Re: Judge Jones' decision

From: D. F. Siemens, Jr. <>
Date: Tue Dec 20 2005 - 16:15:48 EST

On Tue, 20 Dec 2005 14:33:00 -0500 "Ted Davis" <>
> Judge Jones' decision in the Dover case is available here:
> I am finishing an essay about it for the magazine, Religion in the
> News.
> The following is my summary response. It goes without saying, this
> is only
> my opinion and reasonable people might reasonably differ with me!
> Because
> of my crazy schedule this week, I regret that I probably won't be
> able to
> respond to any comments sent my way, but I will be sure to read them
> at some
> point; they will not be ignored.
> ted
> "The judge's decision is very understandable. Given the situation
> in
> Dover, he really had no choice but to rule that the school board
> tried to
> inject a reference to intelligent design for religious reasons, that
> they
> had no clear secular purpose for doing so. ID is not creationism,
> but in
> this situation it was just too hard to tell. "The evidence at
> trial
> demonstrates that ID is nothing less than the progeny of
> creationism," the
> Judge wrote, and I can't blame him. The judge ruled that "it is
> unconstitutional to teach ID as an alternative to evolution in a
> public
> school science classroom." Perhaps this leaves open the possibility
> that
> a science teacher might still be allowed to discuss aspects of ID.
> If not,
> this would be unfortunate, because the decision overlooks the fact
> that
> there is a small but growing refereed professional literature about
> intelligent design in the philosophy of science. Pennsylvania
> science
> standards call for teachers to discuss the nature of science, which
> is a
> reference to philosophy of science. The line between philosophy of
> science
> and science itself is not sharp, and historically traffic has flowed
> in both
> directions. A science teacher could in my opinion have a legitimate
> secular
> purpose in discussing various philosophical objections to aspects of
> evolution that have been raised by scientists in the 146 years
> since
> Darwin's book was published: the general education of a science
> student is
> well served when such topics are introduced. I cannot criticize the
> judge
> for overlooking this, however, since the defense did not make this
> argument.
> They kept insisting that ID is science, not philosophy of science,
> despite
> the paucity of scientific literature favoring ID."
Technically, I think Ted's analysis of Judge Jones' decision is correct.
Jones noted that the defendants lied about their intent. But I think Ted
is wrong is suggesting that there is something scientific to ID, although
philosophers may come up with cockamamie notions obfuscated with
sesquipedalian words. The notion that design is detectable fails because
it requires prediction, not an after-the-fact claim, and because, to note
Luther's insight, the hand of God is hidden: we see only the masks of
God. I just read a report citing Colling of Olivet Nazarene, that it is a
God-of-the-gaps argument that eventually will leave no room for the deity
at all.
Received on Tue Dec 20 16:19:52 2005

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