December 30, 2005 | David F. Coppedge

A Foxhole Anthology: News from the CrEv Trenches

If Judge Jones or the NCSE thought for a minute that the Dover ruling would bring an end to the ID wars, the news media should clear up any miscalculations.  Here is a clearinghouse of recent headlines:

  • Peruse Pyrrhus:  “Pyrrhic victory” is a phrase used by John West, Pat Buchanan on Real Clear Politics and others to characterize the completely one-sided decision by Judge John E. Jones.  (For those needing a history refresher, King Pyrrhus of Epirus won a battle against the Romans in 279 BC, but sustained such heavy losses it nearly ruined his kingdom, and eventually contributed to its downfall.)
  • Hail Storm:  “Victors hail US evolution decision,” wrote the BBC News with a big portrait of Charles Darwin.  The article quoted the decision and echoed primarily the attitudes of the winners.
  • Praise Be:  News@Nature similarly accentuated the positive attitude of the winners: “a complete victory,” said a lawyer representing the Dover parents who brought the ACLU lawsuit.  Kevin Padian, pro-Darwinist scientist who testified, called ID effectively dead, crowing, “The whole place here is saying that this is beyond our wildest dreams.”
  • Straight Story:  Jeffrey Mervis at Science Now was a little more reserved at the celebration, at least giving one quote to John West who called this “government-imposed censorship” that “won’t work.”  He gave Judge Jones last word, though, with his attempt to head off at the pass claims he was an activist judge.
  • Basking Sharks:  The two lawyers who won the Dover case are enjoying some fame, reports Law.com.  Their comments seem like verbatim duplicates of those by Judge Jones.  Tom Magnuson on Access Research Network, however, noted an irony in their views.  Their stated principle, “right to believe includes the right not to believe,” seems to fly in the face of the Dover decision: “The Darwinistic worldview will now be taught unchallenged.  While in school in Pennsylvania, you WILL be taught the state-sponsored worldview,” he commented.
  • Slam-Dunk?  No.  Mortal Wound?  No.  Alan Boyle at MSNBC said the debate will move on to new grounds.  As much as it “pleased Darwin’s defenders,” it rankled intelligent design proponents at least as much.
  • Networkers:  The ID Network went on offense, not defense.  They accused the ruling: “The decision in Dover today took evolution out of science and made it a religion.”
  • Catholic Rebuttal:  Cardinal Schonborn answered his critics with a forthright response in First Things about the limits of science.  Tom Magnuson on Access Research Network called this “a MUST read to understand the current culture war between scientism (neo-Darwinism) and design theory.”
  • Politically Incorrect:  Tom Bethell, author of A Politically Incorrect Guide to Science, wrote in The Washington Times that this is not even “remotely a setback for ID”  Making it “Banned in Boston” is only going to ignite the flames.
  • Public Justice:  The Center for Public Justice denounced the ruling, calling it “largely philosophical and theological in character” and that Judge Jones was outside his domain, acting like a “court authority in the high Middle Ages.”  School choice was their recommendation.
  • Neo-Orthodoxy:  Paul Campos in the Rocky Mountain News referred to the Spanish Inquisition in a satirical editorial about the irony of free-speech liberals embracing an intolerant orthodoxy.
  • Judge in the Dock:  John West wrote a series of articles for EvolutionNews asking pointed questions about Judge Jones and his decision: #1 Is Judge Jones an activist judge?  #2 Did Judge Jones read the evidence submitted to him in the Dover trial?  #3 Did Judge Jones accurately report and describe the ID resources?  #4 Is Judge Jones a conservative Republican?
  • No Waterloo:  ID leader William Dembski wrote in Science and Theology News that the Dover decision is no Waterloo, but merely one battle in a long culture war.
  • Skittish:  A school in Fargo, ND won’t allow intelligent design as a debating topic.  It’s too awkward and controversial, reported the Bismarck Tribune and InForum.  Tom Magnuson quipped on Access Research Network that apparently schools don’t want to infringe on anyone’s Constitutional right to be comfortable.
  • Museum Shrapnel:  MSNBC talked about ongoing efforts at museums, zoos and aquariums to help docents deal with evolution critics. 
  • Sunday School for Scientists:  The AAAS is planning a special session at its annual meeting at St. Louis in February to deal with the teaching of evolution in American high schools.  “Evolution on the Front Line” will feature a series of presentations Sun. Feb. 19, including one by Vatican astronomer Rev. George Coyne.  “The Sunday evolution forum is considered especially important in light of events in neighboring Kansas and other heartland areas,” the announcement states.  Talking points: integrity of science, the best in science education for a knowledge-based, globally competitive economic future.
  • Horn on the Cobb:  Skipping over from Dover to Cobb County, an article by Joseph Knippenberg appeared in The American Enterprise talking about the textbook sticker case in Georgia as a textbook case on religion in the public square.  Regarding the efforts to remove the stickers that merely called for critical thinking, he ended, “One begins to wonder whether liberal toleration is a sham, offered only to the most docile, and whether liberalism isn’t itself the very sort of orthodoxy it claims to eschew.”

Bluffing words, commotion, posturing, strategizing, politicking, grandstanding… science, please?  None of this matters, really; Darwinism has already been falsified (see next story).  Since evolution has failed “in a most spectacular way,” we ought to be concerned not with war but with clean-up.

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