Rhetorical Excess of the Day [I]

The Berkshire Eagle newspaper in Massachusetts is running an absurd editorial with the histrionic title, “Ayatollahs in the classroom”. To get the full effect, you might want to turn on a CD of some suitably melodramatic music from a horror film before you start reading: A movement to drag the teaching of science in the United States back into the Dark Ages continues to gain momentum. So far, it’s a handful of judges — “activist judges” in the view of their critics — who are preventing the spread of Saudi-style religious dogma into more and more of America’s public-school classrooms. According to this Berkshire editorialist, discussing scientific criticisms of modern evolutionary theory in the classroom is tantamount to turning America Read More ›

A sensible critique of Cobb County decision

Constitutional attorney Brian Fahling has a sensible discussion of the Cobb County decision in the Union-Leader, here. Especially pertinent is his paragraph responding to the charge that it was illegitimate for the school district to single out evolution in its disclaimer. Fahling hits the proverbial nail on the head when he says: I suspect that evolution was singled out because it is the only scientific theory whose adherents are utterly intolerant of criticism, and it is the only scientific theory taught in public schools as the gospel truth that no reasonable person could question. This is not only troubling for parents whose religion rejects the theory, but it is equally troubling from an academic, scientific, and intellectual perspective for obvious Read More ›

Ken Miller, Con Law Expert? (Not)

Darwinian biologist Ken Miller ventures into the field of constitutional law and flops. In an op-ed in the Boston Globe, Miller mangles a key finding of the judge in the Cobb County case. According to Miller: The judge simply read the sticker and saw that it served no scientific or educational purpose. Once that was clear, he looked to the reasons for slapping it in the textbooks of thousands of students, and here the record was equally clear. The sticker was inserted to advance a particular set of religious beliefs… While the ACLU claimed that the Cobb County school board adopted its textbook sticker in order to advance religion, the judge rejected that claim. Instead, the judge found that the Read More ›

Censorship issue not going away

Albuquerque Tribune columnist Jeffry Gardner is not amused by PBS affilate KNME’s decision to cancel the intelligent design documentary “Unlocking the Mystery of Life.” His title is the first clue: “The BS in PBS”: We’re shelling out more than $300 million annually in state and federal tax dollars for shows like “Charlie Rose” (name the last conservative you’ve seen yucking it up with Chuck), “Frontline,” “American Experience” and “Nova” – all agenda-less programs, I’m sure. I think that’s why the blatant religious discrimination KNME proudly practices is all the more galling. We’re a nation rooted in religious freedom. Tolerance in the public forum is required. The entire piece is here.

Barbara’s BLACKLIST

Anti-intelligent design gurus Barbara Forrest and Glenn Branch have fired a shot across the bow to those in academia who have given intellectual assent to intelligent design theory (ID). The message: don’t count on academic freedom to protect you. Beyond Barbara and Branch’s hackneyed diatribe against ID as a conspiracy theory–like something out of an X-Files caper–the authors call upon others in academia to try to undermine the careers of academics that have pursued research in ID. Their article reads like an anti-ID hit list, with the authors taking great care to drop the names of many ID proponents between propagandistic, red herring bits involving the author’s slanted discussions of the apparent religious motives of certain ID thinkers. The empirical Read More ›