A Shrewdness of Apes

An Okie teacher banished to the Midwest. "Education is not the filling a bucket but the lighting of a fire."-- William Butler Yeats

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

And then there are liars in Pennsylvania. I sense a theme here.

Although the Education Wonks do a great job over at their place, I would be remiss to let this one go by without a tip of the ol' bippy. US District Judge John E. Jones has ruled in Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School Board against the attempt to insert "intelligent design" theories into the science curriculum of public high school science classes. As the Associated Press reports here:

The ruling was a major setback to the intelligent design movement, which is also waging battles in Georgia and Kansas. Intelligent design holds that living organisms are so complex that they must have been created by some kind of higher force.

Jones decried the "breathtaking inanity" of the Dover policy and accused several board members of lying to conceal their true motive, which he said was to promote religion.

A six-week trial over the issue yielded "overwhelming evidence" establishing that intelligent design "is a religious view, a mere re-labeling of creationism, and not a scientific theory," said Jones, a Republican and a churchgoer appointed to the federal bench three years ago....

[T]he judge said, "We find that the secular purposes claimed by the board amount to a pretext for the board's real purpose, which was to promote religion in the public school classroom."

In 1987, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that states cannot require public schools to balance evolution lessons by teaching creationism.

Eric Rothschild, an attorney for the families who challenged the policy, called the ruling "a real vindication for the parents who had the courage to stand up and say there was something wrong in their school district."

Richard Thompson, president and chief counsel of the Thomas More Law Center in Ann Arbor, Mich., which represented the school district and describes its mission as defending the religious freedom of Christians, said the ruling appeared to be "an ad hominem attack on scientists who happen to believe in God."

...In his ruling, Jones said that while intelligent design arguments "may be true, a proposition on which the court takes no position, (intelligent design) is not science."

"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," he wrote.

The judge also said: "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 (intelligent design) Policy."

Oooh, "ad hominem!" To lapse back into the I Ching for teachers, one of the best movies ever, The Princess Bride, "I dunna think that means wha you think it means..."

Just because one cannot completely prove something does not then lead us to then to fill in the gaps with religion-- which also cannot be proven, I might add. That's what makes it a matter of FAITH.

I like fancy ideas, too. How about this one: Ockham's Razor. "The simplest solution is usually the correct one, all things being equal."


At 12/22/05, 1:38 AM, Blogger Mamacita said...

That is one of my husband's all-time favorite cartoons. He laminated it and put it on the wall behind his desk at school. How cool to see it here!

At 12/22/05, 4:47 PM, Blogger "Ms. Cornelius" said...

It seemed to be apropriate...


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