Re: [asa] historical versus experimental sciences

From: David Clounch <>
Date: Mon Aug 24 2009 - 12:07:54 EDT

On Mon, Aug 24, 2009 at 10:00 AM, Ted Davis <> wrote:

> I will add a comment on just one point that David Clounch made:
> 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.
> ***
> Ted comments:
> The "Nova" episode, David, concluded (here) precisely what I had already
> concluded myself from hearing testimony in court, talking to well informed
> reporters outside of court, and talking to attorneys close to the case. I
> am virtually certain that a statement about ID was introduced to the Dover
> school board as an alternative to what some of the board originally wanted
> -- namely, creationism taught 50/50 with evolution, which is patently
> illegal (as their own solicitor told them).
> I also have difficulty with the board voting for a statement, referencing
> something (ID) about which they were clueless,

I agree. Yes, they revised their policy after receiving advice of
attorneys. Its unfortunate the attorneys were so clueless. The problem here
is, and I think this applies to both sides, nobody seems to be interested in
anything other than their own viewpoint reigning triumphant. The bigger
picture then gets lost. This is probably what is going on in my own school
system. Its sort of a law of unintended side effects. So, the AAAS/NAS
forms a policy. And the policy impacts religion. The policy could be used to
foster education. But well meaning people, mis-understanding the basis of
the policy, use it to trump others and the views of others, and to exclude
them, rather than to educate about those views.

Ted, here is what I think is crucial. How to form a policy that has valid
secular purpose?
Seems to me the way to do that is to remove impact upon religion. As much
as is possible. The question isn't which Christian theory is compatible
with evolution and which isn't. The question is how to not have government
choose sides in that debate.

There is a general set of rules that apply to any group that takes federal
dollars. This is why the NTSA stepped on the constitution when it fostered
a statement about the proper interpretation of scripture with respect for
evolution. Burgy was correct, there was a foul there. It was the NTSA
that was responsible. Sadly a local school repeated the mistake by using
that material in the classroom. The AAAS/NAS has a similar problem here
when it makes any pronouncement or policy that impacts religion. They might
have the correct policy, but because it impacts religion, supporting one
Christian faction and denigrating another, they may run afoul of creating a
systemic problem with the Lemon test. And its not just the lemon test.
Its the NAGB rules.

I'd like to put together a short piece (a word doc) on a recent case to
discuss what the court said about the Lemon test to show you what I mean.

but that is exactly what happened.

> I've been making that point ever since the trial, in lecture I give called
> "Intelligent Design on Trial." I will probably do that one at next summer's
> ASA meeting in DC, incidentally: why not plan to attend?

Hmmm. I was looking for another excuse to go to DC.


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Received on Mon Aug 24 12:08:47 2009

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