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.

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.

On Evolution and Religion

Last week the world commemorated the 200th birthday of Charles Darwin. I had a post, and as well as countless of others. I read my share of them, and even commented on a few. There were also many posts critical of Darwin. As a sequel to my prior post, below are some interesting tidbits.


I stated that many Christian denominations support evolution. Oh no, this isn’t a recant, but the Pew Research Center supports my point.

I also wondered about how many people against evolution actually know what they are against. This Gallup poll supports that point as well.

The American Scientific Affiliation (AFA) is a group focusing on science and religion together. From their site:

The ASA is a fellowship of men and women in science and disciplines that relate to science who share a common fidelity to the Word of God and a commitment to integrity in the practice of science.

The story of Alfred Wallace is interesting. In a nutshell, Wallace did his in Indonesia and independent of Darwin. In those days scientists exchanged papers before possibly presenting to a scientific society. Wallace sent Darwin his paper, upon which Darwin saw confirmation of the findings he determined 15-20 years earlier. Consequently, Darwin and Wallace jointed presented, and Wallace actually was the first to use “Darwinian.” See this National Geographic article for more details.

Actor and writer Ben Stein is quite smart. With degrees in economics and law, his resume is impressive. He also produced Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed, a documentary about Intelligent Design. Here’s an interesting review by movie critic Roger Ebert.

I’ve read posts from the other side and continue to be amazed by their use of misconceptions, half-truths, total falsities, and even hate; all in the name of a loving God who granted us wisdom. Sorry, I will show my bias by not providing any links.


God has given humans many gifts, including curiosity, awe, problem solving, and the ability to learn. Spirituality is another gift that develops in various traditions and cultures.

Within those gifts is also science, the search for the explanation for what we observe in nature. Whereas we as humans are a product of many cultures, science is about our natural world, thus why science can’t answer questions about the spirit.

To me, this is what Darwin meant when he said, “A scientific man ought to have no wishes, no affections — a mere heart of stone.” That is, faith cannot get in the way when studying science; but it does not mean science cannot be incorporated into faith. Faith and science are partners within each one of us.

Whereas some claim one must chose between God and science, God initiating the evolutionary process isn’t a compromise. It is with the spirit and sense of awe and amazement I continue to believe in a much grander creation than the creationists ever credit God.

Thank you Lord for your spectacular creation; one so grand that there is still so much more to learn. Amen.