NCSE Reminisces about the Kitzmiller Case

As everyone knows, this coming 20 December will be the fifteenth anniversary of the decision on 20 December 2005 by Judge John E. Jones III in the case of Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District. The trial was only a few years old when we started this blog, and we posted about it extensively — see, for example:

Kitzmiller v. Dover: Is ID Science?

Kitzmiller v. Dover: Who is the Intelligent Designer?

Kitzmiller v. Dover: What’s the Wedge Document?

Kitzmiller v. Dover: The Role of The Discovery Institute

Kitzmiller v. Dover: Michael Behe’s Testimony

Three Years Since Dover — Merry Kitzmas!

Today, our friends at the National Center for Science Education (NCSE) have posted an excellent article about the Kitzmiller case. It was written by Glenn Branch, their Deputy Director. The title is The legal basis of Kitzmiller v. Dover.

Glenn’s article is good from start to finish, so it’s difficult to pick out part of it to post here. What we’ll do is give you the first paragraph to spark your interest, and then you can click over there to read it all. Here ya go:

After the Dover Area School Board adopted a policy in 2004 requiring that “Students will be made aware of gaps/problems in Darwin’s theory and of other theories of evolution including, but not limited to, intelligent design,” and subsequently attempted to require its ninth-grade biology teachers to read a statement commending “intelligent design” and the “intelligent design” textbook Of Pandas and People to their students, eleven local parents filed suit in federal court, in what would become known as Kitzmiller v. Dover.

Okay, now get over there and read NCSE’s article. After that, we’d like to hear your best guess as to why the Discoveroids are still business.

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26 responses to “NCSE Reminisces about the Kitzmiller Case

  1. Our dear SC challenges us:

    “your best guess as to why the Discoveroids are still business”
    Four words.
    Money. Howard. Ahmanson. Junior.
    The moment his money flow dries out the IDiots from Seattle are gone.

  2. Since it is against my principles to miss an opportunity for self-promotion, let me cite here once more my

    One hopes (this year one can be certain of nothing) that long before Dec 20 we will know whether Trump will continue in office. If he does, Pence, who has publicly advocated creationism as a theory with the same status as the theory of evolution [Sahelanthropus, evolution, and the word “theory”; what Mike Pence really said, will be heir-apparent, with all that that implies for the courts, at all levels

  3. In the picture, isn’t the second guy from the left Casey Luskin?

  4. I besech the Cosmic Aardvaark; trim down that last link to , so it can work, and I will undertake never to eat aardvaark again

    [Voice from above:] It is done! As for your consumption of aardvark, your past misdeeds cannot be forgiven.

  5. Yes, Paul Braterman, it’s true. Pence is a flaming creationist. The two-party system in the US is offering us a choice between what I think are two unattractive alternatives. I made enemies on both sides when I wrote about this ten years ago — see Creationism or Socialism: Which is Dumber?

  6. Intelligent Design is an attractive option for the general public. YE creationism with its Bible literalism is too extreme for many. ID appeals to the average church goer. It appeals to common sense, uses the Design Argument for God’s existence, and – very importantly – it has a scientific flavour. It has no traction in the science world, but I can’t see ID going away in the public arena.

  7. From PaulB’s first link: “the court case that established that Intelligent Design is not science”
    It also should be remembered that the judge who established this is (was?) a practicizing christian; so is Kenneth Miller, who testified against creacrap.

    @SC: “I made enemies on both sides when I wrote about this ten years ago”
    Perhaps because identifying Obama and Biden as socialists was the dumbest of all.

    “the evidence for evolution is vast, but so is the evidence favoring free enterprise.”
    Such a pity you never gave any. By now I’ve learned that you are about as immune for counterevidence as creacrappers, so I’ll limit myself to one single example: life expectancy in Iceland (social-democratic, ie more leftwing than Bernie Sanders and AOC) is 83. In the USA it’s 79 – about the same as in (gasp!) Cuba.
    Or perhaps you mean that 7/10 of the richest people in the world are Americans? Such a pity that more than 300 million Americans don’t benefit.
    (btw average income in Iceland is also higher than in the USA ….. – OK, that was the 2nd piece of counterevidence)

  8. You’re in the Congo jungle and suddenly discover an interesting animal, Is it a new species or an existing species? If it’s a new species what’s it related to? Intelligent design is useless in answering these questions.

  9. Michael Fugate

    As if creationism were the biggest problem with the current GOP…
    I am guessing that the definition of free enterprise is giving government money to your friends…

  10. @Les Lane
    To take an example from the advocacy for ID:
    The images of presidents on Mount Rushmore.
    We decide that they are the result of Intelligent Design. We also decide that the flies and trees on Mount Rushmore are also the result of ID.
    From the standpoint of ID, those images might have just grown thee, like the flies and the trees.
    ID doesn’t tell us much about that, either.

  11. Dave Luckett

    FrankB, enough coy fan-dancing about what socialism is.

    Iceland, while democratic, is not socialist. It has a free market economy where the people have seen fit to elect governments that impose high and steeply progressive taxes to finance generous government benefits. That’s it. That’s all. You can call that “social democracy” if you will, but it’s got nothing to do with socialism.

    Even so, such a model is not acceptable in the United States. I can’t foresee the future, but I cannot imagine anything short of cataclysmic social change ever persuading Americans to pay taxes and cede powers on that scale to governments, or to become dependent on them to that extent. Such a change would itself entail misery, mass murder, and cataclysmic destruction.

    “Free markets” are not a superstition, they are the only efficient way to organise an economy. Every abrogation made in them reduces that efficiency. Some such are nevertheless necessary, to moderate the effects of the Pareto Principle. There are strict limits to how far that can go, however, and the limits are defined by the society, its culture and values, not by some political maxim.

    You have resolutely refused to say what “socialism” is. Piffle. You know perfectly well what it is, but perhaps you’re thinking “softly, softly, catchee monkey”. A co-op factory here, jack up the taxes there, a bureaucracy rather than an effective Parliament, a nation (of 400K people) as a “social democracy”. There won’t be a revolution this time, comrade, we’ll just wake up one morning in the Workers’ Paradise.

    As we say in my country, pigs you will.

    What you might get would be what has happened at every attempt to impose socialism on a people. A brutal hellhole, a mountain of corpses, a gulag archipelago, an utterly dysfunctional economy that is incapable even of distrbuting hardship equably. Be damned to that. Over my dead body.

  12. Michael Fugate

    Show me a single free market – I have yet to see one.

  13. Dave Luckett

    No. As I already remarked, some regulation and amelioration of free markets must be applied to prevent the worst effects of the Pareto Principle. There are completely free markets, in fact, but they are “black” and illicit, and they do demonstrate the operation of that principle. Sill, something like EBay comes close, as do the international gold and oil markets. So does the art market.

  14. @DaveL: fortunately I’m out of Bizarro Land again. I point to a few facts, you call it coy fan-dancing. Creacrap method.
    Let me see if you actually present some facts too – that’s what I asked for after all. My expectation is low.

    “Iceland, while democratic, is not socialist.”
    Ah, we turn to semantics. Congratulations, you lost me already with this first sentence; no need to read any further. From here things can get only worse. Sure enough you end up with meaningless rhetorics, your favourite approach to politics, history and economy.
    Fact remains that Iceland’s politics would be more radical left than the program of Bernie Sanders and AOC. According to our dear SC that is socialism. So take it up with him (but of course you won’t). Income taxes in Iceland are over 46%; you yourself called that socialism (“taking away money from you and giving it to others for free” – Iceland has an excellent security system), so you’re intellectually dishonest too. Call me unsurprised.
    Discussing definitions with the goal to downplay inconvenient facts is cheap and silly. It’s comforting that I can keep on not taking you seriously. Because you’ll never let facts get in the way.

    @MichaelF: indeed. Wall Street is stricter regulated than Euronext Amsterdam. Then it’s suddenly “free market doesn’t mean lawlessness”. In the minds of conservatives like our dear SC and DaveL socialism only means “every tax, every law, every restriction and every candidate I don’t like at any given moment for whatever reason.” Creationists use the term “evolution” in exactly the same way.

  15. Iceland has an excellent Social Security System.

  16. Dave Luckett

    I don’t know if this is the case in Dutch – apparently not – but in English, words have meanings.

    DaveL, then you should immediately stop your habit of making words like socialism meaningless with your silly rants. But of course you won’t for the reasons I already gave.
    The word socialist means in Dutch exactly the same as in English. I took this definition from Merriam-Webster:

    “it refers to a system of social organization in which private property and the distribution of income are subject to social control.”
    Instead of “private property” it’s better to use “usage of production means”. Even the Soviet-Union allowed private property of say furniture.
    Iceland perfectly fits this definition.

    “but the conception of that control has varied, and the term has been interpreted in widely diverging ways.”
    To keep things simple we can distinguish three versions (based on their historical roots). I think I’ve explained this before, but apparently you need your memory to be refreshed.

    1. anarchism – direct control of production means by the people;
    2. state socialism – direct governmental control of production means (British Labour has strong tendencies in this direction and so has Dutch SP);
    3. social-democracy – indirect governmental control of production means.

    Bernie Sanders and AOC are social-democrats. Iceland is a social-democratic country. I don’t know about Australian Labor. They all favour a strong social security system (typical that you refuse to address this fact). According the definition I took over from M-R Iceland is a socialist country. But hey, if you prefer to call it social-democratic it’s fine with me. The facts remain the same; that’s the funny thing with semantics.
    Green (or ecological) politicians tend to be socialists. An example of green-right is former Dutch political leader Ed Nijpels; he’s a liberal (ie free market and small government advocate).

    Also thanks for confirming that you won’t take it up with our dear SC. Human tribalism is so predictable.

  18. Dave Luckett

    FrankB: You have not previously, to my knowledge, stated the definition you are using of “socialism”. Now that it has been dragged from you, I will accept it for the nonce. Under it, any intervention in the market or the means of production by government or social convention or cultural expectation or any other factor allowed by the society, amounts to socialism.

    Very well. As I have clearly said, I favour such interventions where they ameliorate the Pareto Principle, and for the purposes of ensuring marketable quality and avoidance of hazard, fraud or misrepresentation, and possibly for other laudable purposes. I am aware – strongly so – that unbridled laissez-faire capitalism, Randism or anything approaching it, produces inequity and injustice on an intolerable scale, no matter how efficient the resulting economy might be.

    I advocate strong social benefits, am willing to pay the necessary taxes for them, and would be willing to pay more. I have voted Labor (notice: no “u”) in Australia in every election since 1972, and Labor is indeed a social democratic party. So, comrade, by your definition, I am a socialist too.

    Still, it’s only fair to say that normally I do not use your definition. I use this one: “a political and economic theory of social organization which advocates that the means of production, distribution, and exchange should be owned by the community as a whole”. The history of attempting to bring that to reality has been ghastly and ferocious and murderous beyond description. I am glad to understand, inter alia, that you do not support it either.

    What do you want me to take up with our dear SC? Better yet, what have I written that indicates to you that I won’t take whatever it is up with him, if I see it as a point of contention?

  19. It’s difficult to understand why we devote so much time to debating simple economics. At one extreme we would have an economy run by people like Fidel Castro, where the state owns everything and private economic activity is illegal. The opposite is an economy like the US has, with laws that protect the freedom and property rights of people like Steve Jobs — and everyone else. The US has an increasing amount of welfare programs, but it still has a vigorous free enterprise economy.

    Dave Luckett is correct when he says that Iceland isn’t a socialist country. Yes, they have a lot of welfare programs, but they do indeed have a system of free enterprise. The same can be said of the US and the UK. The socialism desired by tyrannical maniacs like Sanders, A.O.C., and the others who support Biden would be pure hell — nothing like the “socialism” in the Scandinavian countries.

  20. Michael Fugate

    So it is all or none? If there is one private business it isn’t socialism? Good to know.

  21. And if there’s one government highway, then it is socialism? Also good to know.

  22. Dave Luckett

    Michael Fugate: No, it is not all or none. There is no such thing as an absolute, in any human pursuit, any human activity. It is a question of how much. Lenin instituted the New Economic Policies. Was that enough to make the Soviet Union a free enterprise economy? Hardly. Iceland has an extensive tax-funded pension, health and social benefit policy. Is that enough to make it a socialist economy? No, not in the face of a large private sector – not a fish stall here and there, but large-scale private companies and corporate businesses.

    Britain came closer when it “nationalised” (ie the State took over) the coal and steel industries and the railways, but although those were important strides towards socialism, there was still a large private sector, and Britain was never really a socialist economy.

    In fact, it is reasonable to doubt that any truly socialist economy ever really existed – at least, beyond the hunter-gatherer level of complexity. But the attempt to impose a general public ownership of the “means of production, distribution and exchange” has always been, in and of itself, a cause of misery, cruelty and death on a scale more or less precisely proportional to the attempt itself.

  23. Michael Fugate

    The GOP is calling everyone a socialist. If Iceland is not socialist, then I can’t see why the GOP is afraid of socialism. And just because you stick the word “free” in front of something doesn’t make it automatically free or good.

  24. I’d be surprised to hear the SC would think that a “social science” has indisputable answers, or, for that matter, clear questions.

  25. Michael Fugate

    I wonder what little Jimmy Tour thinks about this

  26. “The socialism desired by tyrannical maniacs like Sanders, A.O.C., and the others who support Biden would be pure hell — nothing like the “socialism” in the Scandinavian countries.”

    And “On the Origin of Species” led directly to Hitler, Stalin, and Pol Pot.