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This site is named for the famous statement of US Congressman Willard Duncan Vandiver from Missouri : "I`m from Missouri -- you'll have to show me." This site is dedicated to skepticism of official dogma in all subjects. Just-so stories are not accepted here. This is a site where controversial subjects such as evolution theory and the Holocaust may be freely debated.

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My biggest motivation for creating my own blogs was to avoid the arbitrary censorship practiced by other blogs and various other Internet forums. Censorship will be avoided in my blogs -- there will be no deletion of comments, no closing of comment threads, no holding up of comments for moderation, and no commenter registration hassles. Comments containing nothing but insults and/or ad hominem attacks are discouraged. My non-response to a particular comment should not be interpreted as agreement, approval, or inability to answer.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Nice slaps in the big fat faces of Prof. Paul Mirecki and Judge Jones

Kansas University Prof. Paul Mirecki thought he was being innovative in November 2005 when he proposed a new for-credit course titled "Special Topics in Religion: Intelligent Design, Creationism and other Religious Mythologies,” but about 100 colleges and universities in the USA and around the world are now teaching courses that include these subjects, and without the disparaging course title. Many of these colleges and universities are American public institutions. For comments about these courses, see this article on Uncommon Descent.

After exposure of his Internet post that said that the new course would be a "nice slap in the big fat face of the fundies" created a furor, Mirecki was forced to cancel the course and resign as chairman of the religious studies department. For related stories, see the Lawrence Journal-World's "Evolution in Kansas" series.

In Kitzmiller v. Dover, Judge Jones was able to stop the mention of ID in the Dover Area school district, but he has not been able to stop the teaching of ID in public colleges and universities.

Also, IMO, to counter the overemphasis on intelligent design, courses specifically including non-ID criticisms of evolution -- e.g., criticisms concerning co-evolution and the propagation of beneficial mutations in sexual reproduction -- should be offered.

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5 Comments:

Anonymous W. Kevin Vicklund said...

Hey, Larry, did you bother to look at the syllabi of most of these courses? It seems that most of them fall into the category of "nice slaps in the big fat face of the fundies". Just not phrased in as controversial a way.

And of course, Judge Jones has not even attempted to stop the inclusion of ID as a topic in public colleges and universities. In fact, he didn't even necessarily stop the mention of ID in the DASD, just in its science classes. So what did he have to say on the subject of whether and where ID should be discussed?

From page 137 of the Dover decision:

With that said, we do not question that many of the leading advocates of ID have bona fide and deeply held beliefs which drive their scholarly endeavors. Nor do we controvert that ID should continue to be studied, debated, and discussed. As stated, our conclusion today is that it is unconstitutional to teach ID as an
alternative to evolution in a public school science classroom.


Hmm... it looks like you're the one with the palmprint on the cheek, Larry. But here's a ray of hope: quite a number of these courses also talk about creationism in general, so it's possible that your out-dated creationist objections (that most creationists don't even bother to use anymore) might be included.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006 11:14:00 AM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

Kevin Vicklund said,

>>>>> Hey, Larry, did you bother to look at the syllabi of most of these courses? It seems that most of them fall into the category of "nice slaps in the big fat face of the fundies". Just not phrased in as controversial a way. <<<<<<

Could you please cite some that fall into that category? I checked a few of the syllabi and couldn't find any that fall into that category.

>>>>> And of course, Judge Jones has not even attempted to stop the inclusion of ID as a topic in public colleges and universities. <<<<<<

I know that, of course. I didn't say that he "attempted" to do it -- I only said that he has not been able to do it. You ought to allow me a little poetic license. But I think this raises the following question: Why should public colleges and universities be treated differently from public K-12 schools -- or vice-versa -- in regard to the question of whether it is constitutional to discuss ID in class?

>>>>>>> In fact, he didn't even necessarily stop the mention of ID in the DASD, just in its science classes:

. . . . As stated, our conclusion today is that it is unconstitutional to teach ID as an alternative to evolution in a public school science classroom. <<<<<<

And then Darwinists are going to quote-mine the following statements in the Dover opinion:

. . . . . we will enter an order permanently enjoining Defendants from maintaining the ID Policy in any school within the Dover Area School District, from requiring teachers to denigrate or disparage the scientific theory of evolution, and from requiring teachers to refer to a religious, alternative theory known as ID.

No direct mention of science classrooms there.

NOW, THEREFORE, IT IS ORDERED THAT:
1. . . . . .
2. Pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 65, Defendants are permanently enjoined from maintaining the ID Policy in any school within the Dover Area School District
3. . . . . . . .


No direct mention of science classrooms there, either.

Anyway, do you really believe that Darwinists would not complain if the Dover school board -- or any school board -- introduced the Dover ID statement into non-science classes?

>>>>>> But here's a ray of hope: quite a number of these courses also talk about creationism in general, so it's possible that your out-dated creationist objections (that most creationists don't even bother to use anymore) might be included. >>>>>>

Well, I don't see much hope. It seems that all I read about in the Internet and general media is ID, ID, and more ID. As for my objections being "out-dated creationist objections," I have never heard of creationists making a big fuss over co-evolution.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006 1:33:00 PM  
Anonymous Voice In The Wilderness said...

Now "poetic license" is a new term for deliberate misrepresentation.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006 5:24:00 PM  
Anonymous W. Kevin Vicklund said...

>>>>> Hey, Larry, did you bother to look at the syllabi of most of these courses? It seems that most of them fall into the category of "nice slaps in the big fat face of the fundies". Just not phrased in as controversial a way. <<<<<<

>>>Could you please cite some that fall into that category? I checked a few of the syllabi and couldn't find any that fall into that category.<<<

First, let's define what I meant, as our definitions could be different. By classifying a class as a "slap in the face", I am considering any class that appears as if it will treat ID as religious and not scientific.

I looked at the first 20 univerities listed (which my have several coures listed) and compiled a list of how I suspected the courses would treat ID based on the syllabi and course descriptions. To keep it short, I will list the university as the number it appears on the list, with a quick description of each course separated by commas if there are multiple courses. Yes means a slap, maybe means it's ambiguous, no means it is not a slap, N/A means no information available (though a {P} means that the professor is known to consider ID a religious view), no ID means there is no ID in the course.

1. yes
2. no ID
3. YES, yes, maybe, yes
4. yes
5. N/A, maybe
6. N/A {P}
7. maybe
8. N/A {P}
9. yes
10. N/A
11. no
12. maybe
13. yes/no modern ID (Paley only)
14. yes
15. maybe
16. N/A
17. N/A
18. yes
19. N/A
20. yes, yes

That big bold YES in the third university indicates that the course is a full-bore bitch-slapping. The professor is beating ID like a rented mule. Most of the other yeses are much more subtle - I wouldn't expect Larry to see through the subtleness of the course decription.

>>>>> And of course, Judge Jones has not even attempted to stop the inclusion of ID as a topic in public colleges and universities. <<<<<<

>>>I know that, of course. I didn't say that he "attempted" to do it -- I only said that he has not been able to do it. You ought to allow me a little poetic license.<<<

Then you won't object if I express my gratitude that you have not been able to use the blood of innnocent babies in arcane rituals. When did you stop beating your wife, Larry?

>>>But I think this raises the following question: Why should public colleges and universities be treated differently from public K-12 schools -- or vice-versa -- in regard to the question of whether it is constitutional to discuss ID in class?<<<

Let's take a look at Edwards v. Agullard and an accompanying footnote for that answer.

The Court has been particularly vigilant in monitoring compliance with the Establishment Clause in elementary and secondary schools. Families entrust public schools with the education of their children, but condition their trust on the understanding that the classroom will not purposely be used to advance religious views that may conflict with the private beliefs of the student and his or her family. Students in such institutions are impressionable, and their attendance is involuntary. See, e.g., Grand Rapids School Dist. v. Ball, 473 U.S. 373, 383 (1985); Wallace v. Jaffree, 472 U.S. 38, 60, n. 51 (1985); Meek v. Pittenger, 421 U.S. 349, 369 (1975); Abington School Dist. v. Schempp, 374 U.S. 203, 252-253 (1963) (BRENNAN, J., concurring). The State exerts great authority and coercive power through mandatory attendance requirements, and because of the students' emulation of teachers as role models and the children's susceptibility to peer pressure. [n5]

5. The potential for undue influence is far less significant with regard to college students, who voluntarily enroll in courses. "This distinction warrants a difference in constitutional results." Abington School Dist. v. Schempp, supra, at 253 (BRENNAN, J., concurring). Thus, for instance, the Court has not questioned the authority of state colleges and universities to offer courses on religion or theology. See Widmar v. Vincent, 454 U.S. 263, 271 (1981) (POWELL, J.); id. at 281 (STEVENS, J., concurring in judgment).

>>>>>>> In fact, he didn't even necessarily stop the mention of ID in the DASD, just in its science classes:

. . . . As stated, our conclusion today is that it is unconstitutional to teach ID as an alternative to evolution in a public school science classroom. <<<<<<

>>>And then Darwinists are going to quote-mine the following statements in the Dover opinion:

. . . . . we will enter an order permanently enjoining Defendants from maintaining the ID Policy in any school within the Dover Area School District, from requiring teachers to denigrate or disparage the scientific theory of evolution, and from requiring teachers to refer to a religious, alternative theory known as ID.

No direct mention of science classrooms there.

NOW, THEREFORE, IT IS ORDERED THAT:
1. . . . . .
2. Pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 65, Defendants are permanently enjoined from maintaining the ID Policy in any school within the Dover Area School District
3. . . . . . . .

No direct mention of science classrooms there, either.<<<

It's possible that some people will quote-mine the decision and ignore the fact that the ID Policy only applied in science classes. Maybe rather than making up bogus legal arguments, you should focus on keeping people from using that as a quote-mine.

>>>Anyway, do you really believe that Darwinists would not complain if the Dover school board -- or any school board -- introduced the Dover ID statement into non-science classes?<<<

I do not know what mythological eings would or would not complain about if they existed. I do know that some proponents of science would complain about school boards introducing ID in any class. However, other proponents of science woud not object to the introduction od ID in certain classes where it is appropriate (assuming certain caveats about the presentation). If you'd been paying attention at PT, you'd know this to be true.

>>>>>> But here's a ray of hope: quite a number of these courses also talk about creationism in general, so it's possible that your out-dated creationist objections (that most creationists don't even bother to use anymore) might be included. >>>>>>

>>>Well, I don't see much hope. It seems that all I read about in the Internet and general media is ID, ID, and more ID. As for my objections being "out-dated creationist objections," I have never heard of creationists making a big fuss over co-evolution.<<<

The media focuses on today's news. It rarely focuses on old news. ID is new, creationism is old. Of course, ID is merely a subset of creationism. Your argument from personal ignorance as usual means nothing to reality. Arguments against co-evolution have existed in the creationist lexicon since Darwin first published his book on orchids.

But since I'm feeling generous, I'll give you some creationist articles on co-evolution.

Brauer (1972) "The Smyrna fig requires God for its production" Creation Research Society Quarterly 9:129-131

Clark (1965) "The plants will teach you" Creation Research Society Quarterly 2:3-5

Cornell (1975) "The moccasin flower was designed" Creation Research Society Quarterly 12:139-140

Can't get more creationist than the Creation Research Society. Unfortunately, these aren't available online.

I've also got some more recent internet sources, but they're on a different computer. I'll pass them on later today.

Monday, October 02, 2006 4:43:00 PM  
Anonymous W. Kevin Vicklund said...

As promised, here are some internet sources of creationist arguments against co-evolution.

Pollination, the Evolutionist's Dillemma by C.J. Horn at BibleProbe.com

Protein families: chance or design? by Royal Truman and Michael Heisig at Answers in Genesis

Chapman (1996) Orchids ... a witness to the Creator Creation 19(1):44–46 December 1996 (hosted at Answers in Genesis)

It should also be noted that Dembski refers to co-evolution in the intro to The Design Inference, although since I haven't actually read the relevant portion of the book, I don't know if it matches Larry's artificial restriction on the definition of co-evolution. This is just a small sampling of the many creationist writings.

Some of the examples of co-evolution (conforming to Larry's artificial restriction to mutualism) used by creationists:

Pollination (figs/fig wasps, orchids, yucca/yucca moths, etc.)

Farming (ants/aphids, ants/fungus)

Cleaning Symbiosis (crocs/cleaner birds, sharks/remora)

Monday, October 02, 2006 8:31:00 PM  

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