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!

183 thoughts on “Kitzmas 2016

  1. Frankie: In a world in which all you have to do to refute ID is to support the claims of your position

    ^ beautiful admission that ID is a negative argument.

  2. Frankie: Wrong. ID has been around since Aristotle and most likely before.

    Citation please…

    And DARWIN used the word “Creator” which can only mean God.

    So ID is simply anyone mentioning the Creator now? Wonder what it’s going to be about in an hour…

  3. Frankie:
    ID is based on three premises and the inference that follows (DeWolf et al., Darwinism, Design and Public Education, pg. 92):

    1) High information content (or specified complexity) and irreducible complexity constitute strong indicators or hallmarks of (past) intelligent design.

    They are strong indicators of past human design. Extrapolating from a sample size of one is disingenuous at best, moronic at worst. Which category do yo fit into?

    2) Biological systems have a high information content (or specified complexity) and utilize subsystems that manifest irreducible complexity.

    Based on the false extrapolation in number one.

    3) Naturalistic mechanisms or undirected causes do not suffice to explain the origin of information (specified complexity) or irreducible complexity.

    An assertion that cannot be supported.

    4) Therefore, intelligent design constitutes the best explanations for the origin of information and irreducible complexity in biological systems.

    Based on one premise that is an extrapolations form a sample size of one, a second premise that is only valid if the first one is true, and an unsupported assertion.

    No wonder Dembski ran away.

  4. Frankie: It doesn’t. ID doesn’t require God. ID doesn’t require the supernatural. But then again facts aren’t your strongest suit.

    Hindus can be IDists, as can Islamists and Jewish people.

    And not a believer in god amongst them. Joe wins.

  5. Frankie:
    Sure sign of insanity is repeating yourself in hopes of a different response. Way to go Richie.

    And I will bet that Richie can’t even link to the ToE.

  6. Dear Santa,
    this year I’d like a new trick and also to be able to change the record.

    Love,
    Joe.

    PS Also send donuts. Lots of donuts.

  7. Richardthughes: I’m pragmatic. still waiting for CSI calculations and objective tests.

    Maybe you can convince keiths to release his objective tests for “the power of cumulative selection.”

  8. Mung:

    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.

    That’s false.

    “cdesign proponentsists”. Game over.

  9. Mung: Sure. Look here.

    Heh! Thanks much for support there Mung!

    Intelligent Design – assuming relationships not in evidence based on fallacious analogies for over 2000 years!

  10. Patrick: That’s false.

    “cdesign proponentsists”.Game over.

    It was designed that way.

    Actually, what amazes me is that so often IDists/creationists claim that ID isn’t creationism or isn’t anti-evolution (not necessarily anti-evolution, for a peculiar and clearly unexampled sort of “evolution,” to be sure, but clearly against evolutionary science per se) by referring to prominent IDists who say that it’s not.

    Yes, we know that they deny it, that’s the whole point of the pretense of having a non-creationist “theory.” That they claim that it’s not creationism is what ID is all about. Not to mention the wink wink nudge nudge that clearly gets through to creationists that they’ve pretty much got their backs.

    Glen Davidson

  11. Patrick: “cdesign proponentsists”. Game over.

    For you, sure. Of course, your method seems to have escaped your skepticism. How sound is it? How objective is it?

  12. Robin: Heh! Thanks much for support there Mung!

    Always glad to be of service!

    As a recognized authority here, I really ought to quote myself more often.

  13. Mung: For you, sure. Of course, your method seems to have escaped your skepticism. How sound is it? How objective is it?

    As I have pointed out repeatedly, the fact that “creation science” could be replaced with “intelligent design” in an entire book without changing that book’s meaning proves the two terms are synonyms. All you’ve responded with has been “Is not!” If you want to refute this demonstration that intelligent design is a form of creationism, you need to address this issue directly.

  14. Patrick: If you want to refute this demonstration that intelligent design is a form of creationism, you need to address this issue directly.

    Please explain how ID has anything at all to do with Creation Science.

  15. Joe/Frankie and Mung are correct. ID is not a religious claim, at least it need not be. An atheist could be an ID advocate if they asserted that intelligent aliens created life on earth, although I dont know of any noteworthy atheists that claim this.

    In practice all ID advocates have a religious motivation for asserting ID but this is not the same as ID being a religious claim. The evidence for a natural origin of life is beyond overwhemlming so only a religious motivation enables someone to completely ignore this and favor an explanation compatible with a designer God.

  16. Mung:

    If you want to refute this demonstration that intelligent design is a form of creationism, you need to address this issue directly.

    Please explain how ID has anything at all to do with Creation Science.

    I have, repeatedly. The fact that the words can be substituted in an entire book without changing the meaning demonstrates beyond a doubt that they are synonyms.

    If you disagree, you need an alternative explanation of how that can happen.

  17. REW:
    Joe/Frankie and Mung are correct.ID is not a religious claim, at least it need not be. An atheist could be an ID advocate if they asserted that intelligent aliens created life on earth, although I dont know of any noteworthy atheists that claim this.

    In practice all ID advocates have a religious motivation for asserting ID but this is not the same as ID being a religious claim. The evidence for a natural origin of life is beyond overwhemlming so only a religious motivation enables someone to completely ignore this and favor an explanation compatible with a designer God.

    It was shown beyond a doubt in the Dover trial that intelligent design is a political movement designed to attempt to get around the separation of church and state in the U.S. While you’re correct that it could be supported by non-theists, that is not its genesis nor its current incarnation.

  18. Mung,

    Every time we find a missing link we create 2 more. The evolutionary narrative my never be finished, but the design narrative hasn’t even started.

  19. Richard Hughes:

    “Every time we find a missing link we create 2 more. ”

    That’s known as Gish’s law. 🙂

  20. REW:
    Joe/Frankie and Mung are correct.ID is not a religious claim, at least it need not be. An atheist could be an ID advocate if they asserted that intelligent aliens created life on earth, although I dont know of any noteworthy atheists that claim this.

    In practice all ID advocates have a religious motivation for asserting ID but this is not the same as ID being a religious claim. The evidence for a natural origin of life is beyond overwhemlming so only a religious motivation enables someone to completely ignore this and favor an explanation compatible with a designer God.

    Religious creationism was observed evolving into ID. We have the transitional fossil that shows how it happened:
    https://ncse.com/creationism/legal/cdesign-proponentsists

  21. Patrick: If you disagree, you need an alternative explanation of how that can happen.

    No, I don’t. If you take Creation Science and go through it point by point and show how ID is no different, perhaps then you’d have a case.

    ID has nothing to do with the book of Genesis, for example. Can you point me to where “Pandas and People” talks about the book of Genesis?

    ID has nothing to do with the age of the earth. Can you point me to where “Pandas and People” talks about the age of the earth?

    If “Pandas and People” happens to leave out the elements relevant to Creation Science then there’s a huge gaping hole in your reasoning.

  22. Also, my company has a foundation that matches donations up to a certain amount. They do not match for religious organizations. They do match for Discovery institute.

    So there you have it Patrick, it’s obvious that ID is not religion. The lawyers agree.

  23. Mung:
    Also, my company has a foundation that matches donations up to a certain amount. They do not match for religious organizations. They do match for Discovery institute.

    So there you have it Patrick, it’s obvious that ID is not religion. The lawyers agree.

    But the judge that matters didn’t.

  24. Mung,

    So there you have it Patrick, it’s obvious that ID is not religion. The lawyers agree.

    Do you think the Intelligent Designer (who made the flagellum) is god or not?

  25. Patrick: It was shown beyond a doubt in the Dover trial that intelligent design is a political movement designed to attempt to get around the separation of church and state in the U.S.

    Nonsense- the trial didn’t show that at all. However the trial did show that evolutionists have to lie and bluff to try to score points. And it worked because the judge was a dolt.

  26. REW: The evidence for a natural origin of life is beyond overwhemlming

    LoL! There isn’t any evidence that stochastic processes can produce a living organism from matter and energy. Only a true believer would say otherwise. You must have religious motivations.

  27. Patrick: That’s false.

    “cdesign proponentsists”.Game over.

    Get over it Patrick. Darwin used the word “Creator”, so by your “logic” evolution is a religious thing.

  28. Robin: Citation please…

    So ID is simply anyone mentioning the Creator now? Wonder what it’s going to be about in an hour…

    The Design Matrix by Mike Gene- and then historical records- all of which point to the ancient Greeks discussing this issue- designed or not

  29. Robin: Man…you can’t even come up with good insults Joe! C’mon Joe…try harder!

    That wasn’t an insult, it is a fact.

  30. Here Robin:

    Teleological argument:

    The earliest recorded versions of this argument are associated with Socrates in ancient Greece, although it has been argued that he was taking up an older argument.[4][5] Plato, his student, and Aristotle, Plato’s student, developed complex approaches to the proposal that the cosmos has an intelligent cause, but it was the Stoics who, under their influence, “developed the battery of creationist arguments broadly known under the label ‘The Argument from Design'”.[6]

  31. In a world in which all you have to do to refute ID is to support the claims of your position

    ^ beautiful admission that ID is a negative argument

    That doesn’t follow. Science mandates what I said- that stochastic processes be eliminated before considering design. That doesn’t make ID a negative argument. Dr Behe provided the positive part in “Darwin’s Black Box” and I posted that in the “Testing Intelligent Design” thread

  32. 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.

  33. Frankie: Science mandates what I said- that stochastic processes be eliminated before considering design.

    Given that stochastic processes have not been so eliminated, why do you conclude design?

  34. Frankie: Science mandates what I said- that stochastic processes be eliminated before considering design.

    So if I pick randomly generated bitmaps to form a large mosaic, that mosaic wasn’t designed because stochastic processes were involved, according to Frankie’s logic. Genius

  35. Stochastic processes have been eliminated by the simple fact that your side doesn’t know how to test them, meaning no one knows how to test the claim that they can produce protein machines and the diversity of life.

    For example no one knows how to test the claim that stochastic processes produced ATP synthase.

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