Merry Kitzmas!

December 20th, 2015 is the tenth anniversary of the decision in Tammy Kitzmiller, et al. v. Dover Area School District, et al. 

Judge Jones (a Bush-appointed Republican) wrote a 139-page legal opinion which can be summarized thus: 

Teaching intelligent design in public school biology classes violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States (and Article I, Section 3, of the Pennsylvania State Constitution) because intelligent design is not science and “cannot uncouple itself from its creationist, and thus religious, antecedents.”

wikipedia article, side bar 

Despite the precedent set by Kitzmiller/Dover, creationist and Intelligent Design advocates continue to battle to remove teaching of evolution from public schools and to protect teachers who insert biblical creationist or ID speculations into science classes.

I found this interesting essay in response to our current “friend” John West from 2007, when JW applauded passage of Louisiana creationism law.

All sorts of laws advance secular purposes—that’s what laws are supposed to do, and the Constitution assumes as much—but no law may advance a merely religious purpose under the Constitution. Thus those who lobby for law to advance a religious purpose are indeed under a disadvantage, one traceable to the Constitution itself,which purposely erects a roadblock in the path of those who would want to use the government to propagate a religion. It does not erect a similar roadblock to those who would use the government for secular purposes[see essay for footnote], whether it be to set up a fire department, or run the U.S. Army, or the Post Office, or whether it be to teach students about biological science. It is therefore perfectly valid for a secularist to attack the religious motivations of her political opponents, while simultaneously rallying her own political supporters to secularism.

Timothy Sandefur

I think it’s particularly interesting that Sandefur identifies the non-symmetry between trying to advance religious purposes and trying to advance secular ones, which I know many religious people mistake.

Happy anniversary, y’all

11 thoughts on “Merry Kitzmas!

  1. Damn, html fail. Why, oh why.

    And now I can’t edit my post. Sob.

    Interesting that the one link which works is the one copied in from the essay I quoted.

    Admins, any help?

  2. The censors can pretend that they did not censor anything!

    Amazing how they can “fix” what they did not censor.

  3. What is the deal with this guy “Mung”? Does he ever have anything interesting to say at all? All I see is snark and carping about the site.

  4. shallit:
    What is the deal with this guy “Mung”?Does he ever have anything interesting to say at all?All I see is snark and carping about the site.

    There’s a feature, “ignore commenter”. I highly recommend it.

  5. shallit: What is the deal with this guy “Mung”?

    I think he is trying to get everybody to put him (or her) on “ignore commenter”.

    Does he ever have anything interesting to say at all?

    Only rarely (in my opinion).

    I do wonder whether a couple of users are trying hard to get themselves banned, so that they can go back to UD and triumphantly report that they were banned at TSZ.

  6. Merry Kitzmas hotshoe_!

    Tis the season to re-read Judge Jones excellent decision of the court.

    Some of my personal favorite highlights are:

    Behe admitting that ““There are no peer reviewed articles by anyone advocating for intelligent design supported by pertinent experiments or calculations which provide detailed rigorous accounts of how intelligent design of any biological system occurred.”

    William Dembski running away from Jeffrey Shallit.

    – And, of course, the smoking gun of cdesign proponentsists demonstrating that Intelligent Design and Creation Science are synonyms.

    Newtonmas is coming soon — I wish you all a rational new year.

  7. There wasn’t any precedent set by the Dover case. It is confined to its small isolated school district. If a secular school board wants the actual debate to be presented to its students no one can stop them. And yes, the actual debate includes the fact that ID is not anti-evolution.

    We battle against evolutionism, ie the claim that the diversity of life is due to natural selection, drift, neutral changes and any other non-telic process, starting from some simple molecular replicators capable of Darwinian evolution. That is an untestable metaphysical claim and doesn’t belong in science.

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