Not about Religion?

by

Creationists on the Texas State Board of Education have repeatedly insisted that their attempts to dumb down the science curriculum on evolution have nothing to do with promoting their religious beliefs. But often their own words and actions betray them.

At the end of the Jan. 21 public hearing on the science standards, board members were given the opportunity to choose a handful of speakers to close out testimony. Among those chosen by the board’s creationist bloc was one David Muralt, whose affiliation he listed simply as “self.” Muralt put the lie to creationists’ claims that they aren’t trying to promote religion in science classrooms. We have transcribed his testimony (from the 4:26:44 mark on the Full Board Part A 1/21 archived audio file), which includes:

Why do we persist teaching students the religion of atheistic humanism, under the guise of scientific, factual evolution? Which is neither scientific nor factual, when you only present one point of view.

Teaching students that they evolved and are nothing more than animals degrades their quality of life, and robs them of meaning and purpose for life. The twisted reasoning of humanism in seeking to exalt man, reduces him to an animal devoid of will and the ability to choose the virtuous. The fruits of this God-denying teaching are: lying, cheating, stealing, promiscuity, chemical abuse, suicide, crime of all sorts, and a reduction in academic achievement.

There is no factual scientific proof that functional complex life has arisen from disorder by chance. Who are you going to believe — God that was there, or men that weren’t?

Mr. Muralt’s testimony reveals two special conceits of the those behind the creationist movement. First, they believe they know more about science than all the trained scientists who have been studying and researching evolution for more than a century. Second, creationists like Mr. Muralt and his allies on the state board believe only themselves to be truly people of faith. In their eyes, those of us who support giving students a science education that’s based actually on science are atheistic humanists who reject God.

Such arrogance is as astonishing as it is insulting to all people of faith. Swept up in their blanket condemnation are, for example, the Roman Catholic Church, countless mainline Protestants and the majority of Jews. Of course, many other faiths also pose no conflict between science and belief in God. (And enough with the implicit smear that atheists are somehow to blame for “lying, cheating, stealing, promiscuity, chemical abuse, suicide, crime of all sorts.”)

This shouldn’t be surprising, of course. Recall what state board Chairman Don McLeroy, R-College Station, told congregants in a church lecture in July 2005. McLeroy was recounting the debate over proposed biology textbooks two years earlier. He noted that he was one of only “four really conservative, orthodox Christians on the board … who were willing to stand up to the textbooks and say that they don’t present the weaknesses of evolution.” So the other board members weren’t real Christians?

The Texas Freedom Network has always supported the right of families and congregations to pass on their own teachings about faith to their children. But science classes are for teaching science, not religion. No one has right to use public schools to promote their own religious beliefs over everybody else’s.

UPDATE: Dr. McLeroy has asked that we include an additional passage from his church lecture in 2005, in which he discussed what happened during the state board’s debate over biology textbooks in 2003. We are glad to do so here:

(W)e weren’t about to convince any scientists, but we couldn’t convince fellow board members that these books should have evidence. And the more I look back on it, I believe if we would have challenged the naturalistic assumptions that nature is all there is with our fellow board members and challenged these people that were talking about it a little bit that brought up testimony, possibly we would have gotten a few more votes because a lot of these dear friends of mine on the State Board of Education are good, strong Christians that are active in Young Life and other activities. But they were able to totally not even worry about the fact that evolution’s assumption that nature is all there is is in total conflict with the way they live their life.

We appreciate Dr. McLeroy’s interest in an honest and fair dialogue.

Dr. McLeroy’s passage acknowledges what is essentially a larger doctrinal dispute involving differing interpretations of scripture and theology. We believe, however, that public school science classes are not the place to settle doctrinal disputes and disagreements among people of faith.

UPDATED UPDATE: Please note again the passage from Dr. McLeroy’s lecture that we added after our original post. Dr. McLeroy makes it clear that he voted against new biology textbooks in 2003, and wanted his fellow board members to do so, because he believed that those textbooks contradicted his and their religious beliefs. After all, why else would it matter whether his fellow board members are “good, strong Christians” and that evolution (as he characterizes it) “is in total conflict with the way they live their life.” That is clearly not an argument based on science. It’s an argument based on faith and religious doctrine, and public school science classrooms are not the place for such a debate.

33 Responses to “Not about Religion?”

  1. Larry Fafarman Says:

    This proves nothing. To some people, evolution is only about science. To others, it is only about religion. To still others, it is about both. David Muralt is entitled to his opinion.

    –Such arrogance is as astonishing as it is insulting to all people of faith. Swept up in their blanket condemnation are, for example, the Roman Catholic Church, countless mainline Protestants and the majority of Jews. —

    Moslems, fundamentalist Christians, and many orthodox Jews tend to believe that there is a conflict between evolution and religion.

  2. Stan Yoder Says:

    Larry F, you are entitled to an opinion and whatever beliefs you choose. So is David Muralt.

    The problem, sir, is when you and your ilk work to get your opinions and beliefs mandated as fact when, in fact, they are just opinions. Poorly supported opinions in the case of creationism vs. evolution.

    You and whatever church you choose may preach your opinions as you desire — in your home or church. But not in secular schools. Not in science class. Not in Texas.

  3. Leigh Williams Says:

    “Moslems, fundamentalist Christians, and many orthodox Jews tend to believe that there is a conflict between evolution and religion.”

    No. Not all Muslims — only the fundamentalist ones.

    And do you seriously intend to contest the undeniable fact that the majority of Jews and Christians do NOT see a conflict between evolution and their faith?

    In any case, court decisions absolutely preclude teaching religious beliefs in science class. Why do we have to keep fighting this battle when so many other education issues urgently need our attention?

  4. bellaireastro Says:

    I am afraid just because Mr. Fafarman claims “Moslems, fundamentalist Christians, and many orthodox Jews tend to believe that there is a conflict between evolution and religion” doesn’t make it true. There is no evidence supplied to support this claim.

    My experience has been that Muslims (which is a much more appropriate spelling) and Christians and Jews do not indeed see a conflict between evolution and religious doctrine on the whole.

    Who is right?

  5. Adam Solomon Says:

    Larry, evolution may not be only about science – but the stuff you teach in a science classroom is! As far as I’ve noticed, no one here is (admitting) debating evolution itself, so much as what we teach in schools.

    Also, David Muralt is entitled to his opinion, but when he’s a board member voting on board matters, he’s also expected to not have a specious opinion – and his opinion is 100% open to attacks like this.

  6. JC Dufresne Says:

    Mr. Fafarman seems to miss the point that the idea is for schools to not endorse one doctrine over another. In science class the scientific method should be taught and to date all the evidence supports common descent and evolution. When someone finds or develops evidence that is supported by experimentation and is repeatable indicating against common descent or evolution then science classes will have to keep up with the times. At this time all the available evidence supports common descent and evolution and more evidence supporting those positions is found all the time.

    If a faith has a problem reconciling itself with the science then it should deal with the issue in their religious education classes not in my child’s classroom.

  7. Jeff Eyges Says:

    Swept up in their blanket condemnation are, for example, the Roman Catholic Church, countless mainline Protestants and the majority of Jews.

    Yes, but the Roman Catholics and mainline Protestants aren’t True Christians™, and the Jews are merely fodder for hastening the Rapture.

    Pay no attention to Fafarman; his chief accomplishment to date has been peppering Amazon with his anti-evolution, pro-fundamentalist diatribes.

  8. Larry Fafarman Says:

    bellaireastro said (January 30, 2009 at 7:12 pm) —
    –I am afraid just because Mr. Fafarman claims “Moslems, fundamentalist Christians, and many orthodox Jews tend to believe that there is a conflict between evolution and religion” doesn’t make it true. There is no evidence supplied to support this claim.–

    The National Center for Science Education gives the following figures for predominantly Moslem countries: “Only 16% of Indonesians, 14% of Pakistanis, 8% of Egyptians, 11% of Malaysians, and 22% of Turks agree that Darwin’s theory is probably or most certainly true” — from

    http://ncseweb.org/news/2008/12/update-islamic-creationism-003306

    Fundamentalist Christians almost by definition reject evolution theory.

    Here are two of my blog’s articles concerning Jews’ — particularly orthodox Jews’ — beliefs about evolution:

    http://im-from-missouri.blogspot.com/2006/09/jewish-idism.html

    http://im-from-missouri.blogspot.com/2007/07/wish-washy-article-about-kosherness-of.html

    Also, the Archbishop of Canterbury’s criticism of evolution was hardly noticed — see
    http://im-from-missouri.blogspot.com/2008/09/archbishop-of-canterbury-slams-neo.html

    Anyway, people should not be told what their religious beliefs are supposed to be.

    JC Dufresne said (January 30, 2009 at 10:36 pm) —
    –When someone finds or develops evidence that is supported by experimentation and is repeatable indicating against common descent or evolution then science classes will have to keep up with the times.–

    A lot of science is not supported by experimentation — a lot of science is interpretation of existing evidence in nature.

    So far, no one has succeeded in countering my arguments concerning the difficulties of co-evolution —
    http://im-from-missouri.blogspot.com/2009/01/summary-of-thoughts-about-co-evolution.html

    Also, IMO pseudoscientific as well as scientific criticisms of evolution should be taught in the public schools.

    –If a faith has a problem reconciling itself with the science then it should deal with the issue in their religious education classes not in my child’s classroom.–

    Some criticisms of evolution are so technically sophisticated that they can be properly taught only by qualified science teachers.

  9. Larry Fafarman Says:

    Jeff Eyges said,
    –Pay no attention to Fafarman —

    Yes — bury your heads in the sand by ignoring my comments. Continue to believe misconceptions that are based on ignorance of well-documented facts.

  10. Ben Says:

    Larry, the funniest thing about you is that you seem to think you are some sort of brilliant logical thinker. The opposite is true, and that’s why other visitors here rarely respond to your “arguments.” But you do serve a good purpose in reminding us rational thinkers what we are up against.

  11. Cheryl Shepherd-Adams Says:

    “We appreciate Dr. McLeroy’s interest in an honest and fair dialogue.”

    There’s something wrong with that sentence . . . just can’t put my finger on it . . .

  12. Larry Fafarman Says:

    Ben said —
    –Larry, the funniest thing about you is that you seem to think you are some sort of brilliant logical thinker. The opposite is true, and that’s why other visitors here rarely respond to your “arguments.” But you do serve a good purpose in reminding us rational thinkers what we are up against. —

    Scoffing: “the scornful treatment of what is worthy — is based on an illusion whereby falsehood is made to look large and important and truth small and stupid, not by thorough and studied reason, but mere belittlement. ” — from
    http://merecomments.typepad.com/merecomments/2008/12/scoffing.html

    Scoffing may sometimes be OK when accompanied by intelligent arguments. However, when scoffing is the only response to reasonable arguments, then scoffing is just an admission of defeat.

  13. jdg Says:

    # Ben Says:
    January 31, 2009 at 2:26 pm

    Larry, the funniest thing about you is that you seem to think you are some sort of brilliant logical thinker. The opposite is true, and that’s why other visitors here rarely respond to your “arguments.” But you do serve a good purpose in reminding us rational thinkers what we are up against.

    That is correct….!!!

    # Larry Fafarman Says:
    January 31, 2009 at 1:34 pm

    Jeff Eyges said,
    –Pay no attention to Fafarman –

    Yes — bury your heads in the sand by ignoring my comments. Continue to believe misconceptions that are based on ignorance of well-documented facts.

    First, there are no “well-documented facts” that disprove evolution, none. It’s better to use the words “creationist complaints” instead because that’s what it is. No one cares about creationis complaints.
    Hey……….. YOU bury you head in the sand, creationist.

  14. Ben Says:

    Larry, I’ll just repeat what I’ve said before—if you have evidence for a weakness in the theory of evolution, please contact your nearest university* and let them know. You’ll be famous.

    *Liberty University does not count. Your mileage may vary. Limit one per customer.

  15. Larry Fafarman Says:

    jdg says,
    –First, there are no “well-documented facts” that disprove evolution, none. —

    That has nothing to do with your quotations of Jeff Eyges and Ben. For example, Eyges said, “Pay no attention to Fafarman.” So, for example, he wants you to pay no attention to the following facts:

    The National Center for Science Education gives the following figures for predominantly Moslem countries: “Only 16% of Indonesians, 14% of Pakistanis, 8% of Egyptians, 11% of Malaysians, and 22% of Turks agree that Darwin’s theory is probably or most certainly true” — from
    http://ncseweb.org/news/2008/12/update-islamic-creationism-003306

    Ben says,
    –if you have evidence for a weakness in the theory of evolution, please contact your nearest university and let them know. —

    Instead of hiding behind the universities, why don’t you respond to my arguments about co-evolution —
    http://im-from-missouri.blogspot.com/2009/01/summary-of-thoughts-about-co-evolution.html

  16. Mike Says:

    Are you a biologist? Are you an expert in any field relevant to the study of evolution? Do you have the level of education needed to correctly interpret the data?

    If not, I don’t know why I should read your blog at all. Especially when you welcome debate over the Holocaust and say you’re skeptical of “official dogma”. In most cases, something is “official” in that it is most widely accepted as true due to its massive preponderance of supporting evidence. To be skeptical in this case would only be logical if you were skeptical of claims AGAINST the “official dogma”.

    Claiming to be skeptical of scientific and historical consensus is nothing more than rejecting evidence and instead going in favor of unsupported claims.

  17. jdg Says:

    Mike Says:
    February 1, 2009 at 2:17 pm

    Are you a biologist? Are you an expert in any field relevant to the study of evolution? Do you have the level of education needed to correctly interpret the data?

    —- If you are asking Larry F. then the answer is no. Some of us, like moi, do have degrees in science. I have 2 degrees, 1 in bio, 1 in chem.

  18. jdg Says:

    Larry F says
    Instead of hiding behind the universities, why don’t you respond to my arguments about co-evolution –
    http://im-from-missouri.blogspot.com/2009/01/summary-of-thoughts-about-co-evolution.html

    –Larry, you have been already been refuted by a scientific blog!! Did you forget this???
    http://scienceblogs.com/aetiology/2008/12/freaks_of_nature_and_bridgeles.php

    Quickly addressing Larry’s numbered arguments:

    1) If it doesn’t require simultaneous changes, then it isn’t a problem.

    2) This is no more a problem for evolution than any change in kind. Also, what may appear to be a change in kind may actually be merely a series of changes in degree. In your example, if we start out with a plate, then add a depression to make a saucer, deepen it to make a bowl, extend the sides to make a glass, and then pinch the top to create a shaker, we have created the shape of the stamen in buzz pollination only by using changes in degree. It should be noted that all of these shapes can convey an advantage that doesn’t require buzz pollination. What they do require is increasingly more effort by the pollinator, leading up to vigorous stroking of the stamen in the shaker shape (though buzzing also works). Make the opening just a little bit smaller, and voila! buzz pollination required.

    3) This is not a problem if the new generation can survive on the old generation.

    4) This is not a problem if there is a progression simple and general to complex and specific. For example, there are orchids that use mimicry to attract wasps indiscriminately, and there are orchids that only attract a few species of wasps. In other words, there is a clear path towards increasing complexity.

    5) And once they are in the same time and place, they tend to continue to occur in the same time and place.

    6) Not particularly. Parasites need to leave their hosts, in order to survive the death of the host. Anything that increases their odds of getting back to the original host species is an advantage. Also, being parasitic requires less resources than being free-swimming and is thus advantageous. And it’s doubly advantageous if you can turn a predator into a host. And if the additional host isn’t required…

    As you can see, Larry’s arguments are all based on a house of cards. As it turns out, biologists have repeatedly demonstrated that his assumptions are not true. Evolutionary theory predicts that co-evolved species have evolved in a way so as to account for all these various potential pitfalls. The pattern observed in nature matches the pattern predicted by evolution. Co-evolution is not a problem for evolution, it is a confirmation of it.

    –Then, PZ meyer, lays the smack down on Larry about coevolution not being mentioned with evolution….

    How amusing. I discussed co-evolution in my freshman biology course just a few weeks ago, as part of a rebuttal to the concept of irreducible complexity. But now Larry tells me these discussions don’t happen. Does that mean I can’t include it in the final exam?
    Posted by: PZ Myers | December 6, 2008 4:44 PM

    –Even the author of the website thinks you’re a troll

    Larry,

    I’m not really interested in “debating” with you, especially when your last remark to me is a troll comment, a feeble “McEnroe” personal attack directed at me. That said a quick comment:

    I suspected that your idea of “debate on co-evolution” was limited to the internet whereas Kevin, PZ myself, and others include science literature, classes and tea(coffee) chats, etc. After all, science debates are most likely to occur in science settings. But for all that, ‘google co-evolution blog’ reports “around 162,000″ hits and down on page twenty it is still reporting blogs…

    Posted by: Heraclides | December 10, 2008 2:50 PM

    –Let’s all order “Larry get smackdowned!! On dvd today!!

  19. Joe J. Bernal Says:

    The whole issue of including creationism or intelligent design as an alternative to teaching
    evolution is not the problem. Teaching one’s religious beliefs (Christian, Jewish, Muslim) in the public schools IS the problem. I have my strong Catholic Christian beliefs, but they belong in my home with my family and with my church…not in Public Schools.

  20. Ben Says:

    Has anyone ever seen the movie “European Vacation” with Chevy Chase? Remember that scene when he gets caught in a traffic circle and can’t get out? That’s what it’s like arguing with Fafarman. Round and round. Forever and ever.

  21. Larry Fafarman Says:

    Mike Says:
    –Are you a biologist?–

    No.

    — Are you an expert in any field relevant to the study of evolution?–

    Yes, I am an expert on co-evolution — see this post on my blog —
    http://im-from-missouri.blogspot.com/2009/01/summary-of-thoughts-about-co-evolution.html

    — Do you have the level of education needed to correctly interpret the data? —

    My discussions of co-evolution are non-technical — no specialized education is required.

    –If not, I don’t know why I should read your blog at all. —

    If you dismiss my ideas without even reading them, then you are just a big bag of hot air.

    –Especially when you welcome debate over the Holocaust and say you’re skeptical of “official dogma”. —

    The “official dogma” about the emperor’s non-existent new clothes was that they were magnificent.

    Response to jdg:

    —- If you are asking Larry F. then the answer is no. —

    Shut up, jdg. Mike asked me, not you.

    Co-evolution is grossly off-topic here. You are trying to hijack this comment thread by posting a long discussion about co-evolution.

    –Larry, you have been already been refuted by a scientific blog!! —

    That is one of the problems with you Darwinists — you think that you automatically “refute” an argument merely by responding to it.

    –Quickly addressing Larry’s numbered arguments:–

    Why didn’t you have the courtesy to repeat my arguments so readers would not have to hunt for them and flip back and forth to read them.

    –Larry,
    I’m not really interested in “debating” with you —

    If you are not interested in debating with me, then why did you post that long reply to my arguments about co-evolution?

    –I suspected that your idea of “debate on co-evolution” was limited to the internet whereas Kevin, PZ myself, and others include science literature, classes and tea(coffee) chats, etc. —

    I don’t happen to have access to those other means of communication, but the Internet is considered to be a major means of communication — for example, blogs have been authoritatively cited hundreds of times by law journal articles (and presumably other kinds of scholarly journals) and have even been authoritatively cited by court opinions. In fact, I consider the Internet to be one of the best means of communication because anyone can participate in an open Internet discussion.

    Joe J. Bernal Says:

    — Teaching one’s religious beliefs (Christian, Jewish, Muslim) in the public schools IS the problem. I have my strong Catholic Christian beliefs, but they belong in my home with my family and with my church…not in Public Schools. —

    No one is proposing teaching religious beliefs in the public schools — what people are proposing is teaching scientific and pseudoscientific criticisms of evolution in the public schools. Many of these criticisms are so technically sophisticated that they can be properly taught only by qualified science teachers. Darwinists are demanding that these criticisms be taught by unqualified people — e.g., typical parents, typical Sunday School teachers, and typical social studies teachers.

  22. James F Says:

    And to add to Dr. Bernal’s point, teaching religious beliefs as if they were science is more than pedagogically irresponsible, it’s academic fraud.

  23. Ben Says:

    This is a quote from Larry’s own blog, in his own words, about his reputation on the Internet:

    “Fatheaded Ed Brayton kicked me off his blog permanently because he disagreed with my literal interpretation of a federal court rule. I was kicked off the Florida Citizens for Science blog because of my comments about co-evolution (I discuss co-evolution on this blog in the post-label group “Non-ID criticisms of evolution”). I was kicked off of Uncommon Descent because I complained that the posts had too much campaigning for Barack Obama (lead UD blogger William Dembski later agreed). There are other examples.”

  24. Larry Fafarman Says:

    James F said,
    –And to add to Dr. Bernal’s point, teaching religious beliefs as if they were science is more than pedagogically irresponsible, it’s academic fraud.–

    If a scientific or pseudoscientific idea has religious implications, that is no reason to not teach that idea in public schools. Evolution theory has religious implications — that is why there are “theistic evolutionists.” There is no constitutional principle of separation of bad science and state.

  25. James F Says:

    Larry,

    This is a specific issue: the aim of certain members of the SBOE is not to discuss religious or philosophical implications of a given idea, it is to teach a set of non-scientific, religiously-motivated ideas as if they were science.

  26. jdg Says:

    Larry F says
    “Why didn’t you have the courtesy to repeat my arguments so readers would not have to hunt for them and flip back and forth to read them.”

    — Because they are “straw man” arguements, just like all the other stuff you don’t understand.

  27. Rocket Mike Says:

    All,
    The courts have repeatedly ruled that all forms of Creationism and ID are religion and are thus prohibited from the public classroom because it violates the U. S. Constitution. The biblical literalist zealots (BLZ’s) continue their un-Constitutional crusade to try to force the same or similar phony arguements into high school classrooms. Their purpose is not only to undermine evolution with their religious aims, but to subvert all methodological naturalism in science (look up Dr. McLeroy’s comments to his congregation in July 2005 and/or the DI Wedge Document).

    America’s leadership in the world, economically and militarily, depends on our scientific technology and those who would undermine our science capabilities give aid and comfort to our current enemies and especially those in the future (the US lags several countries in science and engineering graduates).

    These BLZ’s (I differentiate because real Christians that consider themselves conservative are loyal Americans that support modern science) are anti-American subversives, and must be prevented from destroying the public education system.

  28. Larry Fafarman Says:

    James F said —
    — Larry,
    This is a specific issue: the aim of certain members of the SBOE is not to discuss religious or philosophical implications of a given idea, it is to teach a set of non-scientific, religiously-motivated ideas as if they were science. —

    Who decides what is “religiously motivated”? Many evolutionists are motivated by atheism, and the courts have ruled that atheism is a religion for the purposes of the First Amendment. Also, theistic evolutionists are motivated by religion.

    jdg said,
    Larry F says
    “Why didn’t you have the courtesy to repeat my arguments so readers would not have to hunt for them and flip back and forth to read them.”

    — Because they are “straw man” arguements, just like all the other stuff you don’t understand. —

    “Straw man” or not, without my arguments the readers here have no idea what you are talking about.

    Rocket Mike said,
    — The courts have repeatedly ruled that all forms of Creationism and ID are religion and are thus prohibited from the public classroom because it violates the U. S. Constitution. —

    “Repeatedly”? Only one judge has ruled against ID, and that was a biased activist judge who showed extreme prejudice against ID — regardless of whether or not ID is a religious concept — by saying in a Dickinson College commencement speech that his Kitzmiller v. Dover decision was based on his cockamamie notion that the Founders based the establishment clause upon a belief that organized religions are not “true” religions. He said,

    “. . . . this much is very clear. The Founders believed that true religion was not something handed down by a church or contained in a Bible, but was to be found through free, rational inquiry. At bottom then, this core set of beliefs led the Founders, who constantly engaged and questioned things, to secure their idea of religious freedom by barring any alliance between church and state.”
    — from
    http://www.dickinson.edu/commencement/2006/address.html

    Ben said,

    — This is a quote from Larry’s own blog, in his own words, about his reputation on the Internet: —

    What are you trying to prove with your ad hominem attacks on me?

    For starters, banning commenters is always arbitrary censorship — comments should always be considered on a case-by-case basis.

    Also, let’s look at Ed Brayton:

    I claimed that when a plaintiff in a civil case rejects an out-of-court settlement offer that equals or exceeds the maximum relief that could possibly be granted by the court, the judge may then dismiss the case on the grounds of the plaintiffs’ “failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted,” Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (FRCP). That is self-evident — when a plaintiff rejects such an offer, then the plaintiff is requesting the court to grant relief that exceeds the maximum relief that the court could possibly grant, and that is a “failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.” Duh. Furthermore, FRCP Rule 12(h)(2) says, “Failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted . . . .may be raised: . .(C) at trial.” So such an out-of-court settlement offer can be made at any time during the trial (the FRCP rules do not define “trial,” so presumably the trial period covers the time up until the verdict or decision) and Rule 12(b)(6) can then be applied if the plaintiff rejects the offer. My interpretations of FRCP Rules 12(b)(6) and 12 h(2) do not stretch the clear meaning or apparent purposes of these rules in any way. Ed Brayton kicked me off his blog permanently because he disagreed with my interpretations of these rules. And here was a torrent of abuse that I got from a commenter:

    Larry, I’m the friend who teaches constitutional law. I’ve stayed out of this until now, because all I can really add is “Larry, you’re a fucking idiot.” I’m not going to engage in a protracted discussion with you, Larry, because you are so plainly impervious to the truth that it is pointless. You know nothing about constitutional law. You know nothing about the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. You know nothing about Rule 12(b)(6). You know nothing about summary judgment. You know nothing about mootness. You know nothing about voluntary cessation. You are, in short, a know nothing with a computer and Internet access. If a law student made the argument you made above regarding a consent decree and summary judgment on a final exam, the student would fail the exam. And no, Larry, we’re not even talking “well, there are arguments on both sides” wrong. Or “there is a good faith argument to be made” wrong. We’re talking mind-numbing, babbling idiot, mouth-breathing, you-couldn’t find-your-ass-with-two-hands-and-a-map WRONG. So wrong, it’s painful to read. So wrong, I feel like I need to scrub my brain after reading one of your incoherent ramblings.

    Of course, I’ve not even mentioned that all of your stupidity is in support of an argument that the rest of us all learned was wrong when we were five-year-olds: to wit, the five-year-old who, after being told not to touch something, touches and breaks it, then in defense claims “You didn’t stop me from doing it!” You do realize that this is the argument you’re making, right, Larry? You don’t belong here, Larry, trying to talk to the adults. You belong on the living room floor, in front of the TV, with Sesame Street on, playing the “Which One is Different” game. Give it a go, Larry. I used to play it along with my four-year-old several years back. You’ll get the hang of it, eventually.

    Ed, please, for the sake of all that is good and decent, make this idiot go away. Think of your fellow man.
    — from
    http://scienceblogs.com/dispatches/2006/04/answering_fafarman_on_the_dove.php#comment-68126

    Note that he did not address my arguments at all — all he did was scoff. The public is increasingly getting fed up with so-called “experts.”

  29. Ben Says:

    Larry, if you think I’m wading through that last post, you’re kidding yourself.

    You get banned from blogs because you don’t seem to understand the difference between fact and opinion, and you can’t distinguish between logic and faith. Then you repeat yourself over and over. It becomes annoying to the owner of the blog, and they ban you. I know that’s what I’d do.

    Conversely, I see plenty of people who hold the same opinions as you do—and they don’t get banned from blogs. It’s all in the way they conduct themselves. You should try to learn from that.

  30. Larry Fafarman Says:

    Ben said,
    –Larry, if you think I’m wading through that last post, you’re kidding yourself. —

    Ben, if you think that I posted that comment just for your benefit, you’re kidding yourself.

    I hope that some other readers will read the comment — it makes you, Ed Brayton, and his pal “Dan” look very foolish.

  31. Ben Says:

    Larry, I have no problem appearing foolish in your eyes. Considering your views, if you thought I was smart, then I’d start to worry about myself.

  32. tracieh Says:

    I have a domestic tabby. If evolution didn’t happen, it couldn’t exist. Speciation has been observed as a result of natural processes, never as a result of supernatural ones. How do churches convince people to disregard what they can see before their very eyes, and then manage to get them to believe claims that can’t be demonstrated? Ignore what I can see–believe what I can’t. That makes no sense.

  33. PHarvey Says:

    And things were so calm, peaceful and enjoyable while Larry was banned from posting his utter nonsense.

    Now he’s back. Why did TFN have to let this troublemaker back in?

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