Re: [asa] Brownback on evolution

From: PvM <>
Date: Sun Jun 17 2007 - 17:17:11 EDT

On 6/17/07, David Clounch <> wrote:
> >
> >
> > Your argument is evolving from 'government agencies have no right to
> > ban religious ideas' to 'they have no right to ban one religious idea
> > but not the others'. I hope that the readers can appreciate the big
> > difference between the two statements.
> Nope. Didn't argue that.
> I did parrot what the 7th Circuit said further down in the case. Thats all
> I did. In addition to showing that my original opinion derives (to a reasonable
> person) from the actual text of the case. As does the parroting itself (although I
> explicitly didn't show that). So what?

I fail to see how your opinion could derive from the actual text of
the case which shows that for the purpose of the 1st amendment aspect,
religion includes non-religion as expressed by various supreme court
rulings. As such it is important not to limit oneselves to the quote
but to the actual argument which is made.
I'd say that the Kaufman ruling can not be used to argue either that
1) government agencies have no right to ban religious ideas nor that
2) government agencies have no right to ban one religious idea but not

> Having to be "right" about showing that my opinion was "wrong" strikes me as
> a bit obsessed.

If we are interested in knowledge and understanding then exploring the
veracity of a particular position, or the extent to which a particular
position is supported by judicial jurisprudence, then this does
involve addressing whether or not a particular position is 'right' or
at least 'supported' by such jurisprudence. All I am arguing is that
Kaufman does little, if anything, to support your original, as well as
your evolved position.

> I think its a waste to have to re-state what I actually did just because
> someone totally mis-understands it or makes a mountain out of a mole-hill,
> or is worried about what I might argue tomorrow, or for some reason doesn't
> like me or doesn't like some group of people.

Or to someone who is interested in exploring if there is actual
support under Kaufman for the originally expressed ideas?
I am not sure if it is a waste of time, other than for the fact that
it is not clear that I misunderstood you.

> Here's an opinion: An opinion is not an argument. Treating it as such is
> making too much of it. Isn't insisting that I must change an opinion
> expressed in an email sort of like insisting that someone not refer to
> David Hefland as "she"? Is that worth doing? ;) I don't know.
> I did get a good laugh out of it though.

Opinions are fine, especially when they claim some support, as in this
case, from jurisprudence, since this is about constitutional issues.
As such we can then explore if the opinion does logically follow from
said foundations.

> I apologize to the ASA for answering these posts. I very much want to chat
> with ASA members (and I mean signing members) on a variety of subjects
> where I can learn something from them.

I am always glad to be of assistance to further knowledge and
understanding of these issues. I find the topic of Kitzmiller,
Intelligent Design, and issues of science and demarcation of
particular interest.

In Kitzmiller the issue of whether or not ID was science, was a
fundamental determination, since if ID could have been shown to have a
valid secular purpose, it would likely be constitutional to be taught,
despite the religious motivations of the board.

In Zygonm, vol 37, no. 1, 2002, Gregory Peterson explored the same
issue in an article called "the intelligent design movement: science
or ideology". Peterson concludes that ID has failed to produce a
research program that merits serious attention and that it is clear
that IDT is driven more by ideology than by attention to science.

Similarly, Elliott Sober argues


Elliott Sober

 Abstract: When proponents of Intelligent Design (ID) theory deny
that their theory is religious, the minimalistic theory they have in
mind (the mini-ID theory) is the claim that the irreducibly complex
adaptations found in nature were made by one or more intelligent
designers. The denial that this theory is religious rests on the
fact that it does not specify the identity of the designer -- a
supernatural God or a team of extra-terrestrials could have done the
work. The present paper attempts to show that this reply
underestimates the commitments of the mini-ID Theory. The mini-ID
theory, when supplemented with four independently plausible further
assumptions, entails the existence of a supernatural intelligent
designer. It is further argued that scientific theories, such as the
Darwinian theory of evolution, are neutral on the question of whether
supernatural designers exist.

If you are interested, there are various other good papers on this
issue as well as on the Kitzmiller ruling itself.

A fascinating topic indeed.

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Received on Sun Jun 17 17:17:48 2007

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