Intelligent Design or intricate deception? What I told students during the Kitzmiller trial

Dec 20 is the anniversary of the Kitzmiller decision, an early Christmas day present for science and common sense. But when I first wrote here “Judge E. Jones III’s ruling is … unlikely to be challenged unless at some later date the US Supreme Court acquires a creationist majority”  I had not foreseen a creationist Vice-President. Take nothing for granted.

Primate's Progress

Unt The University of North Texas, where I was teaching in 2005

Kitzmiller v Dover Area School District, in which judgment was pronounced on 20th December 2005, is the court case that established that Intelligent Design is not science, but a form of religiously motivated creationism, and as such may not be taught in publicly funded schools in the US.This is a shortened version of what I told the students at Texas Academy of Mathematics and Science, University of North Texas’s early admissions programme, whom I was privileged to be teaching at the time of the trial. I have omitted my discussion of the embarrassing Intelligent Design pseudotext, Of Pandas and People, and the even more embarrassing statement that the Dover School Board instructed teachers to read, for reasons of space and because I have discussed them here before.  I have tried to avoid rewriting in…

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About Paul Braterman

Science writer, former chemistry professor; committee member British Centre for Science Education; board member and science adviser Scottish Secular Society; former member editorial board, Origins of Life, and associate, NASA Astrobiology Insitute; first popsci book, From Stars to Stalagmites 2012

Posted on December 18, 2017, in Creationism, Education, Evolution, Religion and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. I have the full text of the presiding judge’s decision somewhere. Very entertaining reading and from a “dubya” appointee too! 🙂

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  2. Unfortunately (but not for you) this

    “general acceptance by the churches of the correctness of the evolutionist position”
    is not very correct as far as my native country, The Netherlands, is involved. The orthodox protestant biologist Jan Lever put a lot of effort in promoting Evolution Theory in his religious circles (base of operations: Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam). Still broadcasting association Evangelische Omroep (with 440 000 members the third largest) keeps on promoting creacrap.

    “We (and by we, I mean the whole of mainstream science) are at war, and don’t know it. This is why I am urging scientists to play attack.”
    Instead I suggest that scientists should remain sitting on the fence while supporting amateurs like me (and of course our dear Sensuous Curmudgeon) do the attacking. That avoids the creacrap lie that there is a controversy. Moreover amateurs are not bound by scientific etiquette – we can take over dirty creationist tricks and develop our own. What we do need is reliable, sufficient and easily accessible information. In this respect TalkOrigins is of great value.
    For scientists this strategy has the advantage of having a serious audience that is willing to listen and learn.
    As long this kind of quality is guaranteed I ask for more of your shameless self-promotion.

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    • Thank you.

      IMO, being a scientist means telling it like it is, which means stating the realities and dismantling the counter-fallacies. This must be done regardless of political pushback.

      In Scotland, the Free Church of Scotland and other evangelical sects are creationist. The mainstream Church of Scotland accepts evolution, but tolerates a conservative wing with its own seminary that is biblical literalist. This I suspect is in return for the conservatives accepting gay marriage

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  3. It is interesting that the proponents of intelligent design keep telling us it is not religious, but then they produce a book (Theistic Evolution: A Scientific, Philosophical, and Theological Critique, Edited by J. P. Moreland, Stephen C. Meyer, Christopher Shaw, Ann K. Gauger, Wayne Grudem) that says Genesis is the actual historical record of life, the universe, and everything. How do they do it?

    https://static.crossway.org/excerpt/theistic-evolution-excerpt/theistic-evolution-excerpt.pdf

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    • And this from the actual publisher: “Crossway exists to publish gospel-centered, Bible-based content aimed at honoring our Savior and serving his Church. We want to help people understand the implications of the gospel and the truth of God’s Word, for all of life, for all eternity, and for the glory of God.

      Crossway’s publishing ministry consists of Bible, book, and tract publishing, accompanied by a variety of strategic global ministry initiatives.”

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      • The scientific and philosophical introduction chapter by Meyer is just awful- not to mention his synopsis of the book. His argument centers on the idea that if there is no intelligence directing evolution, then evolution is undirected. Changes directed by natural selection are by his definition undirected because they are not intelligently directed. Words change meaning to ensure his preconceived answer is true. It is all wordplay with ID – information, complexity, design, etc. Dismal stuff. Evolution has to be wrong because my god is an agent god and agents do stuff – Genesis says so.

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      • It’s relevant that Meyer was one of the people acknowledged in Pandas

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