Kitzmas 2016

Today marks the 11th anniversary of the conclusion of Tammy Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District. This, of course, was the court case that made it clear that the Intelligent Design movement is nothing more nor less than yet another incarnation of creationism.

The Dover trial had a number of memorable moments. Just months before, William Dembski posted his Vise Strategy at Uncommon Descent, talking tough about facing “Darwinists” in court. When he found out that his deposition would be attended by Wesley Elsberry and Jeff Shallit, Dembski suddenly found himself unable to participate.

Another highlight was the NCSE’s discovery that the intelligent design creationist textbook at the center of the trial, Of Pandas and People, had been modified shortly after the Supreme Court ruled in Edwards v. Aguillard that the teaching of “creation science” is unconstitutional. Every instance of “creationism” and “creationist” had been replaced with “intelligent design” and “design proponent” respectively. Every instance but one, that is. “cdesign proponentsists” survived the edit to demonstrate that the terms are synonyms.

Judge John E. Jones III’s decision is well worth reading. His conclusion could not be more clear:

The proper application of both the endorsement and Lemon tests to the facts of this case makes it abundantly clear that the Board’s ID Policy violates the Establishment Clause. In making this determination, we have addressed the seminal question of whether ID is science. We have concluded that it is not, and moreover that ID cannot uncouple itself from its creationist, and thus religious, antecedents.

Both Defendants and many of the leading proponents of ID make a bedrock assumption which is utterly false. Their presupposition is that evolutionary theory is antithetical to a belief in the existence of a supreme being and to religion in general. Repeatedly in this trial, Plaintiffs’ scientific experts testified that the theory of evolution represents good science, is overwhelmingly accepted by the scientific community, and that it in no way conflicts with, nor does it deny, the existence of a divine creator.

To be sure, Darwin’s theory of evolution is imperfect. However, the fact that a scientific theory cannot yet render an explanation on every point should not be used as a pretext to thrust an untestable alternative hypothesis grounded in religion into the science classroom or to misrepresent well-established scientific propositions.

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.

With that said, we do not question that many of the leading advocates of ID have bona fide and deeply held beliefs which drive their scholarly endeavors. Nor do we controvert that ID should continue to be studied, debated, and discussed. As stated, our conclusion today is that it is unconstitutional to teach ID as an alternative to evolution in a public school science classroom.

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. 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 ID, who in combination drove the Board to adopt an imprudent and ultimately unconstitutional policy. The breathtaking inanity of the Board’s decision is evident when considered against the factual backdrop which has now been fully revealed through this trial. The students, parents, and teachers of the Dover Area School District deserved better than to be dragged into this legal maelstrom, with its resulting utter waste of monetary and personal resources.

To preserve the separation of church and state mandated by the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, and Art. I, § 3 of the Pennsylvania Constitution, we will enter an order permanently enjoining Defendants from maintaining the ID Policy in any school within the Dover Area School District, from requiring teachers to denigrate or disparage the scientific theory of evolution, and from requiring teachers to refer to a religious, alternative theory known as ID. We will also issue a declaratory judgment that Plaintiffs’ rights under the Constitutions of the United States and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania have been violated by Defendants’ actions. Defendants’ actions in violation of Plaintiffs’ civil rights as guaranteed to them by the Constitution of the United States and 42 U.S.C. § 1983 subject Defendants to liability with respect to injunctive and declaratory relief, but also for nominal damages and the reasonable value of Plaintiffs’ attorneys’ services and costs incurred in vindicating Plaintiffs’ constitutional rights.

Merry Kitzmas!

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183 thoughts on “Kitzmas 2016

  1. And yes, Richie, science mandates that stochastic processes be eliminated first- see Newton’s four rules of scientific investigation– and then there is Occam’s Razor which states basically the same thing.

    Archaeologists falsify claims by other archaeologists by demonstrating what was once called an artifact can be produced by nature. Forensic scientists falsify the claims of other forensic scientists by showing what was once called a murder was actually a natural death.

    Flail away, Richie.

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  2. Frankie: Forensic scientists falsify the claims of other forensic scientists by showing what was once called a murder was actually a natural death.

    Do they demonstrate murder by showing that natural death is impossible?

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  3. dazz:

    So if I pick randomly generated bitmaps to form a large mosaic, that mosaic wasn’t designed because stochastic processes were involved

    Your picking them and arranging them is artificial selection. Computers are not fashioned by stochastic processes and neither are their programs. Everything a computer does can be traced back to humans.

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  4. OM- the investigators are then “who”. Anyone investigating a phenomena, event, structure or object has to follow those rules.

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  5. Frankie: Archaeologists falsify claims by other archaeologists by demonstrating what was once called an artifact can be produced by nature.

    So the method is: eliminate the hypothesis of a design process by demonstrating a stochastic one. Wouldn’t that work for “ID”? Eliminate the theory of evolution by demonstrating a design process. Sounds much more effective than claims of incredulity for evolutionary processes and claiming “Design” by default.

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  6. OM:

    Do they demonstrate murder by showing that natural death is impossible?

    They eliminate a natural death before inferring it was a murder. But they also have to show the death had a component that required an intelligent agency to produce.

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  7. Alan Fox: So the method is: eliminate the hypothesis of a design process by demonstrating a stochastic one. Wouldn’t that work for “ID”? Eliminate the theory of evolution by demonstrating a design process. Sounds much more effective than claims of incredulity for evolutionary processes and claiming “Design” by default.

    Alan still doesn’t understand the word “default”. The design inference is reached only after careful consideration of your position, Alan. That means the design inference cannot be a default, by definition.

    And we can eliminate blind watchmaker evolution just due to the fact you and yours have no idea how to test its claims.

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  8. Frankie:
    dazz:

    Your picking them and arranging them is artificial selection. Computers are not fashioned by stochastic processes and neither are their programs. Everything a computer does can be traced back to humans.

    would you say there’s no such thing as a random/stochastic process?

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  9. dazz:

    would you say there’s no such thing as a random/stochastic process?

    No, there are plenty of such processes. However designing a program to do something and having it do it isn’t one of them.

    There are plenty of fires that aren’t considered to be arsons. There are plenty of deaths that are not considered to be murders and there are plenty of rocks not considered to be artifacts.

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  10. Frankie: Alan still doesn’t understand the word “default”.

    I’m talking of the Sherlock Holmes argument. Consider possibilities – choose the one you can’t eliminate. Falls foul of the problem that you don’t know what unknown possibilities there are.

    The design inference is reached only after careful consideration of your position, Alan. That means the design inference cannot be a default, by definition.

    That’s gibberish.

    And we can eliminate blind watchmaker evolution just due to the fact you and yours have no idea how to test its claims.

    So Joe can eliminate “blind watchmaker” evolution? Possibly Joe can eliminate that but as nobody who understands evolutionary theory claims it is purely stochastic or random, but that it has a non-random element called natural selection, why should we care?

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  11. According to Chubs we can show “design” if we eliminate all naturally occurring stochastic processes. But that means we have to not only eliminate the stochastic processes we do know, we also have to eliminate all such processes that may be discovered in the future.

    How do you propose science does that Chubs?

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  12. The design inference is reached only after careful consideration of your position, Alan. That means the design inference cannot be a default, by definition.

    That’s gibberish.

    In what way? Please try to make a case as opposed to your pitiful one liners.

    And we can eliminate blind watchmaker evolution just due to the fact you and yours have no idea how to test its claims.

    So Joe can eliminate “blind watchmaker” evolution? Possibly Joe can eliminate that but as nobody who understands evolutionary theory claims it is purely stochastic or random, but that it has a non-random element called natural selection, why should we care?

    NS is still a stochastic process, Alan. And it is non-random in a very trivial sense. NS is non-random in that not every variant has the same probability of being eliminated. NS is still nothing but contingent serendipity. And no one knows how to test the claim that NS can produce protein machimes nor the diversity of life.

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  13. Frankie:
    dazz:

    No, there are plenty of such processes. However designing a program to do something and having it do it isn’t one of them.

    There are plenty of fires that aren’t considered to be arsons. There are plenty of deaths that are not considered to be murders and there are plenty of rocks not considered to be artifacts.

    You don’t seem to understand what I’m saying. If I use some of the products of those random processes (sort of stupid to suggest a computer doesn’t generate random sequences just because it’s man made) to design something, you can’t explain the design without considering the involvement of the stochastic processes that produced its parts.

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  14. adapa:

    we can show “design” if we eliminate all naturally occurring stochastic processes.

    That is incorrect. Elimination is only part of it. The EF also demands a specification of sorts

    But that means we have to not only eliminate the stochastic processes we do know, we also have to eliminate all such processes that may be discovered in the future.

    Nonsense. The science of today does not and cannot wait for what the science of tomorrow may or may not uncover. And that is why science is tentative as the inferences of today can possibly be refuted by the science of tomorrow.

    But thank you for proving you don’t understand science

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  15. Frankie:

    Your picking them and arranging them is artificial selection. Computers are not fashioned by stochastic processes and neither are their programs. Everything a computer does can be traced back to humans.

    And we’re back to the weather being designed because weather simulations run on computers.

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  16. Patrick: And we’re back to the weather being designed because weather simulations run on computers.

    Who would say that? Only the very desperate.

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  17. If I use some of the products of those random processes (sort of stupid to suggest a computer doesn’t generate random sequences just because it’s man made) to design something, you can’t explain the design without considering the involvement of the stochastic processes that produced its parts.

    Again YOU are doing the designing using what someone else programmed.

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  18. Frankie: Again YOU are doing the designing using what someone else programmed.

    I said using the product of stochastic processes. Perhaps randomly picked rocks. But again, a proper random generation algorithm produces random outputs

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  19. Frankie: And yes, Richie, science mandates that stochastic processes be eliminated first- see Newton’s four rules of scientific investigation– and then there is Occam’s Razor which states basically the same thing.

    Yes, and both use parsimony to dispense with a designer as you invoke more questions than you solve. They don’t help you at all. Also – Newton’s four rules are not bad but hardly the rules of science.

    Then you’ve dodged this:

    Richardthughes:
    Joe writes: “… Science mandates what I said- that stochastic processes be eliminated before considering design.”

    What a doozy.

    Science mandates no such thing. You’re just making up Joeberish again.
    Let’s pretend that is true. What is design? How do designers design? Well, they take their skills , environment, problem etc. into account. All highly stochastic inputs. Then mental processes happen, which may themselves be stochastic. The output is of course different designers can solve the same problem different ways, which is also stochastic. So by Joe ‘logic’ we must rule out design before considering design. Whoops.

    Will this stop Joe rolling out this doozy again? History has no, and it’ll probably be a cut-and-paste.

    Design is clearly stochastic. We know this in at least 2 ways – the variability of design and also the variability of design instances and designers. You dismiss Design (and many other concepts) with your frankiely terrible logic.

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  20. Newton’s rules are the rules of science for the very reasons provided. And design by an intelligent agency is not stochastic.

    You don’t get to redefine science and stochastic, Richie

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  21. This thread backfired on Patrick. For one the judge was fooled by the lies and bluffs of the plaintiffs and dismissed the ID experts testimony for no reason. On top of that he exposed himself as being scientifically illiterate. And to judge ID on the motivations of the school board is just an asinine thing to do- enter Judge Jones.

    All of that is why that decision didn’t have any effect on ID at all. IC structures and systems remain IC and unexplainable by drift and natural selection. And that isn’t going to change.

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  22. Richie:

    No, I just get to understand them.

    All evidence to the contrary, of course. Designed processes are planned whereas stochastic processes are not. You fail. And Newton’s four rules are how science mandates it for the reasons provided. You fail again.

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  23. Frankie,

    Newtons 4 rules:

    admit no more causes of natural things than are both true and sufficient to explain their appearances,

    to the same natural effect, assign the same causes,

    qualities of bodies, which are found to belong to all bodies within experiments, are to be esteemed universal, and

    propositions collected from observation of phenomena should be viewed as accurate or very nearly true until contradicted by other phenomena.

    Well, that destroys ID.

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  24. LoL! Richie you can only destroy ID by showing that stochastic processes are capable of producing what ID says requires an intelligent designer. And no one has done so. No one even knows how to do so.

    You lose

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  25. The following offers a total smack down of this OP, anyone who thinks ID as science was on trial and anyone who thinks the trial did any damage to ID:

    Kitzmiller v Dover

    enjoy

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  26. Frankie:
    The following offers a total smack down of this OP, anyone who thinks ID as science was on trial and anyone who thinks the trial did any damage to ID:

    Kitzmiller v Dover

    enjoy

    Judge Jones is NEITHER a scientist qualified to render the opinion he wrote, or a theologian. Judge Jones is an attorney

    Me:
    Yeah, sure… So is Barry.
    The thing about a trials is that you can’t lie under oath. That makes all the difference when it comes to exposing ID proponents as opposed to debating them anywhere else. IDiotism heavily relies on lying through your teeth

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  27. Frankie:
    The following offers a total smack down of this OP, anyone who thinks ID as science was on trial and anyone who thinks the trial did any damage to ID:

    LOL! FrankenJoe cites an article by a fellow Creationist which offers as its “evidence” a ton of links back to the Discovery Institute’s whining and lies.

    No wonder FrankenJoe thinks Ken Ham and AIG are credible sources for his YEC beliefs.

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  28. dazz- the evolutionists lied under oath- that is what the facts show. They lied about blind watchmaker’s ability to produce IC. They lied about ID requiring the supernatural and being a supernatural explanation. And then they pulled off a huge literature bluff because the judge was totally ignorant of science and what Behe was saying.

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  29. Mung:

    dazz: The thing about a trials is that you can’t lie under oath

    Mung: LoL! How naive.

    I nominate this for the most naive statement of 2016 here at TSZ.

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