Did anyone read Doonesbury last Sunday? You know, Doonsebury used to be one of my favorite cartoons, back when it was actually funny. (Yeah, I know, that was about 2 decades ago.) I especially loved the Vietnam-era Doonesbury, with Phred the peace-loving North Vietnamese guy. But, those days are long gone. Gary Trudeau lost his sense of humor, and his sense of reality, a long, long time ago.
Anyway, Sunday’s comic was very timely, dealing with Intelligent Design. The cartoon demonstrated one very important fact: most people don’t have a flippin’ clue about the issues, including Gary Trudeau.
This week, District Judge John Jones III added his voice to the issue, issuing a 139-page (double-spaced) opinion ruling that ID is Creationism under a false label. I’ve started reading the opinion (I’m on page 40), and have several thoughts; however, I am reserving final judgment on the decision until I read the whole stinkin’ ruling. I’ve probably read hundreds of court opinions over the last 19 years, and so far, this is not one of the easiest to read, and definitely one of the longest.
My first thought was that the good judge was just as ignorant as Gary Trudeau, and he might be; however, if (and this is a very big “if”) the opinion states the testimony correctly, he probably ruled correctly on the evidence. This could be one of the worst defended cases I’ve seen (and I’ve seen a few bad ones). I think I would have had to have ruled against the School Board, just based on the defense witnesses.
But here are some of the glaring issues that makes this case, and others like it, completely inane:
- Who decides what is Science? As far as I know, there is no constitutional amendment defining what is, or what is not, science. “Junk science” is all over the place, including courtrooms all over the country, and I wouldn’t doubt that it’s also in our schools. These self-proclaimed “scientists” and teachers of “science” who are so concerned about keeping God out of the laboratories have conned the country into believing that there is a bright line that distinguishes science from anything else. It’s a farce.
- We’ve lost the original intent of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. If the founding fathers had truly intended for a “separation of church and state” as interpreted today, why does our money say “In God We Trust?” Obviously, the intent was not to ban any mention of a higher power.
- Divorcing science from philosophy is bad. Many classic sci-fi and horror stories make this point, and it’s a good one. Just as a legal system is inexorably tied to someone’s morality, science – the study of why things are and how things work – is undoubtedly tied to philosophy, which is also the study of why things are and how things work. There are different methodologies, but to pretend to study “science” without consideration of the other questions is downright stupid.
- No court can decide the issue. All the court can do is (supposedly) rule on evidence it is presented, based on existing laws. If, for example, the Creationists (or ID-ers) are poor litigators or are just plain stupid, they will lose. Losing proves only that they lost.
- The Court’s ruling should only apply to these set of facts. The court was ruling on specific language mandated by the School Board. If that language is the official language of everyong who believes in Intelligent Design, that is one thing; however, in this case it seems the language was pretty poor.
- Some of the Judge’s conclusions seem to be based on flawed information, not presented in the case itself. He discusses the history of Creationism and Intelligent Design, claiming it is based on “fundamentalism” and lumping all creationists as fundamentalists. I take offense at that … I don’t even know if this analysis would apply to all of the creationist school board members involved in the case. It seems absurd for the judge to be discussing church history and theology, wheh it is obvious he really hasn’t a clue about these issues.
There are many more issues to consider, based on sound logic and common sense. I’ll finish reading the case sometime over the Christmas holiday, and continue this rant …