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Judge nixes evolution textbook stickers (Page 2)
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zerostar
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Jan 15, 2005, 09:15 PM
 
Originally posted by ebuddy:
[B]The good news is you don't have to even try because you don't acknowledge the difference between micro and macro/B]
There is no difference, micro and macro were made up by people who can no longer blindly dispute evolution and want to draw a line where there is none. It is a loosing battle.

lots of micro = macro, what is hard to understand about this?


Seconds are real. I experience seconds every day. It's obvious they exist and it would be stupid to deny them.

But millennia? Do you know anyone who's observed a complete millennium?

Exactly: millennia can't exist - that's just crazy talk.
( Last edited by zerostar; Jan 15, 2005 at 09:21 PM. )
     
Chuckit
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Jan 16, 2005, 04:11 AM
 
Sounds kind of like a modern version of Zeno's Paradox.
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OreoCookie
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Jan 16, 2005, 06:38 AM
 
Originally posted by spacefreak:
Yet another example of some judge overriding the democratic process to instill their own personal agenda.

School boards are elected bodies. If the parents of that community have such a problem with the sticker, they can elect new board members.
Not quite that simple. Schools have to stick to state and national standards and may not be discriminatory. If they are in conflict with either one of them, it's a court's job to uphold those standards.
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Jan 16, 2005, 07:26 AM
 
Originally posted by spacefreak:
Where did the energy needed to start the universe come from?
Wow, you are really confused about evolutionary theory. You should read "The Selfish Gene" by Richard Dawkins. It explains the basics of evolution beautifully. I highly recommend it.
Is it not reasonable to anticipate that our understanding of the human mind would be aided greatly by knowing the purpose for which it was designed?
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zigzag
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Jan 16, 2005, 09:51 AM
 
Originally posted by SimeyTheLimey:
The question isn't whether anyone needed a sticker to tell them that the theory of evolution is a theory or not. The question is whether the the insertion of the statement that evolution is a state endorsement of religion that contravenes the First Amendment establishment clause.

I haven't read the opinion, and I probably won't bother to do so. But it seems to me that the judge overstepped the logical bounds of the establishment clause. The statement that evolution is a theory is correct, and uncontrovertible. It seems to me that kind of like in libel law, truth should be a compete defense. In addition, the stickers didn't promote religion in any way. It seems the judge is relying on an unspoken idea from society as a whole that he feels is being drawn upon. But the sticker doesn't say that, and we can't pretend that schools are completely divorced from the outside world, and it is wrong to attempt to make them so.

I'd think of it this way: If you make the statement that Christianity isn't the only world religion, is that an endorsement of, say, Islam? It may be that some people might jump to that conclusion, but the statement itself is simply accurate in and of itself. It doesn't endorse anything. It is neutral. That the reader of the sticker might not be neutral and might add context doesn't to my mind supply state endorsement.

From the snippets I have seen, it seems that this judge thinks that simply anything that doesn't promote secularism is ipso facto a promotion of religion. Even though I personally don't believe in creationism, I think that goes too far. The establishment clause is not designed to promote secularism at the expense of religion. It is supposed to promote state neutrality on the whole issue. The First Amendment, after all, is there to protect freedom of religion, not attack it.
As you might expect, while I see your point, I disagree. It's basically endorsement by implication - less problematic than an outright endorsement, but still problematic.

Evolution is scientific fact - "theory" is just a term of art that applies to science generally. In other words, evolution is a theory, but it's a theory that's been proven. Since we don't have any other plausible theories, the only discernible purpose of the sticker is not to encourage scientific rigor, but to promote by implication the cause of Creationism and/or intelligent design, which, lacking any positive scientific proofs, are essentially religious concepts. Because it singles out evolution, there's no discernible reason for the sticker apart from the fact that evolution competes with religious doctrine. We also know who advocated the sticker and why, and as you yourself state, we can't pretend that schools exist in isolation from the outside world.

If the sticker had said "Be rigorous in your studies of science. Don't take things on faith," it would be more difficult to attack, since it doesn't single out a particular theory and simply restates an accepted scientific principle. Of course, the school board would never allow such a sticker because the statement "Don't take things on faith" would make the Bible thumpers apoplectic. A simple "Be rigorous in your study of science" would do, but what's the point? We already know we're supposed to be rigorous in the study of science - it's inherent in scientific method, which is why science evolves as new information is gained. The same can't be said of religious doctrine.

It's as if they had used a sticker that said "Plate tectonics is just a theory, not a fact. Keep an open mind." Well, at this stage in the game, plate tectonics is accepted scientific fact, and the only discernible purpose of such a sticker would be to imply that the 6,000 year old Earth idea is a plausible alternative, even though there's no evidence outside religious doctrine to support it. There's nothing wrong with keeping an open mind - that should be part of any scientific endeavor - but when we know that the sticker is being used to single out a theory because it competes with religious doctrine, we can't read it in isolation. The judge is correct IMO.
     
SimeyTheLimey
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Jan 16, 2005, 10:20 AM
 
Originally posted by zigzag:
As you might expect, while I see your point, I disagree. It's basically endorsement by implication - less problematic than an outright endorsement, but still problematic.
I don't know that "endorsement by implication" is really sufficient from the point of view of the First Amendment. I don't see any logical boundaries to that theory, short of outright endorsement of secularism. The problem is that outright endorsement of secularism to my mind violates the First Amendment free exercise clause. It is the state actively campaigning against the religious perspective.

To me, the problem here is that some people emphasise the establishment clause at the expense of the free exercise clause, when to my mind the fact that they are both in the First Amendment means that they are supposed to be balanced, with the state taking a strictly neutral position -- neither endorsing, nor condemning, neither promoting, nor campaigning against.

So I do think that the sticker in this case was uncontroversial and innocuous, and that the judge overreached. It will be interesting to see if the inevitable appeal agrees with him and you, or me. I think in general, this judge is taking an extreme position. But I know as well that the case law is more strict in the elementary and middle school context.

Personally, I think a lot of these problems would go away if people were to relax about the whole issue. The way to teach is to throw light on a subject, debate it, and learn about it. Whether kids are religious or not, they are uneducated if they don't learn about religion. This campaign to ban all traces of religion from schools in the name of separation of Church and State has gone too far, in my view. It has gone to the extreme of teaching secularism and distorting the educational mission of producing well-rounded fully-educated kids who understand the religious tradtions and history of the world. And note, I am not personally an especially religious person.
     
ebuddy
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Jan 16, 2005, 10:44 AM
 
Originally posted by zerostar:
There is no difference, micro and macro were made up by people who can no longer blindly dispute evolution and want to draw a line where there is none. It is a loosing battle.
lots of micro = macro, what is hard to understand about this?
Seconds are real. I experience seconds every day. It's obvious they exist and it would be stupid to deny them.
But millennia? Do you know anyone who's observed a complete millennium?
Exactly: millennia can't exist - that's just crazy talk.
Already, words like "stupid" and "crazy talk" abound within the same sentence as; "lots of micro=macro". Your problem is perhaps the notion that it's a 'battle' you think we're fighting here. You wonder why Creationists react as adversarial as they do? I know evolution isn't designed to address origins yet that's exactly what it attempts to do. A site you'll likely use to debate me is called talk-origins, yet we somehow can never really talk origins can we? I'm told I'm crazy and lack scientific evidence of micro becoming macro and the difference was made up by blinded fools or some such thing in complete failure of acknowledging the very debates that exist in the scientific community today. The "faithful" evolutionist reader makes conjecture and speculation regarding evolution that scientists themselves are not willing to embrace. We know that species adapt period. We know nothing of one species becoming entirely another. First, let's look at the definition of 'evolution';
A process of development in which an organ or organism becomes more and more complex by the differentiation of its parts, a continuous and progressive change according to certain laws and by means of resident forces.

Yeah, the laws are "genetic encoding" that happened by accident. They have a limitation to their adaptation hence, extinction. This we know. Matter does not break down and become more and more complex. It becomes less complex. The 'differentiation of it's parts' means crudely; the affect of mutations over millions and million of years. It is also mistaken to assume the differentiation is progressive. Mutations are almost always destructive, but this is where dogma comes into play; billions and billions of years. It tries to claim there is common-ancestory when there is no evidence of it. No data in the fossile record suggests a continuous progression as explained above. Only that species exploded onto the scene. No transitionals, no progression, no gradual change. Only the discovery of new species of animals every day. Here's the interesting part, you like to sum things up in neat little packages just like the 'dogmatic Christian', but you're forgetting that there are currently 8 debates in the biological community regarding speciation alone! There is absolutely no piece of evidence that is beyond debate with regard to the connections that are made from the pre-supposition of common ancestory. We know an eskimo has larger folds over his eyes for example because of the adverse affects of sun bombarding a sensitive cornea, (resident forces) but he is still unmistakenly man. He is not more complex, he is simply different. This is adaptational,observable, and not only plausible, but is beyond debate. Now, to suggest that any form of mutation-shift would allow man to become anything other than man, or that he came from anything other than man is proposterous, silly, debunked time and again, (Lucy, Piltdown man, Nebraska man, and many others that get propped up, and knocked down years later proving that the field of science was dogged out by greedy artisans with wild imaginations) and is just plain "crazy talk" as you like to say. Evolutionists like to jump back and forth when you call them out on certain aspects of their religion. "We don't talk origins, but here's a statement from 'talkorigins'", "we don't assume man came from ape, but man the similarities in the chimp and human DNA are compelling.", "we don't assume a linear progression as you suggest you blinded fool, but here's a definition of evolution that includes the very word." it gets old discussing these things with you because you fail to realize first the difference between micro and macro, the adverse of affects of the divergence of genes through mutation, you fail to realize that matter is limited by entropy and that it generally degrades, not progresses. You fail to critically examine the studies' conclusions in which the very scientists involved will not make the leaps I will find you making. Afterall, your credibility is not on the line. You will site for me example after example of evidence that has either already been debunked like capitulation "gill-slits" or evidence yet to be debunked by advancement. Ironically, the more we learn about the probability of evolution (especially mammalian evolution), the older matter becomes. You have established for yourself a god called "billions and billions of years ago". I'm skeptical, I'm not alone, and I hope that's okay. We're free to keep learning right? I mean, you haven't closed the book on origins just yet have you?
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Wiskedjak
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Jan 16, 2005, 11:11 AM
 
Originally posted by spacefreak:
Where did the energy needed to start the universe come from?
Please explain what evolution has to do with the origin of the Universe?
     
RonnieoftheRose
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Jan 16, 2005, 11:49 AM
 
Originally posted by Wiskedjak:
Please explain what evolution has to do with the origin of the Universe?
Creatures are not different to the universe but a microcosm of it. The universe is born and dies like a creature, and like a creature made up of cells that always regenerate before they die, the universe is made up of many galaxies and solar systems that go through cycles of birth, death and rebirth, all the time evolving in shape and consistency. And there could also be many universes both in their own spheres or in parallel dimensions. There is nothing that doesn't evolve. The computer in front of you has gone through the process. Thoughts and ideas evolve. Religion is also always evolving and reinventing itself from time to time to survive.
     
zerostar
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Jan 16, 2005, 12:56 PM
 
Originally posted by ebuddy:
I know evolution isn't designed to address origins yet that's exactly what it attempts to do.
Show me where evolution attempts to do this.
We are talking origins OF MAN not origins of life.

The site you refer to does debate llife origins, evolution does not, why is this hard to understand?

Yeah, the laws are "genetic encoding" that happened by accident.
No, this happened by evolution, many tries to get it to work, is it the best solution? Of course not, but damn good I'd say.

They have a limitation to their adaptation hence, extinction.
One limits of adaption is time.

Matter does not break down and become more and more complex. It becomes less complex. The 'differentiation of it's parts' means crudely; the affect of mutations over millions and million of years. It is also mistaken to assume the differentiation is progressive. Mutations are almost always destructive,
The fact matter becomes less complex is wrong.

In a closed system, the entropy and thus complexity will increase with time. In an open system (like the earth), the entropy change depends on the entropy fed from the outside. In the case of the earth, low-entropy is fed from the sun which allows the entropy on earth to decrease. Life is an example of local entropy reversal.

Mutations are almost always useless. Tell me, was the mutation of a tail for a Flagellate destructive?

Most Television sitcom scripts are worthless too, that is the way it works, only ones that are useful (good for ratings in TV) are beneficial. Do you deny some mutations are kept that are useless?

It tries to claim there is common-ancestory when there is no evidence of it. No data in the fossile record suggests a continuous progression as explained above. Only that species exploded onto the scene. No transitionals, no progression, no gradual change.
What is a transitional? Define for me please.
There is progression, from a mud slider fish with tiny 2mm stubs of legs to a human with full bipedal legs there is a step in between.

For a sun spot eye that can only see light and dark to an eagle's incredible sight there is a step in between.

Here's the interesting part, you like to sum things up in neat little packages just like the 'dogmatic Christian', but you're forgetting that there are currently 8 debates in the biological community regarding speciation alone!
I didn't forget that, you are being deceitful.
Of course there is debate on speciation, there are many different ways to define a species because of the similarity between all the animals. That alone should point to common ancestry.

By using your logic, what should we make of the many debates on God, Religion and even Jesus.

There is absolutely no piece of evidence that is beyond debate with regard to the connections that are made from the pre-supposition of common ancestory.
Show me ANY piece of evidence that is beyond debate. Doesn't work that way.

(Lucy, Piltdown man, Nebraska man, and many others that get propped up, and knocked down years later proving that the field of science was dogged out by greedy artisans with wild imaginations)
Your debate again, sounds very hateful, take the same logic and apply it to the many forgeries in religion and a rush to form a centralized one. Look at the bible code for instance, only thing they try to do is line their pockets.

Australopithecus Afarensis (Lucy) was never knocked down, there was a compelling debunking but that was swiftly refuted by the publisher.

You fail to mention the hundreds of other species of hominid that have been studied.
Buy hundreds of thousand of people from all around the world.

Here is a timeline of just the species in case you want to be objective and look up and debate some of these on your own: http://www.wsu.edu:8001/vwsu/gened/l.../timeline.html

From your statements it seems to me you think there is a worldwide conspiracy to forge fossils to show a hominid progression that is not there?

"we don't assume man came from ape, but man the similarities in the chimp and human DNA are compelling."
Man didn't come from ape, but from a common ancestor, are you new to this?
And the similarities are more than compelling they are exactly what we expect to find in an evolved animal.

If you compare a fish to us, you will find that we are not that different.

We both have a heart, muscles, blood, brain, eyes, mouth, stomach, bones, a rib cage and fins and limbs in the same place.
Apart from lungs, most of our anatomy had evolved long before fish started to leave the water.
From then on most thing just need to change shape, adapt to our environment and life style and here we are.

The similarities are greater than the differences.

"we don't assume a linear progression as you suggest you blinded fool, but here's a definition of evolution that includes the very word."
Progression does not need to be linear, and your definition of evolution was hand picked.

The one most commonly understood definition is: Change in the genetic composition of a population during successive generations, as a result of natural selection acting on the genetic variation (mutations, etc.) among individuals, and resulting in the development of new species.

You are trying to be deceitful.
( Last edited by zerostar; Jan 16, 2005 at 01:26 PM. )
     
Wiskedjak
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Jan 16, 2005, 01:19 PM
 
Originally posted by ebuddy:
I know evolution isn't designed to address origins yet that's exactly what it attempts to do.
The only thing evolution attempts to do is adapt life to changing conditions. The only that that tries to use evolution to address origins is people; and, more often than not, it's people who oppose the concept of evolution.
     
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Jan 16, 2005, 01:59 PM
 
Originally posted by SimeyTheLimey:
I don't know that "endorsement by implication" is really sufficient from the point of view of the First Amendment. I don't see any logical boundaries to that theory, short of outright endorsement of secularism. The problem is that outright endorsement of secularism to my mind violates the First Amendment free exercise clause. It is the state actively campaigning against the religious perspective.

To me, the problem here is that some people emphasise the establishment clause at the expense of the free exercise clause, when to my mind the fact that they are both in the First Amendment means that they are supposed to be balanced, with the state taking a strictly neutral position -- neither endorsing, nor condemning, neither promoting, nor campaigning against.

So I do think that the sticker in this case was uncontroversial and innocuous, and that the judge overreached. It will be interesting to see if the inevitable appeal agrees with him and you, or me. I think in general, this judge is taking an extreme position. But I know as well that the case law is more strict in the elementary and middle school context.

Personally, I think a lot of these problems would go away if people were to relax about the whole issue. The way to teach is to throw light on a subject, debate it, and learn about it. Whether kids are religious or not, they are uneducated if they don't learn about religion. This campaign to ban all traces of religion from schools in the name of separation of Church and State has gone too far, in my view. It has gone to the extreme of teaching secularism and distorting the educational mission of producing well-rounded fully-educated kids who understand the religious tradtions and history of the world. And note, I am not personally an especially religious person.
While I don't lose sleep over it (although I might be concerned if I had kids in that school system), I don't see it as entirely innocuous, nor do I see its elimination as a danger to religious education or an endorsement of secularism. The point is to teach science as science, and save religious studies (and the secularism vs. religion arguments) for religious studies class, which many public schools have. The reason this sticker is objectionable is because it misrepresents and denigrates evolutionary science in particular for no reason other than that it competes with religious doctrine, which isn't science. It's an implied, thinly-veiled statement to the effect of "We're supposed to teach you the science of evolution but there are other equally valid theories," which isn't true. There are other theories, but they're not based on science.

As for producing well-rounded students, I agree completely and would encourage public and private schools alike to teach religious studies. The objection isn't to considering religious ideas, the objection is to the suggestion that evolutionary science is merely conjectural, which it isn't. It's hard science, supported by mountains of evidence.

Put another way, these people aren't satisfied with providing religious studies classes or with scientific rigor - they're specifically targeting evolution because it competes with non-scientific religious beliefs. While I can see both sides of the case, and the sticker might not have real practical consequences, IMO it crosses the legal line and thus I agree with the judge.
     
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Jan 16, 2005, 02:24 PM
 
Originally posted by zigzag:
While I don't lose sleep over it (although I might be concerned if I had kids in that school system), I don't see it as entirely innocuous, nor do I see its elimination as a danger to religious education or an endorsement of secularism. The point is to teach science as science, and save religious studies (and the secularism vs. religion arguments) for religious studies class, which many public schools have. The reason this sticker is objectionable is because it misrepresents and denigrates evolutionary science in particular for no reason other than that it competes with religious doctrine, which isn't science. It's an implied, thinly-veiled statement to the effect of "We're supposed to teach you the science of evolution but there are other equally valid theories," which isn't true. There are other theories, but they're not based on science.

As for producing well-rounded students, I agree completely and would encourage public and private schools alike to teach religious studies. The objection isn't to considering religious ideas, the objection is to the suggestion that evolutionary science is merely conjectural, which it isn't. It's hard science, supported by mountains of evidence.

Put another way, these people aren't satisfied with providing religious studies classes or with scientific rigor - they're specifically targeting evolution because it competes with non-scientific religious beliefs. While I can see both sides of the case, and the sticker might not have real practical consequences, IMO it crosses the legal line and thus I agree with the judge.
I'm not a scientist, but I still don't think the statement in the sticker is inaccurate. Evolution is a theory. It's not metaphysical fact, and indeed, I am pretty sure (within the limits of my liberal arts understanding) that scientists would deny that there ever could be metaphysical fact for such a thing.

It's a hypothesis that appears at the moment to be well supported. It's the theory that I personally think best explains life on Earth. But that's not the same thing as saying it is fact. New theories can arise that would contradict it. Similar things have happened to other hypothesis. Scientists may correct me, but I understand that Newtonian mechanics is also well supported by observable evidence. It's perfectly adequate to predict the motion of objects sufficient to fly to the moon. But even though it was considered proven for 200 years, the Newtonian version of physics is still wrong, in the light of subsequent theories. So too could be the current understanding of evolution. That means no matter how high the mountains of evidence, it remains just a theory. Therefore a statement saying no more than that cannot be wrong no matter how much you might suspect the motivation.

In any case, I see no place here for the courts to be deciding which scientific theories are right and which are wrong, and certainly no place for a judge to say that a theory is beyond criticism. That isn't a matter for the Constitution, and it isn't something lawyers are best qualified to answer. The legal question is far narrower. The legal question is simply whether the accurate statement that evolution is just a theory is by itself, the establishment of religion by the state. I don't see it.
( Last edited by SimeyTheLimey; Jan 16, 2005 at 02:29 PM. )
     
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Jan 16, 2005, 02:42 PM
 
The statement on the sticker is not inaccurate. But then, there are plenty of theories that are being taught in schools, and which are not (yet) challenged by christian fundamentalists: providing a sticker for each one of them would seriously hamper education.

It's a welcome setback for obscurantism, an inevitable symptom of the decline of "western civilization". Ultimately the fundamentalists will have the upper hand... expect stickers challenging the "earth is round"-theory or other similar drivel in the future...

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zerostar
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Jan 16, 2005, 02:54 PM
 
My feeling is the Judge sees the future implications, if there is a sticker on the books in science class there can (and should) be one on the bible in theology class. and sticker on the books in virtually every class. This is silly, and science should be taught properly, bottom line. If it was the people pushing for this would realize the silliness of it.

Heck even Phonics is a "theory" of how to teach language. That it works is of little consequence, and I don't think anyone would argue with continually finding better methods?
     
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Jan 16, 2005, 03:01 PM
 
Originally posted by SimeyTheLimey:
I'm not a scientist, but I still don't think the statement in the sticker is inaccurate. Evolution is a theory. It's not metaphysical fact, and indeed, I am pretty sure (within the limits of my liberal arts understanding) that scientists would deny that there ever could be metaphysical fact for such a thing.

It's a hypothesis that appears at the moment to be well supported. It's the theory that I personally think best explains life on Earth. But that's not the same thing as saying it is fact. New theories can arise that would contradict it. Similar things have happened to other hypothesis. Scientists may correct me, but I understand that Newtonian mechanics is also well supported by observable evidence. It's perfectly adequate to predict the motion of objects sufficient to fly to the moon. But even though it was considered proven for 200 years, the Newtonian version of physics is still wrong, in the light of subsequent theories. So too could be the current understanding of evolution. That means no matter how high the mountains of evidence, it remains just a theory. Therefore a statement saying no more than that cannot be wrong no matter how much you might suspect the motivation.
Right - I think the argument is not that evolutionary science is flawless or isn't subject to scrutiny, but that the sticker implies that it's mere conjecture. While it doesn't say so explicitly, the obvious implication (if you consider context) is that Creationism is just as good a theory. And while judges aren't scientists, they can still make judgments as to whether something is conjectural and whether a state act invokes the establishment clause.

In any case, I see no place here for the courts to be deciding which scientific theories are right and which are wrong, and certainly no place for a judge to say that a theory is beyond criticism. That isn't a matter for the Constitution, and it isn't something lawyers are best qualified to answer. The legal question is far narrower. The legal question is simply whether the accurate statement that evolution is just a theory is by itself, the establishment of religion by the state. I don't see it.
I agree that whether the sticker invokes the establishment clause is a close question, although I'm inclined to agree with the judge, partly due to my biases and partly due to precedent. I'm more inclined to consider the context of the sticker than to read it in isolation. In any case, I think there are some establishment cases in front of the SCOTUS right now that might point the way.
     
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Jan 16, 2005, 03:18 PM
 
Originally posted by Curios Meerkat:
The statement on the sticker is not inaccurate.
Yes and no.

It is accurate in that yes, evolution is a theory.

It is inaccurate in that evolution is a SCIENTIFIC theory, which is (as I mentioned above) pretty much the opposite of what "theory" means in colloquial usage.

The sticker implies that evolution is conjecture, while its actual status is the closest thing to fact that science has to offer.

-s*
     
Curios Meerkat
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Jan 16, 2005, 03:32 PM
 
Yes and No

I agree with you 100% - but then, most of science is "conjecture": it does not mean it is not reality (as you point out, the sticker somehow implies it and that is indeed inaccurate).

Example: gravitation - our science has different theories to explain it, but there is no consensus, only "conjectures". But to say because of that, gravity may not exist or that it is "merely a theory" is ridiculous beyond belief: gravity (as evolution) is a reality and can be observed.

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Spheric Harlot  (op)
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Jan 16, 2005, 03:40 PM
 
Originally posted by Curios Meerkat:
Yes and No

I agree with you 100% - but then, most of science is "conjecture": it does not mean it is not reality (as you point out, the sticker somehow implies it and that is indeed inaccurate).
It's a matter of playing with words, really:

I'd say the "conjecture" part is the hypothesis. Once the hypothesis (conjecture) is sufficiently tested, it becomes scientific theory (accepted fact) until such point in time as somebody, somewhere, finds a set of circumstances where theory fails to predict observed results.

So I think saying that "most of science is 'conjecture'" simply isn't true.

Evolution is not conjecture. It is accepted fact that has been expanded and detailed over time, as new evidence was/is amassed in its support, explaining its finer workings.
     
Curios Meerkat
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Jan 16, 2005, 03:48 PM
 
Originally posted by Spheric Harlot:
Evolution is not conjecture. It is accepted fact that has been expanded and detailed over time, as new evidence was/is amassed in its support, explaining its finer workings.
So it's gravity. It's a matter of POV (or PWW if you prefer ). Evolution is a reality, the theory that explains it is the most likely scientific hypothesis, subject to revision as you said.

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Jan 16, 2005, 03:55 PM
 
We's in agreement, the stupid stickers are gone, and all is good.
     
SimeyTheLimey
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Jan 16, 2005, 06:01 PM
 
Originally posted by zigzag:
I agree that whether the sticker invokes the establishment clause is a close question, although I'm inclined to agree with the judge, partly due to my biases and partly due to precedent. I'm more inclined to consider the context of the sticker than to read it in isolation. In any case, I think there are some establishment cases in front of the SCOTUS right now that might point the way.
The problem with going with "context" is that it is highly subjective. It is basically saying that absolutely anything that is said about evolution that isn't lauditory will be taken as an establishment of religion, even if the statement doesn't reference religion in any way. That to me is abandoning neutrality.

Edit: OK, I broke down and read the order. Link in pdf It's pretty much what I thought. The judge applied the Lemon test, as interpreted by the 11th Circuit. That has two prongs: purpose and effects. He held that the purpose was secular in this case. They wanted to encourage critical thinking, and to soften the blow to religious parents. The judge says both purposes were permissible, so the education board passed the first prong. But he held that it failed the effects prong.

Basically, he says that because Cobb County is a conservative county with a lot of religious fundamentalists, pretty much anything the county says about evolution will be taken to be an endorsement of religion. So even though they had a secular purpose (the judge says so several times), even though they were not trying to advance religion, even though they were in fact teaching evolution, and were not trying to slip religion in, and even though they went to great lengths to come up with text that would be constitutional, nothing they say about evolution will be constitutional.

It's a well reasoned opinion, that I think nevertheless goes off the rails. It will be interesting to see how that opinion fares in the inevitable appeal.
( Last edited by SimeyTheLimey; Jan 16, 2005 at 06:39 PM. )
     
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Jan 16, 2005, 06:52 PM
 
Originally posted by SimeyTheLimey:
The problem with going with "context" is that it is highly subjective. It is basically saying that absolutely anything that is said about evolution that isn't lauditory will be taken as an establishment of religion, even if the statement doesn't reference religion in any way. That to me is abandoning neutrality.
If I walk around a school saying "Heil Hitler," would it be unreasonable for other people to read in a context of Nazism? I mean, surely there could be other people and things named Hitler. But personally, I think that if a phrase has a known context in which it's generally used (in this case, an attempt at misinformation by creationists), we may assume that context unless it's fairly clear that something else was meant. I'd be fine with it if not for the blatantly illogical creationist argument thrown in the middle, but that pretty clearly demonstrates an agenda to me.
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SimeyTheLimey
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Jan 16, 2005, 07:52 PM
 
Originally posted by Chuckit:
If I walk around a school saying "Heil Hitler," would it be unreasonable for other people to read in a context of Nazism? I mean, surely there could be other people and things named Hitler. But personally, I think that if a phrase has a known context in which it's generally used (in this case, an attempt at misinformation by creationists), we may assume that context unless it's fairly clear that something else was meant. I'd be fine with it if not for the blatantly illogical creationist argument thrown in the middle, but that pretty clearly demonstrates an agenda to me.
What blatant Creationist argument thrown in the middle? There is none, and the judge explicitly says that the sticker did not contain any religious sentiment, and wasn't designed to do so. That wasn't why he struck it down.

Your "Heil Hitler" comparison is inapposite.
     
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Jan 16, 2005, 08:51 PM
 
Originally posted by MacNStein:
Damn, that's stupid. What in the hell is wrong with informing people that evolution is a theory?
Nothing's wrong with it. What was wrong with it were the people advocating it and their obvious intentions in doing so. They weren't some neutral, balanced group trying to inform people that evolution is a theory. They were a bunch of Bible thumpers essentially telling everyone that the theory of evolution is total crap and they should go read Genesis. The stickers didn't say that, but it was the intended effect.

Nice to see the judge could look past their Nazi halos.
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Jan 16, 2005, 09:54 PM
 
Originally posted by SimeyTheLimey:
I'm not a scientist, but I still don't think the statement in the sticker is inaccurate. Evolution is a theory. It's not metaphysical fact, and indeed, I am pretty sure (within the limits of my liberal arts understanding) that scientists would deny that there ever could be metaphysical fact for such a thing.

It's a hypothesis that appears at the moment to be well supported. It's the theory that I personally think best explains life on Earth. But that's not the same thing as saying it is fact. New theories can arise that would contradict it. Similar things have happened to other hypothesis. Scientists may correct me, but I understand that Newtonian mechanics is also well supported by observable evidence. It's perfectly adequate to predict the motion of objects sufficient to fly to the moon. But even though it was considered proven for 200 years, the Newtonian version of physics is still wrong, in the light of subsequent theories. So too could be the current understanding of evolution. That means no matter how high the mountains of evidence, it remains just a theory. Therefore a statement saying no more than that cannot be wrong no matter how much you might suspect the motivation.

In any case, I see no place here for the courts to be deciding which scientific theories are right and which are wrong, and certainly no place for a judge to say that a theory is beyond criticism. That isn't a matter for the Constitution, and it isn't something lawyers are best qualified to answer. The legal question is far narrower. The legal question is simply whether the accurate statement that evolution is just a theory is by itself, the establishment of religion by the state. I don't see it.
Evolution is a fact. As a biologist I should know.

Now you do too.
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zigzag
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Jan 16, 2005, 11:45 PM
 
Originally posted by SimeyTheLimey:
The problem with going with "context" is that it is highly subjective. It is basically saying that absolutely anything that is said about evolution that isn't lauditory will be taken as an establishment of religion, even if the statement doesn't reference religion in any way. That to me is abandoning neutrality . . . . So even though they had a secular purpose (the judge says so several times), even though they were not trying to advance religion, even though they were in fact teaching evolution, and were not trying to slip religion in, and even though they went to great lengths to come up with text that would be constitutional, nothing they say about evolution will be constitutional.
I don't think the opinion stands for the proposition that nothing the district says about evolution would be constitutional, or that any such statement has to be laudatory. It was the combined effect of the sticker's content, placement, and context that allowed (in the court's and my opinions) a reasonable observer to conclude that it impliedly negated the validity of evolution science in order to please creationists. If a more accurate and balanced statement (such as the alternative statement noted in the opinion) had been incorporated into the text rather than a statement of dubious accuracy stuck ostentatiously on the cover, it might have passed constitutional muster. The alternative statement isn't necessarily laudatory - it's just more accurate and less loaded. It presents the goal of critical thinking in a more neutral way, and I would have no problem with it.

For those interested, here's the alternative statement:
This textbook contains material on evolution, a scientific theory, or explanation, for the nature and diversity of Iiving things. Evolution is accepted by the majority of scientists, but questioned by some. All scientific theories should be approached with an open mind, studied carefully and critically considered.
     
xenu
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Jan 17, 2005, 01:15 AM
 
Again, why single out evolution? Why not apply the sticker to books on general relativity, or electromagnetism, or string theory or any other scientific theory?

Evolution was singled out for religious reasons. Creationists cannot defeat evolution as a science, so they try in other ways.
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SimeyTheLimey
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Jan 17, 2005, 09:23 AM
 
Originally posted by zigzag:
I don't think the opinion stands for the proposition that nothing the district says about evolution would be constitutional, or that any such statement has to be laudatory. It was the combined effect of the sticker's content, placement, and context that allowed (in the court's and my opinions) a reasonable observer to conclude that it impliedly negated the validity of evolution science in order to please creationists. If a more accurate and balanced statement (such as the alternative statement noted in the opinion) had been incorporated into the text rather than a statement of dubious accuracy stuck ostentatiously on the cover, it might have passed constitutional muster. The alternative statement isn't necessarily laudatory - it's just more accurate and less loaded. It presents the goal of critical thinking in a more neutral way, and I would have no problem with it.

For those interested, here's the alternative statement:
Might have passed muster. I suspect not with this judge no matter what they did. But we'll see as I would anticipate adopting this text will be the next step, assuming the board doesn't win on appeal.

This is a problem with O'Connor's totality of the circumstances tests. The board tried hard to stay within the Constitution (as the judge agreed), but totality of the circumstances are inherently subjective, and you can never tell which way a judge will decide. Thus, they provide no real guidance for potential litigants. You just get endless rounds of pointless litigation.

Or alternatively, you get a chilling effect. Obviously, the Board could simply adopt the position of their opponents. That would end litigation, but it would also force them to give up their right to regulate up to the constitutional line. The problem is, with such a subjective and fuzzy line, they cannot know ahead of time where that line is. This is a good illustration of why I dislike totality of the circumstances tests. Hopefully, this is something the Court will move the law away from -- as well as generally making the law less hostile to religion.

Xenu: even this judge admitted that the only reason evolution was singled out was because it was the only theory that was likely to cause an uproar with parents. Pacifying parents was among the legitimate secular purposes that the court cited as evidence that the board wasn't trying to advance religion.
     
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Jan 17, 2005, 09:30 AM
 
Originally posted by xenu:
Again, why single out evolution? Why not apply the sticker to books on general relativity, or electromagnetism, or string theory or any other scientific theory?

Evolution was singled out for religious reasons. Creationists cannot defeat evolution as a science, so they try in other ways.
I'd say it has nothing to do with being unable to defeat evolution. Creationists have no issues with relativity, electromagnetism or string theory ... at least not until they challenge the creation hyposthesis.
     
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Jan 17, 2005, 10:36 AM
 
I knew it had to happen sometime.

The government has rendered the truth unconstitutional.

I am as pro-evolution as you can get, and even though I disliked the stickers, to say they are unconstitutional, is just wrong.

This was a school issue only. Having a judge rule a sticker on educational material that tells the truth unconstitutional is wrong any way you slice it.

And along with truth, “keeping an open mind” is also unconstitutional. I hate to see where this slippery slope ruling will lead up to.
     
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Jan 17, 2005, 11:41 AM
 
Originally posted by zerostar:
Show me where evolution attempts to do this.
We are talking origins OF MAN not origins of life.
No, I've already shown you what the 'faithful' do with the data, not what the theory in itself is designed to address.
The site you refer to does debate llife origins, evolution does not, why is this hard to understand?
Why do you assume there's something for which I don't understand? The single largest source of online material for those who like to engage these debates on origins comes from a site using a theory that supposedly does not address origins. Conversely, why is this so difficult for you to understand???
No, this happened by evolution, many tries to get it to work, is it the best solution? Of course not, but damn good I'd say.
Damn good theory, but with major holes it in, I'll give you that.
One limits of adaption is time.
This does, at least explain why so much of it is necessary.
The fact matter becomes less complex is wrong.
The fact that matter becomes less complex is wrong? Are YOU new to this???
[quote]In a closed system, the entropy and thus complexity will increase with time. In an open system (like the earth), the entropy change depends on the entropy fed from the outside. In the case of the earth, low-entropy is fed from the sun which allows the entropy on earth to decrease. Life is an example of local entropy reversal.
Mutations are almost always useless. Tell me, was the mutation of a tail for a Flagellate destructive?
The 'tail' as you suggest was added information or new information that resulted in increased complexity? I dare say, it isn't destructive, but instructive encoding for it's kind.
Most Television sitcom scripts are worthless too, that is the way it works, only ones that are useful (good for ratings in TV) are beneficial. Do you deny some mutations are kept that are useless?
site for me an example of an organism that has gained BENEFICIAL information. You have to establish that the result is a net GAIN in information, and that this gain was beneficial. We're still talking about evolution right? I want to make sure before we continue too much further. I don't want to get into anything that evolution does not address. Organisms become more specialized as they adapt to their environment, or when speciation occurs. Sometimes these changes might even be beneficial despite being an overall loss of information. For example, beetles on a windy island will sometimes lose their wings due to a degenerative mutation. This mutation is actually beneficial in this circumstance because the beetles aren’t able to fly and be blown off into the ocean. But even though this mutation is beneficial, it still resulted in a net loss of information.
What is a transitional? Define for me please.
There is progression, from a mud slider fish with tiny 2mm stubs of legs to a human with full bipedal legs there is a step in between.
I'd have to say for the sake of debate; the transitional would have to be a smidgen more gradual than the above. I'm curious though, if you could-provide me a link or article that discusses this mud slider with legs, as an inquisitive person I'd be most appreciative.
For a sun spot eye that can only see light and dark to an eagle's incredible sight there is a step in between.
Not necessarily if it can be established that both existed at the same time. This a 'step' does not make. As you suggest; "a step in between" must in fact be, in between.
I didn't forget that, you are being deceitful.
Of course there is debate on speciation, there are many different ways to define a species because of the similarity between all the animals. That alone should point to common ancestry.
I'd say it can point to either common resource, common designer, or common need as is most often the case.
By using your logic, what should we make of the many debates on God, Religion and even Jesus.
We should make an equal portion of scrutiny and skepticism of these many debates just as we would in the field of science in the interest of answers. You're correct. We do not necessarily have Jesus' DNA to prove God exists, but I'm not calling for any stickers in textbooks to say we do. Nor are those that offered and placed the stickers. Since when do we legislate against "people" and not policy???
Show me ANY piece of evidence that is beyond debate. Doesn't work that way.
For science indeed you're correct and to suggest otherwise would be dogmatic. Do you see now why Creationists might have a problem with suggesting something is beyond debate? Read the many posters here, they will in fact suggest evolution is beyond debate. What they fail to do is recognize the difference between what is observed (duplication and mutation resulting in adaptation within a governed principle) and what is not (divergence resulting in 'new' data, encoding, and species by definition of anything other than 'exceedingly similar DNA. i.e. fish to man) My computer desk is comprised prmarily of wood. I can verify it. I can test it. I can measure the sum of it's parts to determine ratio, I can observe the building of desks 100% identical to mine from beginning to end.
Your debate again, sounds very hateful
Why do you say my debate is hateful? While we're at it, what part of your debate in which we find terms like; "losing battle", "crazy-talk" and "stupid" make you appear somehow more loving and patient?
take the same logic and apply it to the many forgeries in religion and a rush to form a centralized one. Look at the bible code for instance, only thing they try to do is line their pockets.
Not unlike Nebraska Man, Archeoraptor, Piltdown Man, misrepresented embryo drawings in an attempt to sell capitulation theories, and numerous other fossile hoaxes. This is not an indictment against science just as your examples are not an indictment against religion. These are to be viewed as an indictment against human-kind.
You misunderstand some things here. For one, there was one centralized belief prior to Enosh's existence, it was at that point, when man turned en masse from God. There are compelling numerical sequences found in the Bible that logic can only assign as; "extra-coincidental". It was the knowledge of the Bible in it's very own design, that gave God a number, His enemy a number, numbers are indicative of design. It was this curiousity of design that pioneered science as we know it today. You might know many were interested in knowing more about the designer by studying design.
Australopithecus
'pithecus' classified as ape.
You fail to mention the hundreds of other species of hominid that have been studied.
Buy hundreds of thousand of people from all around the world.
By your definition, this is deceiptful to say. I also realize that in many cases, modern man was found among them in the same taxa convoluting the data, and enhancing the debate on speciation.
Here is a timeline of just the species in case you want to be objective and look up and debate some of these on your own: http://www.wsu.edu:8001/vwsu/gened/l.../timeline.html
Why would I debate myself? It's much more fun to debate you.
From your statements it seems to me you think there is a worldwide conspiracy to forge fossils to show a hominid progression that is not there?
You're speculating as to my intention here. I think some are interested in dogma, others are interested in their wallets, and many are interested in the truth through science. What the rest do with the data is what I generally challenge. The supposition that this is somehow a closed case when we are literally discovering new species of animals by the hundreds.
Man didn't come from ape, but from a common ancestor, are you new to this?
And the similarities are more than compelling they are exactly what we expect to find in an evolved animal.
Some leaps too giant for the skeptical. I watch advancement and discovery with fascination.
If you compare a fish to us, you will find that we are not that different.
This statement offers little insight to support your debate.
We both have a heart, muscles, blood, brain, eyes, mouth, stomach, bones, a rib cage and fins and limbs in the same place.
Fish do not have limbs. Humans do not have fins. There are no compelling examples of fish-to-man evolution. This is a giant leap in speculation based on the possibility that micro-can over many millenia equal macro. What we can observe regarding the development of proteins for example, what we find in the geologic record, and what we can produce in a lab are all contradictory to this supposition.
Apart from lungs, most of our anatomy had evolved long before fish started to leave the water.
From then on most thing just need to change shape, adapt to our environment and life style and here we are.
The similarities are greater than the differences.
I wholly disagree. You point to possible shift-mutations, and genetic make-up similarities to draw conclusions on ancestory, yet here we are typing to one another in potentially different countries, using an OS we designed, discussing mortality and reality, the inception and development of it. Forgive me if I find the difference to be a little more than HUGE!
Progression does not need to be linear
What part of the following portion of your hand-picked definition suggests anything OTHER than linear progression; "composition of a population during successive generations" and "resulting in the development of new species."?
and your definition of evolution was hand picked.
Yeah, from a medical dictionary of terms.
You are trying to be deceitful.
I appreciate the "label", but I think we might first disagree on what constitutes deceipt. I do appreciate a hearty debate however.
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Chuckit
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Jan 17, 2005, 01:50 PM
 
Originally posted by ebuddy:
This is a giant leap in speculation based on the possibility that micro-can over many millenia equal macro.
That's pretty much a necessary truth. Whatever degree of change you use as the cutoff for "macro," it must be able to to be accomplished through smaller changes. To say otherwise is, as I said, to repeat Zeno's mistake in rejecting the idea of infinity.
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Jan 17, 2005, 02:24 PM
 
Originally posted by TheBadgerHunter:
Still all textbooks should note that it is theory and subject to change.
Should textbooks note that gravity is a theory and subject to change, too?

EVERYTHING in science is subject to refinery and change. Gravity's come a long way since Newton "felt" it.
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Jan 17, 2005, 02:28 PM
 
Originally posted by spacefreak:
Where did the energy needed to start the universe come from?
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Stradlater
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Jan 17, 2005, 02:46 PM
 
Originally posted by Cohiba:
I knew it had to happen sometime.

The government has rendered the truth unconstitutional.

I am as pro-evolution as you can get, and even though I disliked the stickers, to say they are unconstitutional, is just wrong.
Again, the stickers single out evolution as a dubious "theory" (rather than a more accurately-described scientific theory -- remember, the vast majority has no idea what "theory" really implies in scientific terminology). The fact remains that any other scientific concept could have been addressed, but evolution -- a concept that is unpleasant for some religious groups -- was singled out. This brings religious belief and reasoning into public schools. See how this might be unconstitutional?
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zigzag
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Jan 17, 2005, 04:21 PM
 
Originally posted by SimeyTheLimey:
[i]This is a problem with O'Connor's totality of the circumstances tests. The board tried hard to stay within the Constitution (as the judge agreed), but totality of the circumstances are inherently subjective, and you can never tell which way a judge will decide. Thus, they provide no real guidance for potential litigants. You just get endless rounds of pointless litigation.

Or alternatively, you get a chilling effect. Obviously, the Board could simply adopt the position of their opponents. That would end litigation, but it would also force them to give up their right to regulate up to the constitutional line. The problem is, with such a subjective and fuzzy line, they cannot know ahead of time where that line is. This is a good illustration of why I dislike totality of the circumstances tests. Hopefully, this is something the Court will move the law away from -- as well as generally making the law less hostile to religion.
There's a degree of subjectivity involved, but that's why they call them "judges." As the judge here says, there's no bright line - they have to rely on judgment and precedent, not unlike in fair use copyright cases, and anyone who reads it can see that there's nothing overtly irrational about this judge's analysis. I'd love to see a clearer standard set, but I'm not sure it's possible - the factual situations are too varied. I think the Lemon test is about as good a test as we're likely to develop.

While I also regret the need for litigation, I don't see why the school board or the people who insisted on the sticker are entitled to feel any less chilled than those who objected to it. Lots of people, including many school board members, already feel chilled by persistent efforts to inject religious doctrine into public education. I'd be willing to bet that some of the Cobb County board members are relieved that the judge ruled as he did, but find it difficult to say so publicly. As long as we have compulsory education in a pluralistic society with a First Amendment, we're going to have these tensions.

Xenu: even this judge admitted that the only reason evolution was singled out was because it was the only theory that was likely to cause an uproar with parents. Pacifying parents was among the legitimate secular purposes that the court cited as evidence that the board wasn't trying to advance religion.
Agreed, but because the court had to consider the effect of the statement as well as the intent, the fact that evolution was singled out (and mischaracterized) loomed larger.

This board probably acted in good faith, but I'm sure that all such boards would say that they had no intent to inject religious doctrine. I mean, there are people who will tell you with a straight face that "under God" has no religious significance. Thus the need for the second part of the test.
     
Cohiba
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Jan 17, 2005, 05:18 PM
 
Originally posted by Stradlater:
Again, the stickers single out evolution as a dubious "theory" (rather than a more accurately-described scientific theory -- remember, the vast majority has no idea what "theory" really implies in scientific terminology). The fact remains that any other scientific concept could have been addressed, but evolution -- a concept that is unpleasant for some religious groups -- was singled out. This brings religious belief and reasoning into public schools. See how this might be unconstitutional?
Still it is not unconstitutional, as no matter how you print it evolution is a theory, and should be thought about. I know the whole idea “why” the stickers were put on it, but are they unconstitutional.

No.

Science classes should explain what theory is. When a science book filled with theory is presented to students, and when it is labeled as theory, and students do not understand what theory means, then the problem lies not with the sticker, but with the teachers.

Either way, the truth no matter how used, should NOT be unconstitutional. Believing otherwise is wrong.
     
Spheric Harlot  (op)
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Jan 17, 2005, 05:40 PM
 
Originally posted by Cohiba:
Science classes should explain what theory is. When a science book filled with theory is presented to students, and when it is labeled as theory, and students do not understand what theory means, then the problem lies not with the sticker, but with the teachers.
Well, then there's no point in putting language on the sticker that is SURE to bias against evolution, since the term "theory" isn't actually explained until in class. Once it's defined, it should take care of any ambiguity regarding evolution, right?

So referring to a scientific fact using language that makes it seem like conjecture since it's not defined as "operating fact" until within the course is deliberate introduction of prior bias, in favor of certain religious standpoints.

The truth, when properly distorted, can be a lie, too.

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Wiskedjak
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Jan 17, 2005, 05:47 PM
 
Originally posted by Wiskedjak:
I'd say it has nothing to do with being unable to defeat evolution. Creationists have no issues with relativity, electromagnetism or string theory ... at least not until they challenge the creation hyposthesis.
I wonder how this would fly?

“This textbook contains material on evolution. Evolution, just like string theory, relativity, creationism and electromagnetism, is a theory, not a fact, regarding the origin of living things. This material should be approached with an open mind, studied carefully and critically considered.”
     
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Jan 17, 2005, 05:57 PM
 
Originally posted by Cohiba:
Either way, the truth no matter how used, should NOT be unconstitutional. Believing otherwise is wrong.
That's like saying that quotations, no matter how out-of-context they are being used, are fine when quoted that way because, well, it was actually said, wasn't it?

"As riveting as watching paint dry" could be quoted, "RIVETING"..all's fair, right?

The use of stickers in this case all but clearly brings some religion's reasoning into the public school teaching setting.

Originally posted by Spheric Harlot:
The truth, when properly distorted, can be a lie, too.
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Jan 17, 2005, 06:21 PM
 
Originally posted by zigzag:

While I also regret the need for litigation, I don't see why the school board or the people who insisted on the sticker are entitled to feel any less chilled than those who objected to it. Lots of people, including many school board members, already feel chilled by persistent efforts to inject religious doctrine into public education. I'd be willing to bet that some of the Cobb County board members are relieved that the judge ruled as he did, but find it difficult to say so publicly. As long as we have compulsory education in a pluralistic society with a First Amendment, we're going to have these tensions.
No, that isn't the chilling I was talking about. I was talking about the chilling effect of fuzzy legal standards. Think of it by analogy:

Suppose you have a stretch of highway, and you have a driver who has the right to drive as fast as the legal limit, but of course, no right to drive over the limit. Suppose also the driver doesn't want to drive over the limit.

If the limit is clearly posted, he knows in advance exactly how fast he can drive, and at what speed he will be breaking the law. The law here sets out a clear standard that can be applied in advance of any involvement of a judge. That is a good rule from the point of view of judicial economy, and in reducing vexatious litigation. It would also reduce the actual instances of breaking the rules.

Suppose on the other hand, the sign only says "don't speed." Suppose that instead of a defined speed limit, there is just a two or three prong balancing test that will be applied subjectively on a case by case basis after the fact by a judge. Not even lawyers can tell anyone what the judge will decide. In this scenario, the driver doesn't really know at what point he will be breaking the law. He now has two choices: he can drive as he would have done, and risk being judged post facto to have broken the law, or he can drive a little bit slower than the law probably would allow.

The latter is an illustration of the chilling effect of uncertain law. When what you are talking about are Constitutional rights, it is a real problem. The school board, who have rights too, can be chilled from fully exercising those rights out of fear that a judge post facto will decide they broke his idea of the Constitution.

The other issue with subjective tests is that it allows for the introduction of prejudice on the part of the judge. The Order's analysis of the second prong of the Lemon test reads to me as relying principally on the judge's personal opinions, including his personal opinions of past litigation in Cobb County. While in some instances it is proper in my view for a judge to take judicial notice of facts from outside the courtroom, his prejudged opinions of the litigants isn't one of them.

All IMHO, of course.
     
zigzag
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Jan 17, 2005, 07:18 PM
 
Originally posted by SimeyTheLimey:
No, that isn't the chilling I was talking about. I was talking about the chilling effect of fuzzy legal standards. Think of it by analogy:
I know what you meant; it just seemed that you were more empathetic to one side's concerns, and I wanted to point out that it can work both ways. Everyone, including the school board, operates under a degree of uncertainty. A school principle or teacher could have refused to use the stickers in a good faith belief that they were unconstitutional, only to have the case go before a more sticker-agreeable judge. A sticky situation either way . . . groan.

I don't like the uncertainty either, I'm just not sure we can do anything other than muddle along, case by case. Once the SCOTUS decided that implied or express endorsement = establishment, it made things rather complicated.

The other issue with subjective tests is that it allows for the introduction of prejudice on the part of the judge. The Order's analysis of the second prong of the Lemon test reads to me as relying principally on the judge's personal opinions, including his personal opinions of past litigation in Cobb County. While in some instances it is proper in my view for a judge to take judicial notice of facts from outside the courtroom, his prejudged opinions of the litigants isn't one of them.

All IMHO, of course.
Just goes to show how perspective can differ - I thought he bent over backwards to give the sticker proponents the benefit of the doubt.

Can you think of a viable bright-line standard that would remove all judgment from these cases? Is it just a matter of limiting review to the four corners of the sticker? What if the sticker is round? . . . groan . . .
     
zerostar
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Jan 17, 2005, 10:14 PM
 
Originally posted by ebuddy:
The fact that matter becomes less complex is wrong? Are YOU new to this???
Certainly not, this argument is old and I intend to debate it. When light shines on a plants leaf, Carbon dioxide and water are turned into complex hydrocarbons. These hydrocarbons are then turned into even more complex proteins, which combine to make all the immensely complex systems essential for life.

Your statement that matter becomes less complex is wrong. Are hydrocarbons matter? Certainly. Are they becoming more complex? Certainly. a Protein is greater than a hydrocarbon in terms of complexity.

site for me an example of an organism that has gained BENEFICIAL information. You have to establish that the result is a net GAIN in information, and that this gain was beneficial
Duplication and mutation of a basic globin gene to form the globin superfamilly now spread across several chromosomes. These are divided into myoglobin, a crucial muscle protein, and the alpha and beta globin family which form part of haemoglobin. The type of haemoglobin depends on the combination of various alpha and beta globins which evolution has "fine tuned" for different oxygen affinities appropriate to foetal and adult life.

The original myoglobin/globin split happened about 600-800 million years ago according to the "genetic clock" which calculates from the rate of mutation, and also the genetic tree of modern animals, which fits the fossil tree like a glove. The alpha/beta globin split happened about 450-500 million years ago. The single myoglobin common ancestor gene has been passed down (presumably with a different but smaller set of modifications) to the jawless fish, corresponding to the most recent time when we shared a common ancestor.

Just as the Modern Synthesis evolutionary theory would predict, this gene family evolution has left many unuseful pseudogene copies at various points in its history, non-functioning because of frameshift, stop codon, regulatory sequence and other mutations. You could not have a clearer example of an evolutionary smoking gun.

Also, The bacteria that evolved to able to metabolize nylon (a man made material) comes immediately to mind. Also, define information and define beneficial.

Some horses have more pairs of chromosomes than others. The Mongolian wild horse has more than US Mustangs, for example. Same species? IS the number of chromosomes "information"?

Hares have 24 pairs of chromosomes, domestic rabbits 22 pairs, and cottontails 21 pairs. Same species? Which one gained information and which one lost it?
( Last edited by zerostar; Jan 17, 2005 at 11:16 PM. )
     
SimeyTheLimey
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Jan 17, 2005, 10:35 PM
 
Originally posted by zigzag:
Can you think of a viable bright-line standard that would remove all judgment from these cases? Is it just a matter of limiting review to the four corners of the sticker? What if the sticker is round? . . . groan . . .
Off the top of my head, do away with the second subjective prong of the Lemon test. That would reduce it to a single inquiry -- is the objective intent one of promoting religion? Or especially, is it one of promoting a specific religion? That is closer to what establishment means.

The judge would still have to probe the evidence to be sure that the record isn't a sham, of course. But at least it wouldn't be a completely freewheeling test and governments would be on notice of what they cannot do without the current guesswork. There is no need in my mind to ask what people's subjective impressions would be on viewing the thing, act, display, statement or whatever. That just opens the door to speculation and bias.

That would be the first and simplest change. However, I think the whole area of the law is ripe for SCOTUS reevaluation.
     
zigzag
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Jan 17, 2005, 11:58 PM
 
Originally posted by SimeyTheLimey:
Off the top of my head, do away with the second subjective prong of the Lemon test. That would reduce it to a single inquiry -- is the objective intent one of promoting religion? Or especially, is it one of promoting a specific religion? That is closer to what establishment means.

The judge would still have to probe the evidence to be sure that the record isn't a sham, of course. But at least it wouldn't be a completely freewheeling test and governments would be on notice of what they cannot do without the current guesswork. There is no need in my mind to ask what people's subjective impressions would be on viewing the thing, act, display, statement or whatever. That just opens the door to speculation and bias.

That would be the first and simplest change. However, I think the whole area of the law is ripe for SCOTUS reevaluation.
The intent test can be just as subjective, and possibly more so (it requires credibility judgments, which also requires consideration of context, determinations of "sham," etc.). Also, if the effects test was eliminated, a board could enact something that was clearly over the line but get away with it if they could persuade the court that they honestly meant no harm. It would effectively become a subjective "community standards" test, i.e. "Reading the Bible every morning seemed within bounds to us."

I agree that a clearer test would be nice, but as things stand I think the effects test is critical. In fact, if we were to eliminate one of the two, I would eliminate the intent test. After all, if there's no effect, there's not much point in examining intent; similarly, if there's an effect, intent would seem to be moot, as in this case.

Oh well, we'll see what happens.
     
xenu
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Jan 18, 2005, 02:53 AM
 
Originally posted by Wiskedjak:
I'd say it has nothing to do with being unable to defeat evolution. Creationists have no issues with relativity, electromagnetism or string theory ... at least not until they challenge the creation hyposthesis.
Exactly. People can pretend this wasn't about evolution versus creationism, but that is exactly what is at the heart of this. Creationists wanted a way to water down the importance of the theory of evolution. They cannot do that via science, because they have no science, so they find other ways to express their impotence.
Religion is an insult to human dignity. With or without it, you'd have good people doing good things and evil people doing bad things, but for good people to do bad things, it takes religion - Steven Weinberg.
     
xenu
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Jan 18, 2005, 02:59 AM
 
Originally posted by SimeyTheLimey:


Xenu: even this judge admitted that the only reason evolution was singled out was because it was the only theory that was likely to cause an uproar with parents. Pacifying parents was among the legitimate secular purposes that the court cited as evidence that the board wasn't trying to advance religion.
From the article linked to on page one ...

'A federal judge Thursday ordered a suburban Atlanta school system to remove stickers from its high school biology textbooks that call evolution “a theory, not a fact,” saying the disclaimers are an unconstitutional endorsement of religion.

“By denigrating evolution, the school board appears to be endorsing the well-known prevailing alternative theory, creationism or variations thereof, even though the sticker does not specifically reference any alternative theories,” U.S. District Judge Clarence Cooper said.'

Creationists were simply trying another approach in their desperate attempts to disparage the theory of evolution.

Just because it had a secular purpose doesn't mean that was the source of that purpose.
Religion is an insult to human dignity. With or without it, you'd have good people doing good things and evil people doing bad things, but for good people to do bad things, it takes religion - Steven Weinberg.
     
Chuckit
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Jan 18, 2005, 04:59 AM
 
Originally posted by SimeyTheLimey:
Off the top of my head, do away with the second subjective prong of the Lemon test. That would reduce it to a single inquiry -- is the objective intent one of promoting religion?
I would say intent is a much more subjective thing (being entirely psychological) than effect.
Chuck
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ebuddy
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Jan 18, 2005, 11:43 AM
 
Originally posted by zerostar:
Certainly not, this argument is old and I intend to debate it. When light shines on a plants leaf, Carbon dioxide and water are turned into complex hydrocarbons. These hydrocarbons are then turned into even more complex proteins, which combine to make all the immensely complex systems essential for life.
photosynthesis establishes credibility for evolution in your view? This explains matter with increasing complexity in the evolutionary cycle??? We already know foliage is extremely unique. Why? Because it contains within it a control if you will, the ability to convert and organize the energy. Yet, overall-plants die and decay due to the same 'energies'.
Duplication and mutation of a basic globin gene to form the globin superfamilly now spread across several chromosomes. These are divided into myoglobin, a crucial muscle protein, and the alpha and beta globin family which form part of haemoglobin. The type of haemoglobin depends on the combination of various alpha and beta globins which evolution has "fine tuned" for different oxygen affinities appropriate to foetal and adult life.
How has evolution 'fine-tuned' for different oxygen affinities?
The original myoglobin/globin split happened about 600-800 million years ago according to the "genetic clock" which calculates from the rate of mutation, and also the genetic tree of modern animals, which fits the fossil tree like a glove. The alpha/beta globin split happened about 450-500 million years ago. The single myoglobin common ancestor gene has been passed down (presumably with a different but smaller set of modifications) to the jawless fish, corresponding to the most recent time when we shared a common ancestor.
Recent evidence shows that molecular clocks tick at differing rates depending upon different lineages and different genes. i.e.; the gene that encodes superoxide dismutase has 5 times the base pair substitution rate in certain species of Drosophila, the fruit fly, compared to other multicellular organisms. Another gene, Odysseus, has "evolved" more in the last 500 thousand years than the preceding 700 million years (1000 times faster rate now than in the past). The clock and the conclusions derived of it cannot be explained or predicted.
The tree, establishes for me and imagination wrought with leaps and connections that otherwise do not exist in reality. Current taxonomy classifies all living organisms into 3 categories; eubacteria ("common" bacteria), Archaea ("ancient bacteria that are best known for living in extreme environments) and eukaryotes (all other living forms, including you and me). Recent data suggests that certain eubacteria are more closely related to Archaea, and that certain Archaea are not related at all. In an examination of 13 fully sequenced genomes, including bacteria, Archaea, and the eukaryote, (yeast), scientists found that each microbe shares between 77% and 17% of its genes with another organism, with no clear relationships between species. The 'tree of life' is being criticized by modern science for it's woeful lacking.
Just as the Modern Synthesis evolutionary theory would predict, this gene family evolution has left many unuseful pseudogene copies at various points in its history, non-functioning because of frameshift, stop codon, regulatory sequence and other mutations. You could not have a clearer example of an evolutionary smoking gun.
From a conference in Chicago comprised from geologists and paleontologists, through ecologists and population geneticists, to embryologists and molecular biologists- gathered at Chicago's Field Museum of Natural History under the simple conference title: Macroevolution. Their task was to consider the mechanisms that underlie the origin of species and the evolutionary relationships between species. You might know, this conference was void of any Creationist idealism, but this lack did not mean a lighter atmosphere of scientists in agreement and in fact-became quite heated overall. Most admit leaving the conference with "heads spinning". Hardly what you'd expect from a group of 'know-it-alls" regarding a theory that holds such vast amounts of evidence as zero-star would have one believe. What was the overall 'take-away' from this conference? The changes within a population have been termed microevolution, and they can indeed be accepted as a consequence of shifting gene frequences. Changes above the species level - involving the origin of new species and the establishment of higher taxonomic patterns - are known as macroevolution. The central question of the Chicago conference was whether the mechanisms underlying microevolution can be extrapolated to explain the phenomena of macroevolution. The answer was clearly...No. I welcome the scrutiny of data, some do not.
Also, The bacteria that evolved to able to metabolize nylon (a man made material) comes immediately to mind. Also, define information and define beneficial.
This was the nylon bug which was able to ingest a man-made synthetic nylon in a waste pond in Japan I believe. What we don't know is whether or not there is an ingredient in nylon similar to that which bacteria may micro-evolve the ability to ingest naturally. Many studies have been performed and they do not support my thought that bacteria may initially have possessed the ability to micro-evolve in this manner. In short, this one I give you with hesitance.
Some horses have more pairs of chromosomes than others. The Mongolian wild horse has more than US Mustangs, for example. Same species? IS the number of chromosomes "information"?
All with 'exceedingly similar' DNA and classified as 'horse' none the less. Same with the rabbit examples you gave. These similarties and differences do not establish yet for me, credibility for modern synthesis evolutionary theory. The fossil record continues (in spite of your statement to the contrary) to offer examples of species exploding onto the scene. There are no findings of pre-Cambrian matter that illustrate ancestory nor do current theories explain away the incredible improbability of matter increasing to the degree of complexity and in the span of time that we find them to have 'evolved'. In short, evidence offers fewer answers and greater questions.
ebuddy
     
 
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