Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Good Stuff from CSICOP and Free Inquiry

Be sure to have a look at Chris Mooney's excellent summary of the significance of the Dover decision:

Over the course of a lengthy trial, Jones looked closely at the scientific merits of “intelligent design”--the contention that Darwinian evolution cannot explain the biological complexity of living organisms, and that instead some form of intelligence must have created them. And in the end, the judge found ID utterly vacuous. “[ID] cannot be adjudged a valid, accepted scientific theory,” Jones wrote, “as it has failed to publish in peer-reviewed journals, engage in research and testing, and gain acceptance in the scientific community.”

ID critics have been making these same observations for years; so have leading American scientific societies. Meanwhile, investigative reporters and scholars studying the ID movement have demonstrated that it is, indeed, simply creationism reincarnated--all religion and no science. On the intellectual merits, ID was dead a long time ago. But before Judge Jones came along, it's astonishing how hard it was to get that acknowledged, unequivocally, in public discussion of the issue.

Meanwhile, the current issue of Free Inquiry has an excellent essay from Christopher Hitchens, not available online. Here's an excerpt:

It must be obvious even to the laziest observer that we now have at least a semi-official “religious test” for appointment to the Supreme Court. The test is not the one that the framers of the Constitution feared: the question of “What religion are you?” It is, rather, a test to make sure that the candidate does have a religion. In all the arguments about John Roberts, Harriet Myers, and Samuel Alito, one lement was consistent. Their religious affiliation was bannered as if it were a guarantee, in itself, of integrity. (In the case of Ms. Miers, it was the only thing that was bannered, apart from her devotion to the person of the president.)

However, along with this affirmation came a prohibition. It was, said the Right, quite outrageous to ask any furhter questions about the way in which a confessed allegiance might influence the application of the law. Any such line of inquiry would be construed as anti-Catholic (in the case of Roberts and Alito) or anti-evangelical (in the case of Miers). Rather than be accused of offending any faith-based “community,” the Democrats duly abstained from asking about abortion, creationism, and other salient issues that are well-understood to be of doctrinal as well as legal salience. Quite a neat trick, when you think of it. And now ask yourself what would happen to a nominee for the highest court who, superbly trained, educated, and qualified, announced that he or she had no belief in any deity and thought that an ethical life could be lived without religion. It must say quite a lot that we already know the answer to that question. (Emphasis in original)


At 6:00 PM, Blogger Norm Conway said...

Here's an interesting approach to imposing religion in our schools, from the mind of Red Phillips: (

Here is what I propose. States all across the God-fearing South as well as Christian and conservative States in that other country that lies to the north of Dixie should pass laws mandating the teaching of creation in public schools, in blatant defiance of the brain-dead court. But the laws should contain additional wording something like this:

"We, the legislature of Alabama/Georgia/South Carolina/Mississippi etc. have carefully considered the constitutionality of this proposal. The 1st Amendment which states 'Congress shall make no law' clearly applies only to Congress and laws passed by Congress. Therefore, it is not possible that this law is in violation of the 1st Amendment. Therefore we will consider any decision by a federal court that finds this law in violation of the 1st Amendment to be null and void. We authorize the use of State law enforcement to arrest and transport to the State border, any federal agent attempting to enforce such a decision. We also do not authorize any money be paid out of the State treasury for any fines or court fees incurred by a judicial challenge to this law. Any State official who attempts to take money from the State treasury for the purpose of paying any fines or court costs may be arrested for theft. The State National Guard may not be ‘federalized’ for the purpose of enforcing a court order."

He invites us to respond:

I posted this in my blog:

At 1:16 PM, Blogger Ginger Yellow said...

"Their religious affiliation was bannered as if it were a guarantee, in itself, of integrity."

I think Chris is being a bit generous here. Their religious affiliation was bannered as if it were a guarantee, in itself, of their oppposition to Roe vs Wade. The whole kabuki crap with "strict constructionism" and "no litmus test" was the same thing. The way a Republican tells if someone is a "strict constructionist" is whether they think Roe vs Wade was correctly decided. Hence "strict constructionism" and conservative religiosity become proxy litmus tests, with the advantage that the media can pretend everything is just fine and dandy.

At 10:39 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hold on. You may turn out to be exactly right...but...many pollitical appointees for federal judge positions turn out to function with integrety once they don't have to get the position.

Case in point.

U.S. District Judge John E. Jones III, of Tammy kitzmiller vs. Dover Area School District fame was appointed by none other than George W. Bush, our reveared, reasoned and moral president.

Have "faith".


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