thank god for the aclu

I’m happy to report that the American Civil Liberties Union is filing suit against the Harrisburg, Pennsylvania school district that recently ordered its students be taught “intelligent design” (aka “creationism”) as an alternative to evolution. Here’s a snippet from the story:

The state American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit Tuesday against the Dover Area School District to stop the district from teaching an alternative theory of evolution that many say is just another form of creationism.

The lawsuit stems from the Dover Area School Board’s decision to mandate the (teaching) of an alternative theory to evolution. The theory, called intelligent design, holds that the complexity of the universe suggests creation by a divine being rather than through evolution.

The School Board voted 6-3 on Oct. 18 to include this curriculum in its biology class.

Six of the 11 school parents who are plaintiffs took part in a press conference Tuesday at the state Capitol. Angie Yingling is one of those parents. She said the School Board established the curriculum for religious reasons, not to improve science education…”

Let’s just hope that the courts do the right thing now.

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8 Comments

  1. Dave Morris
    Posted December 15, 2004 at 9:42 pm | Permalink

    I am in the process of reading “Age of Reason” by Thomas Paine (thanks Doug.) He brings into question the validity of the Bible and the authority of the Church. His conclusion is that the Bible has no authority as the Word of God and, by extension, the Church has no authority. He makes a statement at the beginning of his belief in a God. As the books arguments unfold, it becomes clear that he is stating a case for a belief in God based on Reason rather than faith. This idea is apparently called Deism, and some (if not most or all ) of the Founding Fathers subscribed to this belief – Jefferson included.

    I looked up Deism on Wikipedia and they say it is influenced by the success of the scientific method as well as the ability of mathematics to predict natural phenomena. There is also the reference to the “Divine Watchmaker” metaphor as part of their belief.

    So, now I am wondering if the Founding Fathers believed in some form of Intelligent Design and what their opinion of the teaching of this would be. I think that based on their aggressive questioning of assumptions and their faith in mathematics and science as a more credible source of truth, that they would seriously question the inclusion of intelligent design in a curriculum meant to form free minds.

    An interesting refutation of one of the arguments for Intelligent Design comes from a game developed by a mathematician named John Conway. He created a game called “Life” that starts with an infinite matrix and dirt simple rules for whether a square is alive (black) or dead (white). Starting with a random pile of black and white squares, the game progresses to make all kinds of interesting shapes and patterns that move around and do numerous other interesting things. This blows a hole through the idea that order cannot develop out of chaos. Even the rules could have happened by chance.

    I am not sure why the Creationists are even wasting their time with evolution when quantum physics is a much richer subject. For instance, there is a possibility that the intent of the development of living organisms senses (through evolution) was for the purpose of creating particles from waves- thereby creating the universe by sensing it. Now that is MUCH better pseudo science!

  2. Posted December 17, 2004 at 6:07 pm | Permalink

    Mr. Morris, that is an interesting argument (q. physics) but these folks aren’t interested in real science in the least. They’re starting from a religious position and working back. I find it interesting that they imply that science is valid by building their version of it into the ID “argument.” By cloaking a religious agenda in “science,” they try to make it seem valid. Ergo, they recognize that science is valid.

  3. mark
    Posted December 18, 2004 at 11:43 am | Permalink

    I promised Linette that I wouldn’t write about it, but I just had a run-in with a bunch of “Noah had dinosaurs on the ark” people…. It wasn’t pleasant… And, that’s really all I can say about it.

    As for our founding fathers, and how they would have assimilated the results of carbon dating and the findings of modern archeologists into their beliefs about the divine, I

  4. Doug Skinner
    Posted December 21, 2004 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

    For more on the agenda and techniques of the Intelligent Design movement — epecially their master plan, The Wedge — here’s a link to the Introduction to “Creationism’s Trojan Horse”: http://www.butterfliesandwheels.com/articleprint.php?num=96

    And here’s a review of the book, from the same site: http://www.butterfliesandwheels.com/articleprint.php?num=90

    Personally, I don’t see any necessity for either God or Jesus. There’s not much evidence for either of them, and believing things that are untrue drives you nuts. If nothing else, you can point out that impregnating a virgin and killing the son to remove sin from the world was not only a sick idea, but remarkably ineffective.

    I prefer to call myself an agnostic, since I have a deep distrust of human reason — whether applied to religion or to science. I’d be glad to treat christians with the same suspended judgment I use for UFO and Bigfoot believers. I’ve found, though, that christians make less sense, are more violent, and less fun at parties. To the lions with them!

  5. Dave Morris
    Posted December 23, 2004 at 11:19 pm | Permalink

    Be careful Doug. The last time we fed them to the lions they multiplied, formed a theocracy, and plunged us into a dark age.

  6. Doug Skinner
    Posted December 24, 2004 at 10:11 am | Permalink

    Oh, I meant that rhetorically. Christians being thrown to lions may be a myth, anyway (at least, that’s what the guidebooks in Rome say). It’s probably not a healthy diet for the lions. It’s a nice ringing phrase, though; it’s what Aleister Crowley used to roar out to scare away carolers.

  7. mark
    Posted December 24, 2004 at 11:00 am | Permalink

    Lions are perfectly capable of fending for themselves. I don’t see why they need our help. If we feed the Christians, or anyone else for that matter, to any group, it should be orphaned infant humans.

  8. Doug Skinner
    Posted December 24, 2004 at 11:45 am | Permalink

    And give the orphans colic? Those christians are awfully fatty!

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