Right Thinking From The Left Coast
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School of Thought
by Lee

It seems that all is not lost in North Dakota.

Students in North Dakota debating programs have been banned from broaching the topic of intelligent design.

“We’re doing this because we don’t want to exclude any students from public forum debate at state,” said Robert Hetler of the North Dakota High School Activities Association. “Some schools were afraid parents wouldn’t allow their kids to do this one.”

He added, “Not to mention that we didn’t want to appear like a bunch of drooling, applesauce-slurping, banjo-playing hillbillies who are laughed at by everyone else in the world for our self-inforced scientific ignorance.”

Update: In a devastating blow to the anti-ID message, InsipiD pointed out that I posted a typographical error above by misspelling the word “enforced.” How I will be able to recover from this body blow I have yet to reckon.

Posted by Lee on 12/29/05 at 04:29 PM (Discuss this in the forums)

Comments


Posted by on 12/29/05 at 05:41 PM from United States

Lee, I think the horse died about 6 months ago.

Posted by InsipiD on 12/29/05 at 06:05 PM from United States

self-inforced scientific ignorance

Which doesn’t seem as silly as self-enforced ignorance of spelling.

Posted by Lee on 12/29/05 at 06:36 PM from United States

Which doesn’t seem as silly as self-enforced ignorance of spelling.

There are almost 9,000 posts on this blog.  The instances where I spell a word incorrectly are few and far between.  The fact that you even felt the need to point this out shows just how weak and tenuous the whole ID argument is.

Lee, I think the horse died about 6 months ago.

Perhaps for you, Dirk.  But as long as the fundamentalists continue their push to force this pseudo-scientific drivel into science classrooms then I will be more than willing to mock it and point out exactly what I think of it and the people who believe it.

Posted by chrisbg99 on 12/29/05 at 06:54 PM from United States

I dunno, I think debate is all well and good concerning the subject but I do agree it shouldn’t be taught as a counterpoint to evolution in a science class.

Posted by Poosh on 12/29/05 at 07:03 PM from United Kingdom

The fact that you even felt the need to point this out shows just how weak and tenuous the whole ID argument is.

logic’s really taking a beating today…

Posted by on 12/29/05 at 07:12 PM from Canada

I thought it was your position that people can believe in intelligent design, but that its fundamentally not science?  Which I agree with, but why the hell would you agree with debate on the subject being stiffled in DEBATE classes!?  Its left, right and center in the news.  Seems like a perfectly legitimate debate topic to me.  Its like banning debate on radical Islam because it “breaches the separation of church and state”.  Which is retarded.

Posted by Drumwaster on 12/29/05 at 07:32 PM from United States

No, it’s because you would put them in the position of having to debate religion, most of which have their core themes based entirely in unprovable “faith”, and that cannot be properly debated in a taxpayer-funded institution, not least of which was because there is no legal way to judge between religions, which is why our Constitution specifically forbids it.

When you have some Catholics saying that ID is not Science, and some Baptists saying that it is, who is right? And on what basis?

You could also put a child in a position of arguing against his religious beliefs (debaters are required to be able to argue either side of the issue, since there is no way to know which way they must argue until just before the actual debate begins). When the circuit came to my school, we flipped a coin for first round and alternated through all four of the prelim rounds, and flipped a coin for each of the elimination rounds, which guaranteed that each team/individual must argue each side at least twice.

Posted by on 12/29/05 at 07:41 PM from Canada

Ah, I just realised they were talking about High School and not University.  But I used to debate much more controversial things in classes that weren’t even debate class.  I guess there might be slightly different rules since I live in Canada, but hell, we had this course called “Theory of Knowledge” where we were studying the Bible “in a literary sense” and our teacher tried to tell us that the Bible didn’t specify whether God was a man or a woman.  I don’t think it was a formal debate that started, more of an argument.  Well, I’m done telling stories.  Time to drink.

Posted by SlimyBill on 12/29/05 at 08:24 PM from United States

Students in North Dakota debating programs have been banned from broaching the topic of intelligent design.

Odd to see self-labeled Libertarians like Lee and Drummie applaud this, isn’t it?  I especially enjoy Drum’s opening line:

No, it’s because you would put them in the position of having to debate religion

Golly jeepers. Putting high schoolers into the position of having to reason through and state their opinion on the origins of life is just too horrible to contemplate.

I’m really glad the Libertarians are here to protect Liberty by restricting the expression of ideas. Looks like they’ve invented themselves a Hate Crime.

Woohoo.

Posted by Nethicus on 12/29/05 at 08:28 PM from United States

I agree with Drum here.  Debate teams have to be able to argue both sides of an issue.  And to have someone argue against their core beliefs is somewhat silly.  Especially on such a nebulous and proof-poor idea as Intelligent Design.

Posted by on 12/29/05 at 08:37 PM from United States

*shrug* I’ve seen people try to argue for gun control too. I’m not sure this is a great idea, pre-emptively banning ID; let them try and debate it and get smoked repeatedly.

--TR

Posted by on 12/29/05 at 09:03 PM from United States

Does it really take more than 20 minutes to describe this entire controvsersy to 8th graders? Do that for 20 minutes, then teach them physics, science, math, and English for the rest of the school year. I really don’t understand the outrage on this.

Well, maybe I do understand. At least in California, every single political issue is all about fake outrage—people saying “hey, look at all the people who might look outraged like how we look outraged!!!”.  Everything is a huge virtue contest.

Posted by West Virginia Rebel on 12/29/05 at 09:17 PM from United States

I’d like to see the ID debate team: “Bibles...check! Flat Earth map...check! Alchemy set to prove that the Earth is only 6,000 years old...check! Oh, yeah, we’re gonna kick those aethists’ butts!”

Posted by Aaron - Free Will on 12/29/05 at 09:53 PM from United States

“Oh, yeah, we’re gonna kick those aethists’ butts!”

One of the high points of my television-viewing career was Larry King’s special on Death, where a rabbi, an evangelical pastor, an imam, a catholic priest, new age hippy spiritualist, and the President of American Atheists (a dippy blond) were all discussing views on what happens when you die after the Terri Schiavo thing.

The question came up of whether or not Jesus was divine. All the guests gave their views, then it came to <a href="http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0504/14/lkl.01.html">the Atheist’s turn to speak</a>:

“Well, I’m here to give the reality point of view, I guess. Because the reality is there is not one shred of secular evidence there ever was a Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ and Christianity is a modern religion. And Jesus Christ is a compilation from other Gods: Horas, Mithra, who had the same origins, the same death as the mythological Jesus Christ.”

Yes, she said “mythological”: She couldn’t even distinguish God and the temporal Jesus Christ, and apparently believed that Christ’s teachings were some kind of hoax that went too far, like all his contemporary followers who went forth and *converted the Roman Empire* just made it up for fun.

Every other guest looks at her, absolutely stunned at what a complete moron they’re sharing a room with, and they immediately cut to a commercial break.

Posted by Drumwaster on 12/29/05 at 09:58 PM from United States

I’m really glad the Libertarians are here to protect Liberty by restricting the expression of ideas.

Not at all. Just not forcing the kids to argue agaionst their own - or any other - religion on the taxpayers dime. If the kids wanna argue them out on their own time, that’s perfectly okay. I remember some extraordinarily heated arguments behind the scenes by my fellow debaters about some VERY contentious issues (including one still-remembered one regarding the then-fairly-recent Roe v. Wade), but those were not the tournament-assigned topics.

And rightfully so. Religion does not belong in any public school any more than Geometry and P.E. belongs in church.

(And what makes you think I want to be “Libertarian”? The very notion of ‘Libertarian’ defies getting organized enough to matter (almost as bad as Anachists)…

Posted by Drumwaster on 12/29/05 at 10:04 PM from United States

Does it really take more than 20 minutes to describe this entire controvsersy to 8th graders?

It only takes fifteen minutes to consecrate them into the Church of Satan, and they’re good for all of eternity. That sound okay to you?

Posted by on 12/29/05 at 10:14 PM from United States

Wow.  You guys are obviously not up-to-date with the modern high-school community.  You probably don’t even know what Public Forum Debate is.  And ID makes for a very interesting PFD topic.  The topic is written and approved by the National Forensic League.  By opting out of the topic that was agreed on for a one-month period (that’s how long PFD topics last) they simply ensure that their students don’t get to debate what the rest of the nation is debating. 

I personally can’t think of a single reason why a parent should keep their child from debating simply because of that month’s topic.  It doesn’t make any sense.

Lee, I can understand your not wanting ID to be taught in schools as science.  But this is the kind of forum in which its legitimacy can be established.  The simple fact that the debate over it has continued this long proves its ablility to provide a good month’s worth of debate material (that’s four or five possible tournaments) for high schoolers.  Your desire to eliminate all discussion about it simply because you disagree with the theory is going a little bit too far.  Let the kids who want to debate learn about and debate both sides of the issue.  It’s a legitimate political issue, seeing as how it’s been in the rhetoric for so long, so it simply makes sense for debaters to learn about and debate both sides of this controversial issue. 

For those kids who don’t want to debate it, there are multiple options for them.  They can compete in Cross-x, extemp (domestic or foreign), Lincoln-Douglas, or a whole host of other debate and forensics events.  But opting out of the national debate topic as a state is pretty ludicrous and just deprives the students of North Dakota of an increase in the breadth of education.  Now they’ll be debating another topic for a longer period of time, just tiring out the debate sooner.

Lee, much love, brother, but, sometimes, it seems like you’re drinking the kool-aid on this issue.  Anytime anyone says the phrase “intellegent design,” you come out against it.

Posted by on 12/29/05 at 10:19 PM from United States

OT:
Been gone on vay-kay for a week, away from my computer and thought I would pop a question:
Lee, have you done a post about Q.T.’s movie coming out: Hostile?
Been seeing adverts for it ALL Christmas.
Must Hollywood now keep digging their hole deeper and start making snuff movies similar to Islamic terrorist scum? Oh… it’s just a movie. There seems to be more at work here.

Posted by Aaron - Free Will on 12/29/05 at 10:19 PM from United States

Just not forcing the kids to argue agaionst their own - or any other - religion on the taxpayers dime.

That’s, er, not terribly pro-intellect on your part, Drum. No offense, but Aristotle is the one who said that the mark of the intelligent mind is to be able to entertain an idea without believing it.

These are *exactly* the kind of conversations schools ought to be teaching students to be able to engage in as a practical exercise in critical thinking. I’m not sure why anyone would be opposed to such a debate unless they’re simply opposed to having a subject discussed (intelligently or otherwise) *at all*.

Posted by Drumwaster on 12/29/05 at 10:20 PM from United States

It shouldn’t be debated on the public dime, for exactly the same reasons that Creationism shouldn’t be.

Posted by West Virginia Rebel on 12/29/05 at 10:23 PM from United States

The problem is, when it comes to creationist junk science, it’s impossible to have an intelligent debate.

Posted by Aaron - Free Will on 12/29/05 at 10:24 PM from United States

It shouldn’t be debated on the public dime, for exactly the same reasons that Creationism shouldn’t be.

Uh, why?

“Debate” is not forcing someone to believe one side or another of an issue, merely understand and argue it. The Constitution plainly says that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”

A neutral, rational debate has absolutely no bearing on either. It is, like any other matter of logic, reason, fact or theory fair game for intellectual, academic and scholarly debate.

If you want to argue that public schools are incapable of performing their mission of fostering intellectual, academic and scholarly development, I’d be inclined to agree, but that is neither here nor there.

Posted by Aaron - Free Will on 12/29/05 at 10:25 PM from United States

The problem is, when it comes to creationist junk science, it’s impossible to have an intelligent debate.

Well, that’s a well thought-out response, and I find your evidence damning.

That said, several millenia of people smarter than either of us are inclined to disagree: They’ve been debating which ideas are “junk” since the beginning of time.

Posted by Aaron - Free Will on 12/29/05 at 10:30 PM from United States

For bonus points: The Legal Affairs Debate Club debates the question ”Is Teaching Intelligent Design Illegal?

Posted by Drumwaster on 12/29/05 at 10:36 PM from United States

They’ve been debating which ideas are “junk” since the beginning of time.

But not on taxpayer funds.

As I pointed out, I took place in several such informal debates, late-night bull session, arguing between rounds, whatever, whenever.

But as part of the school-sanctioned debate tournament process, wherein that work cannot be objectively judged (unlike athletic contests, the judge’s opinion of the issue WILL affect how he perceives the issues).

Besides, there is not a religion on the planet that - when debated pro and con - would soon devolve into nothing more than traded Appeals to Authority (which is where the judge’s opinions come in). That’s not debate, I don’t care how you postulate it.

Posted by Drumwaster on 12/29/05 at 10:39 PM from United States

For bonus points: The Legal Affairs Debate Club debates the question “Is Teaching Intelligent Design Illegal?”

It’s not whether the mere teaching of it is illegal, it’s where it should be taught.

No one would mind if it were taught in Philosophy or Comparative Religions.

Just not in Science classrooms.

Posted by on 12/29/05 at 10:40 PM from United States

The PFD topic lasts only for the month of January, and reads as follows: “Resolved: In the United States, public high school science curriculum should include the study of the Theory of Intelligent Design.”

Wow.  Yeah, let’s not let high school kids discuss this, because only adults separated from the public school system should be able to.  It’s a legitimate issue.  Debates about the boundaries of the separation of church state do not cross the divide of that separation.  Allowing kids to debate about this topic is completely legitimate.  Let them argue the pros and cons for a month.

Posted by Aaron - Free Will on 12/29/05 at 10:45 PM from United States

But not on taxpayer funds.

Which brings me back to my closing point: If you want to argue that public schools cannot ethically serve as true academic institutions, I wouldn’t be able to contest that point, and would even be inclined to agree.

That, however, is a seperate debate: Schools, public or not, *are* expected to fulfil that role, whether it is politically ethical for them to do so or not.

No debate student is going to believe or disbelieve a religious doctrine because he won or lost a debate on it, and that argument depends entirely upon the assumption of mental and emotional frailty on the part of the debaters: It is an appeal to emotion and political correctness, that it is somehow wrong to create an environment that might ask students to *think* about a touchy subject. This is a non-point, since the purpose of education is to resolve any such frailties and equip students to confront the world on an intellectual level.

(That public schools fail spectacularly at this is and churn out year after year of bumbling dunderheads who can barely make change without a cash register is, nevermind contemplate the divine, is, again, not the point.)

Besides, there is not a religion on the planet that - when debated pro and con - would soon devolve into nothing more than traded Appeals to Authority (which is where the judge’s opinions come in). That’s not debate, I don’t care how you postulate it.

Except that debating evolution vs. intelligent design is not one religion versus another, it’s debating the belief in the existence of an unseen, potentially divine hand in the universe or the lack thereof. In an even marginally competent academic environment, this is simply not a matter of an appeal to religious authority, even if many proponents of the idea have religious motives.

Posted by Drumwaster on 12/29/05 at 10:45 PM from United States

Resolved: In the United States, public high school science curriculum should include the study of the Theory of Intelligent Design.

But that’s not debating ID. That’s debating the appropriatenmess of certain topics for the curricula, without necessarily arguing the actual validity of that topic.

Like I said, I have no problem with it being taught, just not in the science classroom, and you can even bring up the fact that ID is religiously-based as supporting evidence as to why not, without necessarily arguing the rightness/wrongness of any given religion or its relation to ID.

But arguing ID itself? No farkin’ way…

Posted by dakrat on 12/29/05 at 10:49 PM from United States

Alrighty then eh?  We have finally come to a topic that I am an unequivocal expert of sorts. 

I was born and raised in small town ND.  I was born and raised in Tioga, ND. 

Tioga, ND is a very small town that has a population of around 1,100 at the time I graduated high school.  The busiest intersection is a four-way stop sign at Main ST and 2nd ST.

My graduating class had about 35 people total.  My biology teacher was married to the Accounting teacher.  The two English teachers were also married.  We had prayers at the beginning of every football game.  We had prayers at graduation.  All the Christmas programs had Silent Night, etc. 

Never once did I hear about ID or Creationism in my high school Curriculum.  It’s not like I lived in some small town bastion of liberal thought either.

I have been exorcised.  For the demons that made me smoke dope. 

My parents weren’t religious, but my best friend’s parents were...She begged me to go to the bible camp with her so she wouldn’t have to go through it alone again. 

Even still, in my stupid little redneck town...there was no mention of such unscientific things as ID mentioned in our schools.  We learned real science and real math.

Drumwaster can testify that I am cogent enough to disprove his own 1=2 proof. 

Many people I encounter actually ask me.."Do you have any paved roads?” “Do the Indians still attack your villages?”

Actually ND has one of the best school systems in the world.  I won 5th place in the math competitions while I was in 10th grade.

Posted by Aaron - Free Will on 12/29/05 at 10:50 PM from United States

No one would mind if it were taught in Philosophy or Comparative Religions. Just not in Science classrooms.

You realize that we’re talking about merely *arguing it* in Debate Club here, and you’re still opposed, right? Does “no one would mind” mean “except for Drumwaster”?

By the way, you mentioned that the judges can’t *help* but let their personal views skew their decisions, and that, itself, is another appeal to the assumed frailty of the human mind. John Adams himself served as the defense attorney for the British soldiers of the Boston Massacre, and used his fairness and ability to form a cogent and compelling argument in spite of his loathing for the British cause as a key point of his later successful Presidential campaign.

People aren’t stupid. Just certain persons.

Posted by on 12/29/05 at 10:52 PM from United States

But that’s not debating ID. That’s debating the appropriatenmess of certain topics for the curricula, without necessarily arguing the actual validity of that topic.

Like I said, I have no problem with it being taught, just not in the science classroom, and you can even bring up the fact that ID is religiously-based as supporting evidence as to why not, without necessarily arguing the rightness/wrongness of any given religion or its relation to ID.

But arguing ID itself? No farkin’ way…

Then you should agree that ND opting out of the topic entirely is a pretty knee-jerk reaction and probably the wrong way to go.  The topic isn’t to debate ID’s legitimacy, it’s to debate its appropriateness in the curriculum.

Posted by Drumwaster on 12/29/05 at 11:01 PM from United States

it’s debating the belief in the existence of an unseen, potentially divine hand in the universe or the lack thereof.

EXACTLY! That’s religion, and debating religion in public schools should not be happening.

this is simply not a matter of an appeal to religious authority, even if many proponents of the idea have religious motives.

It is entirely an appeal to authority, and (as you state) a religious one, and for precisely the reason you give - that “many proponents of the idea have religious motives”.

The only difference I’ve seen between evolution and ID is the addition of some overarching Intelligent Agent tweaking all the DNA, but never actually specifying that Agent. The simple inclusion of that Agent is why it is religion.

Most arguments in favor are that the Agent isn’t really God, because He isn’t omnipotent.

How do they know? Who is the as-yet-unidentified Agent, and how do we know He isn’t omnipotent? And why does everybody think that a God HAS to be omnipotent? What if this agent is only an archangel, reporting back to higher authority (which still makes it a religion, even if the4 agent is not a God itself)?

Differences are of degree, not type.

Posted by on 12/29/05 at 11:02 PM from United States

Lee, it is outrageous that any idea or issue be forbiden from a debate “program”; and before you start, they could debate the merits of national socialism for all I care.

Posted by Drumwaster on 12/29/05 at 11:04 PM from United States

Then you should agree that ND opting out of the topic entirely is a pretty knee-jerk reaction and probably the wrong way to go.

Not without know how the phrasing went…

Debating a curriculum is okay, arguing religion is not.

And ID is religious.

Drumwaster can testify that I am cogent enough to disprove his own 1=2 proof.

Better be careful, sally would call me a liar again. ;-)

Posted by dakrat on 12/29/05 at 11:10 PM from United States

Better be careful, sally would call me a liar again. ;-)

Oh BALLS!  That twit has all of the attention span as a ferret at a disco ball factory…

/private joke....

Posted by Lee on 12/29/05 at 11:10 PM from United States

Lee, it is outrageous that any idea or issue be forbiden from a debate “program”; and before you start, they could debate the merits of national socialism for all I care.

I’m not inherently against debating ID in school.  I mean, it’s not like there’s any real merit to the ID argument, it would be pretty easy for the non-ID side to demolish the other.  The point is that the state knew that some parents would object to their children taking part in a debate over as contentious an issue as this, and they rightly decided to avoid the whole can of worms altogether.  But I agree with your point, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with debating controversial issues in and of itself, only that the hysteria that the Christian fundamentalists place in this issue would have caused the debate to take on a whole public policy/political aspect that would have obscured what should have been an otherwise normal debate over an interesting issue.

North Dakota debate teams discussing illegal immigration isn’t going to raise any eyebrows.  If they were debating ID, however, the same rabid religious lunatics who funded the team of lawyers who brought the ID lawsuit in Pennsylvania would have made it front-page national news.

Posted by Drumwaster on 12/29/05 at 11:13 PM from United States

they could debate the merits of national socialism for all I care.

I remember one debate where we did. But that’s not religion, despite the quasi-religious fervor displayed by some of its proponents....

Posted by Lee on 12/29/05 at 11:15 PM from United States

Allow me to give an example.  Imagine a well-groomed, high-priced lawyer, standing outside the debate hall, speaking to a throng of news cameras.

“This just shows the utter hypocrisy of the educational establishment in America.  Oh sure, they’ll let ID be discussed in school when it’s convenient for them, like tonight, where they can attempt to somehow disprove it.  But at the very same time they’ll state that ID has no place in school, when all we want to do is have an open, honest debate about it in science class.  Well, I tell you, this simply is not right.  First thing tomorrow my office will be filing a lawsuit to get ID admitted into the North Dakota science curriculum.  Obviously North Dakota has no problem with ID in school in one context, so why shouldn’t it be allowed in school in another?”

If it wasn’t for the rabid, frothing hysteria of the fundamentalists I would think that a debate class would be the ideal forum for a discussion of ID.  But if there’s one thing you can always count on, it’s the total irrationality of religios fundamentalists, and their never-ending supply of well-financed lawyers who will explore any avenue to get this idiocy admitted into a school science curriculum somewhere.

Posted by Aaron - Free Will on 12/29/05 at 11:16 PM from United States

EXACTLY! That’s religion, and debating religion in public schools should not be happening.

No, it isn’t: No “religion” is being debated, merely whether it is even possible for any religion at all to be right.

You have not submitted any reason that this “should not be happening”, you merely seem to keep stating it as fact.

It is entirely an appeal to authority, and (as you state) a religious one, and for precisely the reason you give - that “many proponents of the idea have religious motives”.

Huh? Many proponents of that crazy “Constitution” have pro-life motives, but to believe that the Constitution should be interpreted as written is not inherently to debate abortion.

The only difference I’ve seen between evolution and ID is the addition of some overarching Intelligent Agent tweaking all the DNA, but never actually specifying that Agent. The simple inclusion of that Agent is why it is religion.

In all seriousness, the “agent” could as well be space aliens. Or being from another dimensions. Or elves. That is why it is not a debate of religion: No religion would be proven or disproven by arguing ID.

Differences are of degree, not type.

They also all seem to have absolutely nothing to do with the subject at hand.

Again, please submit a logical reason that an ostensible institution of learning should forbid students from arguing a key controversial issue of the day *in a program that is specifically designed to encourage interested, volunteer students to debate and think critically about difficult issues* simply because it grazes upon religion (even though said debate does not favor or oppose any particular faith).

Please keep it under 200 words, though.

Posted by Drumwaster on 12/29/05 at 11:20 PM from United States

By the way, you mentioned that the judges can’t *help* but let their personal views skew their decisions, and that, itself, is another appeal to the assumed frailty of the human mind.

There’s a difference between arguing the validity of slavery as an issue without bringing religion into it.

But when the only argument involved requires acceptance of certain basic premises not involved with the issue at hand, and assigning values to the authorities cited (the basis of judging), you cannot ask a judge to be objective, which is why the First Amendment prohibits the government from even trying.

If a judge were to be forced to decide whether the Catholic Church (and its teachings) or the Protestant Church (and its teachings) was more correct, would that be okay with all of you? Why or why not?

This is not an issue of which would be more beneficial, but which one was “right”, and that is something in which the government (the schools have long since been defined as an instrument of the state) should never be involved.

Posted by chrisbg99 on 12/29/05 at 11:21 PM from United States

dakrat and I share something in common. Both coming from small North Dakota towns (mine being Hannaford ND).

I also lived in a place with a lot of religious types I was never taught ID anywhere but in church. Well there was one of my history teachers who was rather religious but I never felt like he forced it down our throats.

Posted by Aaron - Free Will on 12/29/05 at 11:24 PM from United States

I’m not inherently against debating ID in school.  I mean, it’s not like there’s any real merit to the ID argument, it would be pretty easy for the non-ID side to demolish the other.

It’s complicated enough that the question is recommended by the National Forensic League. Thank you, Mister Needlessly Dismissive.

I remember one debate where we did. But that’s not religion, despite the quasi-religious fervor displayed by some of its proponents....

...so, basically you’re arguing that religion has a special magical aura that makes it radioactive for educational debate?

If it wasn’t for the rabid, frothing hysteria of the fundamentalists I would think that a debate class would be the ideal forum for a discussion of ID.  But if there’s one thing you can always count on, it’s the total irrationality of religios fundamentalists, and their never-ending supply of well-financed lawyers who will explore any avenue to get this idiocy admitted into a school science curriculum somewhere.

OK, this is a credible attempt at backing up the reasoning. Let’s have some more of this, if possible. As for this *particular* example, I really don’t see it as meritorious. Anybody can see the distinction, here, and more importantly, just because some whackos have an attorney is not a basis for making decisions about how we govern our society.

Indeed, as libertarian-leaning conservatives, virtually everyone on this blog has spent weeks out of their lives heckling people for doing exactly that: Making ludicrously PC decisions in order to avoid controversy from the strongarm bullying of, for example, the ACLU. To argue that we *should* submit when ID is involved is rather convenient.

Posted by Drumwaster on 12/29/05 at 11:27 PM from United States

No “religion” is being debated, merely whether it is even possible for any religion at all to be right.

The moment you start arguing the merits of ID, you involve religion. You can argue whether it should be taught without arguing its merits, but you cannot argue the merits without involving a religious argument.

In all seriousness, the “agent” could as well be space aliens.

Entirely possible. Why don’t they say that? Oh, wait, those “religious motives” again.

The whole point of religion is a belief in a Higher Power, and SETI meets the definition of higher power, yet it is still a difference in degree, not type. If an extraterrestrial were capable of planning multiple-millenia DNA and environmental changes of the sort required by replacing evolution’s “random chance” with a Higher Power, what is the practical difference between that alien and a god?

(even though said debate does not favor or oppose any particular faith).

Actually, it does, because the Baptist churches seem to be favoring it, and the Catholic Church has denounced it.

As I asked above, which one is correct, and why?

Posted by Lee on 12/29/05 at 11:29 PM from United States

That is why it is not a debate of religion: No religion would be proven or disproven by arguing ID.

So you think the fundamentalist Christian groups who are funding the recent legal operations would be perfectly willing to concede that the creation story postulated by the Raelian UFO cult has just as much scientific validity as the Biblical account of creation?

You’re fucking dreaming, Aaron.

Posted by Aaron - Free Will on 12/29/05 at 11:29 PM from United States

If a judge were to be forced to decide whether the Catholic Church (and its teachings) or the Protestant Church (and its teachings) was more correct, would that be okay with all of you? Why or why not?

A debate judge isn’t in a position of deciding which position is more correct, he’s in a position of deciding which *argument* is better. Putting aside that there is no such thing as “The Protestant Church” and no unified Protestant doctrine, no, of *course* I would not have a problem with, for example, arguing the views of Martin Luther against those of Sylvester Prierias. This is an absolutely valid academic inquiry and one that is healthy for building a rational, self-aware view of the world around you and the ability to grapple with large, contradictory ideas.

Posted by dakrat on 12/29/05 at 11:29 PM from United States

Aaron-FW says...

In all seriousness, the “agent” could as well be space aliens. Or being from another dimensions. Or elves. That is why it is not a debate of religion: No religion would be proven or disproven by arguing ID.

That whole quote shows the circular reasoning behind ID.  “COULD AS WELL BE SPACE ALIENS.” Unfortunately these space aliens that “created us” implies yet another “intelligent designer” that designed those space aliens.  And so on and so forth until you reach the “ultimate designer” who is?????

Posted by Lee on 12/29/05 at 11:32 PM from United States

...just because some whackos have an attorney is not a basis for making decisions about how we govern our society.

Very true.  But, for the ND school board, it’s a matter of “Do we want to spend 5 million dollars on new school construction, or do we spend 5 million dollars fighting a lawsuit against some nutjob Christian groups?” The people who are keeping the ID debate out of the school are not the anti-ID people like me, it’s the religious yahoos who will use it as a legal basis for trying to get their religious pseudo-science into the classroom.

Posted by Drumwaster on 12/29/05 at 11:33 PM from United States

basically you’re arguing that religion has a special magical aura that makes it radioactive for educational debate?

Only on the taxpayer dime.

Posted by Aaron - Free Will on 12/29/05 at 11:39 PM from United States

The moment you start arguing the merits of ID, you involve religion. You can argue whether it should be taught without arguing its merits, but you cannot argue the merits without involving a religious argument.

You can’t? Why not?

The whole point of religion is a belief in a Higher Power, and SETI meets the definition of higher power, yet it is still a difference in degree, not type.

So, if space aliens in a lab created mankind (which is only a degree removed from what certain African-American leaders actually said they believed), you’re saying that that, too, is a religion, even if they did it entirely with science?

Actually, it does, because the Baptist churches seem to be favoring it, and the Catholic Church has denounced it.

As I asked above, which one is correct, and why?

Actually, this goes right back to Prierias and Luther. In a bit of theological strict constructionism, Luther brought out the radical idea that adherence to Scripture was far more important than obedience to any temporal authority. Prierias, like much of the Catholic hierarchy even today, argued that the Catholic Church’s authority, even in cases of, uh, eclesiastical activism, took precedence.

We really shouldn’t be talking about this, though: It’s religion, and debating religion is a no-no. (You still haven’t responded to my point that you argue it’s fine to teach ID as serious philosophical theory, but simultaneously argue that it is verboten to even examine it in a voluntary debate club.)

Seriously, though, you’re falling back on your claim of an “appeal to authority”. You (and Lee) seem to be insistent on forcing a connection between the outcome of an independent academic debate and the validity of the positions of religious leaders. There is no such connection, and cannot logically be, no matter how much some people want there to be.

So you think the fundamentalist Christian groups who are funding the recent legal operations would be perfectly willing to concede that the creation story postulated by the Raelian UFO cult has just as much scientific validity as the Biblical account of creation?

You’re fucking dreaming, Aaron.

Lee, if you believe that we should design our public schools to avoid baiting or riling fundamentalist Christians, you’re a bloody hypocrite, and at heart, you know it. As I said before, this is every bit as bankrupt as arguing that we should bend to the ACLU’s assinine whims just to avoid the controversy of their legal terrorism.

Posted by Aaron - Free Will on 12/29/05 at 11:43 PM from United States

Unfortunately these space aliens that “created us” implies yet another “intelligent designer” that designed those space aliens.  And so on and so forth until you reach the “ultimate designer” who is?????

Yakub? Emperor Xenu? Damned if I know. ID and evolution are both debates about life on Earth. We don’t have debates about the origins of advanced life on other planets because we don’t know of any. This, too, is circular logic: Using your same condemnation of this argument, we can condemn evolution and big bang theory by pointing out the blindingly obvious, that even the original ball of mass that exploded had to come from somewhere. And whatever was there before had to come from somewhere, until we get to… the Flying Spaghetti Monster?????

But, for the ND school board, it’s a matter of “Do we want to spend 5 million dollars on new school construction, or do we spend 5 million dollars fighting a lawsuit against some nutjob Christian groups?”

Or the ACLU. So you’re saying it’s ethical for schools to cave to these tactics?

The people who are keeping the ID debate out of the school are not the anti-ID people like me, it’s the religious yahoos who will use it as a legal basis for trying to get their religious pseudo-science into the classroom.

Holy crap, I’m going to print that out and frame it.

Only on the taxpayer dime.

...and, as I’ve asked several times now, *why is that*?
Posted by on 12/29/05 at 11:47 PM from United States

Here’s a question to derail this thread (and all sides should take note, I take no position here, but am just simply positing this question):  If scientific law states that matter can be neither created nor destroyed, but can only change form, then where did the first matter come from?

Posted by Drumwaster on 12/29/05 at 11:50 PM from United States

So, if space aliens in a lab created mankind (which is only a degree removed from what certain African-American leaders actually said they believed), you’re saying that that, too, is a religion, even if they did it entirely with science?

Arguing that this is where man came from and why we are here most certainly fits the definition of a religion. In fact, it was argued exactly that in the Stardancer series by Spider and Jeanne Robinson - incomprehensibly alien beings (called Fireflies) seeded the earth many millions of millenia ago and awaited the result. They specifically mention a few religions that sprung up to worship them, even though they specify the differences between the Fireflies and ‘God’: 1) that they show absolutely no desire to be worshipped; and 2) they have demanded that no one kill in their name.

Schools are not allowed to teach religion. How else would you reccommend that the kids learn the school-assigned material? What about all of the dozens of world religions (with each of their Creation mythos) that there would be no time to get to during the school year? Which ones get chosen?

And I would guess that means you are okay with assigning junior high schol kids Muslim names, teaching them “Jihad games”, and having them learn Muslim prayers? I mean, it’s just expanding their minds, right?

Posted by Drumwaster on 12/29/05 at 11:55 PM from United States

...and, as I’ve asked several times now, *why is that*?

Because the government - and the schools are an arm of the government - cannot pick and choose which religions get officially sanctioned by spreading that particular gospel at the expense of people who might not agree. That is categorized as “endorsement”, which is unConstitutional.

All or none, and all is clearly impossible.

Posted by Aaron - Free Will on 12/30/05 at 12:01 AM from United States

or do we spend 5 million dollars fighting a lawsuit against some nutjob Christian groups?”

...for clarification, the reason for my “Holy crap, I’m going to print that out and frame it” point is that this argument, projecting “blame” for the subject being controversial exclusively onto the people promoting it, is, to put it gently, rather novel.

North Dakota didn’t do this because they were afraid of “nutjob Christian groups” seizing on it as a talking point. It’s the national debating topic for the National Forensic League in January, and nobody else has given a shit. By the North Dakota leadership’s *own admission*, they did it out of fear of political correctness.

“It was a decision forced by the minority,” Hetler said of the decision to choose another topic. “But we didn’t want to exclude any students, no matter how few.

In Grand Forks, the issue was more about whether students from other schools would be allowed to participate, said Superintendent Mark Sanford. “Whatever the topic is, our students will be there,” he said. “But we didn’t want it to become an issue where other students can’t participate,” he said.

In 30 years, North Dakota has never changed a debate topic because students said they wouldn’t be allowed to participate, Hetler said.

Only five of thirteen superintendants were such cowards. This editorial is right-on, calling it “insulting and marginalizing” to debaters.

Posted by Aaron - Free Will on 12/30/05 at 12:06 AM from United States

Arguing that this is where man came from and why we are here most certainly fits the definition of a religion.

This will break Lee’s heart, since he’s spent months arguing vehemently that there is an impassable barrier between science and religion. You’re now saying that if aliens created mankind through genetic engineering, to argue the evidence for it would be religion...

Schools are not allowed to teach religion.

...and we would be forbidden from learning about it in school, even if it were proven fact?

How else would you reccommend that the kids learn the school-assigned material? What about all of the dozens of world religions (with each of their Creation mythos) that there would be no time to get to during the school year? Which ones get chosen?

The ones that are historically significant. That was what they did in *my* World History class, and what is done in almost every World History class in, well, the world.

And I would guess that means you are okay with assigning junior high schol kids Muslim names, teaching them “Jihad games”, and having them learn Muslim prayers? I mean, it’s just expanding their minds, right?

No, that’s just stupid. Sorry, structured debate is an academic exercise. If you can’t see the difference between that and sending seven year olds to play Mujahadeen and Infidels, please stay away from my school system, thank you.

Because the government - and the schools are an arm of the government - cannot pick and choose which religions get officially sanctioned by spreading that particular gospel at the expense of people who might not agree. That is categorized as “endorsement”, which is unConstitutional.

There is no official sanction in assigning a debate topic. *That’s the whole point of having a debate*.

Posted by Drumwaster on 12/30/05 at 12:12 AM from United States

This will break Lee’s heart, since he’s spent months arguing vehemently that there is an impassable barrier between science and religion.

No, Aaron, you misunderstand. The religion doesn’t spring up around what means and methods were used by the space aliens to put us here, it springs up around the very existence of those aliens, and assigns intentions and meanings and motives to them, based on absolutely nothing provable. (One might say that the moment you can prove religion, it isn’t a religion any more.)

*That’s the whole point of having a debate*.

But which religion is “right”? And why should my tax dollars go to pay for that determination?

Posted by Aaron - Free Will on 12/30/05 at 12:21 AM from United States

The religion doesn’t spring up around what means and methods were used by the space aliens to put us here, it springs up around the very existence of those aliens, and assigns intentions and meanings and motives to them, based on absolutely nothing provable. (One might say that the moment you can prove religion, it isn’t a religion any more.)

Do you consider evolution “proven”, or merely highly likely? The Big Bang?

But which religion is “right”? And why should my tax dollars go to pay for that determination?

You’re applying a false role to these debates. They don’t ultimately decide what is wrong and what is wrong, they decide who is better at making the arguments. They’re about judging the capabilities of debaters. (If they were about the issues and not the people involved, there would be no purpose to them in education at all.)

Still, you could apply that argument to *anything* that goes on in schools: Why do your tax dollars go towards basketball? Football? Lunch programs? Bussing? DARE? Political correctness brainwashing?

As I said *from the very beginning*, you’re trying to bring in another argument entirely, which is whether or not tax dollars can be ethically used to fund education *at all*.

However, is this debate a legitimate and healthy part of education itself, and should any functional educational institution be receptive to it? OBVIOUSLY.

Posted by Lee on 12/30/05 at 12:31 AM from United States

This will break Lee’s heart, since he’s spent months arguing vehemently that there is an impassable barrier between science and religion.

No I haven’t, I’ve never said that.  What I *have* said is that if you are willing to place more veracity in theological creation myths from thousands of years ago than you are in the sum total of human scientific knowledge you are exiling yourself into the realm of self-imposed ignorance.  If you choose ignorance that is perfectly your right to do so.  What you do not have the right to do is cloak your own personal ignorance in the veneer of scientific credibility in order to convert others to your beliefs.

Posted by Aaron - Free Will on 12/30/05 at 12:38 AM from United States

No I haven’t, I’ve never said that.

Fair enough, but I’d, uh, say that that’s what a lot of people have taken from all this, wouldn’t you?

What you do not have the right to do is cloak your own personal ignorance in the veneer of scientific credibility in order to convert others to your beliefs.

...and, to put it in context, that has what to do with researching the positions for your high school debate team, exactly?
Posted by Aaron - Free Will on 12/30/05 at 12:48 AM from United States

(I don’t know if I can convey how much I hate you all for ruining my life: The four weeks I spent without blogging regularly and with no consistent internet connection were also *the most productive four weeks in the History of Aaron*.)

Posted by on 12/30/05 at 01:05 AM from Canada

Look, this is pissing me off.  There’s nothing wrong with debating a topic like ID.  I agree that its not a science, but if you think there aren’t arguments for it other than just religious doctrine, then you’ve been making a hell of a lot of fuss without doing any research.  Some arguments include the argument of irreducible complexity, where a biochemical system is analysed and it is determined that there is no way that the system could have been created in incremental steps, which suggests that that system cannot be explained by evolution.  This is a feature of ID theory.  It can be tested by looking at the evolution of this biochemical system through various species. (in other words, just as varifiable as macro evolution, which I agree is science) Furthermore, looking into this concept of seemingly irreducible complexity of biochemical systems can actually lead to further discoveries in the field of evolution.  When ID theory was first proposed, several systems were provided as examples of systems that were considered to be irreducibly complex at the time.  Since that time, evidence for reducible complexity of most of those listed systems has been uncovered.  However, that’s not to suggest that most systems have now been explained.  There are still hundreds if not thousands that are still mysteries.  But, what this shows is that research had been focussed onto the examples of that the ID proponents had been using to further their cause (well, and the fact that those were probably some of the better known examples) Even if ID is trying to put an explaination to something we just don’t understand, you can’t stifle debate about it.  Its this debate which fires scientists up to prove their opponents wrong.  Throughout history science has always been driven by a desire to overturn conventional knowledge that was inconsistent with observations of the world.  Now people accept conventional knowledge as “we don’t know”.  Wow.  “I really want to be a scientist to show those arrogant assholes!  Rock their world view!”

In conclusion, make sure ID stays out of science classes, but don’t throw a hissy fit if people want to debate it or challenge the scientific community with anomalies.  Its not just a debate about religion.  Its a debate about BIOLOGY as well.  Debate is good.

Posted by InsipiD on 12/30/05 at 05:53 AM from United States

In conclusion, make sure ID stays out of science classes, but don’t throw a hissy fit if people want to debate it or challenge the scientific community with anomalies.  Its not just a debate about religion.  Its a debate about BIOLOGY as well.  Debate is good.

This still misses the mark.  Evolution and the whole ‘science’ argument are becoming their own religion, complete with rabidly pious followers who are no less angered by ‘blasphemy’ against their beliefs than other fundamentalists.  Many on this blog fall into that category.  Portraying your opponents as mouth-breathing pillow-droolers does nothing to further belief in a cause.  I would guarantee that successful debate teams (even in North Dakota) never stoop to attributing their opponents’ views to marginally intelligent simpletons.  They would lose the debate without being ready for their opponent to bring a real A-game argument to the table.  Doesn’t it bother you to see that the Democrats have stooped to this so much lately?  It never looks like they actually know better than the GOP, it looks like they dismiss the GOP because they don’t know how to defend against it.  When Ted Kennedy talks about Iraq being a quagmire, when Canadians non-specifically blame US gun freedom for their crimes, and so on, libs aren’t debating anything of merit.  They aren’t even bringing anything worth looking at to the forefront.  Their rhetoric smacks of jealousy and anger that they can’t come up with any real retort for the original subject.

Atheism as a religion is new, but very powerful.  It has many allies among the ACLU and so on.  Removing religion from school and teaching evolution without the possibility of ID amounts to a de facto establishment of atheism as an established religion in schools.  Would you have the schools tell children that “evolution explains all you need to know, and everything you see came about on its own by random association”?  By doing so, the school is insisting that religion cannot possibly be right and squelches debate (both scientific and non) about the origins of earth.  It’s vital to, no matter how briefly, point out that the universe could have been created and that many people do believe that.  ID does not require extensive explanation for someone to understand, and then wouldn’t distract from the “true science” of the evolution that is normally taught in the classroom.  Remember, were it not for examination of things that were thought to be facts, we wouldn’t have gone beyond the Bohr atomic model.  Why does it automatically damage, diminish, or dismiss “science” to mention ID in class?  What good does it do to forbid ID?

Posted by Poosh on 12/30/05 at 06:37 AM from United Kingdom

t shouldn’t be debated on the public dime, for exactly the same reasons that Creationism shouldn’t be.

I went to a mostly private-funded Catholic school and we did Relgious Education and it was one of the most worth-while GCSEs we did. We debated a great deal, including excuses for Jesus’ mircales such as when he fed the 4000 he merely spurred people to take bits of food they had in their pockets and share it. This class was more worth while than Maths and even Science seeing as only a small fraction of students further study those subjects where-as what you took him with you from RE stayed with you; learning the different arguments for abortion etc and understanding how there are different sides to everything. We also learnt a bit about other religons in the run up which never hurts.

Posted by InsipiD on 12/30/05 at 07:52 AM from United States

And with regards to the spelling comment, I think it’s fair to point out someones spelling error of a word we all see every day when they are calling me an idiot for believing the wrong explanation for the origin of the complicated universe.  If you find a car in the abandoned rock quarry does it make sense to label it as an abnormal formation of ore or recognize that it was probably manufactured from a set of engineered plans?  When tools are found in archaeological sites, it makes sense to believe that someone made them, even if we have no way to identify who.  If I find a fragment of brown glass in the woods, it makes sense to believe that it came from a broken bottle.  It might’ve been Bud or Miller, it could’ve even been Kodak Dektol, but it sure didn’t form itself from sun shining on a piece of brown bear shit.  Even simple things don’t lend themselves well to random origin, so I find it hard to believe that gravity, atoms, physics, DNA, cells, nuclear fission and fusion, and water’s changes in density happened at random.  The way they fall into place looks designed.

Posted by on 12/30/05 at 08:36 AM from United States

You guys think waayyyy too much.  Relax, have a damn drink and get laid for chrissakes!

Posted by on 12/30/05 at 09:06 AM from United States

scientific ignorance

Oh, you mean crap like the Global Warming cabal, right?

RIGHT?

There are 2 types of science nowadays:

1) “Real” science, like plasma TVs, surgical robots, the Hubble Telescope, etc etc.
2) And the “evangelical” strains of science, like Global warming which are more about who can produce the desired result to snag the grant money/think tank cushy jobs than actually dealing with facts.

Given that, I don’t see why ID doesn’t deserve a place among section #2. They’re on the same level.

Posted by micro506 on 12/30/05 at 09:28 AM from India

Whoa...somebody screwed up. They call Public Forum a form of debate…

Posted by Lee on 12/30/05 at 09:57 AM from United States

Atheism as a religion is new, but very powerful.  It has many allies among the ACLU and so on.  Removing religion from school and teaching evolution without the possibility of ID amounts to a de facto establishment of atheism as an established religion in schools.

No it doesn’t, not in the slightest.  Atheism is a belief that there is no God, and in my view this is just as much a dogmatic religious belief as a belief that there is a God.  Since we have a secular (i.e. non-theocratic) government, and schools are an extension of government, then religion has no place being in a public school, outside of a class on comparative religion or philosophy or a similar subject.  The idea that since we keep God out of school we are somehow causing people to be atheists is patently absurd, given the devout religious nature of so many Americans.

Posted by Lee on 12/30/05 at 10:02 AM from United States

If I find a fragment of brown glass in the woods, it makes sense to believe that it came from a broken bottle.  It might’ve been Bud or Miller, it could’ve even been Kodak Dektol, but it sure didn’t form itself from sun shining on a piece of brown bear shit.

You’re absolutely right.  Glass was discovered by the Arabs thousands of years ago, when they would burn fires in the desert and the sand would melt, leaving rudimentary glass. 

To use your own analogy, if I find a fragment of brown glass in the woods and don’t know what it is, I don’t immediately need to fill in that gap in my knowledge by assuming that there was some divine reason why this strange object was in the woods.  Even if I had never seen glass before, the odds are that eventually a logical, scientific explanation would be discovered for the presence of the glass.  You, on the other hand, would find the glass, and need an immediate answer, so you fall back on the trusty old “It must have been God” sawhorse.

Posted by Lee on 12/30/05 at 10:15 AM from United States

Portraying your opponents as mouth-breathing pillow-droolers does nothing to further belief in a cause.  I would guarantee that successful debate teams (even in North Dakota) never stoop to attributing their opponents’ views to marginally intelligent simpletons.  They would lose the debate without being ready for their opponent to bring a real A-game argument to the table.

Dude, quit whining.  I, Drum, and many others, have spent the better part of two years providing intelligent, logical, scientific debate on this subject.  You have to remember, too, that while I am not a religious guy, Drum is.  The idea that vehement opposition to ID in school only comes from Christ-punching heathen Christian-haters like me is ridiculous.  But no matter what arguments are put forth, it is always, ALWAYS the devoutly religious who simply refuse to let go of the idea that ID is legitimate science.

For years the fundamentalist Christians tried to get creationism in schools.  They suffered defeat after defeat, to the point where they will never be able to succeed in doing so.  They lost that battle.  So now they’ve taken that same message, wrapped it up in the bunting of legitimate science, and are trying again.  Since they don’t specifically mention God, you see, then it can be claimed that ID isn’t religion.  (Scroll up, people have made this very argument in this thread.) But, of course, the only people pushing this drivel are the fire-breathing evangelical Christians. 

Why is it that the vast majority of Christians around the world are perfectly satisfied with the way things are as far as school goes?  Why is it that it is the American fundamentalist evangelical crowd, the very same crowd who pushed creationism, who are now peddling this ID nonsense?  Why is it that, by and large, it is only in rural, Southern conservative states where this idea has gained any traction?  Why is it that the people most likely to believe that ID is actual science are also the least educated people in the country?

ID is not science.  it is a religious belief presented as science.  Any time your theory rests on the concept of a creator you have immediately negated it to the realm of theocratic idiocy.  Believe whatever fables you like, but don’t get indignant when rational people work to thwart your efforts to give your fables scientific legitimacy.

If you don’t want to be associated with mouth-breathing simpletons, don’t act like one.

Posted by Lee on 12/30/05 at 10:17 AM from United States

If you find a car in the abandoned rock quarry does it make sense to label it as an abnormal formation of ore or recognize that it was probably manufactured from a set of engineered plans?

If you find a car in a rock quarry, and have never seen a car before, does it make sense to say “I have no idea what this object is, I’ll have to do some research to figure it out,” or do you say, “This development is scary to me, because it is a question for which I don’t have an answer.  Since in every other aspect of my life Jesus is the answer, I’m going to ignore every other possibility and state that God created this thing in the quarry.  Whew, now I can go back to my previous state of bliss, now that that is answered!”

Posted by Drumwaster on 12/30/05 at 10:22 AM from United States

You have to remember, too, that while I am not a religious guy, Drum is.

Thanks for remembering. Most of these people would probably think of me as an atheist (or agnostic, at the very least), simply because I don’t want religion taught to our kids in the public schools.

Posted by Drumwaster on 12/30/05 at 10:23 AM from United States

Whew, now I can go back to my previous state of bliss, now that that is answered!

Heh.

Posted by Lee on 12/30/05 at 10:23 AM from United States

Oh, you mean crap like the Global Warming cabal, right?

Actually, the global warming cabal is virtually identical to the ID crowd.

GW:  “I hate capitalism and the free market.  Hey, I know!  We’ve observed that the earth is getting warmer.  If we skew our deductions and claim that this warming is primarily caused by man, then we’ll be able to get our socialist agenda implemented, all on the sly.  It’s brilliant!  Socialism destroys capitalism, and we do it all in the name of science!”

ID:  “I hate the way that religion is relegated to churches and private homes, and is not taught in school.  I also hate the way that the durn Christ-hating libruls have totally defeated our creationist argument in the courts.  Hey, I know!  If we reposition our creationist argument and claim that life could only begin as a result of some nebulous intelligence, then we’ll be able to get our creationist agenda implemented, on the sly.  It’s brilliant!  Christianity destroys secular atheism, and we do it all in the name of science.”

Posted by on 12/30/05 at 10:25 AM from United States

Why is it that, by and large, it is only in rural, Southern conservative states where this idea has gained any traction?

Like North Dakota?

If you don’t want to be associated with mouth-breathing simpletons, don’t act like one.

No, just act like a member of the Scince Cabal and dismiss all conversation with name calling invective instead of enlightening others with the strength(TM) of your argument and your superior reasoning abilities.

Got it!

Posted by on 12/30/05 at 10:39 AM from United States

Doesn’t anyone want to tackle my question?

Posted by on 12/30/05 at 10:53 AM from United States

If scientific law states that matter can be neither created nor destroyed, but can only change form, then where did the first matter come from?

Singularity....The moment of the “big Bang” when “time” began. Which is measurable...we do know when that is......millions of years ago. It is thoerised that this is the same instant that the universe began it’s current expansion. All matter/area, all distance and time, all of the five dimenions they can actually measure all supposedly came from this moment and place of singularity. Most of our intelligence is based upon this relativity and it holds upon under both physics and mathematics to this day. What exactly caused the expansion we do not know for sure.....maybe even the singularity moment itself caused this expansion. Or perhaps...no I will not say it out of fear of further insult. (shiver)

Posted by InsipiD on 12/30/05 at 10:54 AM from United States

The idea that since we keep God out of school we are somehow causing people to be atheists is patently absurd, given the devout religious nature of so many Americans.

If that’s true, why is it that everyone says that education, intelligence, and science are the reasons that they don’t believe in ID?  Everyone here who argues against ID has been using these reasons, which amount to “I believe that scientists whom I trust have proven ID is not true.” What I’ve been trying to say is that I believe, from what I’ve seen (including the same science curricula, down to the book, that others here have no doubt read) that it makes more sense to believe that something beyond our control put it all into motion.  It works too well.  To believe it had random beginnings would require believing that even sub-atomic particles becoming Hydrogen took eons, and I find that too hard to swallow.  By allowing the possibility of ID to be taught, you are giving the students a chance to look around and decide.  Besides, I don’t believe that a majority of the “deeply religious” in this country really are.  The percentage who believe and aren’t just going through the motions is small...I’ve seen it in action.

Atheism is a religion.  Being Agnostic allows for any possibility.  It’s not religious.  Atheism requires that you believe something, being sure that there is no god.  If you don’t think that Madalyn Murray O’Hair was a religious fundamentalist, stirring up the same kind of things you pick on Pat Robertson for, then you need to research her further.  She bordered on being a hate monger when it came to Christians.

Remember that you should always look in the trunk of the car in the quarry.  There’s probably a body there.

Posted by Drumwaster on 12/30/05 at 10:59 AM from United States

By allowing the possibility of ID to be taught, you are giving the students a chance to look around and decide.

Decide what? Whether they believe in an Intelligent Designer?

Oh, wait…

Posted by Lee on 12/30/05 at 11:10 AM from United States

If scientific law states that matter can be neither created nor destroyed, but can only change form, then where did the first matter come from?

This gets back to a point I have made before.  There is a perfectly reasonable theological argument to be made that God (or the FSM or whatever other deity you happen to believe in) was the divine spark which created the universe.  All the big bang theory and evolution and the like are attempting to do is explain the process by which it took place.  My problem with ID is that it ignores the observed data in favor of allegorical fables from a book written thousands of years ago, which is just ludicrous.  I mean, if you have appendicitis you’re not going to rely on medical textbooks from even two hundred years ago, let alone two thousand, yet this is exactly what the creationists and IDers want us to do, to ignore the sum total of human knowledge simply because it happens to contradict what the Bible said happened.

Where did matter come from?  Beats the shit out of me.  Perhaps it was God.  Perhaps it wasn’t.  I doubt we’ll ever know, and in areas where you can never know anything, a theological answer is just as valid as any other.

It is worth pointing out, however, that at the point of singularity the normal rules of physics and space/time cease to function in the manner in which we are used to seeing them.  Since we have no way of venturing into a singularity too observe what happens there, we can only speculate.

Posted by Lee on 12/30/05 at 11:11 AM from United States

Since we have no way of venturing into a singularity too…

Oops!  Make that “to” instead of “too”.  I wouldn’t want to give InsipiD any more ammunition.

Posted by Lee on 12/30/05 at 11:15 AM from United States

By allowing the possibility of ID to be taught, you are giving the students a chance to look around and decide.

A simple question:  should we, in science class, teach that throwing a virgin into a volcano can prevent eruptions?  Are you so closed-minded that you won’t even admit the possibility that this could be true?  Shouldn’t we give students a chance to look around and decide for themselves?

Posted by Lee on 12/30/05 at 11:18 AM from United States

Singularity....The moment of the “big Bang” when “time” began. Which is measurable...we do know when that is......millions of years ago.

So, what you’re saying is that the universe wasn’t created in six days, right?  How dare you contradict the divine word of God with your so-called “science”!!!!

Posted by on 12/30/05 at 11:52 AM from United States

Shouldn’t we give students a chance to look around and decide for themselves?

Why not?

Perhaps we should just tell them to do their work and shut up. Let’s only allow them to think or know what we want them to think or know. No thinking for yourself now...we simply cannot tollerate that!

You do not need a reason, any reason, just do what you are told because we said so, and shut up about it.

No small wonder why kids come out of school and can’t add enough to make correct change.

Drive to the next window please! That is sum total of what they need to know....obviously.

Posted by Lee on 12/30/05 at 12:00 PM from United States

Shouldn’t we give students a chance to look around and decide for themselves?

Why not?

As you have done numerous times during this discussion, Frankie, you completely ignore the meat of the question.  And once again, I’ll ask you again.

A simple question:  should we, in science class, teach that throwing a virgin into a volcano can prevent eruptions?  Are you so closed-minded that you won’t even admit the possibility that this could be true?  Shouldn’t we give students a chance to look around and decide for themselves?

So, answer me.  Do you think it is perfectly appropriate for a science class to teach that throwing a virgin into a volcano can prevent an eruption?  It’s a simple yes or no answer.

Posted by on 12/30/05 at 12:11 PM from United States

I do not think students, who cannot understand enough to figure out for themselves why throwing a virgin into a volcano doesn’t prevent earthquakes, should be graduating from our schools.

If you think this is a problem, which I do not, than Yes It should be taught. Anyone who actually believes it should not graduate.

Posted by on 12/30/05 at 12:15 PM from United States

There is a perfectly reasonable theological argument to be made that God (or the FSM or whatever other deity you happen to believe in) was the divine spark which created the universe.  All the big bang theory and evolution and the like are attempting to do is explain the process by which it took place.

So answer me, Is this appropriate to be said in a science class? Yes or no?

Posted by on 12/30/05 at 12:22 PM from United States

.

.just because some whackos have an attorney is not a basis for making decisions about how we govern our society.

it is in my loony-bin state.

I do not think students, who cannot understand enough to figure out for themselves why throwing a virgin into a volcano doesn’t prevent earthquakes,.

Damn waste of a virgin.  Besides ram’s bladders prevent earthquakes.

Posted by on 12/30/05 at 03:22 PM from United States

Actually, the global warming cabal is virtually identical to the ID crowd

Yup. But one is considered “science” while the other is considered crap.

As I said, lump them together…

Posted by on 12/30/05 at 03:52 PM from United States

Although at the beginning the paradigm was worth consideration, now the entire effort in the primeval soup paradigm is self-deception on the ideology of its champions. …
The history of science shows that a paradigm, once it has achieved the status of acceptance (and is incorporated in textbooks) and regardless of its failures, is declared invalid only when a new paradigm is available to replace it. Nevertheless, in order to make progress in science, it is necessary to clear the decks, so to speak, of failed paradigms. This must be done even if this leaves the decks entirely clear and no paradigms survive. It is a characteristic of the true believer in religion, philosophy and ideology that he must have a set of beliefs, come what may (Hoffer, 1951). Belief in a primeval soup on the grounds that no other paradigm is available is an example of the logical fallacy of the false alternative. In science it is a virtue to acknowledge ignorance. This has been universally the case in the history of science as Kuhn (1970) has discussed in detail. There is no reason that this should be different in the research on the origin of life. (Yockey, 1992. Information Theory and Molecular Biology, p. 336, Cambridge University Press, UK, ISBN 0-521-80293-8).

Taken from wikipedia- sorry I’m too much of a tard to insert links correctly.

Posted by on 12/30/05 at 03:54 PM from United States

Whoa...somebody screwed up. They call Public Forum a form of debate…

Well, according to the National Forensic League, its official name is Public Forum Debate.  It was first made into an NFL event in the 2002-2003 school year, during which it was called Ted Turner Debate, simply because Ted Turner sponsored the event and agreed to show the national finals on television.  It was a flop, Ted pulled out, and they changed the name.  Since then, it has made a lot of progress in popularity.

PFD is very different from conventional Cross-x debate because the debates are shorter, the topic does not last as long, and the emphasis is more on a conversational, persuasive style.  Thus it’s often referred to as “cafeteria debate.” Cross-x debate, however, has many traditions of structured arguments, speedy argumentation, and language that is incomprehensible to the common man.  That was the reason PFD was thought up in the first place.  For students to have a forum in which they could learn how to debate in a way that would convince a “common-man” judge that they were correct.

This topic is a pretty decent one for PFD.  You know what?  There are all kinds of topics that are great for PFD.  Debating where the line should be drawn about the establishment clause is one of the oldest topics known to high school debate, and this is just a modernized version of that original topic.  In fact, I would say it’s a hell of a lot better topic than the one for December, which is:

Resolved: That the National Basketball Association (NBA) should rescind its dress code.

I mean, come on!  At least with January’s resolution, you can debate the redeeming scientific value of ID.  Or that religion should ultimitely be taught in science classes.  Or that the establishment clause in and of itself is b.s.  On the flip side, you can argue that ID is religion, the establishment clause should be upheld, and religion has no place in science curricula.  But December’s topic?  Whatever.

Many of the best topics for high school debate are constitutional questions.  Like the January/February Lincoln-Douglas topic:

Resolved: The use of the state’s power of eminent domain to promote private enterprise is unjust.

Or the 2005-2006 school year’s Cross-x (Policy Debate) topic:

Resolved: The United States federal government should substantially decrease its authority either to detain without charge or to search without probable cause.

These are all questions of what limitations should be derived from constitutional clauses.  And they all have the makings of good debate topics.  Whether you think ID is science or bullshit, debating its inclusion in school science curricula, as the resolution says, has some great potential.

North Dakota is simply creating a rift between itself and the national debate community.  As a person who comes from a state who did that, I can tell you that it just hurts the students who want to debate the same way all the other kids in the nation.  If you ask me, no matter how bogus the topic, states shouldn’t ban their students from debating that topic.

P.S.: Lee, debating this resolution is a voluntary extracurricular activity.  I don’t see any problem with that.  Any student that would let their parent pull them out of debate for this just doesn’t have enough of their heart in it.  And any parent that would pull their student out just doesn’t get it.  To quote the illustrious Will Smith, “Parents just don’t understand.”

Posted by on 12/30/05 at 04:12 PM from United States

The views of the theologians are discussed in the Letter to the Hebrews:
“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the EVIDENCE of things
UNSEEN.” [Hebrews 11:1 et. sequ.] (I hope no one objects to writing a
letter to the Hebrews.) The same theme appears in the Gospel of John 20:
24-28 where Thomas “The Doubter” demanded positive and specific evidence
before he would believe. But he got chewed out by his Boss who gave him
the evidence but reproved him: “Have you believed because you have seen
me? BLESSED ARE THOSE WHO HAVE NOT SEEN AND YET BELIEVED.” So much for the
point of view from religion.

Also from Yockey - also not quite a religious zealot

Still a tard...so sorry.

Posted by on 12/30/05 at 04:31 PM from United States

How dare you contradict the divine word of God with your so-called “science”!!!!

You do realize that “silly” big-bang theory was first proposed by a Belgian priest named Georges Lemaitre, right?

Posted by on 12/30/05 at 05:03 PM from United States

This whole topic is ridiculous.  The fact that this topic would be pulled from a debate club is assinine.  Come on - parents who think ID is bunk will be represented by students debating that same thing.  It isn’t as if the debate club is going to let pro-ID students talk to their heart’s content then end the session as if it were nothing more than a church service.

I would think anti-ID people would welcome any and all opportunities to enlighten those of us who believe in ID.  What are you scared of?  (I don’t think they’re scared to debate it on the merits, but you have to admit, it certainly gives that impression.)

Posted by on 12/30/05 at 05:16 PM from United States

This whole topic is ridiculous.

I agree.  So, here’s something even more so -

British woman marries beloved dolphin

Posted by on 12/30/05 at 05:28 PM from United States

Sean, I completely agree. Back when I use to debate on a team, we were often required to take positions and points of view with which we didn’t necessarily agree.

Posted by micro506 on 12/30/05 at 09:39 PM from India

hephaestussum,

Yeah, that’s true, but the NFL calls LD a form of debate too.

Posted by Drumwaster on 12/30/05 at 09:57 PM from United States

but the NFL calls LD a form of debate too.

Isn’t it? It’s a more stylized version, and is one-on-one, but it is debate, nevertheless.

Posted by micro506 on 12/30/05 at 10:27 PM from India

No. No it’s not.

Posted by Drumwaster on 12/30/05 at 10:33 PM from United States

Why not?

It is an adversarial situation, with speaking time evenly divided between the participants, pro and con, judged by a neutral arbiter.

I know for a fact that it used to be. When did it change, and why?

Posted by micro506 on 12/30/05 at 10:36 PM from India

It’s not CX. It’s not Debate.

Posted by Drumwaster on 12/30/05 at 10:44 PM from United States

It’s not CX. It’s not Debate.

Debate isn’t about cross-examining the opposition, it’s about advancing a point of view. Just because you don’t get to question your opponent doesn’t mean you can’t bring up his argument’s (many) flaws in your next chance to speak.

There are resolutions to be discussed and arguments made, both pro and con.

That makes it debate. I’m sorry you are so disappointed with it.

Posted by on 12/30/05 at 10:52 PM from United States

Yeah, that’s true, but the NFL calls LD a form of debate too.

No. No it’s not.

Why not?
...When did it change, and why?

Because micro506 is retarded.  He’s one of those pricks who only did policy (or cross-x) debate in high school, so, in his elitist mind, it’s the only thing that can be considered “debate.” It’s true that there is a whole “debate community” surrounding policy debate and not around LD or PFD, but they’re still legitimate forms of debate.  All three are actually debate.  They all three have opposing sides on an issue creating argumentation in front of a judge.  I personally did policy and LD debate in high school, as well as student congress, extemporaneous speaking and original oration, and I tried duo interpretation of literature, poetry performance and prose performance at least once.  I never did PFD because the pool of potential competition was just too small to be worth the effort to prepare for.

micro506, I would argue that PFD and LD are forms of debate more pure than policy.  Policy has been corrupted by its culture, so it’s now more about ritualized speaking than actual argumentation.  The point is no longer to discuss the issues, it’s to win on technicalities and pre-fiat implications.  Every so often you get a traditional round, with only post-fiat impacts, but that’s rare nowadays, especially on the national circuit.  Even law schools are starting to look down on debate.  If you say you did policy debate, they now view that as a bad thing, because it’s teaching kids the wrong way to argue a case.  However, those who do PFD and LD have a leg up on the competition, because they can actually win arguments, not just debate rounds.

Posted by micro506 on 12/30/05 at 10:57 PM from India

OK, calm down, deep breath…

OK, now, I’m only kidding. Calm down. It’s OK. PFD and LD are debate.

Posted by on 12/30/05 at 11:09 PM from United States

OK, calm down, deep breath…

OK, now, I’m only kidding. Calm down. It’s OK. PFD and LD are debate.

I figured as much.  But I never miss a chance to go off on a rant about the contemporary debate community.  :-)

Wait.  How did this topic start in the first place?  Oh, yeah.  North Dakota being retarded.  Thanks a lot, fuckfaces.

Posted by Drumwaster on 12/30/05 at 11:19 PM from United States

All three are actually debate.

I have no experience with PFD, because it came along after my time.

I personally did policy and LD debate in high school, as well as student congress, extemporaneous speaking and original oration, and I tried duo interpretation of literature, poetry performance and prose performance at least once.

Toss in Comedic Interp, Impromptu and a year in the choir, and you’ve just described my experiences, lo these many many moons ago…

*sigh* All that and two bucks will get me most of a gallon of gas.

Posted by InsipiD on 12/31/05 at 04:49 AM from United States

This whole topic is ridiculous.
I agree.  So, here’s something even more so -

British woman marries beloved dolphin

Look who Bolivia elected. I think this has to be the news of ridicule for the last two weeks.  Who would dare appear on TV here after an election wearing a wreath of coca leaves and looking like he’s got thousands of dollars worth of the nose candy in his hair?  The dolphin lady is a (probably) harmless moonbat.  Castro loves this guy, which probably says enough.

Posted by on 12/31/05 at 03:27 PM from United States

We need more of this....allow people to choose what they want and no what the schools are force-feeding them. Lee, you really are hopeless. Instead of teaching kids two ways or more of thinking, you want them to accept your version. You are right, and everyone else is just a hillbilly. I’ve never seen such closed-minded simplicity.

Posted by micro506 on 12/31/05 at 11:46 PM from India

The problem is, so many schools ONLY offer CX and LD.

Posted by on 01/03/06 at 11:59 AM from United States

Does it really take more than 20 minutes to describe this entire controvsersy to 8th graders? Do that for 20 minutes, then teach them physics, science, math, and English for the rest of the school year. I really don’t understand the outrage on this.

Well, maybe I do understand. At least in California, every single political issue is all about fake outrage—people saying “hey, look at all the people who might look outraged like how we look outraged!!!”.  Everything is a huge virtue contest.

As discussed in previous threads, it’s not about the time it takes to teach it, it’s about a violation of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment, i.e., preferential treatment to one religion over another.  As mentioned in other threads, ID doesn’t REQUIRE God or a divine creator(s), but because it ALLOWS for one and giving it a title - “intelligent cause”, it’s deemed inappropriate for public school.  To sum up, that is.

For the record, I think this is a primo subject for PFD, but I think it can lend itself to abuses.  If you’ve got kids on the science side unprepared, then you’ve just unwittingly created “converts” out of students and audience members.  IMO, this could be crossing the line of the First Amendment.  I have to think about this more.

Evolution and the whole ‘science’ argument are becoming their own religion, complete with rabidly pious followers who are no less angered by ‘blasphemy’ against their beliefs than other fundamentalists.

I literally just responded to this in one of the previous threads.  I’m too lazy to link, but to sum up, this generalization is incorrect.

Atheism as a religion is new, but very powerful.

Maybe you meant this tongue-in-cheek and I missed it, but atheism is very much not religion.  It’s the anti-religion.  While it does take a certain amount of faith in order to commit to believing in absolutely NOTHING, faith does not equal religion.  Religion, essentially, requires worship.  Atheists worship nothing.

There is a perfectly reasonable theological argument to be made that God (or the FSM or whatever other deity you happen to believe in) was the divine spark which created the universe.  All the big bang theory and evolution and the like are attempting to do is explain the process by which it took place.
So answer me, Is this appropriate to be said in a science class? Yes or no?

Is it appropriate?  Yes.  Besides the data that exists in support of the Big Bang, it doesn’t require or imply a creator or intelligent design, at least not yet.

As I just read here, someone stated that debate is extracurricular.  If that’s the case, I have no problems with debating ID in schools.  As no one is required to attend, it leaves the decision in the hands of the students/parents.

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