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redhen

A modern Scopes trial

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Here's a NOVA documentary on the Dover, Pennsylvania school board trial on Intelligent Design. Well worth the watch,

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Okay, I'm 40mns in but I'm giving up for now because it's 2:30am here and I have to got to bed! Will finish it tomorrow. Thanks for posting this.

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Just finished watching it. I was only vaguely aware of this trial at the time; I suppose I shrugged it off as being something peculiarly American ..... and it's certainly that! Frightening that there are people in the 21st century who want to take the general population back hundreds of years to a place where they are God-fearing again. Obviously that situation gives them a lot of power, being the self-appointed mouthpieces of 'God'.

I felt very sorry for the population of Dover. I bet some of the rifts will never heal ..... be passed on from one generation to another(think Northern Ireland). :hmm:

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Yes, what's also scary is that President Bushpublicly spoke out in favour of Intelligent Design. Good thing they have functioning legal system in the U.S.

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Oh my goodness! There must be joke in there somewhere connecting 'George Bush' and 'intelligent design' :lol:

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Anyone who believes in Intelligent Design as argued by Dover, I have just two words for them - "cdesign proponentsists"

My idea of "Intelligent Design" is along the lines of what science actually says - our current best understanding is evolution. But the cause that started evolution right back at the beginning of Time, was God. Hence Intelligent Design. My usage of the term here is very different to Dover, though.

I'm just starting to watch the video now, not sure when I'll get to finish it, I won't watch it all at once I don't think.

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PA

My usage of the term here is very different to Dover, though.

Yes, that has come up in other threads. The Dover court found that the "Intelligent Design" curriculum offered by the school district was literally the same, up to mechanical text-processing search-and-replace of specific terms, as a "Creation Science" curriculum that had already been ruled constitutionally impermissible to teach with tax money.

Obviously, however, "intelligent design" is a perfectly fine English-language common noun phrase. It could mean different things to different people. It could even mean something secular when applied to biology, since there is no scientific basis for asserting that intelligence requires a personal agent.

The reality, though, is that there is no political controversy about a science teacher discussing whether evolution by natural selection could itself be an example of intelligence. It can surely be viewed as a calculation, and has been in the genuine scientific and engineering literature. As with human cognitive capacity, it is interesting to ponder whether so viewed, it might shed light on the Church-Turing thesis or its application to real computing. Properly presented, high school students might even find that sort of thing engaging.

There is also no motivation for the likes of the "Discovery Institute" (an American advocacy group, but which has affiliates and allies in other places) to promote that kind of "intelligent design" instruction. The scientific (as opposed to legal) critique of DI's variety of ID is that it misstates the relationship between the evidence and the theory it aspires to replace. In other words, what capital ID asserts as fact isn't true.

One of the worries is that, sooner or later, DI or someone similar, will find some constitutionally permissible version of "id" which retains the false critique of natural selection, without any nod or wink that "God did it." Lying (and I have already explained to you elsewhere what I mean by that word, and I mean lying here, too) about science is not unconstitutional.

That will be one ladydog of a fight.

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Anyone who believes in Intelligent Design as argued by Dover, I have just two words for them - "cdesign proponentsists"

Yeah, how's that for a smoking gun? Good bit of detective work.

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One of the worries is that, sooner or later, DI or someone similar, will find some constitutionally permissible version of "id" which retains the false critique of natural selection, without any nod or wink that "God did it." Lying (and I have already explained to you elsewhere what I mean by that word, and I mean lying here, too) about science is not unconstitutional.

That will be one ladydog of a fight.

Intelligent design, as laid out in the court trial simply raises questions of irreducible complexity, it has no coherent alternative theory. The Discovery Institute video showed species blinking into existence fully formed. It reminds me of this cartoon.

miracle.gif

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Well its obvious that animals were intelligently designed -- not. They function for a little while and then inevitably fall victim to predation or accident or malfunction or infection or some cancer or other. In the meantime they live lives of fear and hunger and brutality. It's a jury-rigged system, exactly what you would expect from a natural process operating without intelligence or compassion, driven by entirely competitive processes and making do with whatever happens to become available.

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Well, I've finished watching the video, I enjoyed it. It had some thought provoking points, the Dover school board was definitely out of line and justice was finally done. On the whole though, I'm not certain the creators of the video were entirely unbiased in what they chose to edit into those two hours. I didn't get any feel that enough time was spent looking at cross-examination of the Plaintiff's case. One could (and did - at least I did) get the impression that during the whole trial when the Plaintiff put forth their argument, that at no point did the Defence put up a counter-argument or cross-examine. The video spent the first hour and a bit on the circumstances of the case and the Plaintiff's argument. We did not hear a single Cross-examination from the Defence. I doubt the Defence chose not to cross-examine. They allegedly weren't there to disprove evolution, but surely they would have tried to expose some of the "gaps" they claim were inherent in evolution.

By contrast, the next 20-30 minutes of the video discussed the argument for the Defence, and in total difference to the first section, every piece of evidence submitted by the Defence was given ample rebuttal time.

Did the Defence simply accept everything the Plaintiff said, nodded and smiled and then sat back and did nothing? Surely not. But since I'm left with the impression that they did, I cannot help but feel that the creators let slip their own personal bias into the video. But as I said, I enjoyed the video and it certainly got the point across about the tactics used by this group of people in Dover who wanted to insert religion into their classrooms.

~ Regards, PA

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Well its obvious that animals were intelligently designed -- not. They function for a little while and then inevitably fall victim to predation or accident or malfunction or infection or some cancer or other. In the meantime they live lives of fear and hunger and brutality. It's a jury-rigged system, exactly what you would expect from a natural process operating without intelligence or compassion, driven by entirely competitive processes and making do with whatever happens to become available.

I am stunned by the simplicity and truth of this statement! Thanks :tu:

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What I also found interesting was the expert testimony from the cell biologist Ken Miller, who wrote the textbook that the ID'ers had issues with. Miller made the identification of the missing chromosome in humans look easy. But geneticists had to examine all 3 billion base pairs to find it.

Here's a 4 minute video of Miller explaining how the defense offered no resistance or cross examination when he explained this finding.

n.b. Miller states at the end that he is a Roman Catholic and does believe in a designer, but not a deceiving one. He interprets his faith with something he calls biologos, which is the subject of his book, Finding Darwin's God.

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What I also found interesting was the expert testimony from the cell biologist Ken Miller, who wrote the textbook that the ID'ers had issues with. Miller made the identification of the missing chromosome in humans look easy. But geneticists had to examine all 3 billion base pairs to find it.

Yeah, I stumbled across that video about three or four weeks ago. At the time I didn't realise it was referring to Dover, but I Bookmarked the page for future reference anyway, the simple point that evolution predicted that we'd have a fused set of chromosomal base-pairs says much for the validity of the evolutionary theory.

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Well its obvious that animals were intelligently designed -- not. They function for a little while and then inevitably fall victim to predation or accident or malfunction or infection or some cancer or other. In the meantime they live lives of fear and hunger and brutality. It's a jury-rigged system, exactly what you would expect from a natural process operating without intelligence or compassion, driven by entirely competitive processes and making do with whatever happens to become available.

Actually, while I am an evolutionist this doesnt make sense to me. We can't ascertain the purpose or parameters of any designer by looking at the finished product alone. When my wife observes nature like a flower or a humming bird, she is asolutely convinced that only god could create things of such beauty grace and functionality. In her faith, nature was once perfect, like man, and the nature we see today is a chaotic, decadent version of the original nature found in eden. And so, observation can lead to different conclusions, depending on individual world views and knowledge.

Humans design planned obsolescence into manufactured goods, something which makes no sense unless you understand the connection between constant growth and consumption in modern economies

I find it hard to understand why evolution as a process doesn't produce more effective results, but i acknowledge this is a result of my limited knowledge of the intricacies of evolutionary process.

What i am trying to say, is that the present condition of the world is not evidence for either process, unless we have more information. Evolution provides that information from the past, to support itself, while belief in a creator god relies on faith, not evidences. Thus i accept evolution rather than creation, despite knowing a real and very powerful god.

Edited by Mr Walker

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PA

Did the Defence simply accept everything the Plaintiff said, nodded and smiled and then sat back and did nothing? Surely not.

No, but there was a problem. Phillip Johnson, the legal strategist behind the whole idea of going to court on this matter, had the nightmare of his case falling apart like a cheap suit. He had the wrong clients (it's always bad when the judge refers your clients to prosecutors for perjury charges), the wrong curriculum (that is, the resolution of the case on a finding of fact that the dispute had already been adjudicated is embarrassing) and dissension or some problem among his experts.

The latter would have been fatal, had the curriculum not already killed him. He needed to make an affirmative case that there was an authentic secular purpose, and that there was actual science being taught. In objective fact, neither was true. OK, lawyers argue untruths all the time, and in this case, the lawyer may have been misled by his clients.

No, you don't sit there and nod. Cross-examination is worth a shot. You can always get lucky - get a loose cannon like Richard Dawkins talking and eventually he'll say something you can use. Generally speaking, though, you score on cross when you show the witness is mistaken about something asserted on direct, preferably because of a character defect. If the witness isn't mistaken in direct testimony, then the cross doesn't pan out. Note that in an American court, you are prohibited from "arguing your case" during cross-examination, nor are you allowed to "debate" with the witness - you can only ask about things that the witness said during direct.

If it didn't pan out, which evidently it didn't much, based on the judge's opinion, then it is fair to leave it aside in an after-action report, and concentrate on the attempt to make the affirmative case. Cross examination against the affirmative case did work out, in spades. It is fair to include it.

Also, the film clearly has dual purpose, to teach some science as well as to report on how things went in court. If it was only the latter, then the film would have needed to be about the Lousiana case, because almost all that happened in the Dover case of legal significance was the recognition that it was the same curriculum as before. Anything else that happened during the Dover trial can only be interesting for some other reason besides affecting the outcome

Edited by eight bits
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Also, the film clearly has dual purpose, to teach some science as well as to report on how things went in court.

Which is pretty much how I saw it. As I said, I thought the video was fantastic. It got the point across and would be a valuable source for anyone interested in the evolution vs creationism/intelligent design debate. I just felt that it was biased in respect to one side as opposed to the other (which I think you'll find is true - but then, something "biased" does not therefore it is invalidated.... I would never argue that point).

~ PA

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