Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 417

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Like much of the country, winter has arrived in Cincinnati earlier than normal – and with prolonged temperatures delivering new daily records. Brrrrrrrr ….

James Brown, the Godfather of Soul, is next to take the stage for a weekend concert. Schedule: Next Saturday, 23rd November 1:00 AM (Eastern US)

I continue to enjoy going through my blog closet. On the other hand, that cupboard is on the way to being bare.

I had my first grapefruit of the new season. With still a bit of bitterness that sweeter grapefruits do not have, I’ll try again after in two weeks.

By the time 2020 starts, and era will end – the last Sears store in Cincinnati will close. Just think – they could have been the Amazon of today before Amazon was Amazon.

While crushing their most recent opponent, the Benevolent Impalers (8-2) are in a 3-way tie for first place and face one of those teams this weekend.

Finally, Sean Spicer is off Dancing With The Stars. Nothing against his political role, but he was horrible on DWTS from day 1. To his credit, he tried. Here’s another thing that gets me. On DWTS, Sean Spicer came across as a nice guy. If that is who he is, why was he such an asshole when he worked in the White House?

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Oh boy. The Ohio legislature recently passed the Ohio Student Religious Liberties Act. As a former science teacher and one interested in the interchange between science and religion, I don’t have a good feeling about this one. I simply see it as a way for religious advocates to circumvent science standards – something they could they could not get included in the standards.

For me, Former NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg (D-NY) entering the Democratic race muddles the waters. Instead, I preferred he enter the presidential sweepstakes as an independent. What the heck is Deval Patrick (D-MA) thinking?

Even though the vast majority of Congressional Republicans are unapologetically supporting President Trump, here’s one Republican view that may be the most honest perspective I’ve encountered from any Republican.

For a long time and regardless of the White House occupant, there are two problems in Washington: Democrats and Republicans … and if the current dialogue regarding the current administration doesn’t verify that, nothing will. Then again, the majority of voters are partisans.

The Republican defense is very poor and pathetic – yet a sizeable percentage of voters will buy it. Sadly, much of the public doesn’t know this important point – Impeachment has nothing to do with a crime -nothing to do with criminality.

I’ve said it before and need to say it again. Impeachment is about the actions of one person – and has nothing to do with Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, Hunter Biden, Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi, Adam Schiff, Oscar Meyer, Bill Clinton, Vlad the Impaler, or Popeye the Sailor Man.  Impeachment is about President Trump’s actions. PERIOD!

To lead you into this week’s satirical headlines, The Onion helps readers understand the Middle East by providing a timeline of US-Syria relations.

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Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)

Busboy father works hard every day to take food off table for his family
Pack members worried young wolf may be sociopath after he maul rabbit
College freshman annoyed about having to room with 47-year-old adjunct professor
Bar fight de-escalates after both parties unable to tear off t-shirts
Field Of demography collapses after 92-Year-Old woman buys Monster Energy Drink And Sweet Fusion Vape Juice
Cocky atom that started out in cosmos-shattering Supernova reduced to humble role in urine puddle

Interesting Reads

Ranked-choice balloting (Thanks Jim W)
Mexico, 500 years later
Driving a hydrogen-powered car
Redesigning high school
Cars – automatics for Americans – manuals for Europeans Why? 
Europe’s unauthorized immigrant populations
(Video) Visualizing the speed of light
(Photos) Butterflies, birds, and zebras
(Photos) Patterns that birds fly (This is fabulous)

To send you into the weekend, here’s something more contemporary than my normal choices. In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

On a Senseless Situation

Daubert vTwo Rules
In Daubert v. Merrill Dow (1993), the US Supreme court established a standard on whether an expert’s testimony is based on valid science and methodology,

  • Whether the theory or technique in question can be or has been tested
  • Whether it has been subject to peer review and publication
  • It’s known or potential error rate
  • The existence and maintenance of standards controlling its operation
  • Whether it has attract widespread acceptance within a relevant scientific community

In Lemon v. Kuntzman (1971), the US Supreme Court established the following (known as the Lemon Test) about legislation regarding religion;

  • The government’s action must have a secular legislative purpose
  • The government’s action must not have the primary effect of either advancing or inhibiting religion
  • The government’s action must not result in an “excessive government entanglement” with religion

The Situation
Springboro, Ohio is about an hour north of downtown Cincinnati, thus actually a southern suburb of Dayton. The Springboro Board of Education recently decided to throw itself into the evolution-in-science-class debate.

The Complete Ignoral
The Springboro Board proclaims the findings of the Discovery Institute, a leading center of Intelligent Design (ID). In so doing, the Board either ignores or embraces what the Discovery Institute says of itself.

Discovery Institute has a special concern for the role that science and technology play in our culture and how they can advance free markets, illuminate public policy and support the theistic foundations of the West. ….. Our Center for Science and Culture works to defend free inquiry. It also seeks to counter the materialistic interpretation of science by demonstrating that life and the universe are the products of intelligent design and by challenging the materialistic conception of a self-existent, self-organizing universe and the Darwinian view that life developed through a blind and purposeless process.

In so doing, the Springboro Board ignores that the Discovery Institute (assumingly staffed by scientifically trained personnel) does not meet the criteria of science experts established in the Daubert Standard.

In so doing, the Springboro Board, as a governing organization, ignores the Lemon Test established by the high court.

In so doing, the Springboro Board ignores the results of Kitzmiller v. Dover (2005) where Dover (PA) Board of Education adopted a science curriculum placing Intelligent Design (ID) alongside evolution in biology classes. In the court challenge, Judge Jones, a conservative Bush appointee and Christian, stated

Although Defendants attempt to persuade this Court that each Board member voted for the biology curriculum change did so for the secular purposed of improving science education and to exercise critical thinking skills, their contentions are simply irreconcilable with the record evidence. …. Any asserted secular purposes by the Board are a sham and merely secondary to the religious objective. … To briefly reiterate, we first note that since ID is not science, the conclusion is inescapable that the only real effect of the ID Policy is the advancement of religion. …. As stated, our conclusion today is that it is unconstitutional to teach ID as an alternative to evolution in a public school science classroom.

In so doing, the Springboro Board ignores Epperson v. Arkansas (1968) where the US Supreme Court stated,

The law’s effort was confined to an attempt to blot out a particular theory because of its supposed conflict with the Biblical account, literally read. Plainly, the law is contrary to the mandate of the First, and in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution.

In so doing, the Springboro Board ignores McLean v. Arkansas Board of Education (1981) served as a challenge to the state’s Balanced Treatment for Creation-Science and Evolution-Science Act that mandated teaching creation science along evolution. In the ruling, District Judge Overton defined both science and creation science, as well as providing numerous reasons by is simply not science.

In so doing, the Springboro Board ignores Edwards v. Aguillard (1987) were the US Supreme Court states that Creation Science embraces religious teaching. In addition, the purpose of the Louisiana law of requiring teaching both views (or none) was to change the public school science curriculum to provide persuasive advantage to a particular religious doctrine that rejects the factual basis of evolution in its entirety.

In so doing, the Springboro Board ignores its potential high cost of legal fees, which exceeded over $1 million for the Dover Board.

In so doing, the Springboro Board ignores the fact that science has boundaries confined to explain the natural world – and fudging data for conforming to a pre-conceived theology box is not science – but rather a component of religion.

In so doing, the Springboro Board ignores that this religious stance is contrary to doctrine from Roman Catholic, mainline Protestant denominations, countless Christian scholars, and Jewish scholars – let alone against the belief system of atheists, agnostics, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, and others within their community.

In so doing, the Springboro Board has received support from the Creation Museum run by Answers in Genesis – another organization that does not meet the Daubert standards, yet proclaims using science to state that humans and dinosaurs roamed together on our less-than-10,000-year-old Earth – let alone claiming a 5,000 years old T-Rex skeleton.

Suggestions
To the Springboro Board and its supporters, I say this: You can disagree with well-established case-law, but that does not make the law wrong. You can disagree with science, but that does not make science wrong.

To Springboro residents opposing the Board’s action, learn and become proactive – which includes following the Dover voter’s lead that voted the school board members out of office.

To the Springboro churches opposing the Board, good for you – but you are partially responsible for the Board’s action. After all, odds are you perpetuated the problem by ignoring the topic for many years.