Wednesday, November 09, 2005

New Creation Watch Column

My new column for CSICOP's Creation Watch site is now available. I put to rest once and for all the nonsense that Stephen Jay Gould would have objected to NCSE's “Steves” list (which is named in Gould's honor. Enjoy!


At 1:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry for the size but look at this horrible open from my local paper:

Daniel Leddy's On The Law column appears each Monday on the Advance Op-Ed Page. His e-mail address is

The American Civil Liberties Union scours the nation looking for what it thinks are constitutional violations, and then bullies municipalities and school districts by threatening them with costly litigation if they don't cease the supposedly offending activity.
The organization has been remarkably successful in foisting its left-wing agenda on America, exercising power grossly disproportionate to its relatively small membership.
Today, it seems primarily concerned with two issues: Frustrating the government's efforts to protect this country from terrorism and keeping everything that even hints of religion out of any government-owned landscape, including the nation's schools. As its position in a case currently pending in Pennsylvania clearly establishes, the ACLU swallows hypocrisy as easily as it emasculates the will of the great majority of Americans.
Dover, Pa., is a small, rural town that has given rise to a lawsuit that some see as reminiscent of the 1925 Scopes "Monkey Trial." In October, 2004, the local school board passed a resolution requiring that ninth-grade biology students be told: Darwin's theory of evolution contains gaps for which there is no evidence; intelligent design is an explanation of the origin of life that differs from Darwin's view; a reference book entitled "Of Pandas and People" is available for students who want to gain a better understanding of intelligent design; and, as with any theory, students are encouraged to keep an open mind.
The school board specifically reaffirmed its overriding responsibility under Pennsylvania academic standards to teach Darwin's theory of evolution and prepare students for a standardized test encompassing it. Nevertheless, 11 parents initiated suit to stop the school from even mentioning intelligent design or the book explaining it.
The ACLU, of course, is on the plaintiffs' legal team, claiming that the school board's action constitutes an establishment of religion in violation of the First Amendment.
For too long, this organization and its sympathizers have gotten away with ignoring the corollary to their rigid concept of the First Amendment. If, as it claims, absolute neutrality is the constitutional standard, then a governmental entity may not exhibit hostility to religion. Yet, a school that adopts an unflinchingly secular approach to its every undertaking is necessarily asserting that, in the entire body of knowledge it dispenses, there isn't room for even the possibility of a divine hand.
While the ACLU wants to clamp an iron muzzle on the free-speech rights of teachers to merely mention a book like "Of Pandas and People," it unleashes those teachers who are atheists and secular humanists to instill their beliefs in impressionable young minds. Contrary to the prevailing assumption, the absence of anything religious from school is not neutrality, nor is it reasonable to assume that children will perceive it that way. The moral relativism that permeates segments of society today springs from somewhere, and the most obvious font is a public school system shaped by the ACLU and those who foster its agenda.
Interestingly, the ACLU was singing a different tune about teachers' prerogatives in 1925 when Tennessee passed the Butler Act, making it unlawful for an educator to present a theory at variance with the biblical version of creation. The organization's attorney, Arthur Garfield Hays, was right there in court with outspoken agnostic Clarence Darrow, defending the right of John Scopes, another recruited plaintiff, to teach evolution.
Apparently, the ACLU zealously defends the free-speech rights of teachers as long as they are denigrating God or religion. In its defense, the Dover school board is arguing that certain aspects of life are simply too complex to be adequately explained without the presupposition of an intelligent designer.
It is supported by the Discovery Institute which, on its website, reports that over 400 scientists from a variety of disciplines have signed a statement that they are "skeptical of claims for the ability of random mutation and natural selection to account for the complexity of life."
Hence the school's brief statement merely making students aware of the concept of intelligent design, and the book "Of Pandas and People" should they wish to read it.
The Dover Panda trial, as it has come to be known, is essentially a silly lawsuit because the proposition that the school's statement constitutes an establishment of religion is so patently untenable. That some take the case seriously or even view it as historic is not evidence of its merit.
On the contrary, according it such undue weight is merely evidence of how successful the ACLU has been in turning neutrality into a synonym for hostility.

At 9:44 PM, Blogger Ahab said...

Kevin wrote:
While the ACLU wants to clamp an iron muzzle on the free-speech rights of teachers to merely mention a book like "Of Pandas and People,"

Hey Kevin, have you followed the Dover trial at all?
The science teachers there did not want to read the pro ID statement or to mention "Of Pandas and Peoples." It was the school board that was forcing them to do so. So much for free speech.

I thank god for the ACLU even though I'm an atheist.

At 1:52 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Please give us a citation for the article. I don't know what the "Advance" is.

And thank you ofr cluing us in to the crackpot fringe.

At 10:49 AM, Blogger mmurphy21 said...

Kevin, you've got it all wrong.
The ACLU is an organization that supports and protects the Constitution of the United States of America. It upholds the constitution and the bill of rights. The very documents by which or country was founded. How could that be a bad thing? Is it just because they support laws that you don't like such as the separation of church and state and civil rights. How can support of the constitution be left-wing. I would hope support of the constitution would be American bipartisanism. You see it as "Frustrating the government's efforts to protect this country from terrorism" where I see it as protecting the civil rights of our citizens. You see it as "keeping everything that even hints of religion out of any government-owned landscape, including the nation's schools" where I see it as a separation of church and state. This country is not only for the majority. The founders of our great country knew that just because you have a majority doesn't mean you are right. If only the majority ruled, this would be a scary place to live for everyone but the WASPs. The Dover case is about forcing someone’s religious views into science class. Science is a method or process of determining knowledge about the world around us. Information not thoroughly tested and accepted by "mainstream science" should not be taught in school science classes. That doesn't mean that they are hostile toward religion, just that religion doesn't belong in science class. Science is not atheistic any more than any pursuit of knowledge such as medicine. As a matter of practice medicine only considers natural causes for natural events, it doesn't exclude them, it just can't comment on things that can not be tested empirically. Science also excludes the supernatural as a matter of practice. Science doesn't say that "there isn't room for even the possibility of a divine hand". It just can't comment on things that can not be tested using the scientific process. Free speech doesn't mean that teachers can lie to students. Science teachers are bound by their ethical codes to teach the best knowledge available acquired through scientific means. The information in "Of Pandas and People" is loaded with pseudoscience which is way out of the mainstream of science and is not accepted by over 99% of the scientists in the fields relative to evolution (Gallup Poll). The Discovery Institute is a conservative think tank designed to push their agenda of Christian fundamentalism. It is not a scientific organization. Of the 400 scientists who signed their document the vast majority are not even in fields relative to evolution. To know what science suggests you have to go to the scientific journals where their research is reviewed, published and scrutinized. Not in pseudoscience books that are published without peer review. Although I may not always agree with thier stance I commend the ACLU for supporting America's Constitution.

At 12:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Um, I believe Kevin was merely drawing attention to the article, not agreeing with it ("...but look at this horrible open from my local paper:")

At 12:56 PM, Blogger Ahab said...

jc, I missed that. Thanks for pointing it out.

I'm sorry Kevin for assuming you were in agreement with the crazy article.

At 1:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I could have been a bit clearer. I live in Staten Island NY and our local paper is the Advance.

I write anti-ID letters all the time arguing with other residents but this is the first OPED (not "open") that actually advocated ID... made me really mad and somewhat ill

At 9:54 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

Thanks for the blog - keep it up!

Oh, and you might like this nice picture of creationist Salvador Cordova with the Flying Spaghetti Monster:


Post a Comment

<< Home