Uncommon Descent Serving The Intelligent Design Community


BREAKING: Leaked US Supreme Court Draft that would overturn the rulings that have led to 63+ million abortion deaths in the US since 1973

This, seems worth pondering on the state of the US’s ongoing 4th generation civil war as a civilisation level issue: A draft Supreme Court opinion overruling Roe v. Wade has been leaked to the press in one of the greatest scandals to ever hit the nation’s highest court and a possible attempt to intimidate one or more justices to reverse their vote or to ignite a liberal brushfire to pack the Supreme Court before Democrats lose Congress in November. “It is time to heed the Constitution and return the issue of abortion to the people’s elected representatives,” the possible draft opinion by Justice Samuel Alito reads, making the case that where the Constitution is silent, the American people govern themselves Read More ›

Creationist scholar receives big settlement

Fired after discovering soft dino tissue. From Jennifer Kabbany at College Fix: A creationist scholar recently received a six-figure settlement from California State University Northridge, a payout that resolved a 2-year-old lawsuit that alleged the scholar had been fired after discovering soft tissue on a triceratops horn and publishing his findings. … Armitage, who has some 30 publications to his credit and is past-president of the Southern California Society for Microscopy, was hired by the university in early 2010 to manage a wide variety of oversight duties for the biology department’s array of state-of-the-art microscopes, court documents state. He also trained students on how to use the complicated equipment. In the summer of 2012, while at the world-famous dinosaur dig Read More ›

Why There Is (And Should Be) No Legal Right To Transgender Protections

Transgenderism is when a person considers themselves to internally be the opposite sex of their physical body. They mentally “self-identify” in contradiction to the physical fact of their body sex. Transgender law advocates insist that self-identified “transgenders” be given legal right to have unfettered access to all public facilities currently reserved for one sex or the other (male and female restrooms, lockers, showers, women’s shelters, etc.) Obama has recently decreed that all schools that do not fully adopt transgender protections and policies will face the revocation of federal funding. Usually, when a person believes they are something in contradiction to the physical facts (such as believing one is Napoleon, or believing one is a horse), we call that view delusional, Read More ›

Society, Rights, and Self-Identification

Does a man have the right to identify himself as a woman and enter their locker rooms and bathrooms, demanding equal rights for their self-identification?  Does a person have the right to identify herself as a native American and, when filling out forms for employment or college, indicate her ethnicity as such, even though she is not?   Should the force of law support such self-identifications which contradict the physical facts and insist that society accommodate any such self-identifications? Where is the line between socially protected self-identification in conflict with physical facts and delusion?  Can physically unrelated people identify themselves as family and represent themselves as such on legal forms?  Can an adult self-identify as a child and thus obligate his Read More ›

The Contempt of PZ Myers

Our old friend PZ Myers holds school boards in utter contempt. In a recent blog post at his widely followed Pharyngula blog site, he takes contemptuous pot shots at the Springboro, OH School Board for having the audacity to even consider a “critical thinking” policy in the curriculum. The Springboro Community City School District is considering a so-called “critical thinking” policy that would require teachers to explore “all sides” of controversial issues. The proposed policy change would direct teachers to discuss creation science or intelligent design when teaching about the theory of evolution. <a href=”http://www.rawstory.com/rs/201…..-proposal/ Full story here. PZ can’t restrain his contempt: Please. There is no controversy here. Evolution happened, teach it. The best argument that one student provided Read More ›

Slate.com in a Dither Over non-Repeal of LSEA

Slate.com is all upset that repeal of the Louisiana Science Education Act of 2008 was was rejected yet again in a 3-2 vote in the State Senate. 19 year old Rice University Student Zack Kopplin has been leading the charge to get this “outrage” done away with once and for all, with help from the usual suspects. What’s interesting to note is the reason that one Senator, Elbert Guillory, D-Obelousas, who essentially cast the deciding vote, gave for his vote against repeal. Sen. Elbert Guillory, D-Opelousas, said he had reservations with repealing the act after a spiritual healer correctly diagnosed a specific medical ailment he had. He said he thought repealing the act could “lock the door on being able Read More ›

Two or More Replaced with More Than Three

Those who don’t get the two-or-more reference should look it up. For those interested in the more-than-three reference, check out the following from CBS news about the Capistrano home Bible-study dustup. MISSION VIEJO (CBS) — An Orange County couple has been ordered to stop holding a Bible study in their home on the grounds that the meeting violates a city ordinance as a “church” and not as a private gathering. Homeowners Chuck and Stephanie Fromm, of San Juan Capistrano, were fined $300 earlier this month for holding what one city official called “a regular gathering of more than three people” that requires a conditional use permit, according to Pacific Justice Institute, the couple’s legal representation. The Fromms also reportedly face Read More ›

Neurolaw: When penitents become patients, then experiments

“Our understanding of the way the brain works could help us create a better legal system, says Baylor College of Medicine’sneuroscientist David Eagleman,” in “The human brain: turning our minds to the law” (Telegraph 05 Apr 2011): The problem, he says,

is that the law rests on two assumptions that are charitable, but demonstrably false. The first is that people are “practical reasoners”, which is the law’s way of saying that they are capable of acting in alignment with their best interests, and capable of rational foresight about their actions. The second is that all brains are created equal. Everyone who is of legal age and above an IQ of 70 is assumed, in the eyes of the law, to have the same capacity for decision-making, understanding, impulse control and reasoning. But these ideas simply don’t match up with the facts of neuroscience.

Isn’t equality in the eyes of the law somewhat like “We hold these truths to be self-evident … ”? where the equality claimed by the American founders was not based on assumptions about nature at all but on assumption’s about nature’s Author?


This article, based on Eagleman’s book Incognito, follows the usual pattern of tracts favouring materialist law reform: Asserting, with no evidence, that traditional beliefs about justice are merely a “desire for revenge.”


If the argument is that Crazy Jake is not as generously endowed with intellect as Richard Feynman, who doubts it? But – on the traditional assumption that Feynman’s intellect is a gift to him, and not proof of ultimate Darwinian superiority – they are indeed equal in the eyes of the law, though one is considerably better endowed in that way than the other. Rich and poor appear in the same court.

We also learn, Read More ›

Academic Politics

This is mildly off-topic. And I’m guilty of little bit (maybe a lot) of ‘venting’. But here’s a link to what has allegedly happened at Oregon State University. It appears that a scientist whose children are on their way to Ph’D’s at OSU are being thrown out of the Ph’D program (one has been there 4 years already) because faculty members with connections to local Democratic politics are not happy that the scientist ran for state office as a Republican. It is simply mind-numbing what has happened to our Universities. When I was young and in college in the 60’s, the local SDS (Students for a Democratic Society–of Marxist bent) chapter yelled and screamed for a “free speech” area to Read More ›

The Panda’s Thumb Goes After Casey Luskin Yet Again

Casey Luskin, Program Officer in Public Policy and Legal Affairs for the Discovery Institute, has recently published an article entitled ZEAL FOR DARWIN’S HOUSE CONSUMES THEM:HOW SUPPORTERS OF EVOLUTION ENCOURAGE VIOLATIONS OF THE ESTABLISHMENT CLAUSE in the Liberty University Law Review. Luskin continues to be a favorite target of the anti-ID crowd over at The Panda’s Thumb, and this article is no exception. The task of misrepresenting Luskin fell to attorney Timothy Sandefur, who frequently contributes to the Panda’s Thumb blog site.

Luskin clearly lays out the intent of the article in the very first paragraph and writes:

The common stereotype in the controversy over teaching evolution holds that it is the opponents of evolution who are constantly trying to “sneak religious dogma back into science education.”1 While perhaps in some
instances this caricature is not entirely undeserved,2 the mainstream media and legal community pay scant attention to incidents where proponents of Darwinian evolution transgress the boundary between church and state erected by the Establishment Clause. By documenting ways that evolution advocates encourage violations of the Establishment Clause—in some instances, explicitly advocating state endorsement of pro-evolution religious viewpoints in the science classroom—this Article will show the impropriety of the common “Inherit the Wind stereotype.”3

Apparently this clear of a statement isn’t good enough for Sandefur who sniffs:

It will come as no surprise to anyone that Luskin’s argument is flimsy, his evidence illusory, his readings of the case law distorted, and the overall effect essentially a fun-house mirror version of First Amendment law.

Read More ›

California Lawmaker demands answers over museum censorship

Apparently round two of the controversy over the California’s Science Center’s cancellation of Darwin’s Dilemma is getting ready to take place. This was reported and discussed here back in October, as well as here and here in December.

Now, a California State Senator is calling the constitutionality of the censorship into question. Read More ›

RationalWiki copyright infringement

RationalWiki is reprinting large portions of an article I did with Robert Marks that far exceeds anything permissible under “fair use” copyright protections. I was getting ready to contact my attorney about having them remove our article from their website (go here — I’ve saved this page in case it changes as a consequence of this post), but couldn’t find any contact information on the site. Question: Who is running this site and how to contact them?

Big Brother wants into your hard drive

The phrase “Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement” sounds innocent enough. Who could be against such an agreement? But in fact it appears to be a pretext for a massive invasion of privacy, motivated in part by the entertainment industry seeking to maintain copyrights. But once unleashed, such an assault on freedom will know no bounds. What if Big Brother finds on your laptop that you think ID supports certain traditional moral views, and what if any articulation of such views comes to be regarded as a hate crime?

Science’s Rightful Place Redux

Back in January I posted this comment to ask what is science’s “rightful place.” Now it seems we’re getting a clearer picture of the answer as far as the President is concerned. Fox News is reporting that President Obama to issue an executive order on Monday that would lift the restrictions on embryonic stem cell research put in place under President Bush.

Regardless of one’s opinion or position on this issue, there are a couple points of concern with respect to this story. First is this comment Read More ›