Jan 05 2016

Creationists and Academic Freedom

berlin specimenThis is old news, but attention is being freshly paid to the issue of creationists using academic freedom as an excuse to teach creationism in public schools, in violation of the First Amendment. This attention is due to an anonymous whistle-blower from the Discovery Institute confirming what everyone already knew.

According to reports:

“Critical thinking, critical analysis, teach the controversy, academic freedom—these are words that stand for legitimate pedagogical approaches and doctrines in the fields of public education and public education policy,” said the former Discovery Institute employee. “That is why DI co-opts them. DI hollows these words out and fills them with their own purposes; it then passes them off to the public and to government as secular, pedagogically appropriate, and religiously neutral.”

Whether or not you believe this anonymous source, the DiscoTute has objectively caused a lot of mischief. They authored model anti-evolution laws that have been used in various states, including successfully in Louisiana.

Nicholas Matzke recently published an evolutionary analysis of anti-evolution laws, showing how they evolve over time through adaptive radiation.

What is interesting is that the arguments creationists have used against evolution have not changed at all since Darwin, but their strategies have changed. They just keep wrapping the same arguments in different presentations and strategies.

For example, the design argument is not new. It is essentially William Paley’s watchmaker argument that he published in 1802.  Paley argued that apparent design, such as in a watch, implies a designer. Life appears designed, therefore has a designer, i.e. God. Darwin destroyed that argument by showing how natural processes can produce apparent design in nature.

The big picture is that these arguments were had by scientists and philosophers, and evolution emerged victorious. Creationists have simply refused to accept the defeat of their arguments, and so they keep bringing them back, over and over again, sometimes in new forms, and sometimes not even bothering, just forgetting the history of their defeat.

The notion of irreducible complexity is not new. Darwin himself dealt with that objection to evolution. Contemporary critics, for example asked, “what good is half a wing, or half an eye?” Darwin elegantly argued that complex structures can evolve from simpler but still functional structures, that may have served a different function. Half a wing may not be good for flying, but may be good for something else, like gliding, or leaping, or even display.

Creationists have been arguing for over a century that the fossil record lacks transitional forms. In 1865 they had a point, but they have failed to keep up with the evidence.

As Matzke and others have pointed out, creationists strategies have evolved. Their first strategy was to ban the teaching of evolution. This was eventually declared unconstitutional. Next they argued for equal time for creationism and evolution, and this too was struck down. Then they tried to rebrand creationism as Intelligent Design, but this failed 10 year ago at Dover.

Now their strategy is to make the same tired and refuted creationist arguments under the guise of academic freedom. They cannot mandate the teaching of creationism in public schools, so instead they write laws saying that teachers can use supplemental material. The DiscoTute then helpfully provides supplemental material that consists of the same anti-evolution arguments and lies that creationists have been peddling for a century.

Conclusion

The Louisiana Science Education Act that passed in 2008, just three years after Kitzmiller v Dover, is still on the books. Creationism is unapologetically being taught in Louisiana public schools, using the law as cover.

Zack Kopplin, a student from Louisiana, now graduated, has been fighting the law for years. He cannot get traction in the State congress, however. There just isn’t the political will.

It seems that the law needs to be challenged at the federal level. I’m actually not sure why this has yet not happened. As with Dover, I guess we need Louisiana families to sue the state and have the case work its way up to the federal level.

Academic freedom laws need to be struck down, because they are not about academic freedom. They transparently use the notion of academic freedom to sneak creationist arguments into public schools.

 

103 responses so far

103 Responses to “Creationists and Academic Freedom”

  1. carbonUniton 05 Jan 2016 at 9:10 am

    Pity one seems to have to have a child in the district to be able to sue, being a taxpayer is not enough.

  2. hammyrexon 05 Jan 2016 at 9:57 am

    I imagine it’s hard to motivate families to take political action in Louisiana – Louisiana has an… interesting… public school situation since all the public schools are more or less comparable to prisons where “the poors” are sent and all the wealthy families are exclusively in private religious schools. Amusingly, even these private religious schools (in my personal experience) were mediocre compared to public schooling in many other states.

    Look at the voucher issue – Louisiana sincerely does not care about public education, so it’s a farcry to think they will care about an issue that is part of public education. It was probably part of what motivated the DiscoTute to spend time crafting the law – the best way to avoid legislative pushback is to just pick one of the most corrupt, inept legislative states in the US that has zero concern for the well-being of their institutions.

    Not that I think it’s a waste of time to talk about the issue – I’m always a fan of embarrassing my former state. I just do not expect that another Kitzmiller v. Dover will be as effective in this scenario.

  3. bendon 05 Jan 2016 at 11:21 am

    Academic freedom can only extend so far. It’s one thing to argue (with very limited evidence) that Shakespeare’s plays were written by Sir Francis Bacon. It’s quite another to argue that they were written by George Bernard Shaw. The former, while highly unlikely, is not outside the realm of possibility. Absent time travel, the same cannot be said of the latter which, like the creationism taught in too many American schools, can be summarily disregarded.

  4. Willyon 05 Jan 2016 at 11:37 am

    I am disappointed and surprised to learn that Louisiana schools can teach creationism. I thought that “Dover” ended the debate. Sad. I am dismayed that no legal challenges have been brought forward. Ignorance is always on the march.

  5. Ivan Groznyon 05 Jan 2016 at 12:13 pm

    Novella: “creationists using academic freedom as an excuse to teach creationism in public schools, in violation of the First Amendment.”

    First Amendment: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”

  6. Ivan Groznyon 05 Jan 2016 at 12:27 pm

    Steve Novella: “Academic freedom laws need to be struck down, because they are not about academic freedom. They transparently use the notion of academic freedom to sneak creationist arguments into public schools.”

    Herbert Marcuse: “Liberating tolerance, then, would mean intolerance against movements from the Right and toleration of movements from the Left.”

  7. hardnoseon 05 Jan 2016 at 12:58 pm

    “these arguments were had by scientists and philosophers, and evolution emerged victorious.”

    Sometimes an argument that has been had, and supposedly won, needs to be revisited. Just because you won, or thought you won, doesn’t necessarily mean you were right.

  8. hardnoseon 05 Jan 2016 at 1:00 pm

    And I will ask you please, again, not to use the word “evolution” to mean Darwinism or neo-Darwinism. And, as always, you will ignore me.

  9. hardnoseon 05 Jan 2016 at 1:03 pm

    If public schools are teaching that evolution is understood by science and its cause is known, then they are teaching something that is not true.

    If they were simply teaching that evolution is true, that would be fine, but I suspect they are not stopping there.

    Academic freedom must be fought for when dogmatic ideological opinions are being taught as scientific fact.

  10. hardnoseon 05 Jan 2016 at 1:06 pm

    And please don’t accuse me, yet again, of being from the DI. Of course you will anyway, even though I strongly disagree with the DI on so many things.

    But if something isn’t either all black or all white you can’t see it.

  11. steve12on 05 Jan 2016 at 1:17 pm

    More insufferable: Hardnose or Grozny?

    Both are on 24-hour ideology cruise control. Both ignore all points they have no answer for. While HN denies the weight of the last 100+ years of biology, Grozny ignores the entirety of the case law re: religion & schools in a common law country.

    HN pretends that terms mean whatever he wants them to mean (see evolution and materialism)
    Grozny pretends to care about scientific matters to preach about his religion (Libertarianism)

    Grozny hasn’t lied about his credentials, but he does “play scientist”.

    Wow….

    Pick ’em.

  12. jsterritton 05 Jan 2016 at 1:18 pm

    @Ivan

    Creationists are sneaking religion into the classroom in direct violation of the First Amendment. Are you suggesting that Congress must intervene in order to make this a constitutional issue? That’s not how the law works. The Louisiana Science Education Act was passed by the state legislature in 2008 (and upheld by repeated votes) in direct violation of Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District. It is an illegal, unconstitutional Act. It needs to go.

    There is no nuance here.

  13. hammyrexon 05 Jan 2016 at 1:31 pm

    “Something may or may not happen in the future with the science, therefore we shouldn’t teach things based upon the evidence we have currently”

    Powerful and compelling argument for sure.

  14. Steven Novellaon 05 Jan 2016 at 1:55 pm

    Ivan – as has been pointed out, you have to look at all the supreme court case law, not just the first amendment itself. It is absolutely clear and not legally controversial that the first amendment renders it unconstitutional for the state (federal or state) government to teach religion in the public schools. Creationism has been legally determined to be religion.

    HN – If you read the links I provided, it’s clear they are denying all aspects of evolutionary theory, including common descent, so it is appropriate to use “evolution” as shorthand for the various aspects of the theory, since they deny it all.

  15. Pete Aon 05 Jan 2016 at 2:01 pm

    “the DiscoTute has objectively caused a lot of mischief” As have, and still do, the DiscoTute affiliated commentators on this website: “hardnose” and Michael Egnor. Hardnose, congratulations for performing, perhaps your first, quadruple axel on this website. However, your dances are cringeworthy — certainly neither elegant nor poised.

  16. steve12on 05 Jan 2016 at 2:17 pm

    “so it is appropriate to use “evolution” as shorthand for the various aspects of the theory, since they deny it all.”

    And just to be clear, I wasn’t saying that evolution = natural selection alone in criticizing HN.

  17. Ivan Groznyon 05 Jan 2016 at 2:40 pm

    “as has been pointed out, you have to look at all the supreme court case law, not just the first amendment itself. It is absolutely clear and not legally controversial that the first amendment renders it unconstitutional for the state (federal or state) government to teach religion in the public schools.”

    Is “case law” determines what is “constitutional” than segregation was constitutional before 1955 and “unconstitutional” afterwards. What are you going to say is SC tomorrow overturns Roe v Wade? Would that make abortion “unconstitutional”? You don’t have any independent criterion for considering something constitutional or unconstitutional apart from what the Supreme Court today says (provided it accords with your ideological preferences) The First amendment “jurisprudence” is one of the most egregious examples of government by judiciary: when the amendment was adopted some states had even established religion. The purpose of the amendment was to make sure the FEDERAL government was not going to establish a religion for all. School prayers were constitutional for almost 200 years until the Supreme Court did not “discover” that establishment clause covers school prayers and many other things nobody in their right mind had ever thought should be covered.

  18. Ivan Groznyon 05 Jan 2016 at 2:45 pm

    jstreet,

    “Creationists are sneaking religion into the classroom in direct violation of the First Amendment. Are you suggesting that Congress must intervene in order to make this a constitutional issue? That’s not how the law works. The Louisiana Science Education Act was passed by the state legislature in 2008 (and upheld by repeated votes) in direct violation of Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District. It is an illegal, unconstitutional Act. It needs to go.”

    James Madison, Virginia Report, 1799:

    .”..dangerous powers, not delegated, may not only be usurped and executed by the other departments, but that the judicial department, also, may exercise or sanction dangerous powers beyond the grant of the Constitution; and, consequently, that the ultimate right of the parties to the Constitution, to judge whether the compact has been dangerously violated, must extend to violations by one delegated authority as well as by another–by the judiciary as well as by the executive, or the legislature

    However true, therefore, it may be, that the judicial department is, in all questions submitted to it by the forms of the Constitution, to decide in the last resort, this resort must necessarily be deemed the last in relation to the authorities of the other departments of the government; not in relation to the rights of the parties to the constitutional compact, from which the judicial, as well as the other departments, hold their delegated trusts. On any other hypothesis, the delegation of judicial power would annul the authority delegating it; and the concurrence of this department with the others in usurped powers, might subvert forever, and beyond the possible reach of any rightful remedy, the very Constitution which all were instituted to preserve”.

    Thomas Jefferson, Kentucky Resolves, 1798.

    “..the several States composing, the United States of America, are not united on the principle of unlimited submission to their general government; but that, by a compact under the style and title of a Constitution for the United States, and of amendments thereto, they constituted a general government for special purposes — delegated to that government certain definite powers, reserving, each State to itself, the residuary mass of right to their own self-government; and that whensoever the general government assumes undelegated powers, its acts are unauthoritative, void, and of no force: that to this compact each State acceded as a State, and is an integral part, its co-States forming, as to itself, the other party: that the government created by this compact was not made the exclusive or final judge of the extent of the powers delegated to itself; since that would have made its discretion, and not the Constitution, the measure of its powers; but that, as in all other cases of compact among powers having no common judge, each party has an equal right to judge for itself, as well of infractions as of the mode and measure of redress.”

  19. steve12on 05 Jan 2016 at 2:51 pm

    Grozny:

    Is “case law” determines what is “constitutional” than segregation was constitutional before 1955 and “unconstitutional” afterwards.

    You can’t be this ignorant about everything, can you?

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Common_law

  20. steve12on 05 Jan 2016 at 2:54 pm

    Ok, Grozny is more insufferable.

  21. Steven Novellaon 05 Jan 2016 at 3:17 pm

    Yes – the Supreme Courts determines what is constitutional – by definition. You might as well ask, “So does the law determine what is legal?”

    And saying that the first amendment only applies to the Federal government is an old ploy. Perhaps you missed that part of your American History class called the Civil War. One of the results of which was the 14th amendment, which essentially (again, there is that pesky case law) established that the previous amendments, including the first amendment, apply to the states.

    State governments must abide by the first amendment, which means they cannot establish a religion, which means they cannot teach religion in public schools. This law is currently settled. It would take an amendment or a new Supreme Court decision to reverse it.

    I will add – it is also morally correct. The government has absolutely no business interfering with personal beliefs. This includes teaching religious belief as science, or treating anyone like a second-class citizen because of their personal beliefs.

  22. Ivan Groznyon 05 Jan 2016 at 3:23 pm

    steve 12, take it easy, I am not that awful, it’s just that you don’t understand the difference between the common law and constitutional jurisprudence…Not my fault.

  23. Ivan Groznyon 05 Jan 2016 at 3:36 pm

    Steven
    “the Supreme Courts determines what is constitutional – by definition. ”

    Show me this definition. Where is it in the Constitution? I gave you Madison’s and Jefferson’s interpretation showing that the states. according to the 10th amendment retain the residual power. Much more direct and unambiguous evidence than one misinterpreted half-sentence from a Jefferson letter from 1802 which is the entire basis for the “wall of separation” doctrine.

    “And saying that the first amendment only applies to the Federal government is an old ploy. Perhaps you missed that part of your American History class called the Civil War. One of the results of which was the 14th amendment, which essentially (again, there is that pesky case law) established that the previous amendments, including the first amendment, apply to the states.”

    Again wrong. The “incorporation” doctrine was concocted by the judges for the first time in the 1940s, more than 70 years after the Civil War. Until cca 1940s the Supreme Court jurisprudence was clear that the Bill of Rights applies only to the federal government. Most notably in United States v. Cruikshank in 1875 it found that the first and second amendments did not apply to the states. but just to federal government.

    “State governments must abide by the first amendment, which means they cannot establish a religion, which means they cannot teach religion in public schools. This law is currently settled. It would take an amendment or a new Supreme Court decision to reverse it.”

    The Supreme Court decided in Gonzales v. Raich 2005 case that medical marijuana cannot be used for medical purposes, i.e. that the existing federal law criminalizing is constitutional. Yet multiple state legalized/decriminalized marijuana in direct defiance to the Supreme Court fatwa. And good for them. The same applies to this case in Louisiana.

  24. jsterritton 05 Jan 2016 at 4:07 pm

    @Ivan

    Your misunderstanding of even the most basic tenets of law is profound. I suspect, based on your scattershot arguments, that your ignorance is willful. You yourself have pointed out that incorporation is the law of the land, even as you try to make a case for excepting Louisiana from its responsibility under the law to protect citizens’ rights as per the US Constitution.

    Likening a 2005 medical marijuana decision to the very first sentence in the US Bill of Rights is a pretty silly parry (i.e., not even wrong). Perhaps you are high right now?

  25. steve12on 05 Jan 2016 at 4:18 pm

    Ivan:

    “steve 12, take it easy, I am not that awful, it’s just that you don’t understand the difference between the common law and constitutional jurisprudence…Not my fault.”

    Sudden Wiki Expert Alert!

  26. steve12on 05 Jan 2016 at 4:22 pm

    Do we have a countdown clock for when the enumerated powers / general welfare clause nonsense begins?

    I’m starting it….now

    And I wonder how low we’ll go? Is Ivan a sovereign citizen?

  27. Steven Novellaon 05 Jan 2016 at 4:38 pm

    Actually, it was Gitlow v. New York (1925) that first established incorporation. Since then the Supreme Court has consistently held that the 14th amendment means that the states must follow the other amendments, including specifically the first and second.

    So by current precedent, that is the law of the land. Sorry, but you are still wrong. The 1875 decision was superceded by subsequent case law.

    You need a basic history lesson if you don’t know that the SC determines constitutionality: http://www.supremecourt.gov/about/constitutional.aspx

  28. Pete Aon 05 Jan 2016 at 5:39 pm

    Steve12, Is your countdown clock a clockwork clock perchance?

  29. Ivan Groznyon 05 Jan 2016 at 5:52 pm

    “You yourself have pointed out that incorporation is the law of the land”

    A legal doctrine cannot be “law of the land”. And you are lecturing me about “ignorance”…

    “Likening a 2005 medical marijuana decision to the very first sentence in the US Bill of Rights is a pretty silly parry”

    no, it s directly and 100% relevant. In both cases the Supreme Court pronounced fatwas saying that the state cannot do this or that. And in both cases states did what is prohibited by the judicial ayatollahs. The issue under consideration that prompted me to cite Gonzales was not the basis for any particular decision (incorporation or Commerce clause), but the problem whether the Supreme Court is the last resort or not.

    Steven,
    the issue is not whether the Supreme Court believes it has final say. Or whether majority of professors believe so. The issue is whether the Supreme Court is given in the Constitution the monopoly of interpreting the Constitution or having the last say. I challenge you to give me the textual evidence, not the opinions of the Supreme Court. You said that SC determines constitutionality “by definition”. If that means anything it should mean that it is determined i.e. “defined” in the Constitution itself. Where is the definition in the text?

    Jefferson and Madison clearly believed (see the quotes above) that the SC does not have the final say. On the other hand, what about Colorado and Washington today, directly and unambiguously nullifying Gonzales vs Raich? Should the feds crack down on them in the same way they should in your opinion on Louisiana?

  30. Marcus_Morganon 05 Jan 2016 at 6:29 pm

    Its holiday time, downtime for a look around the blogs.

    Novella. don’t bother with your errant “legal” analysis, just stick with science and try to improve it.
    There is still not traction at this site after a couple of years since I first visited here.

    Stop knocking over wooden ducks and get into some critical analysis of your own work!

    You can read the correction to evolutionary theory here in my free work on skydrive http://1drv.ms/1tnKM6f

    Hardnose, have a read a get some much needed ammunition against Novella and Steve12, who says things like “You can’t be this ignorant about everything, can you?”, “he does “play scientist””. “Grozny pretends to care about scientific matters”

    The only person pretending here is Steve 12, an anonymous snipe who waits for religion to pop up so he can provide a disgusting bent commentary about “science”, by reading it from Wikipedia.

    Steve 12 appears to be an anonymous troll who pretends to know science by regurgitating the same old rubbish. He has nothing new to add, just a hundred year old bit of tripe called evolutionary theory that everyone knows and a lot of people dislike for many reasons.

    Novella, you should cancel the membership of Steve 12 for any number of reasons, but mainly because he’s here to snipe and that’s all. Its his “jollies”. My reasons are clearly set out in my work if you want to refute them.

    Good luck Hardnose, you will need it.

  31. Marcus_Morganon 05 Jan 2016 at 6:39 pm

    PS Novella, I get straight to it in my work. In the first 10 pages you will read a complete demolition of evolutionary theory. http://1drv.ms/1tnKM6f

    There is nothing to evolutionary theory anyway, just undirected mutation and natural Selection, a couple of errant whitewashes.

    In 10 pages, your existing ideas will be totally demolished.

    Of course I go on to dismantle the rest of “science” in my book, but you need not bother with that. In 10 pages I provide enough to destroy your hubris about “biology”

  32. Marcus_Morganon 05 Jan 2016 at 6:47 pm

    PS Steve 12, what do you make of Diagrams 1 & 2 on pages 9 & 10 of my work?
    I get right down to a “join-the-dots” approach, to ensure slippery troll have nowhere to slip!
    Try and slip it, boy.

  33. RickKon 05 Jan 2016 at 6:51 pm

    Apologies for distracting from this thread’s interesting study in the methodological similarities between Christian Reconstructionists and Libertarian Reconstructionists.

    But I’ve just finished reading Frans de Waal’s “The Bonobo and the Atheist”. In it, de Waal repeatedly bashes the anti-religious “New Atheists”. But his arguments are interesting in that he just brushes away as unimportant the actual BELIEFS of the religious. Rejection of evolution he sees as (1) highly localized to American rural protestants; and (2) not important in the grand scheme of the human evolved need to worship something. He doesn’t seem to think that people actually take the Biblical stories literally, and generally dismisses any of the content of religious belief.

    And he can’t understand why anyone would be a vocal atheist because there’s nothing for an atheist to be “for”. Interestingly, he justifies religious evangelism because more followers mean more money in the collection plate. But, he asks, since atheists don’t need money for cathedrals and art, what’s the point of being an evangelical atheist? So he simultaneously belittles any religious person who is sincerely working to save souls, and any non-believer who is sincerely working to save minds.

    Yet here we are, battling a real assault on science and reality, driven by people who DO dogmatically believe (contrary to fact and reason) that the Bible is a literal historical account of human creation, or at least that (contrary to fact and reason) a divine being is consciously and actively guiding evolution. Entire generations in some school districts (and in entire Muslim countries) are being raised to disbelieve and summarily dismiss the very evolutionary concepts that are the foundation of de Waal’s entire life’s work – how humans and other apes evolved physically and socially.

  34. Pete Aon 05 Jan 2016 at 6:55 pm

    Marcus_Morgan, Steve12 is the antithesis of “an anonymous troll who pretends to know science by regurgitating the same old rubbish”, which is why, I presume, that you wrote: “Novella, you should cancel the membership of Steve 12 for any number of reasons, but mainly because he’s here to snipe and that’s all. Its his ‘jollies’. My reasons are clearly set out in my work if you want to refute them.”

    Marcus_Morgan, It is *you* that is here to snipe — thank you for personifying your ‘work’. To me, you are indistinguishable from the other sock puppets of the DiscoTute that make a total mess of themselves by continually pissing into the wind on Dr Novella’s NeuroLogica Blog.

  35. hammyrexon 05 Jan 2016 at 7:04 pm

    One could just argue that de Waal doesn’t *really* believe that, and that it’s all just a consequence of his circumstances and that as outside observers we know him better than he does :)

    A vast majority of argument that hinge on “I know what you believe better than you do” is self-defeating – I don’t find most religious arguments compelling, but I have no problem taking the position that people who do find them compelling do so with a degree of sincerity (or at least, some do). It’s why it’s always best to just stick with the arguments and not the intention behind the arguments. though that becomes almost impossible when you’re dealing with extremely vague concepts.

  36. RickKon 05 Jan 2016 at 7:05 pm

    M_Morgan

    I read to page 10. “Embodiment” eh? Yes, there must be a special force or process that so perfectly pairs organisms with niches, just as there must be some special force that always finds a hole exactly the right shape for a given puddle.

  37. hammyrexon 05 Jan 2016 at 7:14 pm

    From my past life, I’ve read an insufferable amount of historical “theories of everything” by many brilliant world-building philosopher… and their works amounted to nothing in particular that was useful. I see no reason to take “just read my 200 page manifesto” pleas seriously when it has to compete with what I imagine are millions of others.

  38. RickKon 05 Jan 2016 at 7:15 pm

    hammyrex

    Yep – I don’t doubt that de Waal is correct and there is an important cultural and evolutionary role (or at least source) of religious belief, and that religion is a necessary component of human society. If society collapses, religion is vastly more likely to survive than science.

    But science does work. And it works largely by focusing on, testing and judging, as you say, the argument rather than on the supposed motivation behind the argument. When the ID/Creationism crowd can stop focusing on motivations and put work into forming a decent evidence-based, testable argument, then they can play in the science realm.

  39. jsterritton 05 Jan 2016 at 8:11 pm

    I am delighted by @Morgans’s return to these pages. Welcome back!!! Finally, some knowledge bombs to *demolish* us all. In his newly (always, constantly) re-revised work he dedicates his inaugural pages to chastising his non-readers for non-reading: “I note that in letters, emails & blogs across ten years to media, academia, and government, my work has not been read.” He adds, stupefied: “It is truly mind boggling.”

    I urge everyone reading this to take @Morgan’s advice and read The Human Design. If you do not enjoy it, you have a black place where your heart should be :)

  40. Marcus_Morganon 05 Jan 2016 at 8:24 pm

    We have some replies

    Pete A. “Sock Puppet”?

    Sorry to upset you and your mate Steve 12, but son, I am a lawyer. What are you Pete A? Anonymous troll.

    let me think of a phrase in reply to drop to your level so you understand me. You are Brain Dead!

    You should be banned. Don’t waste my time, do some reading my Brain Dead son! Its only 2 diagrams!

    RickK

    “Yes, there must be a special force or process that so perfectly pairs organisms with niches, just as there must be some special force that always finds a hole exactly the right shape for a given puddle.”

    Sorry to upset you and your mates Pete A and Steve 12, but, you can’t even join the dots, let alone read further to answer your own questions!

    What is education today? People cannot read or think!

    Obviously, anatomy is immersed in a chemical environment and its niche envelops it by non-living chemistry around living, perfectly suited because the living embodies its surrounds.

    This is fully explained, sonny boy.

    Who’s the next troll?

    hammyrexon

    . I see no reason to take “just read my 200 page manifesto” pleas seriously

    Sorry to upset you and your mates Pete A, Steve 12, and Rickk, but you cannot even read! 200 pages? Where did you get that from?

    At least Rickk took the suggestion of looking for 2 minutes at two simple diagrams. The problem is he cannot think, and nor can you, because its obvious.

    Rickk

    Hard to tell if you are making another dumb, slack, “no-effort” comment about my work, but let me assure you I do not belive in Gods or ghosts.

    And your faith in science is a sad joke.

    Looks, boys. Play nice. Make the tiniest effort to use your brains instead of being gullible slackers!

    Total waste of time, but I am obligated by good manners to reply to you boys.

  41. Marcus_Morganon 05 Jan 2016 at 8:29 pm

    See you tomorrow, Sock Puppets.

  42. hammyrexon 05 Jan 2016 at 8:51 pm

    I said 200 pages because I was referring to, as a rough estimate, the general length of manifestos I’ve read from schizophrenic patients. I am aware that your manifesto in particular is only 178 pages.

    Also, and I imagine this is a lost cause, but from a rhetorical standpoint I would strongly encourage re-writing the conclusion section. Devoting an entire part of a book to rationalizing a conspiracy about why the book is not more popular is simply groan inducing.

  43. RickKon 05 Jan 2016 at 8:57 pm

    I wager Mr. Morgan isn’t actually a lawyer. Anyone who mentions his school grades as credentials for his pseudoscientific ramblings would not pass up a chance to crow about his degree or put letters after his name. My guess is he worked or works at a law firm.

    As for “The Human Design” – JSterritt, you’re right. Classic textbook crank. I’ve saved a copy as a wonderful illustrative example. And he’s so combative! This should be fun.

  44. Pete Aon 05 Jan 2016 at 9:11 pm

    “Sorry to upset you and your mate Steve 12, but son, I am a lawyer.” As is the chief honcho of the DiscoTute. In other words, you know jack shit about science and medicine.

    You have just demonstrated to the world that you also know jack shit about psychology, and jack shit about conducting yourself professionally in any field of endeavour. You have totally and utterly discredited yourself, which is, it seems, your only true area of expertise.

  45. Charonon 05 Jan 2016 at 10:00 pm

    Ooh, three trolls! Too bad the rest of us are distracting them. Maybe otherwise they’d interact, and create an eternal troll loop?

    Sad to hear about current Louisiana law, though…

  46. Steve Crosson 05 Jan 2016 at 10:28 pm

    Marcus Morgan,

    I must admit, your “academic paper ” was pretty funny. But a terrible Poe. After all, the entire point of a Poe is that you can’t tell if it is a true believer or a satire.

    Not even a real lawyer could get so many basic science facts wrong. And real lawyers are much better at making gibberish sound believable.

  47. Bill Openthalton 06 Jan 2016 at 4:22 am

    Re Marcus Morgan and for those with some exposure to the German literary scene and recent German movies:

    Er ist wieder da.

  48. SteveAon 06 Jan 2016 at 7:12 am

    Marcus Morgan: “See you tomorrow, Sock Puppets.”

    You don’t seem to know what a Sock Puppet is. Look it up sometime.

  49. Steven Novellaon 06 Jan 2016 at 9:55 am

    Morgan – OK, I gave your first 10 pages a whirl. It is classic crank science. Utter jibberish combined with overwhelming hubris. Of course, you will believe that you are just too brilliant for others to understand. Anyone who does not perceive your brilliance simply cannot think or read.

    The truth is, your writing is absolute nonsense, and that is why no one takes it seriously.

    My honest suggestion is that you interface with actual scientists and experts, and listen to their criticism. At the very least you should humbly read and try to understand the current scientific consensus, and not assume you can overturn an entire scientific discipline from your armchair musings.

  50. Steven Novellaon 06 Jan 2016 at 9:58 am

    Ivan – a legal doctrine is the law of the land if it is embodied in legal precedent.

    The Constitution is deliberately vague on many points, and requires legal interpretation through precedence. Citing Supreme Court case law is sufficient to establish what is the law of the land.

  51. DrNickon 06 Jan 2016 at 10:39 am

    Ivan – “the issue is not whether the Supreme Court believes it has final say. Or whether majority of professors believe so. The issue is whether the Supreme Court is given in the Constitution the monopoly of interpreting the Constitution or having the last say. I challenge you to give me the textual evidence, not the opinions of the Supreme Court”

    Constitutional law professor here, let me give this a whirl:

    Article 3, § 1:

    “The judicial power of the United States, shall be vested in one Supreme Court”

    Article 3, § 2:

    “The judicial power shall extend to all cases, in law and equity, arising under this Constitution”

    You harp on about Jefferson and Madison as if their views on judicial review were consensus, while conveniently ignoring the fact that many of the Framers, including Alexander Hamilton, who coauthored The Federalist Papers, took completely the opposite position.

    Your theory of constitutional interpretation has been out there in the marketplace of ideas for more than 200 years, and it has consistently failed to convince people going all the way back to Marbury v. Madison.

  52. steve12on 06 Jan 2016 at 10:48 am

    “Steve12, Is your countdown clock a clockwork clock perchance?”

    Made my day!

  53. arnieon 06 Jan 2016 at 10:50 am

    First 50 comments disappeared. Keeps happening. Has anyone figured out a way to recover all that disappears?

    Steven, Is there a plan for preventing that from continuing to happen?

    Thanks!

  54. NotAMarsupialon 06 Jan 2016 at 10:53 am

    arnie, here is a link to the first page:

    http://theness.com/neurologicablog/index.php/creationists-and-academic-freedom/comment-page-1/#comment-105241

  55. arnieon 06 Jan 2016 at 11:04 am

    NotAMarsupial….Thanks! I suppose each page subsequently might be accessed by the same method after they disappear, i.e.,. just substitute “page-2”, “page-3”, etc. for “page-1” in the link you sent me, right?

  56. NotAMarsupialon 06 Jan 2016 at 11:15 am

    arnie,
    That’s right. I just found the first page by clicking on one of the “recent comments” that show up on the home page of the blog. That one had “page-1” in it even though clicking directly onto the comments link won’t produce a url with a page number.

  57. arnieon 06 Jan 2016 at 11:34 am

    NotAM..,

    Yes, I subsequently discovered that also but I think that only works if the “recent comment” actually was part of the first page of comments. Once nothing from the first page remains on the “recent comments” list, you would be taken to the second page. Anyway, won’t bother you further with this. I do appreciate you help to this relatively computer dunce old bloke.

  58. arnieon 06 Jan 2016 at 11:36 am

    Arrgghh, “your”, not “you”

  59. steve12on 06 Jan 2016 at 11:45 am

    Ivan said:

    “the issue is not whether the Supreme Court believes it has final say. Or whether majority of professors believe so. The issue is whether the Supreme Court is given in the Constitution the monopoly of interpreting the Constitution or having the last say. I challenge you to give me the textual evidence, not the opinions of the Supreme Court. You said that SC determines constitutionality “by definition”. If that means anything it should mean that it is determined i.e. “defined” in the Constitution itself. Where is the definition in the text?”

    I guess I was wrong. I thought that we were going toward the welfare clause, but Ivan instead wants to re-adjudicate Marbury vs. Madison.

    Good grief….

  60. Marshallon 06 Jan 2016 at 11:58 am

    It’s frustrating how WordPress apparently separates the comments into sections of 50 but provides no user interface for switching between sections. It appears you must append “/comment-page-x” to the URL in order to view such comments. For example, to view the first 50 comments, you must go to the URL:

    http://theness.com/neurologicablog/index.php/creationists-and-academic-freedom/comment-page-1

    and the following brings you to the next set of 50 comments:

    http://theness.com/neurologicablog/index.php/creationists-and-academic-freedom/comment-page-2

  61. arnieon 06 Jan 2016 at 12:59 pm

    Frustrating, yes. But I finally got the hang of doing it more efficiently. Surprised I didn’t get a condescending/demeaning comment from Morgan-Morgan in the process. Below the radar, I guess :)

  62. arnieon 06 Jan 2016 at 1:01 pm

    er….Marcus_Morgan, that is…

  63. Ivan Groznyon 06 Jan 2016 at 1:18 pm

    Dr Nick

    “judicial power of the Unites States shall be vested in one Supreme Court”

    James Madison, Virginia Report 1799

    “dangerous powers, not delegated, may not only be usurped and executed by the other departments, but that the judicial department, also, may exercise or sanction dangerous powers beyond the grant of the Constitution; and, consequently, that the ultimate right of the parties to the Constitution, to judge whether the compact has been dangerously violated, must extend to violations by one delegated authority as well as by another–by the judiciary as well as by the executive, or the legislature….However true, therefore, it may be, that the judicial department is, in all questions submitted to it by the forms of the Constitution, to decide in the last resort, this resort must necessarily be deemed the last in relation to the authorities of the other departments of the government; not in relation to the rights of the parties to the constitutional compact [states], from which the judicial, as well as the other departments, hold their delegated trusts”.

    So, the Supreme Court is a last resort ONLY when it comes to the acts of other departments of FEDERAL government, not the acts of the states themselves.

    Thomas Jefferson:Kentucky Resolves, 1798

    “in cases of an abuse of the delegated powers, the members of the general government, being chosen by the people, a change by the people would be the constitutional remedy; but, where powers are assumed which have not been delegated, a nullification of the act is the rightful remedy: that every State has a natural right in cases not within the compact, (casus non fœderis) to nullify of their own authority all assumptions of power by others within their limits: that without this right, they would be under the dominion, absolute and unlimited, of whosoever might exercise this right of judgement for them”

    That’s exactly what Colorado and Washington had done with regard to federal anti-marijuana laws, and that Louisiana has every right of doing with the lawless ower grab by the Supreme Court by Everson vs Board of Education and its progeny.

  64. Ivan Groznyon 06 Jan 2016 at 1:23 pm

    “The judicial power shall extend to all cases, in law and equity, arising under this Constitution”

    Federal constitution was a constitution for a limited government, conferring upon the central government very few powers. Thereby the above provision does not mean that the Supreme Court has a right to adjudicate about everything. that’s a 20th century concoction by the judges and professors eager to extend the federal power far beyond the the original compact.

    We are debating here what is the proper meaning of the Constitution, not what people like you, professors of “constitutional law” believe. The fact that majority of you believes something does not mean that’s true.

  65. Ivan Groznyon 06 Jan 2016 at 1:29 pm

    Steven Novella,
    what is the “law of the land” with regard to (anti)marijuana laws in Colorado and Washington? Criminalized or not criminalized? Can you answer that, please?

  66. steve12on 06 Jan 2016 at 1:41 pm

    Ivan:
    The more cases that agree re: a precedent, the stronger it is. There’s a lot of case law including SCOTUS decisions re: what can be taught in schools re: religion, so using marijuana laws is a poor comparator.

    Like Marbury vs. Madison, this is only controversial to you and a handful of people across the country who rant and rave about things like the NIH and income tax being illegal

    We’ve continued past you an moved on, but by all means continue to idly complain….

  67. RCon 06 Jan 2016 at 1:42 pm

    Ivan, all of your arguments seem to ignore the amendments to the constitution, specifically the 14th. Do you honestly believe that the States voting to clarify, and extend the powers of the federal government, via the means specified in the Constitution, was unconstitutional?

  68. steve12on 06 Jan 2016 at 1:49 pm

    I must say, the notion of constructing the world around me that I would prefer, rather than the one that is actually there, is tempting.

    In Marcus’ world, he a genius whose Nobel is being unjustly withheld. That’s pretty awesome actually. I have to wake each day to the cold reality that I will not receive a Nobel, nor should I. That kinda hurts!

    Ivan believes that all of his feelings about the world are what it’s actually made of, and he’s an expert on everything without really trying. Again, that’s not so bad!

    Maybe I should be taking notes from these guys on my way to taking the Red Pill. Or was it Blue?

  69. jsterritton 06 Jan 2016 at 2:36 pm

    @Ivan

    What part of the US Constitution is unclear to you? I suggest reading Article VI (and not limiting yourself to Article III). Article VI is very clear: that all judges, just like all state and federal legislators and governors in the nation, are bound by oath to support the Constitution (fyi, the Bill of Rights is the Constitution, not something separate).

    Article VI

    “This Constitution…shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.

    “The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution.”

  70. jsterritton 06 Jan 2016 at 3:12 pm

    @Ivan

    In order to change the establishment clause, you would have to amend the Constitution. Any state law or act that violates the establishment clause, as does the Louisiana Science Education Act, is by definition unconstitutional. Moreover, the legislators and Gov. Jindal who passed that Act have failed to uphold their oaths as required by the very plain rules in the US Constitution. The only reason it stands is a failure of enforcement. That failure is not an indicator of the Act’s legitimacy or constitutionality, as you would seem to be saying (or wishing were so).

    Comparing marijuana laws to First Amendment constitutional protections is absurd. It is not uncommon at all for SCOTUS decisions to reverse previous ones (in all or part), or for the federal government to decline to enforce under the Supremacy Clause. Marijuana law will probably change, probably at the SCOTUS level, probably soon. The First Amendment’s establishment clause is unlikely to change anytime. Period.

    You cannot argue that since one law or issue may change its “constitutionality status” that any law or issue can be considered contentious or likely to change. Doing so is just an argument from ignorance and wishful thinking.

  71. Ivan Groznyon 06 Jan 2016 at 3:39 pm

    jsterit,
    you have to understand that all provisions you cite are perfectly consistent with my (Jeffersonian, “compact” view of the Constitution). Constitution is a limited compact between the states, and when the text says that it is “the supreme law of the land”, that does not mean that the federal government is all-powerful. even less that the Supreme Court is all-powerful. the best way to think about it is the international treaties signed by say the US and Canadian governments: all these treaties say that such and such provision will be respected by national governments, and that all national legislation shall be brought into agreement. But that does not mean that the US government ceases to exist or that the Canadian Supreme Court hold universal jurisdiction over America. By the same token, the federal Constitution in its narrow and specifically determined scope trumps state laws (in the same way the US-Canadian treaties trump national legislation of the two respective countries). However that does not imply that anyone but national governments has a power of last resort to judge when the compact-treaty is broken.

    “In order to change the establishment clause, you would have to amend the Constitution.”

    I don’t need to change the clause at all: first, what you call the “establishment Clause” is actually the illegal, unconstitutional usurpation by the SC in 1948, prohibiting teaching religion in public schools, based on one misinterpreted half-sentence by Jefferson. Second, the states as the parties to the constitutional compact retain the right to nullify the unconstitutional federal laws or judicial fatwas, whatever “constitutional” cover the federal government uses (Commerce clause “jurisprudence” or the incorporation of the Bill of Rights).

    Maybe you can answer: is anti-marijuana law “the law of the land” in Colorado and Washington?

  72. Ivan Groznyon 06 Jan 2016 at 3:51 pm

    P.S. It seems that you have developed a novel argument: The Supreme Court’s ultimate jurisdiction does not apply to the cases dealing with the commerce clause issues and to other issues that are “likely”, sometime in the future to be re-adjudicated differently.

  73. steve12on 06 Jan 2016 at 4:26 pm

    So many things wrong that I don’t know where to begin. This is illustrative of Ivan’s warped (but perfectly ideologue drive) “interpretation”

    “…what you call the “establishment Clause” is actually the illegal, unconstitutional usurpation by the SC in 1948, prohibiting teaching religion in public schools, based on one misinterpreted half-sentence by Jefferson.”

    But that literally every SCOTUS and legal scholar has agreed with. How many rulings have been this stable? The problem is that YOU, Ivan – YOU – are the one misinterpreting. If it was just that one decision wouldn’t it have been overturned or challenged by now? Jefferson’s letter to the Danbury congregation makes clear what the first amendment means.

    And it’s clear for very practical reasons as well. The gov’t is either going to have to favor a religion (clearly illegal) OR allow our schools to become “all preach zones” where every single religion gets their ear. That can’t work! Imagine biology class is an endless stream of origin stories and myths!

    Only you and a handful of fringies, like you, disagree. Just like you disagreement re: Marbury v. Madison. It’s cranky.

  74. steve12on 06 Jan 2016 at 4:29 pm

    Ivan – feel free to reply to DrNick instead of me since he’s a constitutional law professor.

    But let me guess – you’re going to cherry pick your responses from those that you think give you the best chance to make your points…

  75. jsterritton 06 Jan 2016 at 5:10 pm

    @Ivan

    I’m having a hard time following your comments; there is no consistent argument that I can discern. You call SCOTUS “ayatollahs” and their decisions “fatwas.” You call the Establishment Clause “illegal.” This is perhaps most disturbing, because it illustrates contempt for — or even negation of — the purpose of judicial review and case law itself. The US is a nation of laws, and the Founders did a dazzling job of providing assembly instructions, written guarantees, and unambiguous rules in our constitutional documents, especially concerning the judiciary, which was a revolutionary idea (literally the defining difference between ours and England’s constitutional monarchy).

    I think you have to be a bit off-kilter to call yourself “Jeffersonian” and then second-guess and diminish his words. Like it or not, there is a “wall of separation between church and state” enshrined in 200+ years of case and constitutional law. It is the law of the land, probably as the Founders intended, but certainly not because of illegal fatwas by activist judges — that’s just what disgruntled religionists and disappointed ideologues tell themselves to sleep at night.

  76. steve12on 06 Jan 2016 at 5:59 pm

    “I’m having a hard time following your comments”

    That’s because he’s splicing together Wikipedia pages and right wing fringe websites on the fly and pretending he understands it.

  77. DrNickon 06 Jan 2016 at 7:16 pm

    @Ivan

    Not just professors have this view, the vast majority of judges and justices throughout U.S. legal history have agreed. The viewpoint you advocate is a fringe position, based on cherry-picked tangential quotes from Madison and Jefferson, the only Founding Fathers who seem to exist in your world. These are neither authoritative nor representative of the consensus opinion of those who wrote the Constitution.

    I have given you the specific language in the Constitution that establishes the power of judicial review, as you requested. The language is not ambiguous, and you have cited nothing from the constitutional text itself to rebut the interpretation that has stood as precedent for more than 200 years.

  78. BillyJoe7on 06 Jan 2016 at 10:12 pm

    Here is a relevant Wikipedia entry:

    “Crank” is a pejorative term used for a person who holds an unshakable belief that most of his or her contemporaries consider to be false. A crank belief is so wildly at variance with those commonly held as to be ludicrous. Cranks characteristically dismiss all evidence or arguments which contradict their own unconventional beliefs, making rational debate a futile task, and rendering them impervious to facts, evidence, and rational inference.

    Universal characteristics of cranks include:

    Cranks overestimate their own knowledge and ability, and underestimate that of acknowledged experts.
    Cranks insist that their alleged discoveries are urgently important.
    Cranks rarely, if ever, acknowledge any error, no matter how trivial.
    Cranks love to talk about their own beliefs, often in inappropriate social situations, but they tend to be bad listeners, being uninterested in anyone else’s experience or opinions.

    Some cranks lack academic achievement, in which case they typically assert that academic training in the subject of their crank belief is not only unnecessary for discovering the truth, but actively harmful because they believe it poisons the minds by teaching falsehoods. Other cranks greatly exaggerate their personal achievements, and may insist that some achievement (real or alleged) in some entirely unrelated area of human endeavor implies that their cranky opinion should be taken seriously.

    Some cranks claim vast knowledge of any relevant literature, while others claim that familiarity with previous work is entirely unnecessary; regardless, cranks inevitably reveal that whether or not they believe themselves to be knowledgeable concerning relevant matters of fact, mainstream opinion, or previous work, they are not in fact well-informed concerning the topic of their belief.

    In addition, many cranks:

    – seriously misunderstand the mainstream opinion to which they believe that they are objecting,
    – stress that they have been working out their ideas for many decades, and claim that this fact alone entails that their belief cannot be dismissed as resting upon some simple error,
    – compare themselves with Galileo or Copernicus, implying that the mere unpopularity of some belief is in itself evidence of plausibility,
    – claim that their ideas are being suppressed, typically by secret intelligence organizations, mainstream science, powerful business interests, or other groups which, they allege, are terrified by the possibility of their revolutionary insights becoming widely known,
    – appear to regard themselves as persons of unique historical importance.

    Cranks who contradict some mainstream opinion in some highly technical field, such as mathematics or physics, frequently:

    – exhibit a marked lack of technical ability,
    – misunderstand or fail to use standard notation and terminology,
    – ignore fine distinctions which are essential to correctly understand mainstream belief.

    That is, cranks tend to ignore any previous insights which have been proven by experience to facilitate discussion and analysis of the topic of their cranky claims; indeed, they often assert that these innovations obscure rather than clarify the situation.

    In addition, cranky scientific theories do not in fact qualify as theories as this term is commonly understood within science. For example, crank theories in physics typically fail to result in testable predictions, which makes them unfalsifiable and hence unscientific. Or the crank may present their ideas in such a confused, not even wrong manner that it is impossible to determine what they are actually claiming.

    Perhaps surprisingly, many cranks may appear quite normal when they are not passionately expounding their cranky belief, and they may even be successful in careers unrelated to their cranky beliefs.

    Most of these characteristics have already been amply demonstrated, both in this blog and in his “book”, by our very own crank, Marcus Morgan.

  79. Willyon 07 Jan 2016 at 11:00 am

    Marcus Morgan?

  80. Ivan Groznyon 07 Jan 2016 at 2:16 pm

    Dr Nick: “I have given you the specific language in the Constitution that establishes the power of judicial review, as you requested. The language is not ambiguous, and you have cited nothing from the constitutional text itself to rebut the interpretation that has stood as precedent for more than 200 years.”

    That’s because you haven’t’ bother to read. I gave you a simple explanation why you misunderstand the historical meaning of the “unambigous” language of the Constitution. It is indeed unambigous, but in the exactly opposite sense from what you think. For example, the fact that the Constitution is the “supreme law of the land” does not mean that the federal government’s will is “supreme law of the land”. On the contrary, since the Constitution is a limited compact giving to the central government precisely defined narrow powers, it is to be understood in this respect as any other limited treaty, circumscribing, rather than increasing the powers of federal government.

    I know that professors of constitutional law usually don’t pay much attention to history, but read the minutes of the ratification debates in the states, especially in Virginia, New York, Pennsylvania or Delaware. You will see that the Jeffersonian states’ rights explanation of the Constitution was given by federalists/nationalists themselves in order to convince the sceptics to accept the document. For example, George Nicholas, Edmund Randolph and James Madison in Virginia, and James Wilson in Pennsylvania all argued that the states will have a right to nullify any federal action going beyond the terms of the constitutional compact.

    “I have given you the specific language in the Constitution that establishes the power of judicial review, as you requested.”

    First, you did nothing of the sort (even the law professors agree that Marbury vs MAdison established judicial review, not the constitutional text itseld), and second: I did not request a constitutional text supporting “judicial review”, but supporting the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court over the state legislation. Please, don’t repeat here provisions which emphasize the Constitution as “supreme law” since any international treaty is “supreme” over national law, (if the parties accept it).

  81. Ivan Groznyon 07 Jan 2016 at 2:32 pm

    jsterit”I think you have to be a bit off-kilter to call yourself “Jeffersonian” and then second-guess and diminish his words. Like it or not, there is a “wall of separation between church and state” enshrined in 200+ years of case and constitutional law.”

    You are talking nonsense, my friend. Jefferson himself, as a president, spent federal money to support religious causes.For example, he authorized federal spending to build churches and to finance the missionary work among the Indians. The ‘wall of separation” quote was from a letter in which he was reassuring the Baptists that he will not, as a president, trump on anyone’s religious beliefs – it was a guarantee to the churches a freedom from the state, rather than a guarantee to the state a freedom from the church. When the Bill of Rights, with its 1st amendment establishment clause was ratified, some states have established churches! The provision was intended only to provide that the FEDERAL government would refrain from establishing a church.

    Wall of separation in its current distorted form was not enshrined in 200 + years of constitutional law, but in less than 60 years of constitutional law, because the very concept as currently understood was invented in 1947.

    “I’m having a hard time following your comments; there is no consistent argument that I can discern. You call SCOTUS “ayatollahs” and their decisions “fatwas.” You call the Establishment Clause “illegal.” ou call the Establishment Clause “illegal.”

    that’ because you are not reading what I say, or are unable to understand a very basic logic. So to clarify one again: I am not calling the establishment clause illegal but Everson vs Board of Education of 1947, (and further illegal decisions by the SC based on it as well). Understand; the Supreme Court could sometimes interpret the Constitution wrongly.

  82. Ivan Groznyon 07 Jan 2016 at 2:39 pm

    And to repeat my previous challenge nobody among you has enough courage to address: what about Colorado and Washington nullifying federal anti-marijuana law and Gonzales vs Raich? Is Gonzales still the supreme “law of the land” in Colorado and Washington? And if yes, what should the feds do?

  83. Steve Crosson 07 Jan 2016 at 3:26 pm

    BJ7,

    Not only is Marcus a crank, I’m more and more of the opinion that he is the canonical crank. During the SGU interview a few years ago, I thought that Neal Adams was a crank, but now I realize that Neal is strictly minor league compared to Marcus.

    I’m embarrassed to admit how much time I’ve spent reading Mr. Morgan’s magnum opus, but much like any other train wreck, once I started looking, I couldn’t turn away. It is truly a great source of levity. Although, while Marcus does frequently use the word “levity”, he uses it in a completely new and unknown way, apparently believing it has something to do with various chemicals finding their proper level of affinity or something. Another favorite word seems to be “epicycle” as some kind of natural process that is supposed to explain various chemical and physical interactions that somehow equate to a “Design” (of nature, not God).

    Unless the Aussies use a unique variety of the English language with literally no corresponding dictionaries available on the internet, the entire book is filled with nonsensical word choices used completely incorrectly. I swear that many of the sentences originated in some kind of scientific gibberish generator — strung together in whatever random order they were created.

    He doesn’t believe in providing any references because “it’s all just logic anyway” and besides, you can’t trust anything in mainstream science because they are all wrong about everything. But he does regularly paraphrase and reference Wikipedia, apparently just to prove that he is perfectly capable of misunderstanding even the most simplified versions of science.

    I hope that it is all just an extremely elaborate (and time consuming) Poe — otherwise it is just terribly sad and I feel sorry for him. It is hard to imagine how anyone that detached from reality could lead a pleasant life.

  84. steve12on 07 Jan 2016 at 4:36 pm

    Ivan:

    “And to repeat my previous challenge nobody among you has enough courage to address: what about Colorado and Washington nullifying federal anti-marijuana law and Gonzales vs Raich? Is Gonzales still the supreme “law of the land” in Colorado and Washington? And if yes, what should the feds do?’

    The “courage”? As long as we’re not being too dramatic….

    I have an idea: since you think this is some HUGE trump card that proves your point, why don’t you cut the suspense and rhetorical horseshit and just tell us.

    Since you’re more of an expert on the Constitution and US law than the vast majority of: Professors of Law, Constitutional historians, Professors of Constitutional Law, and Federal judges (historical and present) including the SCOTUS, you have no right depriving us of your vital opinion….

  85. steve12on 07 Jan 2016 at 4:37 pm

    If Ivan gets sick, does he go to a Doctor or just consult himself?

  86. Pete Aon 07 Jan 2016 at 4:43 pm

    Steve Cross wrote: “It is hard to imagine how anyone that detached from reality could lead a pleasant life.”

    In my associations with people, including family members, who were/are almost totally detached from reality, I’ve observed that what enables them to think that they lead a pleasant life is by defining its antonym “unpleasant life” to mean: the life of all those who disagree with me. Which is, I think, just a combination of a straw man argument and circular reasoning.
    P1: My life is pleasant because my beliefs are correct (unstated premise).
    P2: Those who disagree with my beliefs have an unpleasant life and most are unpleasant people.
    C1: Therefore, my life is pleasant.
    C2: Therefore, my beliefs are correct.
    C3: Therefore, I am superior.

    Or something like that. It’s very difficult to know how they actually reason, or even if they reason at all.

  87. jsterritton 07 Jan 2016 at 4:46 pm

    @Ivan

    Gonzalez is law of the land, you dummy. Your anomaly hunting, string of motivated cherry-picks from across centuries of history, and snapple facts about the Founders paint you for what you are: a law denialist. Hi-larious! There’s a bunk waiting for you in Oregon. Go.

    @Steve Cross

    I, too, am a devotee of The Human Design. Welcome to the fan club. Morgan has really dusted off an old chestnut with “levity.” As you know, Morgan’s writing is opaque and very nearly impenetrable (i.e., it is gobbledygook). Still, it resonates with such awful sense of purpose that it becomes, for me at least, wildly entertaining. There pretty much isn’t a single thing right in the “book” and there is even more that’s wrong! Plus a lot of “bathing suit area” stuff and old-fashioned misogyny. They really don’t make them like this guy anymore! He hits all the right notes:

    (1) He considers himself a genius. (2) He regards his colleagues, without exception, as ignorant blockheads….(3) He believes himself unjustly persecuted and discriminated against. It never occurs to the crank that this opposition may be due to error in his work….(4) He has strong compulsions to focus his attacks on the greatest scientists and the best-established theories. (5) He often has a tendency to write in a complex jargon, in many cases making use of terms and phrases he himself has coined. [1]

    ____________
    [1] Martin Gardner, In the Name of Science 1952

  88. Pete Aon 07 Jan 2016 at 5:12 pm

    Ivan, I don’t begin to understand what you are trying to say because I’m a Brit. All I want to know at this juncture is: Are you for or against the teaching of Intelligent Design Creationism[1] in school science classes?

    Note 1: There isn’t any other type of Intelligent Design(TM) trying to force its way into school science classes. I guess the UK version of abject curricula nonsense is Steiner aka Waldorf schools.

  89. BillyJoe7on 07 Jan 2016 at 6:06 pm

    I also live in Melbourne Australia and I can assure you we don’t use words any differently from the rest of the English speaking world. It’s difficult to know what he means by “levity”, “affinities”, and “epicycles”. And his “geometric Design” (with a capital ‘D’) is just bizarre.

    I don’t think he is an elaborate Poe. He has given talks at a couple of atheist meetings in Melbourne. He has also approached the ABC but was turned down. He also originally tried to sell his book via Angus & Robertson for just under $30 before offering it for free. He has also applied to patent his “geometric Design” under intellectual property rights. He says his “geometric Design” explains everything from physics and chemistry to biology and psychology.

    I’m beginning to doubt that he is a lawyer. I have found only one Marcus David Morgan in the legal profession in Melbourne. He is a solicitor in Bentleigh about 40km from where I live, but MM denied in a previous thread that this was him.

    I have read only small sections of his book. I find it incomprehensible. He seems to use words idiosyncratically and constructs his sentences in odd ways. I think the purpose of this is obscurantism. It sounds profound to the uninitiated and is difficult to impossible to understand and therefore to refute. He has wasted three decades of his free time on this idea. He has no knowledge or expertise in any area of science. He is definitely a crank.

  90. BillyJoe7on 07 Jan 2016 at 6:07 pm

    …sorry, that was in response to Steven Cross

  91. jsterritton 07 Jan 2016 at 6:46 pm

    Ahem. From The Human Design (first page!):

    “This book avoids jargon. My ideas are in plain language and very simple. I use diagrams rather than math equations.* I explain human existence within nature by its essential parts**, and combine all of them into a completely new intact theory***, including a model for awareness, equated to consciousness.****”

    *Y’know, like using pancakes instead of seat-belts.
    **Essential parts later revealed to be “gravity penises” and “levity vaginas.”
    ***I cannot find a definition for “intact” that makes sense here. Possibly he means “un-neutered,” which kinda makes sense now that I think about it.
    ****From “plain language” to full Chopra in <30 words. A new record!

  92. DrNickon 07 Jan 2016 at 7:08 pm

    Ivan – “First, you did nothing of the sort (even the law professors agree that Marbury vs MAdison established judicial review, not the constitutional text itseld)”

    And in your own words, you demonstrate a complete lack of understanding of even basic legal concepts. I suggest you read Marshall’s opinion in Marbury, and examine his rationale for judicial review, you could learn a lot.

    You cobble together legal talking points from right wing websites and Google level sophistry in an attempt to retcon your ideological beliefs into the Constitution. You are failing utterly.

    ” I did not request a constitutional text supporting “judicial review”, but supporting the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court over the state legislation. Please, don’t repeat here provisions which emphasize the Constitution as “supreme law” since any international treaty is “supreme” over national law, (if the parties accept it).”

    The Supreme Court’s jurisdiction over state legislation is established by Article III, Section 2, and by the Supremacy Clause, a clause that you also seem to lack basic understanding of. See Cohen’s v. Virginia (1821).

  93. Pete Aon 07 Jan 2016 at 7:58 pm

    BJ7, I prefer the term “wilful obscurantism” because this makes it clear that it is a deliberately contrived act, rather than a form of obscurantism that can be later ‘justified’ by the claimant simply by stating something along the lines of: When I made that claim I wasn’t in possession of the latest information blah blah blah; You misunderstood what I was claiming; etc.

  94. Ivan Groznyon 07 Jan 2016 at 8:48 pm

    Dr Nick “The Supreme Court’s jurisdiction over state legislation is established by Article III, Section 2, and by the Supremacy Clause,”

    Fail and fail. Article III section 2 does not mention the power of the SC to review state legislation at all.
    The invocation of the Supremacy clause is the old ply by nationalists. But, that’s another fail: The clause says:

    “This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof; and all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land; and the judges in every state shall be bound thereby, anything in the constitution or laws of any state to the contrary notwithstanding.”

    It splendidly illustrates the analogy between the Constitution and international treaties; the phrase “anything in national legislation notwithstanding” is routinely used in these treaties. The clause does not say “whatever federal government says or Supreme Court proclaims is the law of the land” but just the Constitution and the “laws in pursuance thereof”. But this begs the question: who is to decide in the last resort what laws are “in pursuance thereof”? And we are at square one again.

    One more thing: citing legal cases does not prove constitutionality of anything. Forget about it. The only way to establish the meaning of the constitutional provisions is to read the ratification debates and see what the people who drafted adopted the document meant by it. That’s how James Madison, the “father of the Constitution”, thought you can only determine what the Constitution means.

  95. Ivan Groznyon 07 Jan 2016 at 8:57 pm

    Pete A “Are you for or against the teaching of Intelligent Design Creationism[1] in school science classes?”

    I think creationism in any shape and form is idiocy and I would withdraw my kid from any school teaching it. But, in the same time, I don’t want sanctimonious liberal control freaks to be in charge of determining what is allowed and what is not allowed, and to carry out their gleichschaltung towards “science based” way of life, based on bogus “constitutional” bullshit that they forget the very next second when it should be applied to any of the liberal policies.

  96. Pete Aon 07 Jan 2016 at 10:09 pm

    Ivan, Many thanks for answering my question. I don’t understand British politics, let alone politics and law in other areas of the world. Our Prime Minister, David Cameron, often seems to demonstrate that his knowledge of politics is on a par with mine. He frequently claims that we are a Christian nation, which even I know to be untrue according to our gathered national statistics! Our Queen and her son, Prince Charles, are stalwart proponents of more than adequately debunked forms of ‘integrative medicine’, especially homeopathy. Every time I read the word “homeopathy”, I can’t help reading it as “home apathy” — as in, the state has total apathy towards the home life of its denizens.

    Like you, I think creationism in any shape and form is idiocy, and if I had children, I would withdraw them from any school teaching it.

  97. RickKon 07 Jan 2016 at 11:42 pm

    Ivan,

    The issue isn’t about teaching a “science based” way of life. The issue is quite appropriately about teaching science based SCIENCE classes. There are actually some right and wrong answers in play here, not just ideology. Telecoms and transportation and our impressively interconnected economic system make borders less relevant and integrate our country in ways even the far-sighted Jefferson couldn’t imagine. We have the ability to communicate and investigate and advocate on a national forum with ease. Yet here you are arguing for a return to a level of Balkanization designed for a nation without steam, rails, highways or electricity. Face it – the nation has grown up. And we should continue to grow rather than trying to force us backward to some idealized good old days when things like public education standards didn’t exist simply because they were impossible.

    It is now possible to agree important standards like all children must be taught actual science in science classes, slavery is bad, gender and racial equality are good, nationwide communication should be unfettered, and medical care is available to all that need it. If my failure to resent such changes in our nation makes me a Liberal, then I wear the label proudly.

  98. jsterritton 07 Jan 2016 at 11:51 pm

    @Ivan

    You are denying the whole idea of judicial review. The judicial is the most protected and independent of the three branches of government as set forth in our constitutional documents, because the Founders suspected that only an independent judiciary could forestall the abuses of power that stem from “tyranny of majority rule” and the failures of England’s constitutional system. This is the last time I will presume to speak for the Founders (you should take a page from my playbook), but it is evident in the US Constitution that the judicial is given ultimate power to determine the constitutionality of laws (and hence legality). It is in plain English. You cannot waive your hands and dismiss the language of the law because it doesn’t suit you. Your muddled argument here is basically to “teach the controversy” that schisms between federalists and anti-federalists hundreds of years ago make the law “unsettled science.” It is amusing that someone so averse to creationism and ID would rely on such shady, ID tactics to hand-waive away inconvenient facts of reality.

    SCOTUS decisions do not invalidate state law, but Federal enforcement, based on judicial review, will determine if state laws become moot (if not outright illegal). In other words, there is no magic judicial wand that makes “the law of the land.” But try to hide behind state or local laws that are in violation of higher court decisions and you will find they can no longer be used as a defense in court.

  99. DrNickon 08 Jan 2016 at 11:11 am

    Ivan – “One more thing: citing legal cases does not prove constitutionality of anything. Forget about it.”

    Wrong and wrong. Like it or not, you live in a common law nation. By definition, citing legal cases is what proves the constitutionality of anything. The rest of your word salad of an attempt to interpret Article III and the Supremacy Clause is not even worthy of a response.

    I’ve done my best to explain the basis of what has been the prevailing interpretation of the constitutional text since the early 19th Century, but you’re too deeply down your ideological rabbit-hole to even entertain the fact that someone may know more about this than you do.

    I leave you with one question: where exactly in the words “all cases, in law and equity” and “supreme law of the land” do you see an exception that limits the Supreme Court’s authority over state legislation?

    I encourage you to read John Marshall’s opinions in Marbury v. Madison and Cohens v. Virginia, as they refute just about everything you have written in this thread.

  100. Steve Crosson 08 Jan 2016 at 4:02 pm

    Ivan,

    You seem to be saying that the law is a matter of interpretation. Well … DUH!!! That is the entire point of the Supreme Court. Their job is to interpret the laws (both new and old) and decide what is or is not constitutional. Certainly, some interpretations have evolved (occasionally radically) over the years, but at any given point in time, the Supremes have the final say.

    As DrNick and others have pointed out repeatedly, the vast majority of case law and precedent for hundreds of years supports this viewpoint. Almost everyone believes this is settled law and there is no reason (or basis) for challenging the consensus.

    At this time, your extreme minority interpretation is completely irrelevant. But if you wish to try to change the situation, there are a number of things you can do:

    1) Start by getting a law degree and understanding why 99% of the experts disagree with you.

    2) Then, if you still believe you are right (probable considering your ideological leanings), you should get appointed or elected as a judge.

    3) Then, simply climb up the judicial ladder as you gain experience.

    4) Eventually, if you’ve sucked up to enough “powerful people”, you can try to get nominated for the Supreme Court.

    5) Then, if you haven’t pissed off too many other “powerful people” along the way, and if the right political party happens to be in power at the time, you should be confirmed.

    Now I know that sounds easy and almost too good to be true, and actually, it may be more difficult than it sounds. To be on the safe side, you should really find at least four other people to follow the same career path and get appointed at roughly the same time. Otherwise you may find it difficult to get a majority of the SC to give up the power they already have.

    So there you have it — a list of simple, constructive things you can do. I’m sure that will be infinitely more satisfying than wasting your time trying to convince a bunch of “skeptics” that your opinion is more important than facts or evidence.

  101. Pete Aon 08 Jan 2016 at 10:17 pm

    Talk about coincidences, it seems that I understand British politics far better than I stated previously. The BBC has just posted this article about one of my favourite TV series:
    Yes, Prime Minister: Still true to life after 30 years?
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-35264042

  102. BillyJoe7on 09 Jan 2016 at 2:03 am

    Steve Cross…it’s been done!
    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antonin_Scalia

  103. Steve Crosson 09 Jan 2016 at 12:03 pm

    BJ7,

    Yeah, I know. Unfortunately, as I mentioned to Ivan, it is all too easy to get ideological zealots on the Supreme Court. But I hope (although I don’t actually know since IANAL) that Ivan’s poor reasoning and argumentation skills would prevent him from ever getting through Law School.

    In any event, it is imperative that the US elects a Democratic President (and ideally, Senate as well) to keep the Supremes from getting even more right wing than they already are. The last few years have been devastating for campaign finance sanity and voting rights.

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