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Another Scopes Trial

by TChris

The first legal challenge to a school district's plan to teach intelligent design will go to trial on Monday in Harrisburg, PA. Proponents of the plan defend the teaching of a religious belief as "free speech." But science teachers aren't free to speak about their religious beliefs in a public school; their free speech rights are subordinate to their duty as government employees to respect the separation between government and religion.

Proponents also argue that they're simply exposing students to alternative views about the origins of life.

[Steven] Stough, who teaches life science to seventh graders in a nearby district, is one of the 11 parents suing the Dover district. For him the notion of teaching "alternatives" to evolution is a hoax.

"You can dress up intelligent design and make it look like science, but it just doesn't pass muster," said Mr. Stough, a Republican whose idea of a fun family vacation is visiting fossil beds and natural history museums. "In science class, you don't say to the students, 'Is there gravity, or do you think we have rubber bands on our feet?' "

The defendants will call experts to argue that teaching the controversy is beneficial for students. Trouble is, there is no scientific controversy to teach. The argument that "alternative views" should be taught in science class would make sense if those competing views were based on science, not religion.

[Evolution] is the foundation of biological science, with no credible challenges within the scientific community. Without it, the plaintiffs say, students could never make sense of topics as varied as AIDS and extinction.

The plaintiffs plan to demonstrate that intelligent design is creation science in a new cloak. The Supreme Court decided in 1987 that public schools can't advance religion by teaching creation science. The plaintiffs also intend to discredit intelligent design as a scientific alternative to evolution. Welcome to the modern version of the Scopes trial.

Witold J. Walczak, legal director of the A.C.L.U. of Pennsylvania, said the plaintiffs would call six experts in history, theology, philosophy of science and science to show that no matter the perspective, "intelligent design is not science because it does not meet the ground rules of science, is not based on natural explanations, is not testable."

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    Re: Another Scopes Trial (none / 0) (#1)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:04:18 PM EST
    If the pro-war side did get 400 people to show up, and we the stop-the-bloodshed-now committed are credited with 400,000 (C-SPAN estimated 600,000 and they were quoted by CNN at that figure, at least until Roveís new hire over there somehow got to the News Department and quickly replaced that figure with the DC copís lowball 100,000, which you erroneously and lazily regurgitate), if did get as many as 400 (unpaid?) then even at that 400,000 figure we outnumber these misguided people by 1000 to one. Why is this fact missing in the media, to say nothing of your own Talk Left blog?

    Re: Another Scopes Trial (none / 0) (#2)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:04:18 PM EST
    Sorry. First time here. Meant to comment on above post.

    Re: Another Scopes Trial (none / 0) (#3)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:04:18 PM EST
    Cubist--why are you completely off-topic? There are already appropriate posts for that topic. In a related story, a religious tour company in Denver is running "biblically correct" tours of the Denver Museum of Nature and Science for a fee. They've been doing it for years. It's utterly bizarre. The guy who runs the thing installs linoleum for a living, which in the ID'ers world makes him more qualified to understand science than actual scientists.

    Re: Another Scopes Trial (none / 0) (#4)
    by Peter G on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:04:18 PM EST
    Interested TL readers can follow the Dover "intelligent design" trial on the website of the ACLU-PA, or on our new daily blog on the case. I'm proud to be a member of the Board of the ACLU-PA. As ACLU founder Roger Baldwin said, "No battle for civil liberties ever stays won."

    Re: Another Scopes Trial (none / 0) (#5)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:04:18 PM EST
    Well, for SURE Bush is descended from apes.

    Re: Another Scopes Trial (none / 0) (#6)
    by bad Jim on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:04:18 PM EST
    There should be no verbal or rhetorical abuse of our primate cousins on these threads. Comparing the president to any other mammal, and quite possibly to any other animal, is a gross insult to whichever poor misunderstood life form. Large trees ought to be exempted as well. Henceforth please do not describe the president and his crew as anything more promising than bacteria.

    Re: Another Scopes Trial (none / 0) (#7)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:04:18 PM EST
    If Pennsylvania allows teaching of intelligent design I think I'm going to have to insist that New York State be compelled to teach astrology, alchemy and the phlogiston theory. Fair is fair.

    Re: Another Scopes Trial (none / 0) (#8)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:04:19 PM EST
    I believe this sums it all up. This is the theory that should be taught as well as that "ID" crap. http://www.venganza.org/ ...touched by His Noodly Appendage.....

    Re: Another Scopes Trial (none / 0) (#9)
    by kdog on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:04:19 PM EST
    Don't forget to add the tooth fairy to the health class curriculum.

    Re: Another Scopes Trial (none / 0) (#10)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:04:19 PM EST
    Scooter, thanks for the link to venganza.org. I see that FSM-ism has also been written up in wikipedia here.

    Re: Another Scopes Trial (none / 0) (#11)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:04:20 PM EST
    Alfred E. Bush knows all about the toof fairy. He believes in a Hire power that gets his cronies into emergency services' positions, where they can kill people for a quarter.