I'm from Missouri

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.

Location: Los Angeles, California, United States

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.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Supreme Court won't review ACSI v. Stearns (fundy schools v. UC)

Anticlimactically, the Supreme Court denied certiorari for Association of Christian Schools International v. Stearns. [1] [2] [3] In that case, the lower courts rejected a lawsuit charging that the University of California's refusal to accept particular Christian-oriented high-school courses as counting towards admission requirements is a violation of the religion clauses of the First Amendment. This blog has a post label group of articles about the case. Some documents of the case are here. The denial of certiorari was really no surprise -- getting review by the Supreme Court is a longshot (only a tiny fraction of submitted cases are accepted for review) and ACSI v. Stearns was not even a published opinion, greatly hurting the chances of getting Supreme Court review. I myself opposed the lawsuit, at least in regard to the biology texts; I previously wrote [4] ,

IMO the Bob Jones University biology text (a 2-volume set) went too far when it said in the introduction, "If the conclusions contradict the Word of God, the conclusions are wrong, no matter how many scientific facts may appear to back them." IMO that statement discourages critical thinking and smacks of brainwashing, and I cannot condone that statement when one of my main reasons for supporting the teaching of scientific and pseudoscientific criticisms of evolution is to encourage critical thinking. IMO the statement is just as bad as the new Florida science standards' statement that "evolution is the fundamental concept underlying all of biology."

Unlike many Darwinists, I try to be consistent in my thinking and avoid knee-jerk opinions. For example, many Darwinists blindly supported Chris Comer without considering the details of her case. She apparently lost a lot of support as more and more people understood the details of her case, but diehards like the National Center for Science Education continued to support her.

The Supreme Court's official announcement of denial of certiorari said,

The motion of Catholic League, et al. for leave to file a brief as amici curiae is granted. The petition for a writ of certiorari is denied.

The Catholic League's filing of a motion for leave to file an amicus brief implies that at least one of the parties to the case withheld consent for the brief, and I wonder why. Supreme Court Rule 37 says that amicus briefs are automatically accepted if all parties give written consent --

2. (a) An amicus curiae brief submitted before the Court's consideration of a petition for a writ of certiorari, motion for leave to file a bill of complaint, jurisdictional statement, or petition for an extraordinary writ, may be filed if accompanied by the written consent of all parties, or if the Court grants leave to file under subparagraph 2(b) of this Rule . . . . . .

(b) When a party to the case has withheld consent, a motion for leave to file an amicus curiae brief before the Court's consideration of a petition for a writ of certiorari, motion for leave to file a bill of complaint, jurisdictional statement, or petition for an extraordinary writ may be presented to the Court . . . . . . . Such a motion is not favored.

IMO this blog has the Internet's best coverages of some prominent lawsuits -- ACSI v Stearns, Caldwell v. Caldwell, and Comer v. Scott (see sidebar for post-label groups for these cases). I am very disappointed that this blog does not get more traffic.



Tuesday, October 19, 2010

NCSE moans that "only" about 10% of class time is devoted to evolution

In an article in the Annual Review of Genomics and Human Genetics, staff members of the National Center for Science Education (National Center for Selling Evolution?) whine,
. . . . . . the average amount of time devoted to evolution was only 13.7 h.. Because states typically require approximately 120–150 h of instruction for high school classes, only approximately 10% of the average high school biology class is devoted to a principle without which, in Theodosius Dobzhansky's famous phrase, nothing in biology makes sense.

The Darwinists have gone far beyond merely suppressing criticism of evolution and have been grossly and shamelessly exaggerating evolution's importance and relevance. Unfortunately, the science education standards of some states really hoke up evolution -- for example, the new Florida state standards call evolution "the fundamental concept underlying all of biology" and misdefines "theory" as being "well-supported and widely accepted"(there are strong theories and weal theories). What sane people should do is fight back at the local level -- local school boards, individual schools, and individual teachers -- to discourage implementation of such crackpot state standards.



Friday, October 15, 2010

Paranoid Darwinist academicians

Some Darwinist academicians have a paranoid fear that anti-evolutionists are conspiring to advance anti-evolution by exploiting the prestige of academic institutions. Ironically named Dr. Mark Chancey (chancey like random mutation), chair of the Department of Religious Studies (!) at Southern Methodist University, said in an article in the campus newspaper,

Unfortunately, the Discovery Institute has a track record of using SMU's prestige and academic reputation to bolster its own claims to legitimacy. Consider this quote from Phillip E. Johnson, a chief ID architect: "The movement we now call the Wedge made its public debut at a conference of scientists and philosophers held at Southern Methodist University in March 1992."

Actually, there are very good practical reasons for holding ID conferences and lectures on university campuses: (1) Universities are centers of intellectual activity, with many students and faculty members who are interested in discussions about ID; and (2) universities have large auditoriums for presenting conferences and lectures. So there is no conspiracy. ID conferences and lectures are presented on campuses for the same sort of reason that robbers rob banks, i.e., robbers rob banks because that is where the money is.

Chancey continues,

Johnson goes on to characterize that conference as "a respectable academic gathering." This language implies that SMU sponsored an academic conference in which ID proponents participated as full-fledged scholars. In fact, the 1992 event, too, was sponsored not by any academic unit of the university but by a campus ministry-a detail conspicuously absent from Johnson's description.

What? How does that language imply that SMU sponsored the conference?

Chancey's article is the subject of a Panda's Thumb post by Wesley "Ding" Elsberry.


Sunday, October 03, 2010

Predictably, NCSE's Eugenie Scott is still peddling the "all anti-evolutionism is based on religion" nonsense

In a previous interview, Eugenie Scott, director of the National Center for Science Education, said, "antievolutionism is uniformly the product of religious opposition," and of course she continues to repeat this nonsense.

A Los Angeles Times article said,

In his Academy Award-nominated 1960 drama, "Inherit the Wind," director Stanley Kramer offered a fictionalized depiction of the famed Scopes Monkey Trial of 1925, in which Tennessee high school instructor John Scopes was tried for violating the state's Butler Act, a law prohibiting the teaching of evolution.

Fifty years after its initial release, with activists on the political right and left still bitterly divided over social issues, the film remains sharply relevant, something the Malibu Film Society hopes to underscore with a special anniversary screening and panel discussion Sunday . . . .

. . . . "I always tell people, 'Don't look at it as a movie reporting on the Scopes trial,'" she [Eugenie Scott] said. "It does capture a very important mood that reflects the anti-evolution movement, [which contends that] evolution is not biblical, so it should be opposed."

She has no credibility.

The article notes that the screening was held at the Malibu Jewish Center and Synagogue. This may unfortunately reinforce the false stereotype that Jews, because of their tendency to support the so-called "separation of church and state," generally support the dogmatic teaching of evolution in the schools. The fact is that many Jews -- particularly orthodox Jews -- are critical of evolution theory.