The Questionable Authority

Monday, I posted an entry here that discussed, in part, a Discovery Institute blog article claiming that the Dover ruling qualifies the cdesign proponentsists textbook Of Pandas and People as a “banned book.” As I explained at the time, the claim is complete and total nonsense, so I suppose I really should have guessed that the anti-evolution movement would get behind it in a hell of a hurry.

That appears to be just what’s happening. The latest twists involve the Uncommon Descent blog and the Wikipedia entry for banned books.

Over at Uncommon Descent, Dembski posted an item noting that, “A colleague of mine added Of Pandas and People to the Wikipedia’s list of Banned Books,” and citing as justification for this the American Library Association’s definitions for challenged and banned books:

A challenge is an attempt to remove or restrict materials, based upon the objections of a person or group. A banning is the removal of those materials. Challenges do not simply involve a person expressing a point of view; rather, they are an attempt to remove material from the curriculum or library, thereby restricting the access of others.

The claim that Pandas fits this definition is based on the ruling in the Dover, PA Intelligent Design lawsuit. It is probably worth noting at this point that Of Pandas and People was not a part of the curriculum in Pennsylvania, and that the decision did not require that the book be removed from the library. (Of course, it’s not like these folks have ever been willing to let facts get in the way of their persecution complexes.) Strictly speaking, it’s hard to see how this particular ALA definition could be stretched far enough to include the Dover case. However, I’ve emailed the ALA to see if they might be able to shed some light on the matter. I’ll let you know what, if anything, the ALA has to say about this.

Presumably after reading Dembski’s post, someone added the following statement to the Wikipedia entry:

(This book was listed on Wikipedia by a colleague of William Dembski[42] after advocates of “intelligent design” claimed that Pandas was a banned book due to the Kitzmiller vs. Dover decision.[43] However, this view has been challenged[44] [45] on the grounds that the Kitzmiller lawsuit did not challenge the book’s placement in the school library, and this precise point was explicitly clarified by the Court in a pretrial ruling in March 2005, which stated, “It is therefore clear to the Court that Plaintiffs only seek to remove the book Of Pandas and People from the Dover Area School District’s science classrooms, and not from its school libraries.”[46])

Personally, I think that statement is a reasonable compromise – at least until the ALA weighs in. However, someone using the same handle as a commenter in the Uncommon Descent thread quickly removed that note from the entry. At least for the time being, I’m going to leave it that way, and I’d encourage everyone else to, as well. There’s absolutely nothing to be gained from an add-delete war right now.

The claim that Of Pandas and People is a “banned book” is ripe nonsense, but it’s not going away anytime soon, so I’ll probably have more on the topic later on.

Comments

  1. #1 Richard Wein
    September 27, 2006

    As far as I remember, the objection to the Dover board’s policy was that it gave implicit approval to Pandas. I don’t think the court’s ruling would necessarily prevent Pandas from being used in the classroom in an appropriate fashion, such as discussing what was wrong with the book, or discussing the social implications of the book. If I’m correct, then it was not the book that was banned but the implicit approval of the book.

  2. #2 Larry Fafarman
    September 27, 2006

    From opening post –

    It is probably worth noting at this point that Of Pandas and People was not a part of the curriculum in Pennsylvania . . . .

    I disagree. The ID statement that mentioned the Pandas book was a very specific part of the curriculum, even more so than other parts of the curriculum because there was a requirement that the statement be read to the students word-for-word. Furthermore, the mere mention of the book — let alone teaching the book or requiring the students to read the book — was banned from the curriculum by court order. This is an extreme form of censorship.

    However, this view has been challenged[44] [45] on the grounds that the Kitzmiller lawsuit did not challenge the book’s placement in the school library,and this precise point was explicitly clarified by the Court in a pretrial ruling in March 2005, which stated, “It is therefore clear to the Court that Plaintiffs only seek to remove the book Of Pandas and People from the Dover Area School District’s science classrooms, and not from its school libraries.”
    Personally, I think that statement is a reasonable compromise

    No, that statement is not a reasonable compromise, because that statement says that a book that has been removed from the curriculum but has not been removed from the school library does not qualify as a “banned book.” In the 3rd circuit at least, there is a good chance that a book banned from a curriculum would not be banned from a school library because of the following precedent of the 3rd circuit:

    the Third Circuit distinguishes removing books from a library and removing books from a classroom: “special characteristics of the school library make that environment especially appropriate for the recognition of the First Amendment rights of students, for the library, unlike the school classroom, is a place for voluntary inquiry and study.” See Kreimer v. Bureau of Police for Town of Morristown, 958 F.2d 1242, 1254 (3d Cir. 1992) Therefore, under Third Circuit law Applicants would have a colorable claim only if plaintiffs sought to remove books from the library. (Plaintiffs’ Response to Rutherford Institute Motion to Intervene, pp. 10-11. Filed February 4, 2005)

    – from http://www.pandasthumb.org/archives/2006/09/the_silliest_th.html#more

    The only objective, non-arbitrary and universal definition of “banned book” is a book that is under any kind of restriction imposed by a governmental authority. Otherwise, there can be no consensus as to what the term “banned book” means.

  3. #3 Scott Simmons
    September 27, 2006

    “The only objective, non-arbitrary and universal definition of “banned book” is a book that is under any kind of restriction imposed by a governmental authority. Otherwise, there can be no consensus as to what the term “banned book” means.”

    I suppose if we include frothing nutjobs in our ‘consensus’ group … Hey, my son got in trouble yesterday for reading a Harry Potter book during math class. Does that mean Harry Potter is a banned book in his district? Of course not–it’s just not appropriate to be reading fiction like HP in math class. Nor is it considered appropriate to read fiction like P&P during science class. That doesn’t make it banned–just stupid.

  4. #4 Larry Fafarman
    September 27, 2006

    Scott Simmons said ( September 27, 2006 07:48 AM ) –

    “The only objective, non-arbitrary and universal definition of “banned book” is a book that is under any kind of restriction imposed by a governmental authority. Otherwise, there can be no consensus as to what the term “banned book” means.”

    I suppose if we include frothing nutjobs in our ‘consensus’ group … Hey, my son got in trouble yesterday for reading a Harry Potter book during math class. Does that mean Harry Potter is a banned book in his district?

    You’re the frothing nutjob here. That is a straw man example. A one minute statement by the teacher cannot be compared with reading an off-topic book continuously during a class.

    If a student read the Pandas book during biology class instead of following the class, would that mean that the Pandas book is not a banned book because it is in the same situation as the Harry Potter book, which is not a banned book?

    Would a court issue an order barring your son from reading Harry Potter during math class?

    If we’re going to start making this kind of comparison, there is no reason to not go all the way.

  5. #5 G. Shelley
    September 27, 2006

    If you are going to change your deffinition every time someone points out it make no sense, you ought to at least provide the new one.

    Anyway, Pandas is off topic for a science lesson

  6. #6 W. Carson
    September 27, 2006

    As a librarian, I’m a little puzzled about the DI’s strategy.

    First, it’s worth pointing out that the ALA’s definition is for “challenged” books, and “challenged” books are not necessarily “banned” books. A book makes its way onto ALA’s “challenged” list typically in this manner:
    1. At some library, patron requests that the book X be withdrawn from the collection. This is called a “challenge.”
    2. The library sends the ALA a list of the books including book X that have been “challenged” at that library.
    3. The ALA compiles its list of “challenged” books across America, including book X, and tallies the number of times each has been challenged.

    That’s why Harry Potter always sits so proudly at the top of the ALA’s list of challenged books: not because there’s any shortage of Harry Potter (good gracious, no), but because there is no shortage of Christ-chasing muggles who see Satan behind any card trick and who demand that Potter be removed from any library in their vicinity.

    To get Pandas on a list of challenged books, all the DI could simply:
    1. Find a library that has Pandas and which reports its challenges to the ALA.
    2. Request that Pandas be removed from the collection. It would probably be best to cite reasons that sound like religious bigotry rather than to describe its serious scientific shortcomings.

    Step 1 would be pretty simple, and step 2 would be even easier. Organize a campaign to do this and presto — you have a ranking on the ALA’s challenged book list, and you get a free pass to advertise Pandas every year during Banned Books Week. Which, probably not coincidentally, is this week.

    It seems to me that this strategy would be less dishonest than the outright lie the DI is trying to perpetrate now.

  7. #7 Edward
    September 27, 2006

    You’re the frothing nutjob here. That is a straw man example. A one minute statement by the teacher cannot be compared with reading an off-topic book continuously during a class.

    I suspect Scott used a straw man example because he wanted to illustrate the absurdity of an absolutist position on “banned books” articulated in:

    The only objective, non-arbitrary and universal definition of “banned book” is a book that is under any kind of restriction imposed by a governmental authority. Otherwise, there can be no consensus as to what the term “banned book” means.

    (emphasis added)

    You see, the “any kind of restriction” is the issue. In Scott’s supposed “straw man” example Harry Potter is under some kind of restriction, presumably by the teacher or principal (a government authority). The fact that it is a perfectly reasonable restriction – that would have no impact upon the students ability to read HP either before or after class – simply emphasizes the fact that absolutist definitions for a “banned book” do not work.

    This illustrates a fundamental problem with the Wikipedia list – the absence of context. Leaving aside the need to break the the list into bannings in particular countries (which are listed for some books in a rather ad hoc manner) there is still a need for categorization (or at least explanation) of the type of restriction. Any resonable person sees a major distinction between restricting the use of a book in a classroom setting and eliminating access that children have to the book through the library.

    Documenting where the Of Pandas & People “ban” falls on the continuum of restrictions is all that the cited “compromise” clarification seeks to do. Lumping the banning of Solzhenitsyn in the Soviet Union in with the very limited “ban” of Of Pandas & People that focused specifically on students under the age of 18 in a one specific setting does a real disservice to the memory of those authors who were actually banned.

    However, a more interesting question is why ol’ Larry does not see the compromise as reasonable. After all, nothing in the clarification says anything that would cause a person to conclude that Of Pandas & People was not banned, if you accept Larry’s definition of “banning”. Methinks Larry doth believe that his own definition is bulls***.

  8. #8 J-Dog
    September 27, 2006

    Larry is a well-known nut-job, who has been acknowledged as undergoing therapy even by his brother, and nothing he writes should be taken seriously. (Information to support my claim can be viewed on previous posts at Ed Brayton’s blog.

    Larry is a troll’s troll, and such a perfect spokesperson to represent for ID, creationism, or any form of christian wack job stupidity.

    HTH

  9. #9 kim
    September 27, 2006

    If it results in an editwar, the page will be locked.

  10. #10 Darth Robo
    September 27, 2006

    “Would a court issue an order barring your son from reading Harry Potter during math class?”

    No, cuz it ain’t religious. It would be reasonable for the teacher to stop him reading DURING class if he should be working. It’s also reasonable to ban pandas from being used in a science class as it is a RELIGIOUS book.

    “Larry is a troll’s troll, and such a perfect spokesperson to represent for ID, creationism, or any form of christian wack job stupidity.”

    But didn’t he even get banned from uncommon descent? Gotta feel maybe a twinge of sympathy for him.

  11. #11 Adam
    September 27, 2006

    My third grader and a few of his friends got in trouble for reading a Pokemon book in the bathroom at school this week. How cool is that?

  12. #12 Larry Fafarman
    September 27, 2006

    G. Shelley said –
    If you are going to change your deffinition every time someone points out it make no sense, you ought to at least provide the new one.

    OK, maybe the definition just requires a little refinement. How is this: a “banned book” is a book that is singled out for any kind of restriction imposed by a governmental authority. That would exclude off-topic books being read during class, books being read while driving, books banned from sports stadiums because they can be used to hit rival fans on the head, etc..

    W. Carson said (September 27, 2006 09:25 AM) —

    First, it’s worth pointing out that the ALA’s definition is for “challenged” books, and “challenged” books are not necessarily “banned” books.

    Right — the ALA defines a “banned” book as a successfully “challenged” book. The ALA says,

    Each year, the American Library Association (ALA) is asked why the week is called “Banned Books Week” instead of “Challenged Books Week,” since the majority of the books featured during the week are not banned, but “merely” challenged. There are two reasons. One, ALA does not “own” the name Banned Books Week, but is just one of several cosponsors of BBW; therefore, ALA cannot change the name without all the cosponsors agreeing to a change. Two, none want to do so, primarily because a challenge is an attempt to ban or restrict materials, based upon the objections of a person or group. A successful challenge would result in materials being banned or restricted.

    – from http://www.ala.org/ala/oif/bannedbooksweek/backgroundb/background.htm#wbbw

    It seems to me that this strategy would be less dishonest than the outright lie the DI is trying to perpetrate now.

    There is no lie. The ALA does not require that a “challenge” to a book follow the pattern that you described — i.e., private individuals complaining to libraries. The challenges can come from private individuals, private groups, individuals and groups in the government, or the man in the moon. The challenges may be directed at libraries, schools, legislatures, publishers, etc.. Some people accuse me of being overly restrictive in my definition of “banned book” but look at what you are doing. Anyway, you may have come up with a good explanation as to why Harry Potter tops the list.

    Edward said ( September 27, 2006 10:02 AM ) –
    You see, the “any kind of restriction” is the issue. In Scott’s supposed “straw man” example Harry Potter is under some kind of restriction, presumably by the teacher or principal (a government authority).

    Point well-taken. So how do you like the new definition that I proposed above: a “banned book” is a book that is singled out for any kind of restriction imposed by a governmental authority.

    Leaving aside the need to break the the list into bannings in particular countries (which are listed for some books in a rather ad hoc manner) there is still a need for categorization (or at least explanation) of the type of restriction

    A lot of the books in the list give one or more of the following pieces of information about the banning: why, where, when, and how. Many of the book names in the list are linked to Wikipedia articles that go into more detail.

    Lumping the banning of Solzhenitsyn in the Soviet Union in with the very limited “ban” of Of Pandas & People that focused specifically on students under the age of 18 in a one specific setting does a real disservice to the memory of those authors who were actually banned.

    You make it sound as if the harm done to the Panda’s book’s publisher (Foundation for Thought and Ethics) is minor because the ban was “very limited.” The Dover decision severely damaged the book’s reputation and hurt FTE’s ability to market the book to schools. To top it off, Judge Jones denied FTE the opportunity to defend the book when he denied FTE’s motion to intervene in the Dover case.

    However, a more interesting question is why ol’ Larry does not see the compromise as reasonable.

    I explained why I do not see the so-called “compromise” as reasonable — see my first comment here (the second comment in this thread). Under this “compromise,” a lot of banned books now on the list would not be there.

    Methinks Larry doth believe that his own definition is bulls***.

    Wrong — I believe even more strongly in my definition now that I have added the qualifier “singled out.”

    J- Dog said,
    Larry is a well-known nut-job

    Junkyard Dog, you, Scott Simmons, and others are cowards and scoundrels because you figure that you can get away with insults and ad hominems because the blogger is on your side and you know that I risk being deleted and/or banned if I retaliate. We will see how fair-minded Mike Dunford is here. The world is watching.

    Darth Robo said –

    “Would a court issue an order barring your son from reading Harry Potter during math class?”
    No, cuz it ain’t religious.

    Tell that to the fundies who are trying to have this book banned.

    Anyway, I have eliminated the “reading off-topic books during class” loophole by redefining “banned books” as books that are “singled out” for restriction.

  13. #13 Steve Reuland
    September 27, 2006

    At least for the time being, I’m going to leave it that way, and I’d encourage everyone else to, as well. There’s absolutely nothing to be gained from an add-delete war right now.

    I’m not seeing it there, so I assume someone chose to ignore your advice and removed it anyway. It’s pretty obvious that Pandas wasn’t banned from the library, nor did anyone try to ban it, so it’s dishonest for the IDists to put it there and thus it should be removed. Edit wars are nasty affairs, but sometimes they’re the only remedy to obstinant people who insist on putting blatant falsehoods into articles.

  14. #14 QrazyQat
    September 27, 2006

    “Would a court issue an order barring your son from reading Harry Potter during math class?”

    No, cuz it ain’t religious.

    The question is would a court issue an order barring a teacher from using Harry Potter as a math textbook if the school board voted to use it as a math textbook? And the answer is you bet they would. Wouldn’t you?

  15. #15 Mike Dunford
    September 27, 2006

    Larry:

    1: The “mere mention” of the book was not barred by the court decision, even in the science classroom. What was banned was a disclaimer that included a mention of the book. There’s a large difference. The ruling doesn’t say that teachers cannot ever mention the book. It says that using a disclaimer statement such as the one in this case singles out evolution for special treatment in a manner that a reasonable and independent observer would see as endorsing a specific religious view.

    2: Your new definition of banned is still ridiculous. Under that definition, any book that advances a specific religious view can be claimed as “banned” from public schools. Painting anyone who wants to protect his or her first amendment rights as a censor is a nice way to try to spin things, but it flunks the stink test.

  16. #16 Robin
    September 27, 2006

    I disagree. The ID statement that mentioned the Pandas book was a very specific part of the curriculum, even more so than other parts of the curriculum because there was a requirement that the statement be read to the students word-for-word.

    Incorrect. The ID statement in Dover was voted upon to be adopted as part of the biology curriculum in January 2005, but had not yet become part of the curriculum and was held from becoming part of the curriculum until the end of the trial. Of Pandas and People had not yet been used when the verdict was made and they were never moved from the library.

  17. #17 Larry Fafarman
    September 27, 2006

    Mike Dunford said ( September 27, 2006 01:10 PM ) –
    1: The “mere mention” of the book was not barred by the court decision, even in the science classroom. What was banned was a disclaimer that included a mention of the book. There’s a large difference. The ruling doesn’t say that teachers cannot ever mention the book.

    I can assure you that the teachers have been thoroughly discouraged from ever mentioning the book. The judge never expressly gave the teachers permission to mention the book so long as the mention was not made in the banned disclaimer.

    Under that definition, any book that advances a specific religious view can be claimed as “banned” from public schools.

    I think that there is some truth in what you say, but a book is not considered “banned” simply because of what it is — some specific banning action must be taken against it for it to be considered banned. Also, the American Library Association’s definition of “banned book” makes no exception for books that are banned from public schools because of alleged religious content that allegedly violates the establishment clause. Also, whether the Pandas book presents or endorses a religious view is a matter of debate — to my knowledge, it does not mention anything overtly religious nor does it refer to any religious source. The judge heard about three weeks of expert testimony before deciding that the book is religious with no legitimate secular purpose. Furthermore, according to your line of reasoning here, any book that is banned for a supposedly “legitimate” reason — e.g., obscenity, racial stereotyping — was not really “banned” because the banning was done for a “legitimate” reason. The Tarzan books were not really banned, since — after all — Tarzan and Jane were supposedly living in sin.

    Your new definition of banned is still ridiculous.

    And your so-called “compromise” definition is not ridiculous? As I have already demonstrated, under your “compromise” definition many of the banned books that are now in the list would not be there.

    G. Shelley said –
    Pandas is off topic for a science lesson

    Off-topic or not, mention of the book in the disclaimer statement was an official part of the curriculum.

    Kim said –
    If it results in an editwar, the page will be locked.

    An edit war is actually happening. The book has already been removed from Wikipedia’s list of banned books at least twice.

  18. #18 Chiefley
    September 27, 2006

    I think this is getting too complicated. Both the Bible and Pandas violate the Lemon Test when used as science textbooks in a public school. As such, both the Bible and Pandas could (and should) be banned for that usage by a federal court under the US Constitution.

    In other words Pandas is banned for the same usage that the Bible is banned and for the same reason.

    I think it is a great idea to publicize the notion that Pandas is a religious text and is not appropriate for science class. It is a service to the rest of the world to highlight the fact that this is not a science textbook.

  19. #19 Gary Hurd
    September 27, 2006

    Thanks Mike for keeping up with this “banning” nonsense. Our effort is appreciated

  20. #20 Edward
    September 27, 2006

    ok, I’ll bite…

    I said:
    You see, the “any kind of restriction” is the issue. In Scott’s supposed “straw man” example Harry Potter is under some kind of restriction, presumably by the teacher or principal (a government authority).

    and Larry replied:

    Point well-taken. So how do you like the new definition that I proposed above: a “banned book” is a book that is singled out for any kind of restriction imposed by a governmental authority.

    ephasis in the original.

    Adding singled out doesn’t address the point at all.

    The only reason Harry Potter books aren’t “banned” from math classes is ‘cos there is no organized movement to put them into math classes. What do you think would happen if there was a movement that wanted to put a disclaimer in the geometry text stating that magic can alter the meaning of numbers so one should “keep an open mind while learning maths and read Harry Potter books to understand how magic can alter the fabric of reality, rendering mathematics useless”?

    The reality is that there are plenty of books that simply aren’t appropriate for certain curricula. It probably wouldn’t be appropriate to have 4th graders reading “Tropic of Cancer”. It certainly wouldn’t be appropriate to have students read a Stanton Friedman book on Roswell in the science classroom. Why don’t you consider ol’ Stanton banned?

    I’ll tell you why – because there is no organized movement saying that reading ’bout UFOs is an important part of science education. If there was, there would be a decision on the part of the school administration and/or the school board (government representatives, oh my!) to exclude the book. (At least I hope there would be). And if there was a school board taken over by wackos who want to add UFOs to the curriculum – well, I would hope that at least one parent would say, “I want my kids to learn science in the science classroom”.

    Of Pandas and People is viewed as the equivalent of UFO nonsense by virtually all of the scientific community. If ID proponents really think “Darwinism” is wrong and ID is correct they should develop of a real research program and then try to convince other scientists. The ID community doesn’t aim their message at the scientific community that can critically evaluate their claims – they aim at scientifically illiterate laypeople. They are no different for UFO “researchers” who try to convince laypeople rather than astronomers.

    For that reason, Of Pandas and People doesn’t belong in a science classroom. If the school library wants to have a copy, well… it is a bit of a waste of money and space but probably no worse than some of the other books on the shelves. If the decision were to eliminate Of Pandas and People from the library there would be some validity to the complaint. But saying it shouldn’t be a part of the curriculum is totally different, and most people who don’t live in the bizarro world can recognize that.

    So, maybe Larry should return to Htrae. He am lost on this planet.

  21. #21 Jweaver
    September 27, 2006

    Larry Wrote: OK, maybe the definition just requires a little refinement. How is this: a “banned book” is a book that is singled out for any kind of restriction imposed by a governmental authority. That would exclude off-topic books being read during class, books being read while driving, books banned from sports stadiums because they can be used to hit rival fans on the head, etc..

    Why do you insist on playing word games? Is this the only strategy you have left to push your agenda through? The dictionary definition of “banned” is fine. What is not fine is your lack of understanding that certain things simply can not be taught in certain situations. Pornographic magazines are banned by your stupid definitions. You must be of a certain age to buy them, therefor they are banned. By your argument, that is unconstitutional and we should all make a big stink over it. Yet I don’t hear anyone pounding the streets in protest over it. That issue fits into your religious beliefs so you leave it alone. You are the one building the stawman Larry. The government has every right to censor religion from public schools. What is so difficult to understand?

    You may NOT teach religion in public schools. Call it book banning, or censorship, or whatever you like, but that is the law. In this country we have a separation of church and state, and ID was found to be religion in a court of law. It therefor may not be taught. We are not a christian nation, as much as that pains you.

    If you can’t handle this ruling, then send your kids to a private school. You have that right. No one is stopping you.

  22. #22 Larry Fafarman
    September 27, 2006

    Robin said (September 27, 2006 02:40 PM) –

    I disagree. The ID statement that mentioned the Pandas book was a very specific part of the curriculum, even more so than other parts of the curriculum because there was a requirement that the statement be read to the students word-for-word.

    Incorrect. The ID statement in Dover was voted upon to be adopted as part of the biology curriculum in January 2005, but had not yet become part of the curriculum and was held from becoming part of the curriculum until the end of the trial.

    I think that you are really splitting hairs here.

    Anyway, what is the big deal if the Pandas book is on the list of hundreds of banned books in Wikipedia? The book is not going to win any awards. The Discovery Institute’s John West nominated it for “banned book of the year” of the “Banned Book Week” event, but apparently there is no ‘banned book of the year” contest — the American Library Association apparently just ranks banned books on the basis of how many times they have been “challenged.”

    Listing the book as a banned book is not much consolation in return for the great damage that the book’s publisher, FTE, suffered in the Dover case. A large part of the Dover opinion was a negative book review of Pandas. The book’s name appeared 75 times in the opinion — about half the appearances concerned the book itself and about half concerned the school board’s actions in choosing the book. Though (1) the book was central to the case, (2) FTE was the world’s foremost authority on the book, and (3) the FTE had a big economic interest at stake, Judge Jones incredibly denied FTE’s motion to intervene. And finally FTE had no chance to appeal the decision. So I think that you Darwinists should just lay off the book and stop messing with the book’s listing in the Wikipedia list of banned books.

    Of Pandas and People had not yet been used when the verdict was made and they were never moved from the library.

    I’m wondering — are the books still in the library? If so, then it looks like the fundies who were on the previous school board got the last laugh. LOL

    Steve Reuland said ( September 27, 2006 12:54 PM ) –

    It’s pretty obvious that Pandas wasn’t banned from the library, nor did anyone try to ban it, so it’s dishonest for the IDists to put it there [in the list of banned books] and thus it should be removed.

    The definition of “banned books” includes not just books banned from libraries but also books banned from curricula.

    Chiefley said ( September 27, 2006 03:29 PM ) –

    I think it is a great idea to publicize the notion that Pandas is a religious text and is not appropriate for science class.

    – and one of the best ways to publicize that notion is to put the book in a list of banned books.

  23. #23 Larry Fafarman
    September 27, 2006

    Edward said ( September 27, 2006 05:48 PM ) –

    Adding singled out doesn’t address the point at all.
    The only reason Harry Potter books aren’t “banned” from math classes is ‘cos there is no organized movement to put them into math classes.

    But Harry Potter is “banned” from math classes. So are Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and Sears catalogs. They are “banned” because most schools do not allow students to read off-topic material during class time. So that is one of the reasons why I added “singled out” to my definition of “banned book.”

    The reality is that there are plenty of books that simply aren’t appropriate for certain curricula. It probably wouldn’t be appropriate to have 4th graders reading “Tropic of Cancer”.

    That is one of the reasons why Tropic of Cancer is on Wikipedia’s list of banned books.

    The American Library Association’s “banned books” classification system, unlike movies, is not age-rated in regard to their content of sex, violence, profanity, etc.. In movies, you have X, R, PG, PG-13, and G ratings. In the ALA system, the categories are just challenged, not challenged, banned, and not banned.

    It certainly wouldn’t be appropriate to have students read a Stanton Friedman book on Roswell in the science classroom. My emphasis

    The contents of the Pandas book was not taught in Dover, nor was there any requirement that the students read the book on their own.

    I’ll tell you why – because there is no organized movement saying that reading ’bout UFOs is an important part of science education. If there was, there would be a decision on the part of the school administration and/or the school board (government representatives, oh my!) to exclude the book

    But would there be a decision to ban mentioning of a book on UFO’s? Doubtful.

    There are several different reasons why books get on lists of banned books — sexual content, profanity, racial stereotyping, etc.. But you Darwinists want the Pandas book kept off of banned book lists solely on the grounds that the reason for banning was an alleged violation of the establishment clause. You are asking the American Library Association to make a special exception just for you.

    Anyway, my main concern regarding my definition of “banned book” is whether the definition correctly distinguishes between books that are considered to be banned and books that are not considered to be banned. In this regard, I think that my definition is infinitely superior to the opening post’s “compromise” definition, which defines “banned books” as only including books that are banned from libraries.

  24. #24 Mike Dunford
    September 27, 2006

    Larry said:
    Also, the American Library Association’s definition of “banned book” makes no exception for books that are banned from public schools because of alleged religious content that allegedly violates the establishment clause.

    If there is no exception, then (a) the definition of “banned” becomes diluted past the point of meaningless, and (b) the definition could make it unfairly appear that religious books are disproportionately banned.

    Larry:
    Also, whether the Pandas book presents or endorses a religious view is a matter of debate — to my knowledge, it does not mention anything overtly religious nor does it refer to any religious source. The judge heard about three weeks of expert testimony before deciding that the book is religious with no legitimate secular purpose.

    The length of time the trial lasted is totally irrelevant, and the debate over the religious nature of the book, like the debate over evolution itself, only exists in the minds of those who are trying to oppose the teaching of evolution. Your inability to accept the obvious (cdesign proponentists) does not mean that the obvious is debatable.

    Larry:
    Furthermore, according to your line of reasoning here, any book that is banned for a supposedly “legitimate” reason — e.g., obscenity, racial stereotyping — was not really “banned” because the banning was done for a “legitimate” reason.

    That’s horseshit, Larry, and you should know that. I didn’t say that the reason the book can’t be used in the classroom is “legitimate;” I said that it can’t be used in the classroom because its use would violate constitutionally protected rights.

    Larry:
    And your so-called “compromise” definition is not ridiculous? As I have already demonstrated, under your “compromise” definition many of the banned books that are now in the list would not be there.

    First of all, it’s not my definition, and I have no idea who wrote it.

    Second, I did not say that the definition was a compromise; I said that leaving Of Pandas and People on the list of banned books, but accompanied by that statement was a compromise.

  25. #25 Doc Bill
    September 27, 2006

    As usual, Larry F, you are wrong.

    Simply wrong.

    Pandas wasn’t banned.

    You can disagree with me until the cows come home, but me and the cows say you’re wrong. Perhaps a course in basic reading at a community college would help you out.

  26. #26 Tony Whitson
    September 28, 2006

    As of now, it isn’t there. The latest deletion compared with the previous version can be seen at
    http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=List_of_banned_books&diff=78105480&oldid=78103195

    But perpetuating an “add delete war” is not the only recourse on wikipedia. I will report this to somebody in the community who can do something about it. Stay tuned.

  27. #27 Darth Robo
    September 28, 2006

    Larry sez:

    “The Dover decision severely damaged the book’s reputation and hurt FTE’s ability to market the book to schools.”

    Aw, my heart bleeds. Since it was a religious book, it was appropriate to ban it from being a school text book. If the books rep was hurt, then it’s the fault of the people who wrote a book which is full of sh*te.

    “Tell that to the fundies who are trying to have this book banned.”

    Why bother, since they’re still dumb enough to believe in witches? Educating fundies is like educating Larry. Are you saying you AREN’T a fundie? :)

    “Off-topic or not, mention of the book in the disclaimer statement was an official part of the curriculum.”

    And that part of the curriculum was found to be unconstitutional. Tough nuggies.

    If YOU wanna think of it as banned, then go right ahead. I prefer to think of it as just poop. It belongs in the toilet.

  28. #28 Larry Fafarman
    September 28, 2006

    Mike Dunford said ( September 27, 2006 09:26 PM ) –

    Larry said: Also, the American Library Association’s definition of “banned book” makes no exception for books that are banned from public schools because of alleged religious content that allegedly violates the establishment clause.
    If there is no exception, then (a) the definition of “banned” becomes diluted past the point of meaningless,

    So far as I can see, there is no exception now, so you’ll have to ask the ALA to make one. And if ALA grants an exception for bans based on the establishment clause, then the ALA will be under pressure to grant exceptions for other reasons.

    and (b) the definition could make it unfairly appear that religious books are disproportionately banned.

    Lists of banned (or challenged) books contain only books that have actually been banned, and not books that just have the potential to be banned.

    Do you think that it is not possible that a book could be wrongly banned on charges of being a government endorsement of religion?

    The length of time the trial lasted is totally irrelevant, and the debate over the religious nature of the book, like the debate over evolution itself, only exists in the minds of those who are trying to oppose the teaching of evolution.

    Your hero Judge Jones appeared to believe that these subjects are debatable, because he listened to several days of testimony on these subjects.

    I didn’t say that the reason the book can’t be used in the classroom is “legitimate;” I said that it can’t be used in the classroom because its use would violate constitutionally protected rights.

    So a violation of constitutional rights is not a “legitimate” reason for banning a book? Is a violation of anti-obscenity laws a “legitimate” reason for banning a book? Is age-group unsuitability a “legitimate” reason for banning a book?

    I did not say that the definition was a compromise; I said that leaving Of Pandas and People on the list of banned books, but accompanied by that statement was a compromise.

    Here is the accompanying statement that I propose for the book — “banned from public-school science classrooms by a judge who ruled it to be an unconstitutional government endorsement of religion.” Then those seeking more information can just click on the link to the Wikipedia’s webpage on the book. I think that is an NPOV (“neutral point of view,” a Wikipedia phrase).

  29. #29 Darth Robo
    September 28, 2006

    “Do you think that it is not possible that a book could be wrongly banned on charges of being a government endorsement of religion?”

    Larry, whether it’s possible or not, it wasn’t wrong in the case of pandas.

    “Here is the accompanying statement that I propose for the book — blah blah… ”

    How about an accompanying statement about Harry Potter is banned from fundie places by fundies who rule it as an endorsement of satanic worship? How about an accompanying statement about every book that’s p*ssed somebody off at one point or another and kept it away from other people whether said somebody had good reason for doing it or is just a moron?

  30. #30 Tony Whitson
    September 28, 2006

    As promised, I emailed a Wikipedia insider about this. Excerpts from his reply can be seen at http://tonywhitson.edublogs.org/2006/09/28/id-wikipedia/ . The upshot is that unending edit-wars are not the only way to deal with this. He provides the links for other ways of taking care of it.

    He also sent a link for an amusing post by Casey Luskin, in which the ever-amusing young lawyer-scientist “puts Wikipedia on notice” about the anti-ID bias in its science articles!

  31. #31 Larry Fafarman
    September 28, 2006

    What I say here should end the argument as to whether the book belongs in Wikipedia’s list.

    The Wikipedia list of banned books is partly based on the American Library Association’s list. The ALA’S Banned Books Week event lists “challenged” books as well as books that were actually banned. Also, challenges and bans against books in curricula as well as books in libraries are included.
    See http://www.ala.org/ala/oif/bannedbooksweek/challengedbanned/challengedbanned.htm

    The above webpage says —

    BACKGROUND INFORMATION — 1990-2000

    Between 1990 and 2000, of the 6,364 challenges reported to or recorded by the Office for Intellectual Freedom –

    - – - – - – - -

    419 [were challenges] to material “promoting a religious viewpoint.” (up 22 since 1999)

    Since this was supposed to be the number of challenges in the period 1990 to 2000, I don’t know what is meant by “up 22 since 1999.”

    Anyway, it is probable that at least some of those 419 challenges were establishment clause challenges.

    So, was Pandas “challenged”? Here is what the official complaint in the Dover lawsuit said —

    b. an injunction pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 65 prohibiting the defendants from implementing their intelligent design policy in any school within the Dover Area School District, and requiring the removal of Of Pandas and People from the School District’s science classrooms;(emphasis added)

    So there it is from the horse’s mouth.

    As for the nitpicking argument that the ID policy was never really part of the curriculum because the court outlawed it before it could be implemented, the Kitzmiller v. Dover opinion notes that the ID statement was read to Dover science classes on two occasions. This argument is not worthy of consideration, but I have an answer for it.

    As for the nitpicking argument that the book should not be in the list because mentioning the book is not taboo in the Dover science classrooms, that is not worthy of consideration either.

    The book was BANNED. Can y’all dig it? It was B-A-N-N-E-D. Try as hard as you might, you Darwinists cannot weasel out of this one.

    I hope this ends the discussion as to whether the book belongs on the ALA’s list and — by extension — the Wikipedia list.

    Here is the entry I have proposed for the Wikipedia “List of banned books” –

    * ”[[Of Pandas and People]]” by [[Percival Davis]] and [[Dean Kenyon]] (banned from public-school science classrooms by a judge who ruled it to be an unconstitutional government endorsement of religion)

    I tried to insert this entry myself but was blocked by Wikipedia because I have the same IP address as someone who was banned there (IP address banning sucks). I tried using anonymous proxies, but the four-option anonymous proxies were also blocked by Wikipedia and the eleven-option proxies inserted extraneous slashes (/). So would someone please insert the above entry or some other suitable entry? Thank you.

  32. #32 Mike Dunford
    September 28, 2006

    Larry’s last comment has been unpublished, and future comments from Larry are (at least if I’ve figured things out right) being held for moderation, but not banned outright.

    In that comment, Larry requested assistance in getting around an IP address block at another website. If you are having problems with moderation at other sites, go to the appropriate people there with your complaints/requests. Do not use this forum to attempt to defeat whatever measures (whether right or wrong) have been put into place elsewhere.

  33. #33 Edward
    September 28, 2006

    Wow! Larry’s Bizarro logic powers know no bounds…

    Ol’ Larry has simply ignored the point 19th century anecdote, often attributed to Lincoln, that is presented in one version below:

    ‘If you call a sheep’s tail a leg, how many legs will a sheep have?’ — ‘Five.’
    ‘Will calling a sheep’s tail a leg make it a leg?’ ‘No.’
    If then calling a sheep’s tail a leg don’t make it a leg, will calling a Tory a Whig make him a Whig.
    –from the Portsmouth New-Hampshire Gazette (July 1834)

    The point? Calling a book banned doesn’t make it a banned book. Pandas was excluded from the curriculum which is not banning by any stretch of the imagination.

    The reality is that there are plenty of books that simply aren’t appropriate for certain curricula. It probably wouldn’t be appropriate to have 4th graders reading “Tropic of Cancer”.

    That is one of the reasons why Tropic of Cancer is on Wikipedia’s list of banned books.

    No, it isn’t. It is on the list because it has been banned in the past. The real kind of banned – not the Larry Fafarman kind of banned that is so broad as to include anything Larry Fafarman wants to include on the banned list – where it actually could not be legally distributed in the states. I would be surprised if “Tropic of Cancer” were suggested to be part of a school curriculum. But if it were suggested and then excluded, that exclusion from curricula would have nothing to do with its inclusion on the list of banned books.

    It certainly wouldn’t be appropriate to have students read a Stanton Friedman book on Roswell in the science classroom.

    The contents of the Pandas book was not taught in Dover, nor was there any requirement that the students read the book on their own.

    No, of course not. The teachers were only required to read the following:

    The Pennsylvania Academic Standards require students to learn about Darwin’s theory of evolution and eventually to take a standardized test of which evolution is a part.

    Because Darwin’s Theory is a theory, it is still being tested as new evidence is discovered. The Theory is not a fact. Gaps in the Theory exist for which there is no evidence. A theory is defined as a well-tested explanation that unifies a broad range of observations.

    Intelligent design is an explanation of the origin of life that differs from Darwin’s view. The reference book, Of Pandas and People is available for students to see if they would like to explore this view in an effort to gain an understanding of what intelligent design actually involves.

    As is true with any theory, students are encouraged to keep an open mind. The school leaves the discussion of the origins of life to individual students and their families. As a standards-driven district, class instruction focuses upon preparing students to achieve proficiency on standards-based assessments.

    Substitute “to require that teachers read a statement directing students to UFOlogy references” for “to have students read”. Does that make it much better? Well at least there is no requirement that students waste their time reading the UFO dreck, but there is still a requirement that students be directed to specific material that responsible scientists would deem inappropriate by their teacher. That is a clear addition of Pandas to the curriculum and a requirement that teachers point studends to that book. All that was banned was that part.

    I’ll tell you why – because there is no organized movement saying that reading ’bout UFOs is an important part of science education. If there was, there would be a decision on the part of the school administration and/or the school board (government representatives, oh my!) to exclude the book

    But would there be a decision to ban mentioning of a book on UFO’s? Doubtful.

    I think ol’ Larry doesn’t understand the concept of a hypothetical situation.

    I also notice that nLarry has shifted the situation – stating that he is doubtful that there would be a decision to ban mentioning a book on UFOs.

    And yes, it is doubtful that there would be a decision to ban mentioning a book on UFOs. However, there might very well be a decision to ban a requirement that teachers read a statement pointing students to a UFO book.

    Larry – two can play at this game of pointing out where analogies are inconsistent with the Dover case. Only difference is that my modest inconsistency did not drastically alter the analogy, while your glaring inconsistency means that your analogy is absolutely meaningless.

    And finally, Larry is chortling about the retention of the book in the school library. What he seems unable to comprehend is that many who are opposed to requiring teachers to read a statement directing students to Pandas do not want to actually ban Pandas – we just don’t want it to be a mandated part of school curricula.

  34. #34 Larry Fafarman
    September 28, 2006

    I have removed all possibly offensive items from the post that you deleted.

    You can take me off your moderation list. I will not make offensive comments here in the future, even when provoked.

    ========================================================

    The Wikipedia list of banned books is partly based on the American Library Association’s list. The ALA’S Banned Books Week event lists “challenged” books as well as books that were actually banned. Also, challenges and bans against books in curricula as well as books in libraries are included.
    See http://www.ala.org/ala/oif/bannedbooksweek/challengedbanned/challengedbanned.htm

    The above webpage says —

    BACKGROUND INFORMATION — 1990-2000
    Between 1990 and 2000, of the 6,364 challenges reported to or recorded by the Office for Intellectual Freedom –
    - – - – - – - -
    419 [were challenges] to material “promoting a religious viewpoint.” (up 22 since 1999)

    Since this was supposed to be the number of challenges in the period 1990 to 2000, I don’t know what is meant by “up 22 since 1999.”

    Anyway, it is probable that at least some of those 419 challenges were establishment clause challenges.

    So, was Pandas “challenged”? Here is what the official complaint in the Dover lawsuit said —

    b. an injunction pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 65 prohibiting the defendants from implementing their intelligent design policy in any school within the Dover Area School District, and requiring the removal of Of Pandas and People from the School District’s science classrooms;(emphasis added)

    So there it is from the horse’s mouth.

    As for the argument that the ID policy was never really part of the curriculum because the court outlawed it before it could be implemented, the Kitzmiller v. Dover opinion notes that the ID statement was read to Dover science classes on two occasions. Anyway, even an anticipatory ban in the form of an injunction is still a ban.

    Here is the entry I am proposing for the Wikipedia “List of banned books” –

    * ”[[Of Pandas and People]]” by [[Percival Davis]] and [[Dean Kenyon]] (banned from public-school science classrooms by a judge who ruled it to be an unconstitutional government endorsement of religion)

  35. #35 Mike Dunford
    September 28, 2006

    You did remove the material in question, so I’ve published the comment.

    For the time being, the moderation will remain in place. Should circumstances still warrant it, I’ll remove it in a couple of days.

    The moderation box will be checked as often as I reasonably can, and comments held for moderation will be published as quickly as possible.

  36. #36 Jweaver
    September 28, 2006

    Larry said: So a violation of constitutional rights is not a “legitimate” reason for banning a book? Is a violation of anti-obscenity laws a “legitimate” reason for banning a book? Is age-group unsuitability a “legitimate” reason for banning a book?

    You have in fact hit the nail on the head. The book can not be taught, or mentioned, because it violated consitutional rights. My point(and may other peoples as well I think,) is that whether it was banned or not, is totally irrelavant in this case. Putting it on the banned book list is just another tactic to gain support in your cause. Lets call it what it is Larry. It is sensationalism, nothing more.

    You see, you and the IDCreationists are trying to teach children material that they do not yet have the capacity to break down and determine the validity of. They do not yet have the necissary powers of reason.

    In matters of determining the religious content of a supposed scientific theory there are really two groups that can give a yay, or nay, and both of them have said nay! Those groups are scientists of appropriate fields, and the courts.

    I have no compassion for the publishing company and its damaged reputation. They chose to publish a book that completely ignored established scientific fact, and then chose to market it to schools where it clearly does not belong. They knew the risks, and knew they were breaking the law. They are lucky that they are not fined or something worse. That is if they were actually marketing it to schools. I somehow doubt that. I somehow doubt the fact that the publishing company does not recognize pandas for exactly what it is, a piece of creationist propaganda.

    Pandas presumes a creator that we neither do, nor can we understand. This presumed creator exists totally outside our field of knowledge and testing. He exists totally within the realms of the supernatural. We can more easily test for ghosts and aliens, yet there is no movement to teach it(or mention them as rival theories) in science classes. Strange don’t you think? Why is it that only people with strong religious convictions flock to the theory of ID? I will answer that for you:

    1. ID is innately religious
    2. It is a rival of evolution
    3. They don’t even try and understand the evidence supporting evolution
    4. They are not educated enough to understand the science supporting evolution, or are unable to see all of the logical fallacies used to promote IDCreationism.

    Pandas, and ID, are not science, but do tangle with religion. Would it make you happy if we stopped calling ID creationism, and started calling it Designerism? The two are more or less the same thing, but I am sure the DI could put some spin on it.

  37. #37 Alann
    September 28, 2006

    The Dover clause was not about a private individual or organization exercising free speech. The clause expressed the school’s position and thus represented a government agency endorsing Pandas as reference material.

    While Pandas is not explicitly religious, there is no doubt that it has a heavy creationist bias. Given its lack of real scientific value it is clearly expressing a religious viewpoint. There should be no question that it is unconstitutional for the government to endorse this book.

    This is more of a restriction than a ban. I can see that this would place pressure on teachers not to discuss the subject even in a manner which was legal. Then again in the Dover case the teachers were firmly opposed to this statement and refused to read it. The actual reading of the statement was re-assigned to school administrators.

  38. #38 Larry Fafarman
    September 28, 2006

    Darth Robo said ( September 28, 2006 07:07 AM ) –

    “Do you think that it is not possible that a book could be wrongly banned on charges of being a government endorsement of religion?”

    Larry, whether it’s possible or not, it wasn’t wrong in the case of pandas.

    The issue here is whether or not the Pandas book should be in the ALA’s and Wikipedia’s lists of challenged and/or banned books. So I think that we should try to establish some objective and universal rules and definitions that leave no room for arbitrariness or capriciousness.

    If some school district is dumb enough to try to use the bible as a science text and the bible is banned as a result, then IMO the bible should be put in the list of banned books. That’s just following the rules.

    Tony Whitson said ( September 28, 2006 10:09 AM ) –

    He also sent a link for an amusing post by Casey Luskin, in which the ever-amusing young lawyer-scientist “puts Wikipedia on notice” about the anti-ID bias in its science articles!

    I don’t share your sense of humor. My response to Casey’s article is at –

    http://im-from-missouri.blogspot.com/2006/09/darwinists-have-been-abusing-wikipedia.html

  39. #39 Larry Fafarman
    September 28, 2006

    Alan said ( September 28, 2006 04:11 PM ) –

    The Dover clause was not about a private individual or organization exercising free speech. The clause expressed the school’s position and thus represented a government agency endorsing Pandas as reference material.

    That is probably true of most of the books that the American Library Association considers to be “challenged” or “banned” books. The ALA says,

    Seventy-one percent of the challenges were to material in schools or school libraries.(2) Another twenty-four percent were to material in public libraries (down two percent since 1999). Sixty percent of the challenges were brought by parents, fifteen percent by patrons, and nine percent by administrators, both down one percent since 1999).

    2. Sometimes works are challenged in a school and school library.

    – from http://www.ala.org/ala/oif/bannedbooksweek/challengedbanned/challengedbanned.htm

    Seveny-one percent of the challenges were to material in schools or school libraries, and I presume that most or a lot of that material was selected or accepted by the government and so might be considered to be “endorsed” by the government.

    The Pandas book has met all of the ALA’s requirements for classification as a banned book, and then some. The book was banned from being an official part of the curriculum (it was not required reading but was recommended or suggested reading).

    The ALA’s definitions for “challenged” and “banned” books are objective, fair, and simple. The ALA should not add arbitrary and capricious exceptions to these definitions. Under the exceptions suggested in this thread, many books that are now in the list would not qualify.

    Jweaver said ( September 28, 2006 04:04 PM ) –

    Putting it on the banned book list is just another tactic to gain support in your cause.

    And trying to remove it from the banned book list is just another tactic to gain support in your cause.

    They . . . . knew they were breaking the law.

    So merely publishing the book and marketing it to schools was “breaking the law”? Now I’ve heard everything.

  40. #40 Tony Whitson
    September 28, 2006

    Responding to my post on the Wikipedia issue, which includes a link to Luskin’s “Putting Wikipedia on notice” for its bias against ID in science articles (! — I wonder if there’s also a bias against alchemy in the Wikipedia articles on chemistry) (see http://tonywhitson.edublogs.org/2006/09/28/id-wikipedia/), Larry F posts (above) a link to his own response supporting Luskin’s point.

    Larry makes a contribution in this thread, I think, by posing an argument for a bogus conclusion, but an argument that I think really is not adequately dealt with by the rationales for these lists that have been articulated up to this point. I’ll get to that when I can — but it might not be for another month or so.

    So I appreciated the contribution made by Larry’s insistence on his basic logical argument. I was surprised, then, by what I found in his post supporting Luskin.

    Here is his lead example of bias

    For example, the article says of ID, “Its leading proponents, all of whom are affiliated with the Discovery Institute . . . . .”(emphasis added) The corresponding NPOV ["Neutral Point of View"] statement would be, “many of whom are affiliated with the Discovery Institute” — for example, Ann Coulter and Cardinal Christophe Schonborn are leading ID proponents but are not affiliated with the Discovery Institute.

    We can all agree that an encyclopedia article must be factually accurate. So beyond straight matters of fact, how does “neutrality” or “point of view” enter into this? Are there “leading proponents” of the ID movement who are not affiliated with DI? I guess that depends on who is considered to be a “leading proponent” of the movement.

    I would sympathize with any ID enthusiast who’d complain that it would be a vicious, ugly slur against the movement if its critics were describing Ann Coulter as one of the movement’s “leading proponents.” But it is not the Wikipedia article that makes this characterization; it is Larry himself.

    And as for Cardinal Schönborn, he is absolutely not a proponent–leading or otherwise–of the ID movement. The Wikipedia article could be improved by clarifying that this applies to the ID Movement, not to the broad concept as defined at the top of the article. (There is a separate part of the article on the movement itself). Perhaps most people who believe in Divine Creation would endorse the broad definition offered for the concept given for “ID,” although they would not accept claims made by the ID Movement about how ID relates to science, and the consequences that they claim to be entailed by that.

  41. #41 Larry Fafarman
    September 29, 2006

    Tony Whitson said ( September 28, 2006 10:25 PM ) –

    Larry makes a contribution in this thread, I think, by posing an argument for a bogus conclusion, but an argument that I think really is not adequately dealt with by the rationales for these lists that have been articulated up to this point. I’ll get to that when I can — but it might not be for another month or so.

    Most of the readers who are here now are not going to be here a month from now, so if you have anything to say about the topic of this thread, I think you should say it now.

    Here is his lead example of bias
    For example, the article says of ID, “Its leading proponents, all of whom are affiliated with the Discovery Institute . . . . .”(emphasis added) The corresponding NPOV ["Neutral Point of View"] statement would be, “many of whom are affiliated with the Discovery Institute” — for example, Ann Coulter and Cardinal Christophe Schonborn are leading ID proponents but are not affiliated with the Discovery Institute.
    We can all agree that an encyclopedia article must be factually accurate. So beyond straight matters of fact, how does “neutrality” or “point of view” enter into this? Are there “leading proponents” of the ID movement who are not affiliated with DI? I guess that depends on who is considered to be a “leading proponent” of the movement.

    This issue is off-topic here, so I want the blogger, Mike Dunford, to take notice of the following: (1) you are the one who raised the issue, and (2) I feel entitled to a chance to defend my position.

    For starters, I did not intend my above statement to be my “lead” example of bias — it was just one of three examples.

    If my statement “many of whom are affiliated with the Discovery Institute” is not sufficiently neutral for you, then I propose the following statement:

    Some people think that all of the leading ID proponents are affiliated with the Discovery Institute, others think that most of them are, and others prefer to say that “many” of them are.

  42. #42 Darth Robo
    September 29, 2006

    Larry sez:

    “So merely publishing the book and marketing it to schools was “breaking the law”? Now I’ve heard everything. ”

    Maybe the book publisher itself wasn’t breaking the law from marketing the book in any way but the dolts who arranged for it to be ‘anonymously donated’ with the specific intent for them to be used as school text books WERE breaing the law. If the publisher has a problem with their damaged reputation, let them take it up with those ‘anonymous’ people. As I said, no sympathy for them anyway for publishing a book full of poop. Tuff nuggies.

  43. #43 Alann
    September 29, 2006

    Making “special” mention of the book clearly constitutes a form of endorsement.

    Even placing a book in the reference section of a library could be considered a form of endorsement, as it implies a certain degree of accuracy. How the book is categorized can be considered an expression of opinion on the book. If you saw the Bible listed in a science section you could take that as an endorsement, just as if you saw it in the fiction section you could consider it a denouncement.

    As for publishing and marketing this book as a school textbook, this cannot be an establishment issue. Only a government agency or representative can violate the establishment clause. On the other hand this could represent a case of fraud.

The site is currently under maintenance and will be back shortly. New comments have been disabled during this time, please check back soon.