Pharyngula

Creationists gaming Kentucky

Northern Kentucky University is going to have a mock trial on teh creation/evolution debate. They say the intent is to legitimately explore the issue.

“It is part of the mission of the Scripps Howard Center to conduct public forums,” said Mark Neikirk, the Center’s executive director. “I’ve heard President Votruba state many times that a college campus should be a safe place for difficult conversations.” Neikirk said that while the evolution/creation science debate is a difficult and polarizing topic, the mock trial format is designed to provide structure for a civil, informative exploration of the public policy questions raised by the debate.

I have to call bullshit on that. What this really is is an attempt to contrive a debate between science and superstition in which the superstition side gets to pretend they have equal status. And, of course, science issues are not settled in a courtroom, ever.

Worst of all, though, is the way they’re planning to resolve the issues.

The first 200 people in attendance will have an opportunity to serve as jurors, using small remote control clickers to register their opinions both before and after the trial. At the conclusion of the proceeding, they will decide the case.

Yeah, right…in Kentucky. The local churches will bus in a mob, retired godbots with nothing else to do will get in line early, and they’ll all have predetermined (and blessedly ignorant) views of the outcome before they get started. The theological lackwit they have babbling the case for the supernatural can come in half-drunk and still count on ‘victory’. This fight has been thrown before it even gets started.


Here’s something you can do. Write to the president of NKU, James Votruba, and let him know that this is a joke of an event that only brings embarrassment to his university.

Comments

  1. #1 John Mark
    October 20, 2008

    LAME!

  2. #2 BobC
    October 20, 2008

    Ha. They call it “creation science” instead of “magic” on a university website.

    Kentucky = hick state.

  3. #3 zer0
    October 20, 2008

    As a resident of Kentucky, and student at the University of Kentucky, I would like to take a piss on NKU for this. Also, it might be time to camp out in line to get one of the 200 spots.

    Kentucky is a weird place. The east is crazy poor, the west is pretty much just Missouri, Central is standard fair small town southern bible-belt-esque mixed with a dashing of urban areas, there’s two metro areas, Louisville and Lexington, each with their respective Universities, and then there’s the north. The North is the asshole of crazy. It’s like everyone across the river that was too crazy for Cincinnati, got shat out into Kentucky.

  4. #4 Jonathan Smith
    October 20, 2008

    Sorry,but what a waste of time.
    Why even consider the IDiots in the same world as real science.
    All this does is give them a shred of credability which they do not deserve.
    Would we have a trial on the Theory of Gravity v Invisible Angel Holding? Come on !!!

  5. #5 Rev. BigDumbChimp, KoT, OM
    October 20, 2008

    Since when is science decided by vote?

  6. #6 mikespeir
    October 20, 2008

    “The local churches will bus in a mob, retired godbots with nothing else to do will get in line early….”

    On the plus side, the “godbots” may get their first ever taste of real evidence and the reasoning behind evolution. Won’t change the way they vote, but it might cause them to lose a wink or two of sleep that night thinking.

  7. #7 llewelly
    October 20, 2008

    Offtopic (well, mostly – I’m sure squid are atheists ), but the National Republican Senatorial Committee has produced an offensive anti-atheist ad:
    http://friendlyatheist.com/5219/national-republican-senatorial-committee-puts-out-anti-atheist-political-ad/
    They’re supporting Prejudiced Dole, who is running for a North Carolina Senate seat, against Democrat Kay Hagan, who had temerity to speak to members of the Godless Americans PAC.
    Since then, the Dole campaign has been trying to smear Kay Hagan for listening to atheists.

  8. #8 Celtic_Evolution
    October 20, 2008

    Creation science… ugh.

    Other fun inherently contradictory terms:

    Creation science
    Awfully good
    Acting Natural
    Calm Wind
    Clear confusion
    Constant Change
    Deafening noise
    Definite possibility
    False hope (interestingly fitting here, though)
    Larger half
    Neutral Bias

    That was fun…

  9. #9 Russell
    October 20, 2008

    I suppose sometime at the kangaroo court they will pass out milk and cookies, just before nap time probably.

  10. #10 AJS
    October 20, 2008

    So what is next on the agenda at the Scripps Howard Centre, then?

    A debate between people who believe that television works by means of a beam of charged particles traversing a phosphor-coated screen, and people who believe that television works by having tiny people living in the set who act out all the programmes?

  11. #11 aaa
    October 20, 2008

    There’s no point in debating them. Debunking creationists on YouTube is one thing, since for people looking for the truth it means that their lies are being refuted. Debating them however is, as PZ said, a plain attempt to get their ridiculous beliefs discussed as though it were science, which it clearly is not.

  12. #12 JStein
    October 20, 2008

    That’s a great point about “science never being decided in courtrooms.”

    If this were a real trial, the jurors should be peers, which is to say “well informed scientists.” But we all know how biased scientists are on the issue, with all of their data and stuff.

  13. #13 Kobra
    October 20, 2008

    Haven’t you read Satan’s FAQ? God loves a rigged game.

  14. #14 Randy
    October 20, 2008

    What I want to know is how come NKU doesn’t have the scientifickal bravery to discuss the Flat-Earth/”Round-Earth” controversy? Or what about the natural-philosphik debate regarding The Kraken? Who will have the chutzpah to publically have the difficult conversation about whether the moon is made of camembert or brie?
    Huh, it sounds to me like this so-called “university” is in the pocket of Big Science!

  15. #15 free thinkr
    October 20, 2008

    well, i’m a resident of nky and a part-time student at nku. also one of the few atheists in the area. the proximity of the revolting creation museum to where i live is, well, utterly disgusting. just know that we are all not mindless sheep here!

    i had the idea of creating a website where we may be able to organize other atheists in the area to protest pathetic displays such as this. this may just be the motivation i need to get started…

    anyways, thanks for bringing this to my attention. i see the great edwin kagin will be one of the “witnesses”, so i may have to attend if only to support him.

  16. #16 Greg Esres
    October 20, 2008

    And, of course, science issues are not settled in a courtroom, ever.

    Science has actually done very well in the real courtrooms; creationists come off looking like buffoons, when they bother to show up.

    However, in a mock trial, there’s no risk behind perjury, so that alone may invalidate the process.

  17. #17 Epikt
    October 20, 2008

    “It is part of the mission of the Scripps Howard Center to conduct public forums,” said Mark Neikirk, the Center’s executive director

    I think he meant “Moe Howard Center.”

  18. #18 wazza
    October 20, 2008

    I say we round up some puppy-eating Darwinists with nothing better to do than make baby Jesus cry and rig the jury!

  19. #19 Owen
    October 20, 2008

    Celtic_Evolution (#8) – don’t forget “Team of Mavericks” and the ever-popular “Military Intelligence”…

  20. #20 Trevor
    October 20, 2008

    Didn’t we already do this? And wasn’t it called “Dover”?
    You know that exhibit A is going to be an eye, and how complex it is, and how a camera lens could never assemble itself…
    the big question to me is: will the godless-evolutionists know the right answer to the typical mumbo-jumbo the crazies spew? I hope so.

  21. #21 Another Primate
    October 20, 2008

    That is MONKEY SHIT! I’m tired of seeing creationist getting the equality treatment. They should be ignored or heckled, but never given a floor to speak from as if there is another side to the story.

  22. #22 Smidgy
    October 20, 2008

    You know, if they were to apply the real rules of law, it would be ruled that the creationists have no case, so the side of evolution would win by default.

  23. #23 Nero Null
    October 20, 2008

    Well, I’ve been saying for years that as far as evidence goes, there is enough supporting evolution to send any competing theory to the chair many times over.

  24. #24 the pro from dover
    October 20, 2008

    Debate is simple. What part of 1. Science is not a search for the truth particularly the truth that underlies reality. 2. Science is not using reason, logic or rational thought to come up with foolproof statements that can explain away anything seen in the world around us. 3. Science is not a fair and open-minded debate where all points of view are equally valid and are presented to a neutral audience who gets to pick which one works best for them and is tought to their and other peoples children in publicly funded shcools and 4. Science is not a commitment to a philosophy of materialism; a belief that nothing exists in the universe beyond matter in motion under the influence of the blind, indifferent and uncaring forces of nature for no aparrent purpose do you not understand? Rather science is a way of asking questions of the natural universe or some part of it, the answers coming in the form of experiments and observations. This empirically derived data has to be repeatable, peer-reviewable and publishable. This makes science limited in its scope, and the underlying theories (that help generate hypotheses) being reached inductively are tentative by definition and potentially disprovable. The theory of evolution is no more materialistic, naturalistic, athiestic, humanistic, antiamerican or liberal than any other major organizing theory in basic science. You cannot dissect it free from its being embedded in science generally, put it on trial, and find it guilty without an awful lot of destuction to science education particularly at the high school level where America pretty much sucks. How many years ago did “Darwin on trial” come out and still no ID progress?

  25. #25 FlameDuck
    October 20, 2008

    It’s funny. English isn’t my first language, so when you said “mock trial” I immediately thought “kangaroo court”. It wasn’t until I’d read the whole thing that while I realize the result is going to be the same, that wasn’t what was meant.

    But here’s a question I’d really like to know the answer to. Why is Evolution/Creationism considered a “difficult conversation”. It’s not like you’re trying to explain why some other mothers son had to die, so the oil companies could triple their profit margins. It’s just like “Your beliefs, while you are entitled to them, are wrong. As wrong as if you believed the moon was made of cheese, but please feel free to continue believing it. We’ll need people to work the assembly lines, fix our roads, build our houses and install our plumbing. Kthnx.”

    I don’t see what the big deal is.

  26. #26 cervantes
    October 20, 2008

    Well okay, but what’s the alternative? Refuse to talk about it? Refuse to debate them? That’s the mistake that people made for too long. Even if it does turn out to be an audience of unpersuadable puzzlewits, you still have to be willing to confront ignorance, stupidity and superstition head on, there’s just too much of it out there to decide it’s beneath you even to talk to them.

    My view: the more of this the better. They can bluster and blather all they want but they can’t stand up against the truth head to head. Get in the ring and go for it.

  27. #27 Techskeptic
    October 20, 2008

    I like the method someone over at RRS used

    science guy: “Hello, I am here to explain that I have faith that evolution is true… Thank you, have a good night”

    creationist: “Wait..where are you going?”

    SG: “What is wrong? I said that I have faith that evolution is true and that should be the end of it, no?”

    creationist: “No, we are here to have a debate about the facts”

    sg: “ooohhh, so you are saying that faith is not part of our debate? Great, lets get started”

  28. #28 Rick at shrimp and grits
    October 20, 2008

    Since when is science decided by vote?

    Perhaps they can solve our energy crisis by repealing the laws of thermodynamics?

  29. #29 Kristo Karvinen
    October 20, 2008

    Oh, I need little help!

    On Wednesday, the local Christian Union will host a “talk” at my campus here in Worcester Uni, UK.

    Topic? Creation vs Evolution, naturally. I will attend if at all possible so now I’m trying to find more ammunition for it.

    So far, I’m thinking of going along the line of:
    “You can believe in God all you want but that’s just superstition – belief. There’s no factual evidence for Creation or ID but plenty of it for Evolution. There is no major disagreement on evolution amongst scientific community, only on its minor details.”

    Any help or quick reading that I can do in a day would be greatly appreciated.

  30. #30 Trevor
    October 20, 2008

    @Kristo Karvinen #29:

    I keep this list in my phone just in case:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_transitional_fossils
    But obviously this isn’t a complete list. It’s just proof that the argument “There is not one documented transitional fossil” is a blatant lie.

  31. #31 Glen Davidson
    October 20, 2008

    I don’t especially mind a debate on the matter. I don’t really like it, but it’s entertainment, so…

    The pretense at a “trial” is the most offensive. How long was Dover? And are they going to be instructed to defer to the experts on science (scientists), as Jones did?

    They won’t consider nearly enough evidence, and they won’t utilize the proper measures that laypeople ought to use. Hence, ’tis bullshit.

    Glen D
    http://tinyurl.com/2kxyc7

  32. #32 Trevor
    October 20, 2008

    @Kristo Karvinen #29:

    I wouldn’t even bother telling them they only have ‘belief’. They don’t listen.
    One argument you’re SURE to hear is that ‘micro-evolution’ may be real, but there is no evidence for ‘macro-evolution’. This is the most idiotic thing I’ve ever heard.
    I tend to counter it with a story (one for which you probably won’t be given time to tell, so you can save it for the future). I usually ask them to suppose there’s an island covered in white rocks with black specs. On this island live small bugs that are predominantly white with some black specs. The local sea gulls love to eat these, but have trouble seeing them due to the white color.
    One day, there is a volcanic eruption at a nearby island. The ash from the volcano covers half of the white-rocked island. Suddenly, the predominantly white bugs on the ash covered side are easier to see, and therefore easier to eat. What happens to the bugs that have slightly more black on them than white (caused by genetic mutation, for instance, which we know is common and see everyday)? These bugs tend not to get eaten… and they breed, correct? And what color are their children? Predominantly black, right? And several generations later, we have two different color bugs, although they may still be of the same species.


    Then I usually make up a story that allows for longer legs to be beneficial for the white bugs. Then continue that with a similar story about lightweight shells being more beneficial than heavierweight ones for either of these 2 groups (due to the amount of nutrition needed to develop strong shells, or something like that).
    come up with enough perfectly reasonable and real examples of ‘micro-evolution’ and ask them if these two bugs are still the same species. I’m a computer scientist, not a biologist, so I don’t know for sure – but I suspect that after enough changes, we’re talking about a totally different species here…
    The micro-evolution/macro-evolution crap holds no water… but you’re almost guaranteed to hear it.
    along with ‘eye’ complexity, which is something that’s worth looking up (simple enough: photo-sensitive cells were very useful in hunting, moving, etc)

  33. #33 Pierce R. Butler
    October 20, 2008

    Another claim-to-fame of northern Kentucky must also be noted: when the bluenoses of Cincinnati “cleaned up” their fair city, the red light district, porn shops, and other enterprises of ill repute moved across the river and set up one of the most flourishing vice zones in the country along the Ohio border.

  34. #35 STI
    October 20, 2008

    Would that NKU were throwing the fight. Sadly, I believe the correct term is fixing the fight.

  35. #36 Celtic_Evolution
    October 20, 2008

    Since you’d already have a hearty representation of christian godbots there at the debate, I say the natural follow-up topic, after this kangaroo court decides creation belief should be given equal consideration, is to shuttle in hundreds of representatives from other religions so they can debate on who’s god is actually the true “creator”. Now THAT would be a fun cage match…

    Sadly, the irony of it would probably be lost on every person in the room. Ah well…

  36. #37 Maynard
    October 20, 2008

    I’m for being optimistic on this. I don’t know anything about NKU or the area around it, except for free thinkr’s post, but maybe the “jury” will contain some who are open minded or curious and come away with a clearer perspective. *fingers crossed*

  37. #38 Sigmund
    October 20, 2008

    If evolution isn’t true then how do they explain the crocoduck?

  38. #39 Patricia
    October 20, 2008

    Hell’s bells. If Ed Kagin is signed up for our side the damned fools don’t stand a chance.
    And what do you mean half-drunk? No Kentuckian worth a damn staggers out of the hills for a brawl merely half drunk. *snort*

  39. #40 tsg
    October 20, 2008

    creation/evolution debate.

    We have to stop doing this.

    The mock trial is about whether creationism should be taught in science class. The debate format, as most formal debates are, should have two sides: “for” and “against”. Leave evolution out of it. The con side opening statements should be “you can disprove evolution entirely and it still doesn’t make creationism true, so any arguments about the ‘weaknesses’ of evolution don’t support your side.” That forces the pro side to come up with actual support of creationism instead of relying on trying to poke holes in evolution.

    Pitting evolution against creationism is engaging in a false dichotomy from the outset and should be avoided.

  40. #41 Zeno
    October 20, 2008

    Randy (#14) has a good idea: A round-earth versus flat-earth debate could be very enlightening. George Bernard Shaw observed such a debate in which a clever polemicist defended the flat-earth cause with great aplomb and effectiveness. He “won” the debate. An experience like that might shock a few people into opening their eyes and make them realize that rhetorical gimmicks are no way to arrive at scientific truth. (On the other hand, some of them might just become flat-earthers.)

  41. #42 nicole
    October 20, 2008

    mock trial that will turn local citizens into jurors on the hotly-contested issue of whether public school science teachers should be allowed to teach creation science

    (from the linked article)

    The really stupid thing about this is that real, actual trials of this sort do not have jurors because they are a matter of the government violating the constitution, and a bunch of jurors are (a) unqualified to say anything about that and (b) not peers of the government anyway. We all already know if we took a straight democratic vote people would allow creationism in the classroom; they would also probably forbid atheists holding public office. Fortunately those things aren’t decided by voters, jurors, etc etc.

  42. #43 vhutchison
    October 20, 2008

    Doesn’t Kentucky still have an anti-evolution law on the books? At one time in recent years they were the only state with such a law.

  43. #44 WRMartin
    October 20, 2008

    Mi mi mi mi.
    (Just warming up for my speech to the choir…)

    Science doesn’t have elections. First 200 people to the polling booth, or otherwise.
    Science doesn’t care what people think. Sometimes science blows people up or causes them to burn up on re-entry and splatter all over TX or causes ValuJet to change its name to AirTran after plunging into the Everglades. F = ma doesn’t care how hard you pray or what you believe. And gravity is just a theory.

    I have $0.50 on buses from local churches arriving early to get the first 200 people in line…

    Now, if the oxymoronic (emphasis on the MORONIC) Creation Science side is only allowed to present actual evidence then we may have something – silence during their half.
    And, no, “Once upon a time…” is not evidence!

    But it appears to be something they want to do monthly.
    For November I propose Creation Science vs. The Flying Spaghetti Monster.

  44. #45 Jonathon
    October 20, 2008

    This makes as much sense as having a “mock trial” to explore both sides of the round Earth/flat Earth “debate”. No amount of arguing or spinning is going to change the fact that the flat-earthers are just plain wrong.

    The ID/creationist bunch need to go back to Square One, start over and try to come up with a less-ridiculous theory. Or at least one that didn’t rely on their faith’s exclusive hold on the truth.

  45. #46 Ichthyic
    October 20, 2008

    They say the intent is to legitimately explore the issue.

    well then. that should take all of about 10 seconds.

    Not a terribly interesting “debate”, but at least it would be over quickly.

    wait, you mean they redefine what “legitimate” means?

    oh.

  46. #47 wombat
    October 20, 2008

    To be entirely fair, the question at hand is not whether creationism is valid, it’s whether the fictional school was within its rights to fire the fictional teacher for her statements in the classroom. The question is a legal one and not necessarily a scientific one. Yes, science could play a role in the trial, but it is not the purpose of the debate. The real problem in the format is the “jury” making a decision. This kind of legal proceeding would not be tried in front of a jury. It would be tried in front of a federal judge as the claim is on US Constitutional grounds. Given the witness for the plaintiff, any federal judge would find for the school system in a heartbeat. As in the Dover trial, it would be remarkably easy to demonstrate the theological underpinning of the creation stance of the teacher. The case is quickly closed on establishment clause grounds.

  47. #48 wombat
    October 20, 2008

    OK, googling the witness for the plaintiff is illuminating. He calls himself Dr. Ben Scripture. He has a radio program. The website is here:

    http://www.scriptureoncreation.org/

    I also found this bizarre little site where he makes an appearance:

    http://www.petrifiedhumanbrain.com/

    What a clown.

  48. #49 Ichthyic
    October 20, 2008

    An experience like that might shock a few people into opening their eyes and make them realize that rhetorical gimmicks are no way to arrive at scientific truth. (On the other hand, some of them might just become flat-earthers.)

    I’d say that was quite funny, if it didn’t immediately make me feel sad that it was also at least somewhat accurate.

    rhetorical gimmicks hold sway with the majority in America, AFAICT. Which suggests why ad-men like Nisbet push the idea of utilizing rhetorical gimmicks for scientific ideas, even if I completely disagree with them for doing so because it’s an inherently bad idea.

  49. #50 Patricia
    October 20, 2008

    Be careful now.
    Hauling out the word ‘legitimate’ in Kentucky is risky.
    Grandmothers faint, cousins blush, and grown men given over to strong drink take to fisticuffs over that word.

  50. #51 Quiet_Desperation
    October 20, 2008

    The local churches will bus in a mob,

    So they’ll be crashing the poll, in other words. ;-)

  51. #52 Rev. BigDumbChimp, KoT, OM
    October 20, 2008

    Wow wombat. That second site is… um.. horrible.

    Dr. Travis Shipley loves teaching God’s principles using scientific dynamics

    ouch

  52. #53 Patricia
    October 20, 2008

    My sympathies, in regards to your dog Rev.

  53. #54 Rev. BigDumbChimp, KoT, OM
    October 20, 2008

    Thanks. Friday was really tough and It’s been a rough weekend.

    You don’t realize how much they are apart of your every day life and routine until they are gone. Not having kids probably makes it even more so.

  54. #55 B
    October 20, 2008

    How long do you suppose it will take for this event to make it into creationist folklore?

    I guess you just don’t know about that 2008 discussion panel composed of world-famous scientists at a major US university that declared that creationism was the only viable explanation of life on Earth. Figures. The liberal media didn’t cover it and the scientific establishment is trying to hide it so you won’t hear about it in your biology class.

  55. #56 Shaden Freud
    October 20, 2008

    Zeno @41

    (On the other hand, some of them might just become flat-earthers.)

    What do you mean, “become?”

  56. #57 Patricia
    October 20, 2008

    Amen to that. All of my Bulldogs have been child substitutes. I’ve never met a dog that loved rolling in the absurd to make them selves adorable to humans as a Bulldog. My house is almost silent with only one Bulldog here, that doesn’t snore like a chainsaw.

  57. #58 Katharine
    October 20, 2008

    I did my part and sent a polite but highly criticizing email to the email address you listed.

  58. #59 Rev. BigDumbChimp, KoT, OM
    October 20, 2008

    We still have our Husky, but he’s a loner. I’m sure at some point we’ll consider getting another dog, but I can’t even think of it right now.

  59. #60 Arwen
    October 20, 2008

    I’m embarrassed to say that’s my alma mater. You probably won’t get anywhere with the president because religious whackjobs and Young Republicans rule the entire school. The Biology department at the time I attended consisted of a man and wife who were both once missionaries to Zimbabwe (their son, a friend of mine was born there) and the father was also a minister. They were more open minded than most of their ilk but ID sounds like it would be up their alley. I was a square peg at that university for sure… I just couldn’t afford to go away to school. I just don’t understand, I guess, how someone could be a biologist and believe this hooey… of course their son (who’s one of the most brilliant people I know) fell for it too… he’s now also a minister.

  60. #61 ggab
    October 20, 2008

    Zero
    I’m going!! Anybody else in the area want to go on a feild trip?
    Mark is a really nice fella, used to work at the Cincinnati Post, but I’m not sure what he’s trying to do here.
    I say we crash the party.
    What say you?

  61. #62 Nerd of Redhead
    October 20, 2008

    I’m sorry to hear about your dog Rev. The Redhead had pet rabbits when we were first married, and it tore her up when they died. Hang in there.

  62. #63 Sceptical Chymist
    October 20, 2008

    I just Emailed mine off to the president. Come on guys. Let’s fill his mailbox! Just read some of the posts here. Looks as though we don’t stand a chance, but at least we can let them know there’s an outside world, even if it is ruled by Satan!

  63. #64 Charlie
    October 20, 2008

    Mock trial to do what? Why is this even happening? This only legitimizes an issue that should be dead. Are you going to do a trial on Astrology vs. Astronomy next? or Alchemy vs. Chemistry? We could go with flat earth vs. orbital physics. There is no science in Intelligent design(Creationism) and NO amount of debate is going to change this. The fictious lady was terminated for not doing her job. What more need be said. So sad that this is actually going to happen. We are sliding back into the dark ages.

  64. #65 vhutchison
    October 20, 2008

    In answer to my own question (#43) above I found this:

    “Kentucky: According to a 1976 law that was revised in 1990, public schools in Kentucky are allowed to teach creationism in addition to evolution. The law states that any teacher who wishes to may teach “the theory of creation as presented in the Bible.”"

    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=4630737

  65. #66 ggab
    October 20, 2008

    Alright, when and where are the party crashers meeting?
    I don’t know my way around NKU, but I can work it out.
    I’m on the CinCinnati side if anyone needs a ride.

  66. #67 diagoras
    October 20, 2008

    I don’t really count Northern Kentucky as part of the state. Having lived there, it was really felt like the cheaper-to-live suburb of Cincinnati. I’ve lived in small-town Kentucky, where banks close at 4pm and people love their version of Jesus. NKU didn’t have that vibe. It was the school who voted against having a football team, instead building a new science center.

    I wouldn’t sneer at mock trial conducted at Chase where the trial followed the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and Evidence. Using Kitzmiller v. Dover as a template – note that it’s merely persuasive, rather than black letter law in this jurisdiction. The arguments involving the Establishment Clause would be similar; however, Kentucky law is vastly different from Penn law – so those arguments would have to be tailored to KY law.

    If it were conducted in that spirit – I would be interested in seeing it. Likely it’s just a showcase for creationist propaganda. Sad, says I.

  67. #68 raven
    October 20, 2008

    Kentucky is the state where a snake handler got bit in church a year or so ago. They airlifted her to a hospital but she died anyway.

    My reading on snake handlers says that they get bit all the time. Most don’t die but they end up with partially paralyzed limbs and other permanent tissue and nerve damage.

    Ironically, the passage in the bible they use, in Matthew was probably a later addition. It isn’t in the earliest versions.

    Whatever, can we send some diamondbacks and coral snakes to the Creation Museum. Just in case some patrons want to demonstrate their faith.

  68. #69 Quiet_Desperation
    October 20, 2008

    I don’t really count Northern Kentucky as part of the state.

    “I’ll be deep in the cold, cold ground before I recognize Missouri.” – Grandpa Simpson

  69. #70 Shaden Freud
    October 20, 2008

    Don’t underestimate the power of the Squirrel-Meat Belt.

  70. #71 Randy
    October 20, 2008

    Zeno @41:

    Thank you. I hope to be able to set up these debates in the very near future. I shall be arguing for the “Round Earth” side, as I feel I am supremely qualified to do so. I have a bachelor’s degree in theatre performance and another in journalism, which I have never used professionally. Unfortunately, I do not have a theology degree, but I did go to church as a youngster.
    I shall await the call from a suitable university.

  71. #72 MK
    October 20, 2008

    This is a nice recent cartoon on the subject:

    Alien salesmen and Red states.

  72. #73 Arnosium Upinarum
    October 20, 2008

    Agreed. It’s bullshit.

    It sure ain’t friggin’ science. It has nothing whatsoever to do with it.

    “Neikirk said that while the evolution/creation science debate is a difficult and polarizing topic, the mock trial format is designed to provide structure for a civil, informative exploration of the public policy questions raised by the debate.”

    PURE bullshit.

    This “debate” isn’t remotely a scientific one. What possible ramifications can a non-existent scientific debate have on public policy questions? The assertion that “the mock trial format is designed to provide structure for a civil, informative exploration” of such policy questions is an assinine joke.

    What this ‘mock trial’ MIGHT determine is who is on which side. That’s about it. It’s basically another lousy “poll”, but conducted in a public forum, at a university setting no less, with all the associated trappings of academic authority. Contrary to the intent implied by the wording of the announcement, that will help its creationist instigators to further polarize the public, which is precisely what they want.

    It’s an exercise clearly driven by the creationists, yet another way they can seem to be scientifically relevant. Of course, they will conduct it in a state full of them in order to slant the outcome in their favor. Bully points for them.

    Once again we see how they arrive at the truth they are so concerned about. By conducting a political exercise. By manipulating appearances…just like the McCampaign, and look what their “strategy” has done for them.

    Any university that buys into such obvious con-artistry should be laughed right into the ground, I don’t care how much importance they place in the politics of appearing relevant to their local community.

    It’s sickening.

  73. #74 Pat Cahalan
    October 20, 2008

    @ tsg #40

    Thank you, sir or madam. I concur.

  74. #75 G Lloyd
    October 20, 2008

    I sent NKUs President James Votruba an email, per PZes provided address. In it I asked that he at least change the make-up of the jury, that they “at least split up the 200 jurors with an even amount of people that either represent one side or the other, or whom are agnostic to the issue.”

    His response: “Not a bad idea. I’ll pass the idea along. I don’t believe that this will come down to an up or down regarding creationism v evolution. Our goal is to deepen understanding.”

    I appreciate his quick reply.

  75. #76 Ken
    October 20, 2008

    To free thinkr from #15
    I’m from the Northern KY area. I’m an atheist as well. I’d love to help you get something started. Contact me anytime.

  76. #77 Rick Schauer
    October 20, 2008

    Red herring…that’s all I can see from a “debate” of this topic. All I can say is that the strategy of keeping the believers off-balance and bamboozled so they can continue skimming the fundie’s cream is deplorable but it seems like the motive for their efforts.

    We simply must strive to take this “debate” to another level…or redefine what a debate is (sheesh, I’m beginning to sound like a rethuglican)

    But without hitting them over the head with a truckload of fossil evidence until they succumb to the evidence…any suggestions?

  77. #78 ggab
    October 20, 2008

    Ken
    Zero
    Free Thinkr
    If you want to get in touch with me, I’m in.
    I know Mark Neikirk.
    If I can find his number I’ll pick his brain. We never really talked about subjects like this, so I haven’t got a clue where he stands.

  78. #79 Cath the Canberra Cook
    October 20, 2008

    Cectic has the answer: http://cectic.com/105.html

  79. #80 ggab
    October 20, 2008

    My approach would be to try to make it about creation rather than evolution.
    Which creation story? Several available. I bet we could throw together an impressive amount of “evidence” for another creation story just to throw them off.
    I would suggest the creation story of the Hoppe. There are several points in the story that we could make a tenuous connection to actual events with.
    Best of all, it includes a godess called Spiderwoman. We could present Spiderwoman comics as the proof of her existence.
    I demand Spiderwoman comics in science class!!

  80. #81 Paper Hand
    October 20, 2008

    #33:

    My favorite response to the “microevolution/macroevolution” canard is the “macrowalking” metaphor.

    Suppose I were to point out that I can easily walk a few miles. No problem. Suppose then that I were to suggest that, given enough time, I could walk to China (I live in Kansas, in the US). After all, with enough time, I could surely travel any distance, right?

    Well, no. You’d tell me it’s impossible to walk to China from North America, there are barriers. There’s the Pacific Ocean to the west and the Atlantic to the east. You could show me maps that show me exactly where the coasts are. You could show me pictures, satellite imagery, you could even take me to the beach and show me it. In other words, you could show me exactly what would stop me from walking to China, no matter how much time I had.

    Creationists can’t do that. They can’t even agree on a general description of what “kinds” are (and show zero curiosity about just where the boundaries of a kind are), much less what prevents changes between kinds. To go back to my macrowalking metaphor, they just take it on faith that you can’t walk to China, but don’t agree on just what the barriers are, where they are, or how you would recognize them. They can’t explain why it would be possible for me to walk to New York (given a sufficiently long period of time) but not to China.

  81. #82 James F
    October 20, 2008

    I’d actually really like to know the arguments that come out of this, especially in light of Edwards v. Aguillard and Kitzmiller v. Dover. Given that not a single piece of data has been presented in favor of “creation science” in a peer-reviewed scientific research paper, one of the following explanations applies:

    1. “Creation science” is based on divine, supernatural, or otherwise untestable causation, and thus is not science
    2. There is a vast global conspiracy that has prevented even a single piece of data supporting “creation science” from being published in peer-reviewed scientific literature
    3. “Creation science” proponents are utterly incompetent at performing scientific research

    Any of the three conclusions would clearly preclude public school science teachers from teaching “creation science” as a valid scientific topic, from a logical and legal standpoint. What sort of arguments will be made in this mock trial? “Controversy” in the scientific community? No, the consensus is overwhelming and those of the fringe opinion have provided no evidence. Would they argue that the First Amendment be suspended? If so, whose interpretation of Genesis would be taught in the public school science classroom? I would like to believe that the students will learn something from this, and come to understand why the attempts of “creation science” to win in court have failed miserably, but I have a sinking feeling that the arguments will reflect ignorance of science and the law.

  82. #83 Nic Nicholson
    October 20, 2008

    It’s so obvious! The ONLY fair way to decide this is an online poll!

  83. #84 Kel
    October 20, 2008

    Suppose I were to point out that I can easily walk a few miles. No problem. Suppose then that I were to suggest that, given enough time, I could walk to China (I live in Kansas, in the US). After all, with enough time, I could surely travel any distance, right?

    I suppose you could wait for the landbridge between Russia and Alaska to reform, it’s safe to cross – Sarah Palin is on the lookout to stop the russians invading.

  84. #85 forksmuggler
    October 20, 2008

    [sigh]

    Looks like we’re trying to beat Kansas to the bottom of the barrel.

    I wish I could say most Kentuckians have more sense than this. I’ll have to settle by saying many of us do.

    –Atheist dude from KY

  85. #86 Kel
    October 20, 2008

    Since when is science decided by vote?

    When the subject matter is Pluto.

  86. #87 Fred Ledoux
    October 20, 2008

    Folks, folks, folks! Calm down. This brain site is all a well-done bit of humour. Some evolutionists with a healthy sense of humour have gotten together to poke fun at creationists. It is a well-done skit worthy of Saturday Night Live.

    Great comedy, guys. Thanks for the laughs.

    Fred “Can’t Stop Laughing” Ledoux
    Calgary, Alberta

  87. #88 Jason
    October 20, 2008

    Another NKY resident here and disgusted with this foolishness. Maybe I met some of you the day the creation museum opened while we protested that abomination. Kentucky never fails to disappoint when it comes to religious zealotry and scientific ignorance.

    Also wanted to give a shout to my fellow Cincinnati/NKY residents who may be going to this farce. I don’t know that I can attend but wanted you to know that there’s at least one more secular humanist/atheist/skeptic in the area. If any of you in the area have a group or want to get together let me know.

    Here’s hoping that the Godbots miss their bus.

  88. #89 ggab
    October 20, 2008

    Jason
    Perk up little camper. There are more of us here than you think. I converted two more recently. It’s for their own good.
    It would be nice to get some of us together around here.
    I like long walks on the beach, hating Jesus, and sinning.
    My turn offs include fundamentalist dogma, pretentious hippies, and other peoples opinions.
    I’m a Cancer.
    If we ever run into each other, remind me to tell you the story about my two days with the Arizona cheerleading squad.

  89. #90 PEZ Man
    October 21, 2008

    You think this is bad? Don’t forget that Expelled is coming out on DVD tomorrow. Wonder how long it will take a pirated version to go online.

  90. #91 Liz S
    October 21, 2008

    Um…PZ? I’m from Kentucky and I’m an evolutionary biologist.

    This could happen anywhere. We’ve got enough problem in Kentucky with people thinking we all marry our siblings without blaming us for the entirety of the anti-evolution movement. You can find batshit-crazy woomeisters just about anywhere.

  91. #92 Robert Byers
    October 21, 2008

    So posters here are using freedom to speech to censor freedom of speech.
    First it should be that any discussion of the evolution/creation debate and issues always give a victory or gain to evolution if evolution was the better position.
    The opposite happens. Evolution takes a serious hit upon every revealition of its claims and lack of evidence.
    Telling Kentuck they can’t discuss what you discuss here is absurd. Its truly like the antics of the bad guy in any story about seeking out the truth.
    Evolutions faith in expertism or censorship for victory is doomed.
    Evolution must learn that it has to make a case to a public that is more educated and less compliant to to authority in these matters.
    Evolution has to learn the times they are achanging.
    Time and tide wait for no man.
    Publish to the average public or perish.
    As a creationist I promise my side seeks more and more of the public and gets better in its presentation and punch every six months.
    In fact on behalf of creationism i suggest a great debate before a great national audience over a few weeks or so. networks,PBS, internet. 100million viewers(I’m being reasonable).
    What do you say? Got it in ya?

  92. #93 Kel
    October 21, 2008

    So posters here are using freedom to speech to censor freedom of speech.

    Science is not about freedom of speech, it’s about empirical evidence. By putting Creationism on the same platform as evolution, you are giving it scientific validity – and no amount of freedom of speech will ever make creationism scientifically valid. That’s the issue, science is about truth. Are you done being an insipid old fool on here Robert?

    Evolutions faith in expertism or censorship for victory is doomed.

    Evolution is backed by empirical evidence, not faith. Creationism operates of faith which is why it’s not considered science. Robert, can you at least learn the issue at hand instead of posting the same wrong argument over and over again?

  93. #94 ggab
    October 21, 2008

    Well I’ve tried friendly requests, silly jokes, and lewd comments, but still can’t get anyones attention.
    I’ll be at this event. Hope some of the rest of you locals make it.

  94. #95 Arnosium Upinarum
    October 21, 2008

    Um, Liz S, #91? Yes, you can find them anywhere.

    Isn’t okay to find them in Kentucky? Or is there some exemption we ought to know about?

  95. #96 ggab
    October 21, 2008

    Robert Byers
    Evolution doesn’t learn. It is a process not a being.
    I understand your confusion.

    P.S.
    I talked to God last night. He said that he’s sorry you’re such a dick. Aparently, that wasn’t part of his “grand plan”.
    He forgot to connect your free will to your brain.

  96. #97 Rev. BigDumbChimp, KoT, OM
    October 21, 2008

    First it should be that any discussion of the evolution/creation debate and issues always give a victory or gain to evolution if evolution was the better position.
    The opposite happens. Evolution takes a serious hit upon every revealition of its claims and lack of evidence.

    liar.

    Evolution continues to be the best explanation for the diversity of life on earth. The only people who do not like what they hear are the ones motivated by fear, ignorance and religion. Those equipped with the education and tools to understand the data and research have no such issues.

    Telling Kentuck they can’t discuss what you discuss here is absurd. Its truly like the antics of the bad guy in any story about seeking out the truth.

    Wrong. High school science class is for disseminating the best science of the day. The science that is the accepted explanation for natural processes. Evolution is just that. There is no controversy in the scientific community on the validity of evolution. Once the ID / Creationism side can come up with the science to push their non-theories past the level of evidence and research that has been built up supporting the ToE then they can take the place as the best science and then be taught to students.

    So far they haven’t produced a single shred of science that moves them in that direction.

  97. #98 G Lloyd
    October 21, 2008

    ggab: I’m in Cincinnati and I’ll be attending.

    lloydgm at rocketmail dot com

    Sorry spammers – that’s my crap address. It’s chock full of spammy goodness already, so don’t expect to get my attention, unless it’s *not* spam.

  98. #99 MZ
    October 21, 2008

    I live in Lexington. I can try to make it up there and give a first-person report.

  99. #100 Ichthyic
    October 21, 2008

    As a creationist I promise my side seeks more and more of the public and gets better in its presentation and punch every six months.

    Just so.

    all PR and no substance.

    It’s the new American way, right Byers?

    why don’t you morons get your fucking heads examined.

    you’re obviously nuts, and causing damage the rest of us are growing quite tired of cleaning up.

  100. #101 Patricia
    October 21, 2008

    Byers the idiot is back too!? Holy shit, looks like the trolls have decided to have a convention today.

  101. #102 Patricia
    October 21, 2008

    ggab – If I was nearer to Kentucky I’d sure go with you! My ploy is to dress like a frumpy little ol’ church lady, and stand in line humming the Camptown Races, that way everyone figures I’m a harmless ol’ fruitloop.
    Then when I get inside the building and the fight gets picked – no one expects the christian ass whuppin they are going to get from me. The looks on their faces is priceless!

  102. #103 ggab
    October 21, 2008

    I think I’ll wait ’till it really gets rolling and then throw myself to the floor convulsing and speaking in tongues.
    Then maybe I’ll make some predictions about the end of the world.

  103. #104 Patricia
    October 21, 2008

    That would work, or you could start yelling glory, glory to god! and pretend to become orgasmic – that should get the party going. ;o)

  104. #105 Liz S
    October 21, 2008

    Um, Arnosium Upinarum #95….

    What I take exception to in PZ’s post is that “Yeah, right…in Kentucky” part. I can’t imagine him saying “Yeah, right… in New York” or “Yeah, right… in California“, even though, per capita, both of these state’s woomeisters might swamp their counterparts in Kentucky.

    It was a condescending comment. I don’t bitch slap his state and apply blanket stereotypes to his people. For some reason it is still acceptable to stereotype and make fun of Kentucky, West Virginia, and Tennessee residents.

    Case in point, BobC #2: “Kentucky = hick state.”

    Or how about zero #3: “The east is crazy poor, the west is pretty much just Missouri, Central is standard fair small town southern bible-belt-esque mixed with a dashing of urban areas, there’s two metro areas, Louisville and Lexington, each with their respective Universities, and then there’s the north. The North is the asshole of crazy. It’s like everyone across the river that was too crazy for Cincinnati, got shat out into Kentucky.”

    Or how about Pierce R. Butler #33, who felt it was pertinent to this discussion to add: “Another claim-to-fame of northern Kentucky must also be noted: when the bluenoses of Cincinnati “cleaned up” their fair city, the red light district, porn shops, and other enterprises of ill repute moved across the river and set up one of the most flourishing vice zones in the country along the Ohio border.”

    I’m glad that Patricia #39 has cleared up any confusion that might have arisen had she not explained that “No Kentuckian worth a damn staggers out of the hills for a brawl merely half drunk. *snort*” Or in post #50, where she treats Kentuckians with all the respect she thinks they deserve by saying, “Be careful now. Hauling out the word ‘legitimate’ in Kentucky is risky. Grandmothers faint, cousins blush, and grown men given over to strong drink take to fisticuffs over that word.”

    You know, I have a great sense of humor. I can laugh at most of this. After all, I’m from Kentucky. I’m used to people treating my like I’m stupid.

    But when a person that I respect, like PZ makes a disparaging remark about a place and its people that I believe is most likely based on experiences with a small group of people (e.g., those folks at that Creationist museum) and extrapolates those experiences to the rest of the people in the state, you can bet it chaps my hind quarters. And when more than one commenter, a group whose opinions I tend to respect as well, jump on the bandwagon, you bet I take exception.

    I’m sick to death of the redneck, hick, toothless, barefoot, incestuous, ignorant jokes at my expense.

    Kentucky is NOT full of backwoods, ignorant woomeisters, and I would hope that a science forum, of all places, would have a little bit of respect for that.

    /end rant

  105. #106 Ichthyic
    October 21, 2008

    I can’t imagine him saying “Yeah, right… in New York” or “Yeah, right… in California”,

    then you have a VERY limited imagination.

    In fact there has been several posts about CA whackaloon fundy fringe of late, and there were also several threads about BioLA and the lawsuit against the UC system a while back.

    the difference is, we don’t have as many wackaloons in OFFICE as you guys do.

    why don’t you do something about that before taking offense, eh?

  106. #107 Kel
    October 21, 2008

    Kentucky is NOT full of backwoods, ignorant woomeisters

    Well not full of them, but enough to keep backwards ignorant woomeisters in power and representative of the state, right? :P

  107. #108 Patricia
    October 21, 2008

    Well Liz S. you can just keep riding that high horse passed us ignorant hillbillies. I’ll make all the remarks I please about my own kith and kin.
    My remarks aren’t only pointed at Kentucky, there’s plenty of damned fools in Tennessee, Missouri and Oregon too.
    If you don’t like comments about drunk hillbillies, or men fighting like bulls – tough shit. Prove me wrong.
    I count myself among the damned fools. I was a christian for 50 years, how can anyone except the pope top that in idiocy? Fuck you.

  108. #109 Liz S
    October 21, 2008

    Ichthyic #106. I can’t do anything about that. I am no longer a resident of Kentucky.

    And Kel #107, PZ pointed out himself the interesting perspectives of Minnesota representative Michele Bachman. But I don’t use that one wackaloon as an excuse to disparage the entire state.

    Patricia #108. Whoa. I wasn’t using your comments as an indictment of you, per se. I was using your comments as an example of how easily we accept ridicule of Kentuckians.

    Being the object of prejudice isn’t fun, no matter the reason for it. If I can’t convince any of you of a Kentuckian’s right to be treated with respect, there is little more for me to add to this forum. I have always enjoyed PZ’s blog, but it is obviously time for me to find another science forum to enjoy.

    Best wishes.

  109. #110 Kel
    October 22, 2008

    Being the object of prejudice isn’t fun, no matter the reason for it. If I can’t convince any of you of a Kentuckian’s right to be treated with respect, there is little more for me to add to this forum. I have always enjoyed PZ’s blog, but it is obviously time for me to find another science forum to enjoy.

    Concern trolling is tiring to read. It just sounds like you are looking to find offence. Do you honestly think when people talk on a global level about America being ass-backwards that we mean every single American? No-one here is claiming all Kentuckians are stupid, you are just reading into it what you want to read. Maybe it’s just “true Kentuckians” who take offence ;)

  110. #111 Liz S
    October 22, 2008

    Kel, please don’t lump me in with this whole “true” anything movement.

    I am not a concern troll. My mistake to draw any attention whatsoever to any kind of intolerance. Trust me. It won’t happen again. Far be it from me to infringe on your rights to ridicule and stereotype. Again, my very best wishes to each and all.

  111. #112 Kel
    October 22, 2008

    Kel, please don’t lump me in with this whole “true” anything movement.

    It was a joke, you sure are a touchy one.

    I am not a concern troll.

    You just act like one.

    My mistake to draw any attention whatsoever to any kind of intolerance.

    i.e. concern trolling

    Far be it from me to infringe on your rights to ridicule and stereotype. Again, my very best wishes to each and all.

    Nice attempt to ascertain the moral highground…

  112. #113 Liz S
    October 22, 2008

    You win.

  113. #114 Ichthyic
    October 22, 2008

    Ichthyic #106. I can’t do anything about that. I am no longer a resident of Kentucky.

    MMMM.

    delicious, sweet, irony.

  114. #115 Patricia
    October 22, 2008

    You fucking right I win.
    I’ll call my own any damned thing I want. You can just cut yourself right out of the blue hillbilly corps Miss Prissy.
    When us properly corseted, pantalet wearin’, big bosomed, 12 titted sows want any remarks from you skinny non egg layers, we’ll ask.
    Cluck off.

  115. #116 J
    October 22, 2008

    Judas priest, you’d think asking for specificity rather than broad stereotypes, Liz S was committing high apostasy.

    I know we have very little tolerance in our culture for “victims” any more — we seem to find it tiresome to find out if slights are real or imagined and just assuming that they are imagined and/or trumped up. And maybe Liz was a bit sensitive, considering people do make fun of everywhere in broad stereotypes. But can *no one* see the contradiction between the demands of science for rigor and accuracy and blind stereotyping of states? I’m not making a case for extreme sensitivity — I’m just saying it should be an understandable position, since, strictly speaking, it’s not what we *should* be doing. Sure, it’s fun to do sometimes, but everyone has their ox to be gored.

    And in any case, it’s pretty much always better form to let things slide off your back unless you really *do* have the moral high ground. Don’t we usually agree stereotyping is bad, and, like ethnic jokes, is perhaps best done when you know everyone’s on the same page (i.e. knowing it’s broad and unfair in reality, but fun to do), and not to a general audience? If you want Liz to lay off and let it slide, then why the blazing hell wouldn’t you do the same, state your opinion, leave her to hers, or at least argue on the merits and not on smug one-upmanship?

    I eagerly will NOT await angry counter-counter-sensitivity cursing-outs. If considered thought, or even polite disagreement is already off the table, I see no reason to return to what is basically a flame war at this point. Enjoy your condescension, derision, and condescending counter-condescension.

  116. #117 ggab
    October 22, 2008

    Allright, let’s all calm down.
    I am also a Kentuckian born and raised, and I admit that I also enjoy the Kentucky jokes.
    In reality, I may have a poor attitude about my own friends and family. After all, look at how I’ve reacted.
    The first thing I did when my cousin hit a big scratch off lotto ticket was to buy a pair of shoes, divorce her, and move to Cincinnati. Was I a little hastey? Perhaps.

  117. #118 James F
    October 22, 2008

    Just to follow up, I was happy to get a reply from President Votruba in which he agreed with the points I had made in my email (i.e., that creationism isn’t science and should never be taught as such) and that the intention of staging the trial was not a simple up or down vote on the issue. I’m curious to see what develops, but I’m cautiously optimistic that it won’t be quite as bad as I feared….

  118. #119 ggab
    October 22, 2008

    I can tell you that Mark Neikirk is a very nice, very down to earth guy. Again, I never discussed with him any subjects that would give me any insight into what his intentions are with this event, but I don’t believe it would be anything underhanded.
    I think it’s all about having a public discussion about a subject that effects us all. The format (mock trial) is certainly not a good choice, but I don’t believe it was set up to cause harm, just a simple mistake. Perhaps they’ll address these points at the event.

  119. #120 ggab
    October 22, 2008

    *********UPDATE*********

    You all had good reason to worry.
    Nothing but sneakiness and propaganda.
    They squeezed in a plug for Expelled, and I got a free copy of “Unlocking The Mystery Of Life” afterword.
    Either, it was set up that way in advance, or the “good guys” made some horrible decisions and fell for several tricks. Very strange night.
    Loved Kagen, but he was absolutely the wrong choice for this. I’ll explain any of this further, if anyone is interested, but right now, I really need a beer.

  120. #121 Patricia
    October 22, 2008

    ggab – My feathers are not ruffled. I have complete *faith* that all y’ll will hold up for the side.

    Although I cannot imagine brother Kagin being the wrong choice. Please do educate us further.
    Inquiring strumpets want to know.

  121. #122 Jason
    October 22, 2008

    ggab
    Sorry I couldn’t make it. Been working all evening. I would like to hear more. Would there be an easier forum to post your updates? AtheistNexus?

  122. #123 ggab
    October 22, 2008

    Hi guys
    There are a lot of details to get into.
    I’ll start with the Kagen thing.
    The “trial” was set up with each side having 2 witnesses.
    One side was a teacher who was fired for teaching ID and their second witness was a creation “scientist”.
    The other side was the person representing the BOE and to argue the scientific testimony, they had Kagen.
    I don’t know how many of you are familiar with Mr. Kagen.
    He is not a scientist, but he is a very outspoken atheist.
    It feeds perfectly into their charge that you have to be an atheist to accept evolution.
    It just makes it way too easy.
    The lawyer for the teacher opened up by comparing “Big Science” to communism and equating ID proponents treatment at the hands of the scientists to the treatment they would receive in Iran or North Korea, and we just handed them Kagen to help them with the science/iran/north korea/atheism= bad and god/intelligent design/creationism= good argument.
    Kagen was funny as hell and I enjoyed him very much, but he helped them make their point just by being himself.

  123. #124 ggab
    October 22, 2008

    A little more info.
    Programs were available explaining what the case was and some background details on the subject. These were details to be taken under consideration since it was only a 2 hour event and everything could not be covered.
    One of the details was that the teacher had been warned to cease teaching the unaproved “alternate theories”. After being warned, she continued teaching them and was subsequently terminated.
    As the trial rolled on, the testimony didn’t hold out that way. The teacher claimed she was never warned and no one had observed her teaching these theories. When the superintendent was questioned on the subject he claimed that she was warned by the principal. A fact that we were lead to believe was accepted before hand, and it appeared that he and the defense attorney were also confused by this point.
    After the trial was over, I overheard the woman playing the defense attorney (an actual local attorney)complaining about this seemingly unexpected change of plan.
    I don’t know if this was a surprise concocted by the attorney for the teacher (another actual local attorney and creation proponent)or if any of the event coordinators were in on it, but I was uncomfortable about it and surprised to find ID propaganda awaiting us in the lobby after the event closed.

  124. #125 ggab
    October 22, 2008

    A little more
    Maybe I’m being paranoid. It just felt more and more like someone was being set up in this thing. Maybe they were all just coincidence.
    The person playing the defense attorney argued only against YEC regardless of the fact that the subject of the case was ID. We know what the conection is, but to a laymen it just appeared they were arguing different cases. There was no information given to dispute ID.
    When you combine that fact with the unexpected change in the backstory for the trial, the offering up of Mr. Kagen to dispute the scientific portion, a non scientist with rather harsh things to say about religion, and the ID propaganda waiting in the lobby….
    I kinda feel like we may have been set up.
    There were also plants in the audience for the question period that followed. That was shameless and expected.
    Cheesey tactics, but they work.

  125. #126 TR
    October 25, 2008

    As a faculty member in the natural sciences at NKU, I would like to point out that none of the science departments were informed of this trial until we saw the posters advertising it. I can assure you that much of the audience (including myself) were from the natural sciences. A pre-trial survey using the clickers showed over 80% support for evolution. Speaking with the upper administration, it was clear that they were not very comfortable with the trial. I would also like to point out that President Votruba stated at the beginning of the trial that NKU had no doubts as to evolution. I would also like to point out NKU biology’s statement, now on NKU’s front page: http://www.nku.edu/display_news.php?ID=3202 It was obvious from watching the trial that what they were arguing was not quite what the trial was supposed to be about (with the original case being potentially much more interesting, in my opinion). I think while this certainly could have been handled better (by talking to the science departments, for starters), it was part of an effort by NKU and other schools down here so close to the creation museum to engage the public. I will also point out that we are doing our part to celebrate Darwin’s 200th this year with several public events. See http://www.uc.edu/darwin/ for more information. We’re trying down here.

  126. #127 onein6billion
    October 25, 2008

    A reply to my email from President James Votruba:

    “You may prefer that this debate not occur but, whether we academics like it or not, it is occurring in the public square. Our options are to ignore it or engage it. Our university chose the latter. At our “mock trial” scientists had the opportunity to eloquently refute the creationists claim to be science. This, in front of over 200 attendees, many from the community. In my view, universities are far too timid regarding matters of public debate. Creationism is not science and this fact was made clear to all. Far from mocking science, this program both celebrated science
    and debunked that which claims to be science. Universities have a responsibility to do just that. It takes courage for a university to venture into the public square to challenge false claims. You may choose to remain above it all but this serves neither the public interest or the university. Enough said.”

  127. #128 joeT
    November 11, 2008

    he who cries the loudest and yells the most and refuses to debate is really the weak-link. You liberal leaners aren’t interested in Science, just theory. It it wasn’t for the BULLDOG Darwin would have died 120 years ago. So much new and revalent evidence it must scare you university guys to death. I for one know many solid Biologist who are smart enough to test their Hypothesis. I guess you got lost on Darwin’s island ALONG WITH HIM. He should have stayed there.
    Sorry just too much evidence against your ideas.

  128. #129 Nerd of Redhead
    November 11, 2008

    joeT, we debate, but within the scientific literature. There are hundreds of thousands, if not millions of scientific papers that back evolution. None that back any other theory. It is simple. The facts of evolution versus the twisted religion of creationism/ID. No need to debate where rhetorical tricks mean more than facts.

  129. #130 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    November 11, 2008

    You liberal leaners aren’t interested in Science, just theory.

    That sentence alone shows how incredibly ignorant you are.

    Look up the strength of scientific theory.

    idiot.

  130. #131 Sven DiMilo
    November 11, 2008

    joeT (#128) is almost certainly a driver-by, which is too bad. Was he talking about HUXLEY? And if only he could be encouraged to share a bit more specifically some of the new, revalent evidence to which he referred, why, I’m one university guy who would really appreciate it. Doggonnit.

  131. #132 Kel
    November 11, 2008

    Sorry just too much evidence against your ideas.

    4.55 billion year old earth, emergence of life 3.5 billion years ago and a gradual emergence in the fossil record over the last 700 million years of complex life with us only at the very last bit. Yep nothing. Oh and there’s DNA, morphology, and the current diversity of life. Oh yeah, observed mutation and speciation as well as observed natural selection.

    Yeah, evolution is just dead. Creationism fits the evidence so much better…