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Ear to the Ground

Intelligent Ruling on Intelligent Design

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Posted on Dec 20, 2005

It’s good to know that some of our judges are standing up to the fundamentalists. A federal judge in Pennsylvania ruled today that a public school district can’t require the inclusion of “intelligent design” in biology classes as an alternative to evolution. See story.

—Posted by Robert Scheer.

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By R. A. Earl, December 28, 2005 at 8:18 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Re #22 - Applause for Dr. Littleton’s prose.

“Absurd” is such a meaty word.

I’ve heard many people claim they’ve “read the Bible from cover to cover” but rarely do I encounter one who’s actually done so.

Frankly, I’ve tried on several occasions to get into that anthology but for the life of me I can’t get past the absurdity of even the first PARAGRAPH! But then I can’t read Tolkien or Lewis Carroll either… guess I’m just not into fantasy.

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By C. Scott Littleton, December 28, 2005 at 3:05 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Dear Mollie:

One question nobody’s yet raised: Who (or what) designed the designer?  Are we to assume that the creator, “intelligent desginer,” or whatever was sui generis?  I suppose that’s something fundamentalists of all stripes—Christian Moslem, Hindu, etc.—take on faith. But to take ANYTHING solely “on faith” is utterly absurd. Indeed, the whole concept of “faith” is absurd, IMHO, and has over the millinnia led to more human misery than all of the natural catastrophes we’ve suffered put together.

Let me add that if you choose not to read Darwin, you have no business whatsoever denigrating him. I’ve read the Bible from cover to cover, as well as the Koran, the Rig Veda, the Zoroastrian Avesta, most of the Buddhist sutras, and a host of other religous texts, and thus am entitled to criticize the fundamnetal absurdity of ALL traditional religious beliefs. But until you read “On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection,” your commnets on its contents cannot be taken seriously.

Finally, until you’ve familiarized yourself with with the range and diversity of the belief systems created by Homo religiosisover the millennia, you cannot make an objective evaluation of any one of them, including evangelical, fundamnetalist, Protestant Christianity.

Cheers,
Scott

C. Scott Littleton, Ph.D.
Professor Emeritus of Anthropology
Occidental College
Los Angeles, CA

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By R. A. Earl, December 27, 2005 at 7:56 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

First, re Molly #8, I too am truly sorry for the “lengthy comment” of your posting.

Molly ended her epistle in that posting by stating “After all, no matter what the proof, one still has to believe.”

I think that is about as succinct a summation of the fundamentalist thought process as I have ever encountered: Sweeping generalizations, unsupportable assumptions amplified by soaring rhetoric, all voiced in a manner carefully calculated to overpower, confound and obfuscate.

(Sorry… I had all these big words just lying about my desktop so I used them up. What I mean, of course, is Sorry, Molly, that is nonsense.)

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By Scott Morris, December 22, 2005 at 8:44 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Mollie,
I was exactly where you are not so long ago.
I was a believer for over 30 years and actually ran a couple of Christian bookstores for 12 years.
I felt the same way: “I know what I believe so it doesn’t matter.” When you’re in a place like that you are not teachable or reachable. It’s a fool’s errand to even try. I was able to walk away from the faith after many years of inner turmoil and struggle. I finally just let go and decided I wanted the truth whatever it was, so I started reading books I never would have allowed myself to read in the past. Eventually I woke up and saw the world for what it really is. It may not be pretty, but it’s real. I don’t wonder anymore why God allows Tsunamis that kill 300,000 (1/3 of them children). Or why there are birth defects, or terrible parasites like heartworms that kill little puppies. Nature has no feeling or compassion. It’s nothing personal; it’s just the way things work. There’s no intelligent designer directing it all in some grand play. All our miseries are not the result of a woman several thousand years ago being deceived by a talking snake. But you can’t hear me, that’s OK. Enjoy your dream.
Regards,
-Scott

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By C. M. Baxter, December 22, 2005 at 3:57 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Mollie:

I have no driving concern to make you understand anything, especially since you’re “ just not that interested.”  Teaching is a two-way proposition.  To be successful, a teacher needs a student who is willing to learn, to put some effort into understanding the subject being taught.  You’re obviously not willing to exert such effort.

Ray Mendez:  I think you’re right; we’ve gotten off on a tangent.

In Judge Jones’ 139 page decision he wrote: “It is ironic that several of these individuals, who so staunchly and proudly touted their religious convictions in public, would time and again lie to cover their tracks and disguise the real purpose behind the ID Policy.”  To describe the contemptible actions of those individuals, namely, school board members, Alan Bonsell and William Buckingham, as “ironic” makes the judge a kinder person than I.  I see their actions as not only hypocritical, but criminal and believe they should be charged with perjury.

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By Ray Mendez, December 22, 2005 at 8:11 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Mollie, honestly, I don’t know why people use the word evolution to describe the creation of life.  They really shouldn’t.  My guess is that, when one comes from a religious upbringing wherein the origins of life and the origins of species are the same, and this person is introduced to evolution, they intuitively conflate the two, though evolution only addresses the latter.

As for what everyone’s arguing about in the Intelligent Design case, it should be whether or not ID is scientific enough to be taught in a science class.  Everything else is outside the scope of the trial and besides the point.

And by “scientific enough” I mean it’s testable, peer reviewed, etc. etc.

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By Mollie, December 22, 2005 at 7:19 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

No, I have never read Darwin’s “Origin of Species,” and I probably never will—I’m just not that interested.  I know what I believe so it doesn’t matter.  So, you guys are just saying that Darwin explains the origin of species, not the origin of life?  What’s the difference?  “Life” includes that—do you not have an explanation for how “life” began?  I’m not trying to preach to anyone, I really am just curious as to what non-Creationist people believe….and Filip, you are sorely misguided if you think that man created God—yes, throughout the centuries man has created many gods, but not God.  But, if you don’t believe in God, then I might as well be talking to a post.  God created man (as well as Satan and his crew), man sinned b/c of Satan, and now we are imperfect, vile, evil beings…not how we started out, but that’s where “free will” comes in…God didn’t make us as robots, doing as He says and not being able to think on our own…He wanted us to be able to choose Him or reject Him, and obviously many more are rejecting than choosing…anyway, all you guys are doing is telling me where I am wrong…no one is answering my questions or giving me intelligent responses…if you want me to understand, you must teach….

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By Filip, December 21, 2005 at 4:37 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Reply to Comment by Mollie: “Genesis 1:27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.”
He is also the creater of the top 10 most evil people in history:

1. Tomas de Torquemada
2. Vlad Tepes
3. Adolph Hitler
4. Ivan the Terrible
5. Adolph Eichmann
6. Pol Pot
7. Mao Tse-tung
8. Idi Amin
9. Joseph Stalin
10. Genghis Khan

why would a perfect God create such an imperfect people? Oh, right,  God didn’t do the evil things it was Satan who made to do Evil things! But who created Satan/Lucifer/Evil? And why?
If God was an Engineer and he would design cars, just by looking at his top 10 worst design you wouldn’t even dream to buy one of his desinged cars. So why would an creater come up with such a flaw design?
The only real creater here is the men, he createt GOD.

SO Please tell me what is inteligent about this 10 people listed above?

Filip
Unitedfreethinkers.com

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By Scott Morris, December 21, 2005 at 4:36 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Mollie, I know you mean well…but.

“we are intellegent and beautiful beings—made in His image, remember?”

“In His image” If by that you mean we are vengeful, jealous, murderous, bigoted, jingoist misogynists, I would tend to agree.

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By C. M. Baxter, December 21, 2005 at 3:26 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Mollie:
You write, “I do not believe in Darwinism…,” then you write, “I am not saying that evolution has not, does not and will not exist…”  So, what are you saying?  Tell me, have you actually read Darwin’s Origin of Species?  If not, beware; it’s a long and often tedious work and will likely keep you dashing for the dictionary.  But within that magnificent tome can be found the greatest boon to the biological sciences ever written.  Moreover, Darwin’s thesis is in the title.  It’s the Origin of “Species,” not the Origin of “life.”

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By Mollie, December 21, 2005 at 2:44 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Okay, I am so very confused…if Darwin’s Theory of Evolution does not attempt to explain creation, then what the hell is everyone arguing about?  What does explain it, then, other than ID?  KansasLiberal, you seem knowledgeable, using big words like obfuscate, so why don’t you explain?  And in my earlier comment, I meant Bang, not Bag—typo.

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By Mollie, December 21, 2005 at 2:25 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Is not the theory of evolution and Darwinism the same thing, basically?  Let me correct that, then, for those who are confused, and say the Big Bag Theory—that is a load of crap, I must say.  I know nothing of this abiogenesis, Ray—I’m not saying I am a scientist, by any means, but I have a lot of common sense.  If evolution is not the right word, why is it used to describe how we were created?

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By KansasLiberal, December 21, 2005 at 2:18 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Mollie, Mollie, Mollie, Mollie, Mollie!  For the umpteenth thousanth time—Darwin’s Theory of Evolution does not attempt to, nor even discuss in any meaningful way, the creation of life!  This is the tritest, silliest ploy used by the fundies to obfuscate the issue.  No one with a grain of useful intllect thinks otherwise.

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By Daniel Fyffe, December 21, 2005 at 10:24 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

May we now address the tremendous failure of education where eighty years after the Scopes “Monkey trial” and according to The Washington Post:  “Most polls show that 40 to 55 percent of Americans favor a strict biblical creationist view of evolution.”
Science and spirituality can co-exist quite famously as in Einsteins belief that God doesn’t play games. However, science and strict interpretation of the Bible in which the earth was created less than six thousand years ago hardly explains the Universe in its simple offering of how earth was created with a snooze, a siesta and a nap on the sevent day.

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By Ray Mendez, December 21, 2005 at 9:34 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I thought evolution was about how organisms change, not how they started out.  Mollie, I think when you say evolution, you’re talking about abiogenesis, a different field of study.

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By Mollie, December 21, 2005 at 8:02 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I’d first like to say I am sorry for the lengthy comment I have posted—it did not start out this way.  Having said that….I do not believe in Darwinism and there are many others who do not, as well.  Science cannot be used to prove Creation—there is no way one can absolutely prove that we evolved over millions of years from single-celled organisms to the complex, intelligent creatures we are today.  I am sorry, but I was not an accident crawling from the depths of some pre-historic swamp; I was created for a purpose by Someone who cares.  I am not saying that evolution has not, does not, and will not exist, b/c we are evolving every day, but that alone is not how life came to be.  Some things in life require faith, and if one is ignorant enough to assume that s/he has the answers to all just b/c of science, then I feel sorry for the obvious narrow-mindedness of that person.  Scientists are bright, amazing people, some of the smartest and most forward-thinking; but we must not let science make us feel invincible and omnipotent, for we are not.  People should realize that there is a Higher Being than themselves; whether one believes or not makes no difference in His existence.  It is b/c of Him that we have free will, that we have the minds to actually choose and not just blindly follow, that we are intellegent and beautiful beings—made in His image, remember?  Maybe those who oppose Creationism are just afraid—afraid that their intellegence hangs in the balance, afraid that their theories may not be right, that their facts may not be straight, afraid to believe w/out seeing.  Do we so easily forget the once thought of theories about the atom, or the world being flat?  Science had much to learn then, and it does now; there is not even a cure for the common cold, so how can science say they have absolutely proven how the world was created?  Christians should not be seen as Bible-beaters trying to cram their faith down others’ throats or throwing fits when the very existence of their God is challenged.  Questions, tests, theories, hypotheses—these are all part of life, no matter what one believes, no matter if one is talking science or religion.  We should constantly be testing ourselves and our faiths, to either deepen our resolve or to change our minds about that which we believe to be true.  After all, no matter what the proof, one still has to believe.

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By Stephen Oliver, December 21, 2005 at 4:20 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

This has gone someway to restoring my faith in the United States as a sane, rational nation which believes in it’s constitution. In the UK, where I live, Tony Blair is determined to pass responsibility for public education to creationist business men.
In a further attempt at expansion, at least the parents at the school to be affected where able to stop the process. No thanks to New Labour politicians.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/weekend/story/0,,1389500,00.html

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By YankInOz, December 20, 2005 at 10:43 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“Judge Jones’ description of the (former) Dover school board’s science curriculum policy as “breathtaking inanity” should go down in history!”

It will, it is now part of the public record!
smile

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By Rick, December 20, 2005 at 10:36 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

What’s even more hopeful is that judge Jones is a Bush appointee…

The ID case is that weak.

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By Rick, December 20, 2005 at 10:33 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I just blogged on this—

From the opinion:
  “We have concluded that it is not [science], and moreover that ID cannot uncouple itself from its creationist, and thus religious, antecedents,” Jones writes in his 139-page opinion posted on the court’s Web site. (Opinion, pdf)

  “To be sure, Darwin’s theory of evolution is imperfect. However, the fact that a scientific theory cannot yet render an explanation on every point should not be used as a pretext to thrust an untestable alternative hypothesis grounded in religion into the science classroom or to misrepresent well-established scientific propositions,” Jones writes.

Maybe we can finally keep belief where it belongs: in Sunday school—and science where it belongs: in science class.

I don’t hold out much hope however—a large portion of our populace believes the earth is less than 10,000 years old

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By Scott Morris, December 20, 2005 at 6:56 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

INTELLIGENT DESIGN
Even if they win, they lose.

Intelligently designed:

Predation
Tapeworms
Malaria
Smallpox
River Blindness
Polio
Cancer
HIV
Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis
Multiple Sclerosis
Muscular Dystrophy
Spinabiffida
Cystic Fibrosis
Anacephalic babies
Yersinia pestis / Yersinia pestis
Necrotizing Fasciitis / Flesh Eating Bacteria

11 And Jehovah said unto him, Who hath made man’s mouth? Or who maketh a man dumb, or deaf, or seeing, or blind? Is it not I, Jehovah?

— Ex 4:11 ASV (Public Domain Translation).

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By Filip, December 20, 2005 at 4:44 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

How UnIntelligent is the design.
“God has created men is his image.”
How imperfect must God be, because from the day i was born, I was thought to search for perfection and and I am not even close to be perfect. Now complicated YES but Intelligent…
I just don’t see it.

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By C. M. Baxter, December 20, 2005 at 2:39 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Judge Jones’ description of the (former) Dover school board’s science curriculum policy as “breathtaking inanity” should go down in history!

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