Election Day in Dover

For those of you who are still focused on Dover (we certainly are), this Patriot News article talks about the impact of today’s election on Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School Board.

“The legal battle over Dover Area School District’s policy on intelligent design won’t go away if candidates opposed to it win today’s school board election, a lawyer in the case said.”

34 thoughts on “Election Day in Dover

  1. Wow, look at this:

    In related news, the television reporter who interviewed Dover school board member William Buckingham last year said Buckingham agreed to the interview hours in advance.

    When testifying at the trial two weeks ago, Buckingham — a leading proponent of the intelligent-design policy and its implementation — said he was “ambushed” by a television reporter when he was interviewed on June 14, 2004. “I was like the deer in the headlight,” he testified.

    Jennifer Sherlock, the Fox 43 reporter who interviewed Buckingham, was not called to the stand.

    In an interview, Sherlock said Buckingham not only agreed hours in advance to be interviewed, but used the word “creationism” several times in the interview.

    Sherlock said the interview lasted nearly 10 minutes, though only a few seconds of it were used in her report.

    I hope that someone can get a transcript of the full interview. Even if it is too late to use it in court, it certainly is useful in the battle for public opinion.

  2. Buckingham musta “misspoke.”

    The rest of the news is just making me tired…so damn tired.

  3. Looks like you ACLU lawyers have many’a battle ahead of you. Keep on truckin’…PLEASE!

  4. DOVER, Pa. (AP) — Voters have decided to replace nearly the entire school board with a slate that called for removing “intelligent design” from Dover’s high school science curriculum, after the new policy landed the district in federal court.

    Eight of nine school board members were up for election on Tuesday, and all eight were voted out in a showdown over how evolution is to be taught and the cost of the district’s policy on intelligent design.


  5. I had to laugh. I do not believe that local school board elections normally make the national news, but its everywhere. NBC news closed with it last night. Maybe the tides turning , then again, I guess I need to find the Kansas ACLU site. Hope its as good this has been.

  6. I think only good things can come from conflicts such as Dover and in Kansas. I welcome the stupid Kansas BOE decision. It doesn’t depress me at all.

    It get’s things out on the table, out in the open, get’s people discussing and thinking about the issue.

    Those of us who advocate science and logic and reason have nothing to fear by taking these people on. We’re the good guys. We wear the white hats. We sound a lot more reasonable than them.

    The battle isn’t for the hearts and minds of the 50% of us who view this as fundamentalist quackery, and it isn’t for the 10% who are the true believers.

    The battle is for that 40% of open minded people out there who understand the issue only superficially…who need to understand that unless they start using their heads, and paying attention to who is in charge of their communities, they risk living subject to the tyranny of a committed, starry eyed minority.

    The only way to get to these good minded people is to have these very public battles.

    Bring ’em on

  7. Anonymous, I couldn’t agree more.

    I’ve told my wife one of the few good things about the Bush presidency is that it made people like us care so much about the country again that we need to do something about it.

    Just last night, I said how I hope this trial and the Kansas decision spur other states to take preemptive moves to ban ID from the classroom, or encourages more parents to stand up and speak out when their children’s futures are at stake.

    My favorite part of the school board election article was the closing quote from the woman who said if they can teach evolution, which she doesn’t believe in, they should be able to teach the other side.

    It’s amazing how many of these people confuse belief in faith-based areas with accepting facts.

    Evolution may not explain everything, but as shown in this trial, it has been proven over and over again in the areas it does cover.

    Belief in a fact is not required. Not believing in a fact doesn’t change it. And facts are not determined by a vote of the majority.

  8. That’s right. The 40% who think of themselves as being open-minded don’t really understand it’s a false dichotomy.

    I’ve had debates with them. They say, “We should teach all theories, not just the best-accepted. But we shouldn’t teach creationism, that’s religion.”

    But they listen to you. They want to know more. And when you explain that ID IS creationism, that it IS an article of fundamentalist christianity faith, they become more comfortable with the idea that excluding it from public schools is a good idea.

    If it’s just us scientists bitching and moaning about it amongst ourselves, it’s not at all different from preaching to the choir.

  9. Although we must not let the ID debate detract us from issues such as energy, war, and et., The Panda trial was such fun to watch.
    The arrogance of these people is hideous. Imagine it- the Dover School board and now the state of Kansas has the odacity to think they can change the very definition of science.
    Watch out for Kansas though, they are bible belt fundies believing that satan will get them. This is so sad because it proves that people do not use their power of reason. If providence did bestow on us the power of reason and logic, why would this not-so-nice entity have us forego the use of reason and logic to believe an ancient book of myths based only on faith? Worse yet, and sadly so, it is parents that culturally condition their children to believe these myths. Santa Claus is the gateway myth that is taught to soften up vulnerable minds. From there it spreads like a virus (Dawkins) and is a bit like mass hysteria.
    When I have been able to engage a religious person in any type of intelligent coversation and ask them about the talking snakes, unicorns and other absudities of the bible they all revert to the same excuse- God can do anything. I can only surmise that ignorance may in fact be bliss.

  10. Certainly right about needing to bring it out in the open. It is amazing that there is upwards of 30-40 % that want to have it taught, but as we have seen, even the most ardent supporters dont seem to have a clue what ID is. But as stated , this only one battle. There has been such an unprecented attack on science , on so many fronts. My own father denied that Global warming is really happening. A direct by-product of watch Fox News exclusively. It all has certainly made more active. I regularly send letters to newspapers to respond to the silliness being espoused. I am looking for other ways to get involved too. Can’t just sit back and presume things will work out anymore.

  11. Thanks all, I needed a boost. If we’re not part of the solution then we’re part of the problem.

  12. Well…actually, if you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the precipitate. (But that’s not biology…)

    (Grins, ducks and runs.)

  13. Since I am not evangelical, I don’t get why the following is not acceptable creation theory:
    15 billion years ago, God set off the big bang and then watched as stars formed and galaxies formed and planets formed. 4.5 billion years ago, this planet formed; an atmosphere developed; chemical reactions occurred resulting in organic compounds that began replicating. Life began. After a few billion years, life forms became more complex. Eventually, one life form that had been created by God (as had everything else) developed enough awareness that it could dimly detect the existence of forces in Nature beyond his understanding or control. At this time, which was to God a mere eye blink after He’d started this process, God made his presence known to some of these creatures. He inspired them to transcribe His teachings in a divinely inspired Book. At that time, He described the processes that had taken place over time: first, the formation of the heavens, then the earth, then the lower forms of life, and then Man. Could these people understand the concept of a billion years? Or replicating DNA? Of course not. They had barely figured out the phases of the moon. So they transcribed what they got.
    Why is it so important to believe (and to insist that everyone else believe) that nomads recorded a literally true account of the creation of life on earth? And doesn’t the scientific story inspire as much awe? Why can’t they embrace the bewildering complexity and majesty of the physical world as proof of God’s greatness? Why not simply declare that God designed evolution, and declare victory?

  14. Well…actually, if you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the precipitate. (But that’s not biology…)

    You chemists are all alike.

  15. Doyle- The teleological (argument for a designer) argument states that the intricate design begs for a designer, albeit a very hostile and violent one. But, it’s not testable or falsifiable and your explaination is a good as a god creating us from dirt. Science has only gone so far. The rest is the most exquisite mystery in the universe.

  16. e-lad said:
    You chemists are all alike.

    That’s because we *evolved*. (Except I’m not a chemist. I’m an engineer who went into programming.)

  17. “Why not simply declare that God designed evolution, and declare victory?”

    First, because I think even they sense that’s ridiculous. Secondly, because the methods of thought that lead us to conclude natural selection is responsible for the diversity of life on this planet do not validate religious faith and are fundamentally incompatible with them.

    Like it or not, science and faith cannot coexist in a consistent mind. The fundamentalists recognize this and are acting to eliminate the incompatible system. The only question is whether scientists will bring themselves to acknowledge the same truth and respond appropriately.

  18. Putting aside the truth of the notion that science and faith cannot coexist in a consistent mind, my point is that one should find it easier to maintain faith if one weren’t simultaneously called on to reject unambiguous truth. The Earth is more than 10,000 years old. The fossils are not the residue of a great flood. So what? If you are going to identify the handiwork of a divine creator, why not point to the wonders of the universe?

    I guess my point is that these fundamentalists are both stupid and illogical, which is not that surprising a combination. You (Matt) ascribe to them a level of cynical calculation that I think is beyond them.

    We’ll see now in Kansas (I predict) that they have overplayed their hand by trying to make their religion part of the science curriculum, no longer by demonstrating that their religion is science, but by redefining science!

  19. Because those wonders of the universe are rather obviously not the artifacts of an advanced mind.

    In order for these people to feel that they’re special, they must believe in an all-powerful entity who not only could have built the entire universe just for them, but did so. A world that looks exactly as if would if there were no such deity isn’t satisfactory.

  20. I think it is important to emphasize that religion, in general, is not threatened by scientific views of the origins of life and the universe. Like it or not, most of our fellow citizens are religious to some degree and take it seriously, at least some of the time. Smearing science as “atheistic” is a winning tactic for the minority religious views that actually are threatened by science. I, for one, do not feel comfortable speaking or behaving in a way to give this smear credence regardless of my personal beliefs. I like to emphasize to those that care about religion that only extreme, minority, fundamentalist beliefs are up in arms about this. One can be a good, even a VERY good, Christian, Muslim, or whatever, and not have one’s religious beliefs be threatened by the pursuit of scientific knowledge.

    It seemed that one of the strategic decisions in this trial was to present only witnesses who could honestly say that they are religious. This simply and effectively disarmed the smear tactic. It was religious people who were being hurt by the board’s policy, and it was their religious freedom that was being attacked. Very effective.

  21. I’m afraid that we’ll never win this battle with science alone.

    If inescapable logic based on overwhelming physical evidence were all we needed, the public battle over evolution would be long over, just as it ended over a century ago in the scientific community.

    Our real problem is the popular but false perception, stoked relentlessly by the Religious Right, that science is inherently atheist: if you accept evolution, then you must necessarily reject God. We need the many religious people who accept evolution to say, over and over to anyone who will listen, that this just ain’t so!

    Science excludes supernatural explanations not because scientists are atheists, but because science has no tools to test the supernatural. Science itself remains rigorously neutral on the subject of religion. As human beings, some scientists are atheists or agnostics, yes, while other equally good scientists are deeply religious.

  22. I’m self taught in Tarot cards, Phrenology and Bergonianism (a new branch of science that I thought up while in the tub last evening). I’m working on honing my astrological skills, too. Do I hear Kansas calling my name??

  23. Peraps revisiting this tidbit (from an interview with this Thompson fellow from the ID “movement” published at salon.com) will provide some context:

    ‘I ask Thompson why this battle matters so much to him. He pauses, putting his hands together as if in prayer. “If you are nothing but an accident of nature, then nothing you do is dependent on objective truth,” he says. “You can set your own rules. There is no life after death. There are no set moral codes. If you go to bed, and if you die its OK, you’re just another piece of matter bouncing around and you’ll change into something else. That’s why, even if 100 million scientists say we are unplanned, that we’re just purposeless beings in this universe, the general population won’t buy it. And neither will I.”‘

    – – So, I submit my thesis: The driving force is fear – fear that without a “designer” we can’t trust ourselves to figure out the difference between right and wrong; we need to be enticed and threatened or we are without motivation, and are incapable of finding our own direction without some great sky-father to worship. Please, O Mighty One, don’t strike this dumb-ass dead – you might miss and hit me by mistake (unless that’s Your design).
    – DuQuesne

  24. To: Alan Mick
    Very well said. And I must admit that even this skeptic, way down deep iside, in some way, would like to think that I might meet his maker at some point.
    I didn’t believe in incarnation in my last life either.

  25. My wife is having an e-mail exchange with someone right now who feels that if you don’t believe in God, you can’t truly know joy in any form: sunsets, babies, everything in the world that’s beautiful and good cannot be appreciated fully without God.

    This person is also under the common misconception by Christians that atheists don’t believe in the 10 Commandments, so therefore we must endorse murder, lying, adultery, etc.

    After making many such ignorant comments, she followed up with the gem that even atheists follow laws because we’re afraid of the consequences if we get caught.

    It’s alien to her that someone might be a good person because it’s the right thing to do, and not because you’re afraid of hell or want to spend eternity in God’s glory.

    I guess a big difference between us and them is that we’re ok if there’s no “master plan” in life. I read that man’s comments about life being purposeless without God, and I’m ok with it.

    Obviously they’re not.

  26. This blog is really about the establishment clause and the Panda case and It’s great that we can each choose to worship or not in anyway we want. I guess we shouldn’t be here to trash religion per se, but since the topic has come up and one of my intersts is religious philosophy, I just wanted to say that to me it seems that good people are out there doing good things and bad people are out there doing bad things, but religion is good at getting good people to do bad things.
    As far as christianity teaching morals and ethics (10 commandments), Hammurabi was writing moral code long before the 10 commandments were thought of and he was a pagan. His code included the eye for an eye stuff the the Old Test and most authorities agree that the jews learned these while enslaved in Babylon where Hammurabi ruled.
    Most authorities also agree that, in fact, christians are basically just evolved pagans.
    I have several atheist friends who are much more happy with life than many xtians I know. They do a lot of volunteer work and much good in the community.
    I’ve observed the spectrum of beliefs and the people and in my opinion people can be much happier without carrying around all the guilt, shame, superstitions and fear that religions pile on one. Religion seems to pray on peoples fear of death and their need to be part of something

  27. Why can’t we start investigating religion in history classes and critically appraise the evidence for the 3 ‘great’ monotheisms in a legitimate context.

    But then, does history allow for supernatural agents, or should we redefine history as well?

  28. Teach the history of religion, comparative religion, religious philosophy- but not as science.
    My first year in college I had to read a Bertrand Russell essay for compository prose essay I had to write. I was astounded that someone could argue against christianity. I had been culturally conditioned and back in those days a kid living at home had no way in hell to geet his hands on any book criticising christianity.
    Luther and the printing press were the beginning of the end of age old superstitions about religion. The internet will bury it.

  29. “You can set your own rules. There is no life after death. There are no set moral codes.”
    I have read these two senetences two billion times in editorials written by ID supporters. Could someone please kill these words? Even better, ID supports who attend chuches who embrace evolution. They don’t even know it….oh me oh my………..

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