Re: [asa] historical versus experimental sciences

From: David Clounch <>
Date: Mon Aug 24 2009 - 01:00:39 EDT

AFAIK everything I mention here about my local district transpired before
Kitzmiller and had nothing to do with DI but did have to do with visits by
Kenneth R Miller.

On Sun, Aug 23, 2009 at 12:20 PM, Ted Davis <> wrote:

> I comment on this exchange below:
> >>> David Clounch <> 08/23/09 11:49 AM >>>
> Cameron said:
> [quote]
> Right away, that makes him a good deal more perceptive than many
> Darwinians,
> who still tout the party line of Eugenie Scott and Judge Jones that ID is
> not science (except when they run joyously through all the arguments to
> prove that it is falsified science, thus contradicting their premise).
> [unquote]
> I cannot count the number of times on this list (and elsewhere) people have
> stated that ID cannot be tested and isn't science. It is almost as if they
> are chanting a mantra. But if the NCSE people have argued that ID is
> falsified science then why are so many anti-IDers unaware of this?
> ***
> Ted comments:
> David, the use of both logically inconsistent claims about ID is really an
> old story. It goes back at least as far as the Arkansas creationism trial
> in the 1980s, when Michael Ruse convinced the late Judge Overton that
> "creationism" (which was clearly defined in context as YECism) is not
> science, b/c it's not scientifically testable. The late neo-orthodox
> theologian, Langdon Gilkey, also convinced the judge that "creationism" is
> religion. The judge connected those dots and ruled that "creationism" can't
> be taught in public school science classes. A very clear precedent, which
> the plaintiffs in the Kitzmiller v Dover case modeled in a Harrisburg
> courtroom a few years ago.
> However, not long after the Arkansas trial, Ruse's fellow philosophers, esp
> Larry Lauden, read him the riot act for a bad piece of courtroom
> philosophizing.

I have Ruse's "But Is It Science" where Larry Laudan and Phillip Quinn
argue against Ruse, back and forth for a couple of rounds.

> "Creationism" is testable, they said, and it's been shown wrong numerous
> times. Thus, it shouldn't be part of biology classes not b/c it isn't
> science, but b/c it's just bad science. Very different conclusion.

And this would probably be the one I go with, i.e., I agree more with Laudan
and Quinn.

> You really can't have it both ways.

> As for ID, my own view (not shared by TDI or most ID advocates) is that ID
> is a talking point in philosophy of science, not science per se.

I agree it could be that is the case.

> I've defended that numerous times here and elsewhere and won't reprise
> that here. The other part of my view (not shared by the NCSE or most ID
> opponents) is that ID can be discussed in public school science classes, as
> an example of differences of opinion in the philosophy of science.

I think you are correct it ought to be that way. But given the facts on the
ground it doesn`'t happen to be that way.

Some of the folks who fight the most to make sure it cannot be that way are
the ADF and religious conservatives. These groups see the issue as a free
exercise clause aspect only, and seem deathly afraid of making any
establishment clause arguments. My belief is the reason is they desire a
return to historical political roots of the USA where Christianity enjoyed
hegemony. So they fight any form of true constitutional neutrality.

> Note: this is not at all the same thing as "teaching ID as a scientific
> alternative to Darwinian evolution" (I put those words in quotes to make
> sure that they stay together, if anyone anywhere comments on my view).

I agree it is not the same thing. It is a different issue entirely.

In my school district Philiip Johnson's book Darwin On Trial is not
allowed in the philosophy section either. Why? Because of one sentence in
the book where Johnson says he wrote the book in order to argue for a
"Christian world view". That, according to media specialist Connie
O'Sullivan violates separation of church and state. No book can be on the
premises that argues for a Christian world view. So, Francis Collin's book
cannot be allowed in the philosophy section. When I reported this banning
earlier PIM in so many words called me a liar and I answered with "would you
like to see the video tape?" and he did not answer. I have the video and I
have eyewitness testimony. BTW, let me tell you that Cradle of Life, by
Schopf (a nasa scientist and evolutionist, well, that book is not allowed
either, and it does not argue for any religious world view). So, the only
thing to do is challenge these people. If anyone wishes to help with a legal
defense fund please contact me. Connie O'Sullivan doesn't understand that
schools cannot ban materials based on the content of the materials unless
the materials violate community standards.
So her decree itself is a violation of the constitution and jurisprudence.

I don't believe it is such an alternative, nor has it ever been such IMO.
> Thus, IMO (not that of an attorney, obviously),

Its a good point. For example, a group of scientists may have that
opinion. But what counts is what a court says about alternatives. I believe
in Edwards the court reasoned that the creationism law in the case failed
to teach alternatives. Had the challenged statute been different how would
this have affected the case? How many alternatives are taught in Dover
now? And is TE an alternative? Even if one could argue that TE is
scientific, could it be taught as science?

Isn't that the $64 trillion question? Is TE science?

Lets assume yes it is, but that ID is not. Could they teach TE in Dover?
If the answer is no, they still cannot teach TE in Dover, but yes, it is
science, then how many alternatives are actually allowed to be taught? And
is the reasoning in Edwards therefore possibly violated? I i I were on the
winning side in Dover I would not want this appealed either. The NCSE
witnesses might suddenly switch sides, right?

Judge Jones' decision is irrelevant to whether or not anyone could do this,
> since it doesn't violate what he said can't be done.

Ah, but ID was the only alternative considered in the case, right? Isn't
that true? So no decision was made about other alternatives? So TE can be
taught? Somehow I don't think so. If the offense is possessing a
motivation based on believing theistic anything, well, you, Randy, all ASA
members, all of our ideas must be excluded.


It is also irrelevant in my area because it is in another juristiction. Had
it been appealed it might apply more broadly. But had it been appealed it
might also be overturned.

> This could perhaps have been a potentially winning hand in the Dover trial,
> but no one associated with the defense was interested pursuing it. The
> attorneys and their key witnesses all think that ID is science.

According to Nova, the defendants had never heard of ID when they
formulated their policy. It was the Thomas Moore Law Center who told them
about ID. Now, Thomas Moore may be totally wrongheaded. But I have
difficulty with the idea that the defendants could formed intent about ID
if they had never heard of it.

In criminal law we all know one has to form intent in order to commit a
crime. I am not sure if that is true when setting government policies.
Intent and effect are the key elements, not motivation, because motivation
is not the same as intent. As a layman I'd like to hear from a lawyer on
this point just to be sure. If Francis Collins forms a policy his
motivation is irrelevant. AFAIK it is the effect of his policy that counts.


In my local district Mark Parr, director of secondary ed in my district at
the time, gave me a list of all resources in the media centers in the
district. Over 500 items. The interesting thing is they were all YEC
materials. But ID materials are banned and thus are absent. The district
considers ID == YEC so to them ID is just more YEC materials. To them all
theistic ideas are YEC materials. They don't want any more. To date nobody
has sued to remove the 500 items. But it would certainly be consistent
with the current policy to remove them. The official policy is the science
curriculum is methodological naturalism and all materials must support the
curriculum. (ref: Director Bruce Endler, board meeting, Dec 2000). So
anything that doesn't go along with that is off limits.

But I have to ask the question, "how do you educate students as to what all
these concepts are are if there are NO materials available?" Is it a valid
secular purpose to educate students to know the difference between NA and TE
and ID and OEC and YEC, etc? Their policy has created a knowledge vacuum.

To unsubscribe, send a message to with
"unsubscribe asa" (no quotes) as the body of the message.
Received on Mon Aug 24 01:01:29 2009

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.8 : Mon Aug 24 2009 - 01:01:29 EDT