Tuesday, December 4, 2007

This Is An Outrage!

Texas has just fired their state science director for not sticking up for Intelligent Design.

The director, Christine Comer, was forced to resign for forwarding an email to a science group regarding a lecture to be given by Barbara Forrest, a professor of philosophy at Southeastern Louisiana University and expert witness in Kitzmiller v. Dover (the Pennsylvania ID suit). Why force her to resign?

Forwarding info on a lecture, in the eyes of the Texas board of education, apparently implies implicit endorsement of its ideas, and as Debbie Ratcliffe, a spokesperson for the board says in a New York Times article, "[An educator's] job is to enact laws and regulations that are passed by the Legislature or the State Board of Education and not to inject personal opinions and beliefs."

Personal opinions and beliefs? Evolution is not a personal opinion or belief any more than the Theory of Gravity. Scientific theories are not ideas. No scientist wakes in the middle of the night and has a sudden hunch which is proclaimed a theory. That's an idea. A scientific theory is "a mathematical or logical explanation, or a testable model of the manner of interaction of a set of natural phenomena, capable of predicting future occurrences or observations of the same kind, and capable of being tested through experiment or otherwise falsified through empirical observation." (via Wikipedia) Evolution is not an idea bandied about by scientists late at night around a wine bottle. Neither is Cell Theory, Atomic Theory, the Kinetic Theory of Gas, the Germ Theory of Disease, Special and General Relativity Theory, Quantum Theory, Number Theory, or the Theory of Gravity.

Intelligent Design, on the other hand, is a personal opinion. That the Bible is the inerrant word of God is a personal opinion. Rejecting scientific claims that do not square with your religious beliefs is a personal opinion. And advocating for these claims in the public square via a method that uses taxpayer dollars is unconstitutional.

As Judge John Jones III wrote in his Kitzmiller opinion,

ID is not science. We find that ID fails on three different levels, any one of which is sufficient to preclude a determination that ID is science. They are: (1) ID violates the centuries-old ground rules of science by invoking and permitting supernatural causation; (2) the argument of irreducible complexity, central to ID, employs the same flawed and illogical contrived dualism that doomed creation science in the 1980's; and (3) ID's negative attacks on evolution have been refuted by the scientific community. . .

ID’s backers have sought to avoid the scientific scrutiny which we have now determined that it cannot withstand by advocating that the controversy, but not ID itself, should be taught in science class. This tactic is at best disingenuous, and at worst a canard. The goal of the Intelligent Design Movement is not to encourage critical thought, but to foment a revolution which would supplant evolutionary theory with ID. . .

Accordingly, 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 violation of the Establishment Clause."

Mr. Jefferson, build up that wall!

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