangelical Christians had not pulled the lever for George W. Bush in 2000. Yet this federal judge, who owes his position entirely to those voters and the president who appointed him, stuck the knife in the backs of those who brought him to the dance in Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District.

Jones issued his ruling, a 139-page rant against anyone who objects to force-feeding public schoolchildren with the theory of evolution, on Dec. 20. He accused parents and school board members of “breathtaking inanity” for wanting their children to learn that “intelligent design is an explanation of the origin of life that differs from Charles Darwin's view.”


Melodramatic much?

Anyway, from here Schlafly unloads a few specific criticisms on Mr. Jones. After that calm and erudite introduction, I was expecting a serious legal analysis of the issues involved in the case. Instead we get things like this:


He lashed out at witnesses who expressed religious views different from his own, displaying a prejudice unworthy of our judiciary. He denigrated several officials because they “staunchly and proudly touted their religious convictions in public.”


Wow! No shame at all. This entire paragraph comes straight from Neptune.

Here's what Judge Jones actually wrote:


The citizens of the Dover area were poorly served by the members of the Board who voted for the ID policy. 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 behind the ID policy.


Apparently Schlafly missed the part about the witnesses telling lies.

When Schlafly isn't making a total hash out of the basic facts of the situation, she is writing things that don't make any sense at all:


Jones exhibited his bias for judicial activism with public remarks that should have caused his recusal. Signaling that he would exploit the dispute, Jones boasted, “It certainly is one of the most significant cases in United States history. ... Even Charles Darwin's great grandson is attending the trial.”


Someone's going ot have to explain this one to me. How do Jones' statements here signal a bias for judicial activism?

And how about this one:


The atheist evolutionists would not have made such a big case out of the four innocuous paragraphs ordered by the Dover school board unless they were pursuing an ideological cause. They converted the trial into a grand inquisition of religious beliefs instead of addressing science or the statement to be read to students.


Is it worth pointing out that Judge Jones' opinion contains five pages devoted solely to a textual analysis of the Dover ID statement? And twenty-four pages devoted to addressing scientific questions (and finding in the process that ID is a total sham)? And should we point out to her that no one's religious beliefs were on trial, and none were addressed in the opinion?

Now, Schlafly's entire column is a pack of lies from start to finish. It is so divorced from reality that we can only conclude that getting the facts right holds little appeal for her. Every paragraph in this silly column is nonsense. Yet she remains an honored member of the right-wing commentariat. I'm sorry, but I know of no prominent liberal columnist who is even capable of achieving this level of dishonesty.

Schlafly closes with this:


In an era of judicial supremacy, Judge Jones' biased and religiously bigoted decision is way over the top. His decision will ultimately hurt the evolutionist cause because it shows that the evolutionists cannot defend their beliefs on the merits; they can only survive by censoring alternate views.


As I have discussed elsewhere, this decision actually shows what happens when both sides have a chance to present their best evidence in a forum not dominated by flash and rhetoric. And Schlafly's deluded column shows once again that there isn't an ounce of principle to be found in the religious right. Only dishonesty and childish petulance.

21 Comments:

At 9:01 PM, Anonymous Dick Lessard said...

Shlafly is taking 'spin control' to a whole new level. The sad truth is that many people will form their opinion of the Dover decision based on diatribes such as this. They won't bother to read the actual 139-page decision, or even to skim it. When you read the decision, what comes across most clearly is Judge Jones' thoroughness, and his scholarly, calm reasoned approach. It's a shame to see it wildly distorted by irresponsible, almost irrational commentary.

 
At 9:43 PM, Anonymous Kevin from NYC said...

OT comment

Hey Dr Jason!

"and please know the fool thing was a joke. i hope you got that."

many apologies from a previous thread. so anyway what, if anything have you to say about the philosophical underpinnings of dialectical materialism and how it relates to the religious concept of man at the apex of creation?

just a ques. It remains to be proven that philosophy is "real", except that lots of people talk about it alot.


(plz plz me me!)

 
At 3:02 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, it's easy to tell where that article came from, I mean, who calls their kid Phyllis Schlafly?

 
At 8:35 AM, Blogger Mark said...

It's no coincidence that the pricipal backers of ID in Dover blatantly lied, some members of the Discovery Institute demonstrate that they are truth-challenged, and Phyllis Schlafly sprews moronic crap--they all claim to be imbued with a more virtuous ethical code than evilutionists.

 
At 9:29 AM, Blogger Ginger Yellow said...

As a long-time UK based American, I don't really understand the Schlafly phenomenon. Everything of hers I've ever read has been either bonkers or quite obviously wrong, and not even in a vaguely amusing Ann Coulter schtick way. Yet she seems to be one of the (if not the) most respected pundits among conservatives (especially for a woman). What's the deal?

 
At 10:08 AM, Anonymous Steverino said...

Did we expect anything different from the founder of the Pro-Family Eagle Forum?

The Dover decision goes against everything the Eagle Forum stands for...God, Guts and Guns....all the good family values.

 
At 2:40 PM, Blogger LiberPaul said...

The right wing morals aren't all they are cracked up to be apparently.

Like Dick Lessard said, "The sad truth is that many people will form their opinion of the Dover decision based on diatribes such as this."

 
At 8:10 AM, Anonymous Michael said...

While it's sad that articles like this will influence a good number of people, I'm of the opinion that a great number more are actually going to disagree with the article. Given the blatant pack of lies continually being told, I think that the general public is getting sick and tired of hearing the same thing over and over again. Of course the die-hards will continually speak out and be the loudest, but that's true of any nut job group (i.e. conspiracy theorists, alien abductees, etc.). They'll always be loud, and will always cry out for attention, and... as Dr. Jason states, when in a situation where hucksterism isn't tolerated, they will fail over and over again.

 
At 10:54 AM, Anonymous Fred said...

Michael, I think you're wrong about the public getting tired of lies like this. After all, the ones who would be on this woman's side are the religious ones, and no amount of logic and proof of lying will ever change their minds. After all, and I apologize for being harsh, but, their whole lives are based on what is essentially lies.

What I'm astonished at is the fact that Schlafly's article even got published, it's so inaccurate and full of lies. But then again, I suspect that when religious people say, "What would Jesus do?" it's so they can do the exact opposite.

 
At 12:07 PM, Blogger Mark said...

Fred said...
After all, and I apologize for being harsh, but, their whole lives are based on what is essentially lies.

Above is the proof that some evolutionists also have an agenda. You need to be honest and say that you will not look at any other possibility because it disagrees with what you believe. To say that there is "no scientific evidence" for I.D. is wrong. But to say that there is enough scientific evidence is also very wrong!

As far as teaching I.D. in school, don't do it. But don't teach evolution either. Those who believe in evolution have enough evidence to prove that things change. Only a fool would deny that. But only a fool would say that there is concrete proof that those changes produce the degree of change that evolutionist believe.

And no apology for the use of the word “fool”. The Bible definition of a fool is someone that decides a matter without hearing both sides first. I think that is what both sides are doing! And instead of talking to each other are taking at each other. Both sides believe that they are superior to the other. If you are on the religious side you are not superior, your just dirt anyway and how can dirt be superior? And if you are on the evolutionist side you’re just an accident and how can an accident be superior to anything or anybody.

Besides how can anyone else say that they are superior? When I’m the only one that is superior. I’m the only one that is correct!
(HA HA only a joke, before someone becomes offended. Please don’t crucify me or cause me to de-evolve or whatever).

Mark

 
At 1:03 PM, Anonymous Fred said...

Mark, how does what I said prove that I have an agenda? You don't think religion is filled with lies? Well, here's a question: What happened about 2000 years ago on December 25th? Answer: Nothing. Jesus was not born on that day. Another question: Where did the water come from for the great flood, and where did it go after? And how was it possible for Noah to collect the animals, let alone fit them on a tiny ship? (And even an ocean liner or oil tanker would be considered "tiny" in this instance.) And then there's that whole earth/sun/center of the universe thing...

As for "how can an accident be superior," why not? Why does something have to be intentional for it to be superior? Whether something is superior or not is not contingent upon its origin.

And by the way, there IS NO scientific evidence for ID. If you find any, please forward it to Judge Jones ASAP!

It's funny how religious people believe in every single science-- flight, computers, medicine, energy, biology, electronics, etc.-- but NOT evolution. What a coincidence that the one science that (in their opinion) goes against religion just happens to be the only one that's flat out wrong.

 
At 3:43 PM, Anonymous darthWilliam said...

Mark,

1. There is NO evidence for ID. None. Zilch. Nadda. Zippo. Therefore, don't teach it in science class.

2. Why not teach evolution? Of all the major scientific theories, it can arguably be called the most important of all. The evidence is solid, the predictions are verifiable, it's a fascinating story - let's teach it!

You seem to be engaging in that all too common human ability to ignore any evidence that doesn't support what you want to believe.

 
At 3:59 PM, Anonymous darthWilliam said...

Oh no Jason I clicked on the link to the Schlafly article! Some of commenters there are just stunningly ignorant. My head is ready to explode. How do you deal with this stuff everyday?

You have my respect man, keep up the good work.

--darth

 
At 5:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

On the whole Evolution vs. Creation bit, I have an idea! Even with the Big Bang too. Okay, what if the big bang happened, but it's just that God pressed the button to make it happen? Maybe evolution is a fact, that was propelled by something other than time and itself! So in one perspective, these two theoretic rivals DO NOT contradict each other.

 
At 7:31 PM, Anonymous Fred said...

anonymous, no one on the evolution side ever said they did contradict each other. It's the religious people who seem to think that if you believe in evolution it means you don't believe in God and are actively working to rid the world of all religion. There are plenty of scientists who believe in God and that he may have, as you put it, pushed the button.

 
At 12:51 PM, Blogger Ginger Yellow said...

"If you are on the religious side you are not superior, your just dirt anyway and how can dirt be superior? And if you are on the evolutionist side you’re just an accident and how can an accident be superior to anything or anybody. "

Eh? Leaving aside Fred's entirely valid point, what possible bearing does someone's ontological status have on the strength of their scientific arguments?

 
At 9:53 AM, Anonymous Kevin from NYC said...

"To say that there is "no scientific evidence" for I.D. is wrong."

eh eh science in perhaps "its looks like design to me and I can't be bothered trying to figure it out so a supreme diety must have created it using...using...solar wind..no eh
a multi-dimensional force that we can't detect....or the magic finger.....


"But only a fool would say that there is concrete proof that those changes produce the degree of change that evolutionist believe. "

scientists don't believe that there were multiple changes in life-forms over the 3.5 billion years of life on earth. That's a fact from the fossil record.

Scientists don't believe in evolution. They understand that evolutionary processes provide the best RATIONAL explaination for the observed data.

We really don't have any other explaination except creation myths and we have a lot of those....I'm a turtle and mud guy myself.

oh and Mark, you're nice to come on this board and give your opinion. do you have a description of the scientific basis that you could share with us that does not use the discredited ideas of "specified complexity" and the SLOT?

 
At 10:20 AM, Blogger Mark said...

Do you honestly believe that everything came from nothing? Or that everything just always existed?

I believe that it would be very difficult to scientifically prove a creator. I also am not a supporter of the way I.D. proponents are currently pursuing creation. I think that many of the same things that are said to be proof of evolution could easily be construed as evidence of creation. For instance: Is it possible that similarities in design between different animals prove a common Creator instead of a common ancestor?

My problems with evolution do not come from what you would call the lack of scientific proof of a creator, but in the extreme leap of faith required to believe most of what evolutionist believe. Can I explain how God came to be? No. Did God come from nothing or did He simply always exist? I believe He always existed. But the same question goes to evolutionary science. Did everything come from nothing or did it always exist? We both have the same problem of proof of origin.

Since I have been told on this blog to stick to biological science rather than the sciences involved in origins of the universe, can anyone answer these questions?
• When, where, why, and how did life come from non-living matter? Could life come from non-living matter? If so what scientific proof is there? Is it still happening? If so where? How can non-living things evolve into living things?
• When, where, why, and how did life learn to reproduce itself?
• Are any of the your answers to these questions verifiable or repeatable?

Mark

 
At 1:50 PM, Anonymous Fred said...

Mark said: Do you honestly believe that everything came from nothing? Or that everything just always existed?

I can't really fully comprehend either way. Luckily that has nothing to do with evolution. As you state later, you don't know which way it is either-- since you can't figure out if God "always was" or just "appeared."

You end by asking a series of question, none of which are about evolution, but are about origins, which is not evolution. Evolution deals with things after the first life appeared.

Also, be careful about implying intelligence: life didn't "learn" to start reproducing, at least in the way the word "learn" is commonly used. Does ice "learn" to melt? Does it "know" that above a certain temperature it should melt?

But to sort of answer your questions, we haven't created life from a lab "primordial soup," at least as far as I'm aware. However, it's something you can't speed along any more than by just assuring that you have the proper mix. And nature had millions of years. Ask me again in a million years if we've been able to reproduce it.

Anyway, what does it matter whether we've reproduced it yet? The point is that scientists are trying, not giving up and saying it must have been magic. It's too early to close the book on the experiments. Some people closed the book on powered flight long before the Wrights proved them wrong. When something in science seems viable it's silly to conclude failure after only a handful of experiments. Where would we be today if all scientists throughout history did that?

I find a natural explanation no harder to believe than a supernatural one; in fact I find it easier to believe, because year after year we find more and more natural explanations for things that religious folks used to think were absolutely 100% the work of God.

 
At 5:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Liberals,

Apparently, you dont feel ashamed at the tirade of absolute lunacy brought about by Kennedy and the Dem's at the Alito hearings. You wanna talk about disgusting? Schlafly goes a bit crazy, for sure, but no where near what happened on court tv this week. Now, I realize they are unrelated, but still, you bring up something, so can I.

 
At 5:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fred

"I find a natural explanation no harder to believe than a supernatural one; in fact I find it easier to believe, because year after year we find more and more natural explanations for things that religious folks used to think were absolutely 100% the work of God."

Like what, exactly?

 

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