Creationists and Tax Protesters

There may seem to be no connection between the creationist movement and the tax protester movement, but your Curmudgeon’s opinion is that the two phenomena are manifestations of the same psychological impulses.

In the US, the tax protest movement has a long and inglorious history. Interestingly, it has leaders who promote various legal theories as to why taxes should not be paid, and they have customers who buy their books, pay for their advice, and who then almost inevitably lose in court.

The US Department of Justice has a huge Criminal Tax Manual for their prosecutors. Most of it is about people who just don’t pay, or who try to fake deductions or conceal some of their income. But Section 40, consisting of 56 pages, is devoted to the topic of Tax Protestors and all their failed arguments: e.g., wages aren’t income, federal reserve notes aren’t money, various religious arguments, etc. The list is long.

And for each argument, the memo cites court cases holding that defense to be worthless. Yet the gurus keep peddling their magic tax evasion schemes, the gullible followers of the movement keep believing, and the court cases keep coming — with predictable results.

Does this behavior pattern seem familiar? Yes, dear reader, it does. Instead of the government’s manual for dealing with endlessly debunked legal arguments, just substitute the TalkOrigins Index to Creationist Claims and you can’t miss seeing the similarity. And every now and then the same two patterns of reality denial manifest themselves in the same person — for example, see Kent Hovind Is Still Fighting.

And that brings us to the blog of the Discoveroids. A couple of days ago they posted this by Casey Luskin, our favorite creationist: What Law Students Are Learning About Intelligent Design. Both he and the Discoveroids are described in the Cast of Characters section of our Intro page. Casey says, with bold font added by us:

A law student at the University of Washington recently let us know what the textbook in his education law class, American Public School Law by Kern Alexander and M. David Alexander, has to say about intelligent design. I was disappointed, but hardly shocked, to learn that the textbook adopts a grossly unbalanced approach to the issue, promotes incredible misinformation and is riddled with misstatements.

We’ve seen several times before how Casey and the Discoveroids think about various creationist court cases — they invariably describe only the arguments presented by the creationist side, and then criticize the court’s decision for ruling against creationism. For example, see Discoveroids Develop Their Coppedge Narrative, and also Coppedge Trial & Klinghoffer’s Alternate Reality, and also Casey and Kitzmiller — the Case He “Forgot”, and also John West: More Scopes Trial Revisionism, and also Casey, Corbett, & the Constitution, Part II, and also Discovery Institute: Dover Derangement Syndrome.

That’s enough examples. You get the picture. It’s always the same old song: “Our arguments are wonderful, and when the courts don’t agree it’s either because they’re stupid or they’re part of a vast conspiracy.” Let’s get back to Casey’s latest post about what they’re teaching in law school. He complains that the legal textbook equates intelligent design and creationism. Then he says:

American Public School Law goes on to cite the Kitzmiller v. Dover ruling as having demonstrated that intelligent design is creationism. Does the evidence from that case in fact show that intelligent design fits the U.S. Supreme Court’s definition of creationism?

Casey’s argument is based on Michael Behe’s testimony in Kitzmiller. He thinks that that’s all there is to it, despite the fact that there were arguments to the contrary and the court didn’t go along with Behe. See Kitzmiller v. Dover: Michael Behe’s Testimony. Let’s read on:

The judge in the case, John E. Jones, refused to allow ID proponents to define their own theory and ignored this testimony in his ruling. But far from being a mere exercise in rhetoric, Behe’s argument is principled, based on a commitment to respect the limits of science. His belief in God is not a hard-and fast conclusion of intelligent design, but something he concludes for different reasons, “based on theological and philosophical and historical factors.” He makes clear that ID doesn’t identify the designer.

Too bad for Casey that Behe wasn’t the only witness in the trial. But Casey is as much a true believer in the magic of his arguments as are the tax protestors. He continues:

The textbook goes on to promote the Darwin Lobby’s account of how intelligent design came to be:

[Casey quotes from the textbook:] The federal court in Pennsylvania said that: “The weight of the evidence clearly demonstrates . . . that the systemic change from ‘creation’ to ‘intelligent design’ occurred sometime in 1987, after the Supreme Court’s important Edwards decision. This compelling evidence strongly supports plaintiff’s assertion that ID is creationism relabeled.”

Yes, that’s what the court concluded. But Casey insists that’s not correct, and the law school textbook has it all wrong. He even tries to dismiss the devastating evidence of Pandas and “cdesign proponentsists”. The article is quite long, and it’s instructive to read if you care to see how the Discoveroid (i.e., creationist) mind reacts to reality. Anyway, Casey concludes with this:

Sadly, this is the level of discourse from high-profile ID-critics in the legal community. In other words, this is what some law students are learning about intelligent design.

So there you are. Law schools are teaching the law based on court decisions, not based on the preaching of the Discoveroids’ blog. Perhaps Casey will thrill us all by writing his own legal textbook about the law of creationism. It’s sure to be as useful as all the tax protester books that are out there.

See also
: Creationists and Tax Protesters, Part 2.

Copyright © 2013. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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10 responses to “Creationists and Tax Protesters

  1. SC: “Law schools are teaching the law based on court decisions, not based on the preaching of the Discoveroids’ blog.”

    Wow! Imagine that! You have perfectly captured the gist of it right there, Curmy.

  2. refused to allow ID proponents to define their own theory

    ID proponents regularly refuse to describe the theory, but are content with claiming that something, somehow, is wrong with evolutionary biology.

    And we should remember those ID proponents who declined to offer testimony in the case.

  3. waldteufel

    I try to remember each year in late December to send Casey a special “Merry Kitzmas” greeting 🙂

    I agree with retiredsciguy that you have really captured the essence of the creationist mind . . . but not only on this issue, but others as well.

  4. Don’t forget Kent Hovind, whose troubles started when he proudly proclaimed in one of his public videos that he does not pay taxes. And why should he? Hey that’s God’s money! It occurred to me that the believer might use a tactic to get out of a radar measured speeding ticket. Radar speed measures are based on the Doppler effect, which is in turned based on the finite speed of light being the fastest anything can go. Since an omnipotent God can of course go faster than light, radar derived speeding tickets are hooey. Of course that wouldn’t work any better than it does for Hovind. Science is the law of the land.

  5. Casey seems to forget the one of the “governing goals” of the Discovery Institute, which is the primary promoter of ID and for whom almost all of the key ID figures work or have fellowships, is:

    To replace materialistic explanations with the theistic understanding that nature and human beings are created by God.

    The other governing goal is to “defeat scientific materialism…”.
    So tell us again Casey how Intelligent Design does not presume a supernatural designer? Or how the investigation of a non-material (i.e. supernatural) designer would violate good scientific principles (that you wish to defeat)?

    Even a lawyer can read the wedge document.

  6. A most telling observation, Curmy, well done!

    Like the tax protestors, Casey and the Discoveroids think one can choose to live in the world as one might wish it to be rather than how empirical investigation shows it to be…

  7. anevilmeme

    They always seem to think that somehow a legal decision in their favor would trump empirical evidence.

  8. Luskin lying:The judge in the case, John E. Jones, refused to allow ID proponents to define their own theory and ignored this testimony in his ruling.

    This is an outright lie, to the extent that Luskin can be said to have actual beliefs.

    As all of us know here, Prof. Barbara Forrest’s Day 6 morning testimony presented many examples of different definitions of Intelligent Design presented by ID proponents themselves in their own words. She presented examples of ID as defined by Dean Kenyon (the main author of Of Pandas and People) and various definitions in different drafts of OP&P, and definitions given by Phillip Johnson and William Dembski. All of these were disastrous for the ID side and contributed to their defeat.

    Forrest recalled the definition given by Dean Kenyon in his “expert” affidavit in the 1987 Edwards vs. Aguillard creationism case, for which Kenyon testified on behalf of the creationist side and called it “creationism.” Kenyon was also a fellow of the Discovery Institute. As Forrest showed, Kenyon’s written definition of “creationism” in his affidavit matched the later definitions of “Intelligent Design”.

    Shortly after the creationists lost the Edwards vs. Aguillard creationism case, Kenyon or some other author of OP&P changed that book’s definition of creationism to “Intelligent Design”.

    The definitions in OP&P were disastrous because the early 1987 edition gave an explicit definition of creationism which was changed in the late 1987 edition to be an explicit definition of Intelligent Design, with virtually identical wording.

    Early 1987: “Creation means that the various forms of life began abruptly through the agency of an intelligent creator with their distinctive features already intact. Fish with fins and scales, birds with feathers, beaks, and wings, etc.”

    Late 1987: “Intelligent design means that various forms of life began abruptly through an intelligent agency, with their distinctive features already intact. Fish with fins and scales, birds with feathers, beaks, wings, etc.”

    Forrest also related the definitions of ID given by Phillip Johnson and William Dembski. These were also disastrous for the ID side because they were so creationist and religious.

    This was so devastating that Muise, the ID side’s lawyer, repeatedly attempted to squelch the ID proponent’s own definitions of Intelligent Design through numerous objections against Forrest simply reading the ID proponents’ own definitions of ID.

    Such as this one:

    William Dembski: “Indeed, intelligent design is just the Logos theology of John’s Gospel restated in the idiom of information theory.” – [William A. Dembski, “Signs of Intelligence: A Primer on the Discernment of Intelligent Design,” Touchstone (July/August 1999), vol. 12, issue 4, p. 84. Also cited by Forrest at Dover v. Kitzmiller Day 6]

    Or this one:

    Phillip Johnson: “My colleagues and I speak of “theistic realism” — or sometimes, “mere creation” –as the defining concept of our movement. This means that we affirm that God is objectively real as Creator, and that the reality of God is tangibly recorded in evidence accessible to science, particularly in biology… If life is not simply matter evolving by natural selection, but is something that had to be designed by a creator who is real, then the nature of that creator, and the possibility of revelation, will become a matter of widespread interest among thoughtful people…” [Starting a Conversation about Evolution. Phillip Johnson. 1996.]

  9. Troy: “Science is the law of the land.”

    Unless you’re in Louisiana or Tennessee, and Indiana is starting to give those two a run for their money as well, along with Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, (and I’m sure there are others, but it’s 12:30 am, and my brain is …fading….fast…….)

  10. Garnetstar

    Quite right, Diogenes. Judge Jones didn’t refuse to allow the Discoveroids’ definitions or case. He heard them, considered them, and didn’t buy them.

    It’s hard for many creos and severely-fundamentalist types to understand that you can consider every argument they make and still not believe. Not because you’re not listening to their arguments, but because you are listening, but just don’t buy their nonsense.