Live Blogging the Final Science Vote in Texas

by

A link to the audio of today’s State Board of Education meeting is here.

9:00 – Today the Texas State Board of Education finally decides what the next generation of Texas students will learn about evolution in their public school science classrooms. The morning preliminaries are ceremonial, but we expect debate on the science curriculum standards to begin within the hour. Stay tuned.

9:48 – The science debate is beginning.

9:50 – Cynthia Dunbar moves to amend the standards to ask students to study evidence “supportive and nonsupportive” of scientific theories. This is just another way of saying “strengths and weaknesses.”

10:05 – The board is on break as members discuss the amendment with each other.

10:08 – They’re back. Dunbar brings up the old nonsense that she’s protecting “academic freedom” and the state from being sued. She argues that if folks think “strengths and weaknesses” is “tainted,” then “supportive and nonsupportive evidence” should be fine. She misses the point. There is NO scientific evidence nonsupportive of evolution. Evolution is settled science for all but ideologues who oppose it for religious reasons.

10:14 – Bob Craig offers an amendment to the amendment, striking “supportive and nonsupportive” and replacing it with scientific evidence “on all sides” of the issue.

10:22 – One wonders if this board would also agree that students should learn “supportive and nonsupportive” evidence that Earth revolves around the sun. Or maybe we can have teachers present all sides to that debate. http://www.fixedearth.com can provide the side that says it doesn’t.

10:25 – Craig’s amendment: “analyze, evaluate and critique scientific explanations in all fields of science by using empirical evidence, logical reasoning, and experimental and observational testing, by examining both scientific  evidence that is supportive and not supportive of those explanations, so as to encourage critical thinking by the student.”

10:34 – Strike that. The above was Dunbar’s original amendment. This is Craig’s substitute: “analyze, evaluate and critique scientific explanations in all fields of science by using empirical evidence, logical reasoning, and experimental and observational testing, including examining all sides of scientific evidence of those scientific explanations so as to encourage critical thinking by the student.”

10:37 – Craig’s amendment will pass, it appears.

10:44 – Mary Helen Berlanga says she will oppose both Craig’s and Dunbar’s amendment because she wants to stick with the draft from the teacher and expert writing teams.

10:55 – Another extended break is ending.

11:00 – The amendment is changed to move “in all fields of science” to the beginning of the standard.

11:07 – This is the amendment: “In all fields of science, analyze, evaluate and critique scientific explanations by using empirical evidence, logical reasoning, and experimental and observational testing, including examining all sides of scientific evidence of those scientific explanations so as to encourage critical thinking by the student.” The amendment passes 13-2, with Berlanga and Rene Nunez voting no.

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92 Responses to “Live Blogging the Final Science Vote in Texas”

  1. ScienceMinded Says:

    Support teaching both the recognized strengths and weaknesses of ALL theories that are taught in public classrooms!!! Support open questioning by students of all theories and all evidence presented in the classroom. Support fostering of creative, innovative, scientific thought processes that will keep us on the leading edge of science and engineering. It’s right for our kids, it’s right for Texas, it’s right for our Nation!!!

  2. ckelly Says:

    TFN, do you understand the procedure here? I am puzzled as to why there are so many stages of debate and voting, each one seemingly able to reverse, undo, or supersede the previous vote. What is the purpose of all this voting in January, yesterday, and today? Why not just vote one time to establish the science standards? Thanks for any info.

  3. Joe Lapp Says:

    Now I’m thinking that our best hope is for the standards to be as creationist as possible, to maximize our odds in court. If we can’t avoid riddling the standards with subtle creationist suggestions, we should let them do something atrocious.

  4. Who Cares Anymore? Says:

    At this point, I am just sick and tired of the idiots in our country. Between Kansas, Delaware, my own state of Pennsylvania, and now Texas, I am finished caring. Let them teach creationism and relegate science to the taboo. At least it will reduce their economy and send my jobs and companies further north. Between science and Jesus, which contributes more to GDP? Besides, I think Texans just don’t give a crap. As long as they have their Texas toast, everything’s right as rain. What’s really sad is the design of the entire educational system which allows people with no educational experience whatsoever, much less experience in the subject they want to legislate. Education boards should be made up of teachers/former teachers or they should allow all curriculum decisions to be made by the current faculty teaching said subject. There is no reason why some bored housewife should be making decisions which affect the youth of the country so deeply. Wow…I still cannot abstain from caring about this because it just burns me to know that people want to pervert education with irrational thought. We are exposed to irrational thought all the time (TV, church, certain books, conversations with illogical people, etc.) that the one remaining safe haven for rational, logical thought was school.

  5. squall25 Says:

    ScienceMinded:

    Please describe the weaknesses you mention because what is given to students are theories supported by the facts. The experiments are described and can be repeatable and observable. Students are able to question whatever they want by simply raising their hands. If teachers say they don’t have the time to discuss something with students, that is bad teaching not science’s fault. If you have an issue with the theory of evolution, you also have a problem with gravity, the germ theory of disease and a lot of medical advances.

  6. Charles Says:

    TFN. I have lost the streaming sound feed. Has the SBOE turned off the audio so no one can hear their debate? I would ask that question rather than just assume a server overload.

  7. C. Beth Says:

    Who Cares Anymore?–I understand your frustration–I understand it because I am a Texan who DOES care! And I know I’m joined by many others. Please don’t generalize and say that “Texans just don’t give a crap.” Many of us do, and we are very concerned.

    Although of course if we can keep our Texas toast ALONG WITH having good science taught in the classrooms, that would be optimal. :)

  8. C. Beth Says:

    WOW–so Mrs. Dunbar (who is my representative–ugh) is arguing that this language will DECREASE the likelihood of a lawsuit?!

    Honestly, there’s probably going to be a lawsuit no matter what. With funding from Discovery Institute, pro-evolution standards will probably end up in a lawsuit. And anti-science standards will, hopefully, result in the same.

  9. Charles Says:

    Dunbar is saying that she now NEEDS the provocative language that would ensure a later court challenge to test the academic freedom issue.

  10. Rachel Says:

    TFN’s Stand Up for Science matching gift challenge ends today! Please donate and and support TFN’s important efforts: http://www.tfn.org/challengegift.

  11. Tiffany Says:

    Who Cares- not only is it sad that most of the members of the Texas State Board have no education experience what so ever, most of them home school or privately school their children. Isn’t it nice of them to protect their own children from the evils of the curriculum they are enforcing?

    (My own representative, Pat Hardy, is pro-science. I spoke with her at the beginning of March about all of this, and there are a number of shady things happening on the TSBoE, not just this hoopla over the science curriculum).

  12. Joe Lapp Says:

    Mr. Craig is not helping. He doesn’t know what he is doing.

    This board trusts itself too much over expert opinion.

    There’s no hope. Texas, please dissolve this self-absorbed body.

  13. Cheryl Shepherd-Adams Says:

    WhoCares – it is frustrating, isn’t it? Take a break and a deep breath and recognize that the anti-science activists will still be there – albeit with evolved strategies – when you come back. But don’t stay away too long! Doing nothing while those who cared got organized and busy is how we got here in the first place.

    Tiffany, do you have any more information about shenanigans at the TSBE or the state department of education? Without betraying confidence, of course; maybe some media links?

  14. Charles Says:

    “All sides.” That’s the problem in a nutshell. This is even more dangerous than “weaknesses” in scientific theories. Anyone or any interest group can constitute a “side.” The Christian fundamentalist “side” of this scientific issue.

  15. Eric Says:

    How about the novel idea that we only teach science in science classes?

  16. Joe Lapp Says:

    Is Ms. Berlanga on the line today?

  17. Ben Says:

    More Lying For Jesus™ from ScienceBlinded.

  18. ckelly Says:

    This state board is an absolute mess.

  19. squall25 Says:

    How would the religious groups enjoy me coming to their churches and introducing my strengths and weaknesses into their dogma? If you don’t like science in PUBLIC education, home school yourself and your kids. Has anyone heard of the establishment clause of the first amendment?

  20. Nancy Says:

    Eric,

    That’s just crazy talk.

  21. TFN Says:

    Ms. Berlanga is video-conferenced into the hearing, along with. Ms. Knight.

  22. Tiffany Says:

    Cheryl,

    I don’t have any media links, but I can look. It’s just a little suspicious that a pro-science member of the board didn’t show up yesterday, and other members have issued amendments supporting their own interests (specifically dealing with textbook producers). Funny things start to happen when “swing votes” on controversial issues miss SBoE meetings. I think this body is a little corrupt (not all of it) and there is a lot of money (the state’s textbook fund) that needs to be looked out for. If you speak with certain board members, though (Pat being one of them) they will speak candidly about the goings-on in the board meetings.

  23. Tiffany Says:

    Oh, one more thing. Some members have proposed video taping board meetings so that shady dealings are less likely to happen- the chair didn’t want it!

  24. Joe Lapp Says:

    “Teach all sides” means “teach whatever you want, science, pseuedoscience, religion, who cares.”

  25. Tiffany Says:

    Woo! Berlanga!

  26. m arie Says:

    Question Why isnt MS. Berlanga there?

  27. MenckenJr Says:

    squall25, ScienceMinded isn’t really concerned with ‘strengths and weaknesses’ as we understand the terms. His/her definitions are pretty much:

    ‘strength = agrees with or supports Christian belief’
    ‘weakness = contradicts or doesn’t agree with Christian belief’

    which, if you get that part, helps explain this whole creationist mishmash – especially their shallow understanding of evolution and the persistence they show in wielding it. There is a certain subset of Christian evangelicals (it includes the fundamentalists and pentecostals) that can’t theologically handle an undefined largely abstract God. They insist on a personal God and Jesus; in fact, they build their lives around it and can’t imagine functioning without it. It never occurs to them to think “you know, it’s one thing to have faith in God. It’s something very different to have faith in what somebody else *says* about God.”

    That insight is beyond lots of people. Even the ones that catch a glimmer of it get uncomfortable really quickly because it threatens their emotional foundation (and their salvation and hopes for life beyond this life). And since their salvation and ability to believe in it is paramount and much more important to them than scientific factuality it’s no skin off their nose to deliberately misunderstand and misrepresent evolution and its supporting evidence.

  28. Nancy Says:

    Dang I missed the very last f what Berlanga said that tick McLeroy off. What happend??

  29. C. Beth Says:

    What exactly did Mrs. Knight say that led Mr. McElroy to call her out on her lack of decorum? I heard parts of it but didn’t catch all of it–something about Mrs. Dunbar…?

  30. Nancy Says:

    Was that Berlanga or Knight?

  31. Charles Says:

    Mrs. Berlanger sure stuck the corn cob in the hole didn’t she. Mrs. Knight nearly made McLeroy come unglued. This is gonna get good. I feel it in my bones.

  32. Bob Says:

    C. Beth,

    I am embarrassed to say that Cynthia Dunbar claims to be representing my views too.

    Have you contacted her? I have. I’ve explained that I am in her district, have a child in the school system, pay substantial amounts of property taxes (which funds the school systems here), (I’m embarrassed by the next one) without much research voted for her in the last election. I explained my views, which basically line up with those of most people on TFN-except for the crazies like Larry and ScienceMinded. I’ve told her that I if she votes creationist in the current meetings, I will be voting against her in the Republican primary. If she still wins, I will be voting in the best interest of my child in the general election, voting Democrat and donating to the campaigns of her opponents.

    It has been like dealing with a brick wall. I’ve been blown off like I’m the extremist. I’ve contacted other board members. I’ve contacted state legislators, encouraging them to make sure that the sunset provisions apply to the SBOE. The craziness shouldn’t be allowed to go on unchecked.

    It’s almost like the SBOE elections need to be nonpartisan for us to get the best for our kids.

    We only have ourselves to blame, because these people have worked the political process better than us. It’s too bad the stakes are so high and can’t be changed for 10 years. It’s our kid’s future we are dealing with.

  33. Doc Bill Says:

    Good for Mary Helen!

    “All sides?” What does that mean?

  34. Tye Arnett Says:

    TFN, do you have a transcript of yesterday’s proceedings. I have spoken to Dr. Alberts about his work being used by the creationists and he would like a copy so he can read through it and respond. Thank you for any help!
    Tye Arnet

  35. Tiffany Says:

    All members are present today, but in the past, certain ‘swing’ members haven’t been present at important votes, and there was talk of manipulation. This is all gossip- but I do think these meetings should be videotaped.

  36. TFN Says:

    No transcipt. But the audio feed will be archived on the SBOE website at some point soon.

  37. C. Beth Says:

    Bob–I am also humiliated to admit I’m pretty sure I voted with her. I don’t really care for the Republican or Democratic parties these days but I do identify more often with Republicans, and I absolutely hate that I voted without doing research. I learned my lesson.

    And hopefully I’ve somewhat made up for that by, yes, contacting her. I e-mailed her a couple of weeks ago to let her know I’m an evangelical Christian who believes in evolution, and explaining my problem with the “strengths and weaknesses” language. I did not receive any communication in reply, unless it was captured by my spam filter.

    My vote will be different next time. And I hope this will forever change how I do my research prior to elections.

  38. TFN Says:

    Re: Webcasting SBOE Hearings

    Rep. Donna Howard filed a bill this session to require video-casting of all SBOE meetings. It was the first bill passed out of the House Public Education committee a couple of weeks back. It is scheduled to be heard on the House floor next Monday. We expect it will pass.

  39. Charles Says:

    McLeroy is acting like a nervous chihuahua on a gallon of syrupy expresso.

  40. Joe Lapp Says:

    McLeroy knows the creationists won. He’s so excited, he just can’t hide it.

  41. Michael Russell Says:

    It passed. :(

  42. squall25 Says:

    So when do we file the lawsuit?

  43. Tiffany Says:

    …”and now based on public comments we’re changing all the things we worked on yesterday”…

    Um, it’s our lives you’re influencing. This is a democracy, right?

  44. ckelly Says:

    Pretty damn brazen of the SBOE to add worthless amendments to standards drafted by real teachers and science experts. I don’t think the creationists won, this amendment is simply tortured language that doesn’t amount to much.

  45. Tiffany Says:

    Preach it, Pat!

  46. C. Beth Says:

    Hmm, lots of complaints about 11th hour amendments. Where were those complaints an hour ago?!?!

  47. Iason Ouabache Says:

    Obviously 10th hour amendments are perfectly fine.

  48. squall25 Says:

    Late amendments and sneak attacks are fine when done by the anti-evolution crowd in order to get changes through the back door. /sarcasm

  49. Scoot Says:

    This is the 1st public meeting I’ve witnessed (at least heard). Are they all such a charlie foxtrot? The proceedings are absolutely maddening.

  50. scienceteacherinexile Says:

    I’ve got to say, I have facilitated many JAD sessions to gather requirements for software development. I always thought that those tended to become disjointed and get off track. Looking back, they were practically scripted compared to this mess. I mean, this is a train-smash.

  51. Dean Loomis Says:

    I think the amendment is just fine. The evidence for evolution is overwhelming and the theory is logically rock-solid. The evidence for alternatives is nonexistent or fraudulent, and their logic is massively fallacious. If classes teach how to distinguish science from pseudo-science, there’s no problem. Next battlefront: seeing that the lesson plans actually make the distinction between reality-based validation of predictions against observations of the natural world and goal-based interpretation, AKA just-so stories and wishful thinking.

  52. Charles Says:

    Well, we did succeed in getting the “weaknesses” language removed, which was our primary concern. We won in that regard, which was our primary voiced concern. The first time a fundie school teacher introduces phoney creation science principles into a classroom debate, the federal court games will begin. I do not think it will be hard to tie those principles to creation science—especially with McLeroy and Leo. In fact, fat and gloating with their sense of victory, McLeroy will probably start a Sunday school lesson that the courst will enjoy reading about later. The game will then be up, and we can then press on to the next weird Christian fundamentalist lie…ugh… strategy.

    However, living outside of Texas (and not really trying to be too mean about it), you guys out there really need to go to your state representatives and change the way this Texas SBOE works—or just plain destroy it like other states have done so this cannot happen. I would recomend revamping it by law in such a way that it can never be run by idiots and that a farce like this can never happen again. Frankly, I am ashamed of Texas as a state and even more ashamed to have it as part of my country when this kind of crap can go on there.

    My key memory of these meetings is an off-hand comment made on microphone by one of the Texas SBOE members yesterday during the audio stream. It was made after TFN coverage of the debate was finished—after most people here had left—when the discussion moved on to vocational education. I sat through the entire audio stream to the end of the meeting, which was about 7:00 p.m. EDT. Here is my best paraphrasal of the short comment made by the Texas SBOE member:

    “I don’t think we need any more expert testimony. We have had a lot of it lately and have learned that it really doesn’t mean very much.”

    I could not tell which board member said it. However, it is devastating to see a state school board that does not value the input of technical experts in the fields that relate to curriculum—and it is even worse that they are in a setting where they feel like they can safely say something like that to the public.

    Check your sound records TFN.

  53. GMc Says:

    I am not from Texas (or US for that matter – should tell you that the world is watching this fiasco) but will this actually end? Apparently state legislators want to get involved: http://tinyurl.com/cj5xph . Will such a bill have any chance of passing?

  54. Reginal Says:

    The problem with this amendment is that they’re asking students to evaluate all sides of scientific evidence. There are no ‘sides’ in the world of evidence. There are only facts. Introducing all ”sides” is the introduction of weasel language.

  55. Larry Fafarman Says:

    TFN said,
    –10:44 – Mary Helen Berlanga says she will oppose both Craig’s and Dunbar’s amendment because she wants to stick with the draft from the teacher and expert writing teams. –

    That’s just a cop-out.

    Charles Says (March 27, 2009 at 10:13 am) —
    –Dunbar is saying that she now NEEDS the provocative language that would ensure a later court challenge to test the academic freedom issue.–

    That’s good — you Darwinists have been beating us over the head with that stupid, worthless Kitzmiller v. Dover decision for over three years now. The courts should declare scientific questions in the evolution controversy to be non-justiciable. It’s like debating about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin. Questions are non-justiciable when there is “a lack of judicially discoverable and manageable standards.” Vieth v. Jubelirer, 541 U.S. 267, 277-78 (2004). Even if a fair decision could be reached on the evolution controversy, appellate courts would not want to just rubber-stamp district court rulings on the controversy, nor would appellate courts want to hear or review weeks of scientific testimony.

    Who Cares Anymore? Says (March 27, 2009 at 10:02 am) —
    –What’s really sad is the design of the entire educational system which allows people with no educational experience whatsoever, much less experience in the subject they want to legislate. Education boards should be made up of teachers/former teachers or they should allow all curriculum decisions to be made by the current faculty teaching said subject.–

    You should look before you leap. Here are backgrounds of four of the board’s seven supporters of the “strengths and weaknesses” language:

    Ken Mercer — He earned a bachelor’s in biology from The University of Texas at Austin and a Bachelor of Business Administration from UT-San Antonio.

    Barbara Cargill — . .. . she taught biology in the Garland and Hurst-Euless-Bedford school districts between 1982 and 1991.

    Cynthia Dunbar — Cynthia Noland Dunbar currently teaches anatomy & physiology to high school juniors and seniors. Dunbar obtained her undergraduate degree in biology and psychology from the University of Missouri, Kansas City.

    Gail Lowe — Lowe attended the University of Alabama. She received a Bachelor of Science degree from Louisiana State University in 1978. (the field of science is not specified)
    – from http://ritter.tea.state.tx.us/sboe/members.html

    Also, board chairman Don McLeroy, who is also a member of the seven, has a degree in electrical engineering. Engineering students generally take little or no college biology but they do take a lot of the physical sciences and mathematics. A lot of engineering itself consists of the physical sciences.

    Now the Darwinist demagogues are going to start saying, “See how stupid Texans are? High-tech businesses, don’t come here. Universities, don’t accept graduates of Texas public high schools.”

    TFN Says (March 27, 2009 at 11:04 am ) –

    –Rep. Donna Howard filed a bill this session to require video-casting of all SBOE meetings.–

    IMO video-casting would not making any difference so far as exposing SBOE shenanigans is concerned.

    Bob Says (March 27, 2009 at 10:56 am ) –
    –It has been like dealing with a brick wall. –

    I get the same feeling when I try to deal with Darwinists.

    As I have said many times, IMO the term “strengths and weaknesses” should be replaced by “strengths and criticisms.”

    You Darwinists are obsessed with this religion thing. You can’t imagine that anyone could have a scientific reason for questioning evolution theory.

  56. ErikaF Says:

    Charles,
    Our senators Rodney Ellis and Patrick Rose have filed motions to dissolve the SBOE, but considering the pandering going on, that probably won’t happen. They have also filed motions to have the SBOE placed under the sunset review — aka, they have to justify the SBOE to the legislature. That would require much more oversight of the proceedings of the SBOE.

    I highly recommend every Texan to support Ellis and Rose in this endeavor, whether or not you are a Republican or a Democrat (both senators are Democrats). This type of blatant ignorance and bad religious control over something that affects the future of Texas (our children and our economic future) should be abolished.

  57. Igor Says:

    Larry:

    “The courts should declare scientific questions in the evolution controversy to be non-justiciable.” ”Questions are non-justiciable when there is ‘a lack of judicially discoverable and manageable standards.’ ”

    Looks like your understanding of constitutional review standards is on par with your understanding of scientific issues. First, the issue of separation of church and state, which was the central question in Kitzmiller, is certainly within the providence of the Federal Courts to hear provided other justiciability elements (with the exception of the one you mentioned) are met and will even be certified by SCOTUS as a constitutional issue. Second, the particular justiciability element you mentioned is only applicable in cases involving political questions (in case you cited – gerrymandering) and does not apply in th case herein. Either you are lazy and did not read the entire decision, or purposefully dishonest by quote-mining out of context.

  58. Igor Says:

    “You should look before you leap.”

    It would be wise for you to follow your own advice.

  59. Charles Says:

    Thanks Igor. Larry is an engineer who “thinks” he is a lawyer. Would you like to take on the role of the Anti-Larry? We could sure use it—not because he is good—but because the rest of us are too disgusted to bother.

  60. Tiffany Says:

    why has the blogging stopped?

  61. Charles Says:

    lunch

  62. squall25 Says:

    I think we need a Moe to squirt some seltzer in Larry’s face and clear his mind.

  63. squall25 Says:

    Tiffany:

    Steve Schafersman’s chron blog has updated. Looks like McLeroy doesn’t comprehend anything he reads. When is someone going to take him to task for misrepresenting scientists like Steven Jay Gould? This should not be allowed.

    http://www.chron.com/commons/readerblogs/evosphere.html?plckController=Blog&plckScript=blogScript&plckElementId=blogDest&plckBlogPage=BlogViewPost&plckPostId=Blog%3af12fd84e-253f-46cf-9408-ee579f9a3a0bPost%3a31f6c3f6-9102-41de-835c-694f920c51db

  64. Charles Says:

    Hey Larry. This fish looks like Moe!!!!

  65. Tiffany Says:

    People eat? Really?

  66. Igor Says:

    Well I am not an engineer, but I am a lawyer and ID crowd’s outright idiotic complaints on Kitzmiller drive me nuts. I already had to deal with complaints on admissibility of scientific evidence. My passion for law allows me to recognize flawed decisions even if they support my personal ideology and accept the correctness of a legal opinion even if it goes against what I believe in. It seems the ID/creation crowd is incapable of objectivity.

  67. Tiffany Says:

    Thanks, squall.

  68. Tiffany Says:

    Oh geez, McElroy. Stop talking! You’re embarrassing yourself!

  69. Ben Says:

    Here’s Moe Fafarman:

    http://www.blogger.com/profile/00898389442936130378

    And here’s Moe’s favorite blog about Larry:

    http://larryfafarman.blogspot.com/

  70. Mike V Says:

    “In all fields of science, analyze, evaluate and critique scientific explanations by using empirical evidence, logical reasoning, and experimental and observational testing, including examining all sides of scientific evidence of those scientific explanations so as to encourage critical thinking by the student.”

    If this is the amendment, it seems pretty benign — in fact, a strict adherence to these procedures would render Intelligent Design and other pseudoscience impotent. This is an amendment that, without context, sounds like it’s on the side of science.

  71. Tiffany Says:

    correction: McLeroy*

    just on the spelling. He’s still an embarrassment.

  72. squall25 Says:

    Mike V:

    It’s the phrase “all sides of scientific evidence” that is the possible loophole for idiocy. It is better than the alternatives, but it still wasn’t the wording the science teachers originally written.

  73. Mike V Says:

    squall25:

    Yeah, that’s the part that gives me pause, but the word “scientific” gives me comfort. If someone ever pulls the irreducible complexity argument or something of the sort, we can always respond by demonstrating that it’s objectively “not scientific”.

  74. Jbovermann Says:

    What’s worse… a judgmental, frothing at the mouth so called “scientfic” athiestic, darwinist or a judgmental, frothing at the mouth so called “backwards” conservative christian!!! I don’t care what anyone’s opinion is of the scientific data on creation. As a parent, what I do care about is that no particular side of this argument is presented as fact and my children learn to think rather than parrot someone else’s view. Sadly, this is not about darwinists or creationists but about whether or not our children will be given the opportunity to think for themselves. The majority of the scientific community is in favor of the Darwinist position. But let’s not forget that there are nonchristian and even agnositc scientists who do not subscribe to this view point. And many of them have been fired from thier university positions because they hold an opposing view. This is an agenda that is being pushed on our children and our society and I deeply resent it. What in the world is so wrong with presenting different views? What in the world is wrong with having a critical mind that comes out on a different side of an argument than you do? There is nothing wrong with it in a democracy. But are we a democracywhen we engage in this intolerance and push our way of thinking on the mind of a child?

  75. squall25 Says:

    “I don’t care what anyone’s opinion is of the scientific data on creation.”

    Glad to see you don’t care about someone’s “opinion” on the data. All you seem to care is that you indoctrinate your children the way you want regardless of the facts about the way the world works. Basically, you are trying to say if someone disagrees that 2+2 = 4, you should have the right to teach them the answer is 3.

    The old Democracy canard.

  76. Science ambiguously prevails in Texas education « BaptistPlanet Says:

    [...] ambiguously prevails in Texas education Creationism failed and a compromise which may prove to be lawsuit-bait prevailed. The adopted compromise [...]

  77. squall25 Says:

    For the slow people like me, the debate continued on another page.

    http://tfnblog.wordpress.com/2009/03/27/live-blogging-the-final-science-vote-in-texas/#comment-2341

  78. squall25 Says:

    OOPS.

    http://tfnblog.wordpress.com/2009/03/27/live-blogging-the-final-science-vote-in-texas-ii/

  79. Larry Fafarman Says:

    TFN, your comments policy says, “Please be respectful of other users and refrain from personal attacks.” When other commenters attack me personally, please either censor their comments or allow me to respond in kind.

    Igor the Ignoramus said (March 27, 2009 at 12:32 pm) —
    –Looks like your understanding of constitutional review standards is on par with your understanding of scientific issues. First, the issue of separation of church and state, which was the central question in Kitzmiller, is certainly within the providence of the Federal Courts to hear provided other justiciability elements (with the exception of the one you mentioned) are met –

    “With the exception of the one you mentioned”? Only one exception is needed to make a question non-justiciable.

    The principle of non-justiciability can be applied to any question before a court, including a constitutional question. The question that the Supreme Court declared to be non-justiciable in Vieth v. Jubelirer was a constitutional question:

    After Pennsylvania’s General Assembly adopted a congressional redistricting plan, plaintiffs-appellants sued to enjoin the plan’s implementation, alleging, inter alia, that it constituted a political gerrymander in violation of Article I and the Fourteenth Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause . . . .

    Justice Scalia, joined by The Chief Justice, Justice O’Connor, and Justice Thomas, concluded that political gerrymandering claims are nonjusticiable because no judicially discernible and manageable standards for adjudicating such claims exist.
    – from

    http://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/02-1580.ZS.html

    –Second, the particular justiciability element you mentioned is only applicable in cases involving political questions (in case you cited – gerrymandering) and does not apply in th case herein.–

    Wrong — the principle of non-justiciability can be applied to questions other than political questions. In Massachusetts v. EPA, the Supreme Court essentially treated the global-warming question — which is a scientific question — as non-justiciable. See

    http://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/05-1120.ZO.html

    Igor said (March 27, 2009 at 12:34 pm) –
    “You should look before you leap.”
    It would be wise for you to follow your own advice.–

    You are the one who didn’t look before leaping — you disparaged my knowledge of the law because you falsely assumed that I could not rebut your arguments.

    Igor Says (March 27, 2009 at 12:50 pm) —
    –Well I am not an engineer, but I am a lawyer and ID crowd’s outright idiotic complaints on Kitzmiller drive me nuts.–

    You want to see some more complaints about Kitzmiller and Judge Jones? My blog has dozens of posts complaining about them — just go to my blog and click on the relevant post labels listed in the sidebar of the homepage –

    http://im-from-missouri.blogspot.com/

    Bashing Judge Jones is sort of a hobby of mine.

    Igor reminds me of the Igor in the lyrics of the hit song “The Monster Mash”: “Igor, you impetuous fool. . .”

    Charles Says:
    –Thanks Igor. Larry is an engineer who “thinks” he is a lawyer.–

    One does not need to be a lawyer to express an opinion about a legal question, doofus.

    And are you a lawyer? Then how are you qualified to judge the validity of my arguments?

  80. squall25 Says:

    “Bashing Judge Jones is sort of a hobby of mine.” – Oh Larry

    How the right wingers love to rip each other apart. Judge Jones is a conservative judge that was supported and appointed by Rick Santorum and George W. Bush. The second a conservative gives you an unmerciful opinion, the right wing labels the judge an activist judge and complains like little school girls.

  81. Igor Says:

    “TFN, your comments policy says, “Please be respectful of other users and refrain from personal attacks.” When other commenters attack me personally, please either censor their comments or allow me to respond in kind.”
    -”Igor the Ignoramus said…”
    -”Igor reminds me of the Igor in the lyrics of the hit song “The Monster Mash”: “Igor, you impetuous fool. . .”

    Larry: I don’t mind if you respond in kind, but I certainly did not resort to name calling. It does seem very childish. For future reference, Larry, I prefer to be compared to Igor from “Young Frankenstein.”

    “The principle of non-justiciability can be applied to any question before a court, including a constitutional question. The question that the Supreme Court declared to be non-justiciable in Vieth v. Jubelirer was a constitutional question”
    And even if your interpretation of Vieth is somehow correct there are still two major problems: 1) it’s a plurality opinion 2) Kitzmiller had plenty of judicially discoverable and manageable standards for resolving the question. It had to demonstrate that ID was religiously motivated and would violate the prohibition against governmental endorsement of religion. That was easily done without invoking validity of evolution.

    “And are you a lawyer? Then how are you qualified to judge the validity of my arguments?”

    He never said he was, but I am. You are plainly wrong.

  82. Ben Says:

    Jbovermann said, “What in the world is so wrong with presenting different views?”

    Come on, you know the answer to that. You’re trolling.

    Evolution has mountains of evidence to support it.

    Creationism has absolutely none. It’s not a theory, it’s a hypothesis, but you probably don’t understand the distinction.

  83. Charles Says:

    I stand on my statement Larry, as the Baptists say, “Until the world catches fire.” If a legal secretary were to be doing what you are doing with the law here on TFN (and in the way you are doing it) in her boss’s office, a disgruntled client would probably have grounds to haul her into court for practicing law without a license.

    However, that is not the real problem here Larry. The real problem is that you are an engineer, like so many other engineers I know, who thinks that being an engineer automatically subsumes under it the entire spectrum of human knowledge. Wrong!!!! Four years ago, I worked at one of the largest environmental sciences companies in the nation. One of my long-time friends, who was trained as an engineer, came up to my office one day feeling really bleak. We sat and talked for a while. He was upset because the managers of the company and the large environmental sciences staff refused to let the engineers get involved in the management and direction of major projects. Well, the truth of the matter is that the managers and science staff learned quickly about 30 years ago that letting the engineers manage their projects screwed things up, so they willfully QUARANTINED THEM so they could no longer hurt the company. In other words, they were allowed to do engineering under the watchful eye and control of people who had a much better and broader project perspective.

    I have worked in various aspects of my field for about 25 years. In that time, I have seen how patterns of engineering thought and perspective can AND DO totally screw up projects—two recent ones so badly that a corporate Vice-President had to intervene to fix the mess—which was so badly screwed that it was really no longer fixable.

    So please excuse all of us real scientists here who are unimpressed and who feel no inclination to genuflect or bow down when you enter the room. Capiche!!!????

  84. squall25 Says:

    Ben:

    “Creationism has absolutely none. It’s not a theory, it’s a hypothesis, but you probably don’t understand the distinction.”
    I wouldn’t even give them that. A hypothesis has to be testable and repeatable. They have nothing to stand on.

  85. Brian Rutledge Says:

    McLeroy has about as much scientific credulity as did Piltdown Man

  86. Larry Fafarman Says:

    Igor says (March 27, 2009 at 3:34 pm) –
    –Larry: I don’t mind if you respond in kind, but I certainly did not resort to name calling.–

    It doesn’t matter whether you used name calling or not — you said, “Looks like your understanding of constitutional review standards is on par with your understanding of scientific issues.” That snide remark was a personal attack that showed disrespect for my opinions and was therefore a violation of the TFN comment policy, which says, “Please be respectful of other users and refrain from personal attacks.”

    “The principle of non-justiciability can be applied to any question before a court, including a constitutional question. The question that the Supreme Court declared to be non-justiciable in Vieth v. Jubelirer was a constitutional question”
    And even if your interpretation of Vieth is somehow correct there are still two major problems: –

    There is no question that my statement, “The question that the Supreme Court declared to be non-justiciable in Vieth v. Jubelirer was a constitutional question,” is correct — the case syllabus says that the lawsuit was based on Art. I and the Fourteenth Amendment.

    –1) it’s a plurality opinion –

    Yes, I know that it is a plurality opinion — there are nine justices and it is the opinion of four justices. But plurality opinions or other minority opinions are often considered — sometimes improperly considered, IMO — to be the opinion of the court. In Regents of Univ. of Calif. v. Bakke, Justice Powell’s one-man opinion is often considered to be the opinion of the court. In Hein v. Freedom from Religion Foundation, a three-justice plurality opinion is generally considered to be the opinion of the court. In Vieth v. Jubelirer, a fifth justice, Justice Kennedy, said in a concurring opinion that he agreed with the plurality’s finding of non-justiciability in the case at hand, thus making a majority opinion for that finding — Justice Kennedy added,

    . . . the Court’s own responsibilities require that we refrain from intervention in this instance. The failings of the many proposed standards for measuring the burden a gerrymander imposes on representational rights make our intervention improper. If workable standards do emerge to measure these burdens, however, courts should be prepared to order relief. With these observations, I join the judgment of the plurality.

    http://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/02-1580.ZC.html

    Anyway, I have not read the three dissenting opinions in Vieth v. Jubelirer, but I doubt that any of them argue that the principle of nonjusticiability should never be applied to a constitutional question.

    –2) Kitzmiller had plenty of judicially discoverable and manageable standards for resolving the question. It had to demonstrate that ID was religiously motivated and would violate the prohibition against governmental endorsement of religion. –

    I was talking about the justiciability of the ID-as-science issue, not the justiciability of the ID-as-religion issue. Discussion of the ID-as-science issue covered about 6000 words of the Kitzmiller opinion.

    Charles Says (March 27, 2009 at 4:14 pm) –
    –The real problem is that you are an engineer, like so many other engineers I know, who thinks that being an engineer automatically subsumes under it the entire spectrum of human knowledge.–

    I never made any such claim.

    –I have seen how patterns of engineering thought and perspective can AND DO totally screw up projects –

    Your low opinion of engineers has absolutely no bearing on the validity of my arguments here.

  87. Charles Says:

    Wanna bet. How about it folks? I appeal to the court of public opinion.

  88. Ben Says:

    I second Charles’s finding.

    There you have it, Larry. Solid evidence.

  89. Curly Says:

    Larry:

    You are an obnoxious waste of brains. You state “Discussion of the ID-as-science issue covered about 6000 words of the Kitzmiller opinion.”

    Get your eyes out of the Kitzmiller decision for one second and pick up peer-reviewed science journals or Kenneth R. Miller’s book “Only a theory”. Intelligent design is pure garbage and has been repeatedly debunked. The trial itself had testimony from both sides. The “science” of Intelligent Design failed and the religious aspects of it did not survive a court challenge. Please take your religious lunacy and homeschool your offspring if you do not like science in public schools.

  90. Win some, lose some for science « Off the Kuff Says:

    [...] who wanted to know just what the heck they were doing up there. Friday’s installations are here and here, with a video preview of what it was all about here. Other liveblogs: Thoughts from Kansas [...]

  91. Larry Fafarman Says:

    Curly Says (March 27, 2009 at 9:51 pm) —
    –Larry:
    You are an obnoxious waste of brains . . . .

    Get your eyes out of the Kitzmiller decision for one second and pick up peer-reviewed science journals or Kenneth R. Miller’s book “Only a theory”. –

    Judges cannot decide questions by “bibliography bluffing,” i.e., just pointing a finger at a stack of learned treatises, bozo. That would be treating the stack of learned treatises as an “exhibit,” and Rule 803(18) of the Federal Rules of Evidence says that learned treatises may not be treated as an exhibit:

    (18) Learned treatises. To the extent called to the attention of an expert witness upon cross-examination or relied upon by the expert witness in direct examination, statements contained in published treatises, periodicals, or pamphlets on a subject of history, medicine, or other science or art, established as a reliable authority by the testimony or admission of the witness or by other expert testimony or by judicial notice. If admitted, the statements may be read into evidence but may not be received as exhibits.(emphasis added)

    http://www.law.cornell.edu/rules/fre/rules.htm#Rule803

    –The trial itself had testimony from both sides.–

    Hearing testimony from both sides cannot turn a non-justiciable question into a justiciable one.

    BTW, Curly, where are Moe and Larry?

  92. Curly Says:

    When you guys have issues with the facts, you say to ignore the expert testimony. You like to claim there is a conspiracy theory. If intelligent design wanted to present an alternate theory, they can do so through peer reviewed journals and creating experiments where the results are, wait for it, repeatable by other scientists. They instead use the uneducated media to disseminate obfuscation and propaganda.

    You never addressed whether you would read the book I recommended. Instead you keep harping on the trial decision. Science isn’t decided in a court room. It was a case to keep the creationist crazies out of PUBLIC SCHOOLS. They can indoctrinate their minions in their own house. Keep at it Larry. The whole world is going to pass you by. Frankly I don’t care about the trials. I care about the real world. The real world has constantly debunked “intelligent design” as bull$*%T.

    Science is not Democratically decided. Do you want to vote on whether or not to obey gravity, cause that is a theory as well. The danger with Intelligent Design is that it tells the person to invoke a supernatural being when they can’t explain something instead of the person saying “I may not know the answer right now, but I will keep studying and maybe the answer will be revealed in due time”. It stops critical thinking and invention right in its tracks.
    In case you don’t remember your first name, you are Larry and Moe is getting the seltzer water.

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