Friday, December 23, 2005
"Our conclusion today," wrote United States District Judge John
E. Jones III, "is that it is unconstitutional to teach ID as an
alternative to evolution in a public school classroom." You must
read 137 pages to get to that line, but it's time well spent.
Jones, a conservative Republican appointed by George W. Bush,
reviews the "legal landscape" of church-state separation, and
then addresses the key question of whether ID is science or
religion. He does so, "in the hope that it may prevent the
obvious waste of resources on subsequent trials." Science, he
observes, "rejects appeal to authority in favor of empirical
evidence," whereas, "ID is not supported by any peer-reviewed
research, data or publications." Not only does he enjoin Dover
schools from teaching ID, he says the parents who brought suit
are entitled to damages. That may cool the ardor of other school
boards thinking of hopping in bed with the Discovery Institute.
In the Senate, Rick Santorum (R-PA), who had earlier praised the
Dover School Board for "teaching the controversy," was so moved
by the Jones decision that he severed his ties to the Thomas
Moore Law Center, which had defended the Board.
Having just read Judge Jones "passionate paean to science," I
turned on "Heaven: Where Is It? How Do We Get There," a two-hour
special on ABC. The only hard information was that 90 percent of
the public believes in it, whatever it is. That's scary, but how
could ABC spend two hours on something for which there is no
evidence whatever? Easy, have Barbara Walters interview experts,
from mega-church evangelist Ted Haggard, who explains Heaven is
only for born-again Christians, to a failed suicide bomber in a
Jerusalem prison who was certain it's only for Muslims.
A consortium led by UC and Bechtel won the contract to manage the
nation's oldest nuclear laboratory. This was good news for the
8,000 employees who feared losing job security and pensions under
new management. However, Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX), Chair of Energy
and Commerce, was not happy. He had favored a consortium that
included the U. of Texas. Actually, Barton hasn't been happy
since Energy cancelled the SSC, which was in his district.
The House yesterday insisted on shortening the extension of the
Patriot Act to five weeks because James Sensenbrenner (R-WI), the
Judiciary chair, wants it to be permanent. While you're figuring
that out, we read in the South Coast Standard-Times that a UMass
Dartmouth Senior was visited by Homeland Security agents after he
requested a copy of Mao's "Little Red Book" from the library. He
had apparently become one of the 500 people at any one time that
President Bush has authorized NSA to spy on. So we now have NSA
computers sifting through inter-library loans to catch Maoists?
Wake up NSA! (WN 11 Feb 05).