Maybe they should have designed their inane crusade more intelligently.
HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — “Intelligent design” cannot be mentioned in biology classes in a Pennsylvania public school district, a federal judge said Tuesday, ruling in one of the biggest courtroom clashes on evolution since the 1925 Scopes trial.
The Dover Area School Board violated the Constitution when it ordered that its biology curriculum must include “intelligent design,” the notion that life on Earth was produced by an unidentified intelligent cause, U.S. District Judge John E. Jones III ruled Tuesday.
The school board policy, adopted in October 2004, was believed to have been the first of its kind in the nation.
“The citizens of the Dover area were poorly served by the members of the Board who voted for the ID Policy,” Jones wrote. “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.”
U.S. District Judge John E. Jones III is about to be on the business end of another Pat Robertson fatwa.
Good for him.
Well, maybe ironic in an Alanis Morissette kind of way.
Il Supremo Benito Bush
The universe is too complex for us to comprehend. Without God there is no science. Pick up the Bible, put down the scalpel.
Hey! teacher! Leave those frogs alone!
We don’t need no, evolution.
We don’t need no, DNA.
If Judge Jones had been a Clinton appointee, I’m sure the usual suspects would be pointing out that fact ad infinitum. Since he was actually appointed by Bush, though, they’ll just conveniently bypass the point.
The Religious Right lie to further its agenda?
let’s hear it for an independent and informed judicary.
now if we could get more judges with that kind of integrity hearing IP issues we’d be all set.
But seriously, if you like physics, electricity and modern health care then you pretty much tacitly support darwanism. Which was the point of the doonsberryish cite earlier. Just needed to be said again.
and i’d love for some gung hoe DA to abuse the patriot act and rabbidly go after the radicals which are GOING to be attacking the judge. I think it’d be funny, in a ‘you fall in a sewer and die’ way.
Il Supremo Benito Bush
Jesus is God
You are not
The President is Bush
You are snot.
Fear this, atheists. Renditions to Hell for sinners.
This is just another activist judge shoving his crotch into the face of the true owners of America, the Christians. The time is drawing near when the majority of this country will start filing for discriminatory laws, leaving all of you to wander in the darkness of your sinful lives without the light of God to lead you to the harvestland.
RAmen! We’ve pushed back the Rapture by another day!
Ouch. That last sentence hurts.
This ruling must be a terrible setback to the Flying Spaghetti Monster believers, who had sought so hard to teach their scientifically hypothetical that the FSM was responsible for nature’s design. Oh, the agony all pirates must be suffering this day!
…what, too much?…
He learned it from Clarence Thomas.
Actually Paul, it is His Noodly Will that other “religions” don’t get preferential treatment over FSMism. Make no mistake, this is a day of joy for pirates, strippers and midgets everywhere.
I’m more disappointed that there’s no impending beer volcanoes and stripper factories…
Ahh, but which branch of Pastafarianism should influence our scientifically hypothetical teaching? The new Babylon, Flying Linguini Monsterism (FLiM), or the reformed movement, Flying Lasagna Monsterism (FLaM)?
The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster (Lasagna al Forno) wants to redeem (IO) you! Come to our next meeting, at the Spaghetti Warehouse, where all the best Pastafarian garb is available to you at a lo-lo price!
Nowhere in the Constitution does it call for a separation of church and state. Liberals in black robes are taking away the rights of Christians. 2,000 years ago someone died on a cross. Can’t someone take a stand for him?
Jesus fights his own battles. Haven’t you seen enough South Park to know that?
The First Amendment, by the by, establishes that Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. No one religion (Christianity or any of its sects, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, Shinto, Pastafarian) can be designated a legalized or official religion over any others, and government cannot interfere with the practice of any religion, just as long as everyone obeys the traffic laws. Creationism, and its offshoot Intelligent Design, is by its definition a Judeo-Christian belief in Jehovah (sp?) forming Adam from dust and then ruining a perfectly good rib to beget Eve. That entirely goes against Islam, which argues that Allah forged Adam from a combination of earth and water (at the same time forging Iblis, an ifrit, from fire and air). So you can’t in essence have one religion’s creationist belief taught in schools over another religion’s creationist belief. Ergo, we all learn the compromised version of a world where apes evolved from men… wait, that was the Statue of Liberty… Charlton Heston was on Earth the whole time… Noooooo…
Ummmm…I can’t be certain (I’m sort of new), but I don’t think DougJ was being serious when he made the statement about standing up for Jesus. He is, after all, quoting one of the school board members.
(I was exceedingly bored today, and read the entire 139 page decision, which makes use of the same quote.)
Who, Brian of Nazareth? Sure, I’ll take a stand for him. Me and my gourd.
übernerd, I read the deciosn too, very impressive. And you’re right, DougJ just seems to troll here…
By the way Shygetz, ribosome: a particle inside the cell that uses instructions from messenger RNA to build proteins.
But that would just be too darn hard to type. Better send the pamphlet.
Tim, I think you are once again shifting the focus of my words in a somewhat dishonest way. You say “I misunderstand the nature of knowledge.. of other branches of biology.” Nice. And you wonder why I feel you put on a superior act? To be honest, I never really thought THAT much about evolution before. What I meant, if I was not clear, was not that literally evolution was “all” figured out, but that I thought it was more figured out than it was. Obviously almost nothing is ever completely figured out, and I would have thought you understood my figurative license. I believe that if I had had the impression it was more figured out than it was, it was because I had gotten that impression from people who act like it’s sacriledge to even THINK about questioning evolution. Not because “I misuderstand the nature of knowledge”.
Ahh Tim, if I could only understand the nature of knowledge as well as you. I can only dream.
The job of evolutionary biologists is to question evolution. If you thought that all they do is sit around defending what people already knew then yes, you misunderstand it. The problem is that evolution constitutes a very complicated field of knowledge that isn’t easy to criticize in an informed way until one knows quite a lot about it.
Michael Behe, for example, has a degree in biochemistry. I know numerous biochemistry PhDs who know practically bubkis about evolution and after reading Behe I can say that he fits into that group. In science it’s very easy to settle into one’s parochial field and know very little about the field next door.
If you want to see an example of somebody ‘questioning’ eviolution from an informed perspective try Edward O. Wilson’s work on Sociobiology. His book of that title is extremely readable, and it threw three entire fields of science (ev bio, sociology and anthropology) into an uproar. Or his work on biogeography, which is a bit less accessible but equally revolutionary for its time. Stephen Jay Gould liked to think that he was an evolutionary renegade, and on a rare occasion he actually was; anyhow his books (all sixteen thousand of them) are extremely accessible.
With inflamed religionists relentlessly biting their ankles it’s very hard to begrudge any evolutionary biologist some irritability at your garden-variety uninformed critic. Thanks to the popularization of idiotic ID and only-slightly-less-idiotic treatments of this quote-controversial-unquote field by the popular media everybody thinks they’re an expert when, frankly, they’re not. If you’d like to be I strongly recommend Edward O. Wilson, whose Diversity of Life is a gloriously accessible read, as well as Ernst Mayr’s latest book.
And I ended up quoting Charlton Heston from Planet of the Apes. Your point…?
B-b-b-but scs, what’s messenger RNA? What does a “particle” have to do with biology, that sounds more like particle physics to me. Why do you have to use all those large words? Why can’t you discuss evolution using only monosyllables? Waaaah!
BTW, nice thread-hopping.
scs, I’ve responded to your evolution concerns in the original Gary Trudeau thread. We can continue this discussion there.
And TimF, I would submit that, given the structure-function relationship in proteins, a biochemist that knows bubkis about evolution is a very poor biochemist. I don’t think that they need to know about all of the evidence for evolution, but if they don’t know the molecular principles backwards and forwards, then they should be relabeled an organic chemist that happens to work with a chemical of biological origin.
Shygetz, come on now. You’re trying to prove your point by exaggerating it. Everyone knows that to be a logical trick. And in kind of an insulting to way to 98% of the people on here who aren’t scientists. You said to explain ‘ribosome’ to a non-scientist, you would need a pamphlet. I needed a sentence. Damn my college degree came in handy- it helped me figure out how to do things like that.
Obviously you have a point that at some point there has to be some common language for communication to succeed. For instance, if you explained the definition of ribosome in Portuguese to me, I probably wouldn’t understand it, as I don’t understand Portugese. Sounds logical right? That’s why it’s a judgment call to figure out what terms are part of common knowledge (for instance DNA today), what terms may be likely understood by the person you are communicating with (RNA is a good bet) and adjust your language accordingly. Another sign of intelligent conversation is the ability to decide which technical terms are actually relevant to the debate and which are thrown in there just to obfuscate the main point. Also what degree of specificity is needed in defining a term for a particular conversation. For instance, if I were giving a lecture on ribosomes to biology students, I might need to bring out the pamphlet. If the term was only loosely related to the central part of a debate, then a sentence would probably suffice. This flexibility of communication I believe is as great a sign of intelligence than the ability to memorize the meaning of specialized terms, and I still submit if that you are smart enough to learn the terms, you should be smart enough to know how and when they are relevant.
Ahh, a cross specialty fight! (if you are in cross specialties) Get the popcorn.
Okay, cool, I will read it later tonight. Errands to do now. I almost feel bad on how long that post was, but that’s what happens when you are up late and bored.
You explained the bare facts of what a ribosome is in a sentence to your satisfaction–someone who already knows what a ribosome is. A person who did not know what a ribosome was would probably not know what messenger RNA was–you tend to initially learn about one only in the context of the other. He would also not know how evolution effects a ribosome (or how the ribosome effects evolution, for that matter) without someone explaining what a ribosome is made out of, and how it builds proteins. So, to have any effectual understanding of evolution and the ribosome, it would require a pamphlet to inform an uneducated person. Don’t believe me? Ask a professor who teaches freshman undergrad biology if they teach about the ribosome in a sentence, and why not.
My point stands–people unrealistically want simple explanations to complex problems. We can either simplify the explanations to where a layman can understand them, but the simplification leaves the explanation full of holes that can be attacked by unscrupulous people (witness the sham that the creationists have been made out of the layman’s version of the Second Law of Thermodynamics); or, we can present the full and proper explanation and have people complain that we are being to complex for them to understand, and they just phase out. It’s a no-win situation because we are dealing with an unscrupulous enemy that is willing to lie and cheat to get his way, and a public that for some reason is unwilling to either take our word for it or get the proper education to enter the discussion prepared for the complex explanations.
I think TimF and I are both different styles of biochemists (or close enough for shuffleboard). Intra-specialty fights are more fun, anyway…
Intra-specialty fights are fun in some specialties. As DougJ might attest, there are fields where intra-specialty fights are pretty dull.
(Although the arguments between Walter and Mary Ellen Rudin on the truth of the continuum hypothesis used to be pretty good, now that I think back on them. Hey, somebody pass the popcorn!)
Andrew J. Lazarus
At the First Canadian Number Theory Conference, my contribution was ironing out some potential scheduling problems by suggesting that papers assuming the Generalized Riemann Hypothesis (common for computational number theory) be given in parallel with a major address speculating that the RH (a fortiori GRH) is false.
In the event parallel sessions did not become necessary and my reputation had, alas, to be founded on my mathematical research instead.
I have no doubt that Shygetz has had to sit through many lectures on the evolutionary background of gene family X or protein domain Y, so biochemists certainly have some grounding in the fundamental mechanics of how it works. They even have a certain advantage when it comes to debating creationists because, as Behe shows, it’s child’s play to lose an untrained antagonist in the details of how biochemical systems work.
From my own perspective, the fundamental mechanics of evolution only describe a part of the overall field of evolutionary biology. You could say that having majored in ecology/Ev Bio as an undergraduate I’m defending my own parochial interests, but the ‘big picture’ field is equally important when you want to understand the overall questions. I don’t think that Behe has a very good handle on the five theories on which evolution rests, for example. The debate over sympatric speciation, for another example, is very important to overall evolutionary theory but takes place almost entirely outside the biochemical arena.
In fact, the pervasiveness of evolution in the many fields of biology, between which there may not even be that much communication, underscores its centrality to understanding life. All the more reason to get an early start on teaching it.
In the toxic algae field (my masters work), you could have sold tickets to any fight involving JoAnne Burkholder and Pfiesteria. Those were some wild days.