Education Montana Politics

A Creationist for the Montana Supreme Court? A Review of Lawrence VanDyke

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Cowgirl has already touched on the unique beliefs of Lawrence VanDyke, the Tim Fox appointee who is the latest announced candidate for the Montana Supreme Court, but as an educator, I felt like I should add my perspective.

[Note: This is a long post. The tl;dr version? Supreme Court candidate Lawrence VanDyke has argued that non-scientific theories of Intelligent Design should be taught in schools. That’s legally wrong and educationally absurd.]

As Cowgirl notes in her piece, while Mr. VanDyke was at Harvard Law School he authored an incredibly positive review of a book by Francis Beckwith called Law, Darwinism, and Public Education: The Establishment Clause and the Challenge of Intelligent Design. The book (and Van Dyk’s review take the position that teaching the theory of Intelligent Design in classrooms would not violate the Establishment Clauses’s prohibition against government-sponsored religion. That position, and Van Dyk’s poorly-reasoned review, led to a firestorm on the Internet, where real scientists were quick to attack the idea that schools should teach the non-scientific theory of Intelligent Design alongside evolution.

And teaching Intelligent Design alongside evolution is exactly what VanDyke proposed in his review. He wrote:

Yet perhaps the most ironic aspect of this debate is that Darwinists are even opposed to the inclusion of ID in the public school curriculum. If there is any fundamental tenet of Darwinism, is it not that competition leads inexorably to progress? Consequently, apart from erosion of their philosophical proselytism, what have Darwinists to fear from a little rivalry? After all, the ideological defeat of naturalistic evolution at the hands of the ID movement would nicely illustrate “survival of the fittest” – it could be Darwinism’s last vindication.

Those of you who have followed the creationism/evolution debate in recent years are no doubt familiar with Intelligent Design, a science-free public relations campaign to introduce creationist principles into public schools. VanDyke’s argument was so out of the mainstream of educational and legal thinking on the issue that the Internet basically exploded over his review.

Responding to Mr. VanDyke’s review, Brian Leiter excoriated Van Dyke’s analysis. He opens:

Mr. VanDyke may yet have a fine career as a lawyer, but I trust he has no intention of entering law teaching: scholarly fraud is, I fear, an inauspicious beginning for an aspiring law teacher. And let none of the many law professors who are readers of this site be mistaken: Mr. VanDyke has perpetrated (intentionally or otherwise) a scholarly fraud, one that may have political and pedagogical consequences.

It wasn’t just Mr. Leiter. Steven Thomas Smith from MIT described the firestorm that followed Van Dyke’s views:

Last year, Harvard Law Review editor Lawrence VanDyke, 2L, achieved this lofty status by publishing a besotted review of Francis Beckwith’s book about the constitutionality of Intelligent Design creationism in public schools. VanDyke’s insipid and error-filled piece (“not even wrong” in Pauli’s words) would have been eminently ignorable had it not appeared in the often respected Law Review, and this fact alone attracted a dogpile of criticism involving political columnists, science policy writers, lawyers, biologists, and the Panda’s Thumb. VanDyke, revealing that his motives were those of a clueless dupe, and not a Machiavellian operator, actually responded to this withering barrage with an even more cluelessly clueless post at HLS’s Federalist Society (in which he cites “Project Steve” as proof that 1% of scientists doubt evolution!), ensuring that much fun was had by all.

The Washington Monthly’s Kevin Drum piled on:

VanDyke (and Francis Beckwith, whose book he is reviewing) therefore try an end run: the very paradigms of science itself are deficient, they say. Well, perhaps they are? Who knows? But if so, then they’d better also start attacking the hegemony in our science classes of general relativity, plate tectonics, and quantum mechanics — except that if they tried it the Harvard Law Review would reject it as the obvious crankery it is.

Astonishingly enough, VanDyke chose to defend his initial review, posting his counter-argument on (you guessed it!) a web site devoted to teaching the theory of Intelligent Design. In it, he wrote:

This is why people like Leiter – nonscientists – sometimes rabidly attack anyone foolish enough to challenge their deeply held, practically religious, belief-system.

In other words, ID has been “found wanting” on philosophical grounds, not empirical grounds. Some of ID’s claims are philosophical, as are some of naturalistic evolution’s – these by definition could never be refuted empirically.

That VanDyke would equate a defense of the scientifically accepted theory of evolution as a “practically religious” viewpoint demonstrates a worldview that would be troubling, to say the least, for a Montana Supreme Court justice.

A few more quotes from VanDyke’s law review article also make this clear.

VanDyke approvingly summarizes Beckwith’s argument that Intelligent Design is no more religious than the theory of evolution:

Beckwith pulls the trigger in the final chapter, arguing that, although ID may lend support to a plethora of theistic religions, it is itself no more a religion than naturalistic evolution (pp. 145-66). While observing that the courts “have provided us with no clear definition of religion,” Beckwith does distill two basic inquiries courts have made when faced with a putative “religion” under either a Free Exercise or Establishment Clause analysis. First, does it resemble conventional religions? (p. 148). Second, if not, “does the disputed belief function  [*968]  … in a way parallel to the way in which conventional religion functions in the life of the believer?” (p. 148). ID does not have formal services or otherwise exhibit “certain formal and external signs” of religion (p. 153). Nor is it “comprehensive in nature” or a “belief-system” (p. 153). Rather, similar to moral claims or evolution, ID is an “isolated teaching” that is consistent with but not itself a religion and does not function in the life of a believer like a religion (p. 153).

Doubling down on the crazy, he asserts that the theory of Intelligent Design is derived from the analysis of empirical evidence:

First, unlike creationism, ID is not transparently derived from any religion’s special revelation but rather from critical reflection on empirical facts (pp. 154-55).

There simply can be no facts to confirm or deny Intelligent Design, a point the Anti-Defamation League makes quite eloquently:

Intelligent design is not a part of science – it cannot be confirmed or denied by the scientific method. Teaching it as science confuses and misinforms students about the scientific method, thereby depriving them of a high-quality science education and possible career options.

Reasonable people can disagree about matters of theology and science, but a Supreme Court justice has a special obligation to ensure that public schools are places where students are free from religious indoctrination. That creationists have dressed up their religious beliefs about the creation of the universe and given them a new name doesn’t change the fundamental fact that Intelligent Design is not science but faith, belief and not evidence. To argue that schools should be in the business of teaching religious theory in science classes is not only absurd; it’s incredibly dangerous.

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About the author

Don Pogreba

Don Pogreba is an eighteen-year teacher of English, former debate coach, and loyal, if often sad, fan of the San Diego Padres and Portland Timbers. He spends far too many hours of his life working at school and on his small business, Big Sky Debate.

His work has appeared in Politico and Rewire.

In the past few years, travel has become a priority, whether it's a road trip to some little town in Montana or a museum of culture in Ísafjörður, Iceland.

51 Comments

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  • Your unscientific bias against intellegent design theory is a bit old fashioned, closed minded, and yes…dogmatic.

    Here is what Professor James M. Tour has to say about macro-evolution.

    “Although most scientists leave few stones unturned in their quest to discern mechanisms before wholeheartedly accepting them, when it comes to the often gross extrapolations between observations and conclusions on macroevolution, scientists, it seems to me, permit unhealthy leeway. When hearing such extrapolations in the academy, when will we cry out, “The emperor has no clothes!”?

    So not only do I side with the wise judge, but also with this Professor of Chemistry, Professor of Computer Science, and Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science at Rice University who invented the “nano-car” and say that you are giving “unhealthy leeway” to the current evolutionary dogma.

    Hundreds of real scientists with more appropriate degrees than you and I also find intelligent design a serious scientific theory worthy of exploration, but you consider it a religious dogma?

    I really not interested in arguing about this, because in a few short years it will be obvious to everyone but the flat earth evolutionists that there theory is fatally flawed.

    I happen also to be a creationist. You are dishonest to equate creationism with intelligent design theory. THEY ARE NOT THE SAME THING. If you can’t tell the difference I’m not sure you are worthy of teaching anyone! It is a very simple and valid distinction.

    • I absolutely understand why you are “not interested in arguing this,” because you can’t. There is no scientific method that can prove or disprove the existence of an intelligent creator.

      To pretend that Intelligent Design is something other than creationism in a lab coat demands a bit more evidence than your religious faith and even more when proponents advocate teaching it in schools.

  • I was the first teacher in Montana to encounter this nonsense. I was teaching half days in Chester, and the other half in Joplin. Joplin had a very vigorous fundiwackmentalist contingent. Along about ’91, some folks in Joplin started farting about a book that they were excited about called Of People and Pandas. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Of_Pandas_and_People
    Hence, the Panda reference in Leiter’s review of nutjob wack fundi Van Dyke.

    Anyway, I knew that it would soon be coming to Chester too, so I warned our biology teacher to be on the lookout for it. Sure enough, the very next year, as we were revising our curriculum to meet the Golden Valley Co-op standards, here they came! The christofascist brigade headed by the nuts at the ASSembly of god church. They brought the book and insisted that it be adopted along with evolution in the science curriculum!

    Well sir, the fight was on! But the problem was that most teachers in Chester simply decided to go along to get along with the wackos. Only two teachers fought back, me and Donny Van Dessel. I immediately notified the GF Tribune, and they did very good article on it. I gave them an interview in which I sounded the warning. For that, I was severely chastised by the Fundis. I alerted the tiny liberal community in Chester and we fought back. All I can say was that it was ugly. It tore the community apart for nothing.

    In the end, ID was not put in the curriculum, but the committee decided to self censor to please the Fundis. The word evolution was taken out!

    These Fundi bassturds are very scary people, and they should NOT be allowed anywhere near public education policy. Van Dyke must be as dumb as Fox who appointed him. Anyone interested in public ed must fight these crazies for all your worth, or we’ll end up like texass, where the Panda book originated! It is NOT OK to allow this wackjob on our Supreme Court. Anyone who falls for this ID crap has some serious problems in all areas!

  • “Hundreds of real scientists with more appropriate degrees than you and I also find intelligent design a serious scientific theory worthy of exploration, but you consider it a religious dogma?”

    Um, you’re an abject liar, dude. Isn’t that a sin?

    • p.s. Tiny Tim, as we asked the ASSembly of gawd wackos, what OTHER creation myths should we include in our curriculum besides the Biblical one? We had some eager responses to that one, for you see, there are many, many fascinating creation myths besides the one in Genesis. And let’s face it, tiny tim, ID IS creationism, no matter how you want to deny it! Stop lying, pastor dude!

      I believe that this is STILL all part of the not-so-subtle attempt to turn Montana into some sort of white homeland for white, inbred fundiwackmentalists! It’s a PR campaign, ALL of it! The last few Leges have been full of PR for the inbred crowd. And it just may work if folks aren’t vigilant. The toothless, Jed Clampet brigade is on the march!

      Come and listen to my story ’bout a man named Fox
      We all thought he’s as dumb as a box of rocks
      And then one day while a’pointin’ other dudes
      Up springs Van Dyke who’s even more crude!

      Dumb that is, inbred stoopid. Couldn’t pour piss outta the proverbial BOOT stoopid!

        • Easy. Because you christofascists are too easy, revvy!

          I remember a sign at the public pool as a kid. It said, and I quote, “We don’t swim in your toilet so don’t pee in our pool.”!

          Revvy tiny tim, we don’t take a dump in your church, so DON’T sh*t in our public schools!

          You wanna indoctrinate your little Nazi followers, fine. But DON’T attempt to do it in OUR public schools, dufus!

          See how simple it is, revvy? And fun too!

      • Here, Don, allow me a whack at it for craigy, from his article above.

        “Boosters of intelligent design–ID, for short–hope this triumph would be the first step toward restoring a spiritual dimension to our understanding of our creation”

        Now, craigy, WHEN was there ever a “spiritual dimension” to science? Oh wait, there is to creation myths, but NOT to science!

        You lose again.

        • Don, I know that you teach English, so I would like to propose a SAT writing question that you might use for your students to better prepare them to take the SAT. (the wacko SAT) I would like craigy and tiny tim to answer first though to show the kiddies how it’s done! Have at it boys! Here’s my science SAT question:

          In a 500 word essay, compare and contrast the spiritual component or creation with the scientific explanation of creation, and show the merits of each using the scientific method as proof. Use equal parts spirit and equal parts evolution to justify your arguments!

          Like it? Me too!

          Go ahead, craigy, rev. Show the kiddies how the pros do it!

      • Think of it as forensics followed by an hypothesis and an offered profile that attempts to explain the organization of the facts of that forensic investigation. Look at your cellphone. Did it come into being by random chaos? Instead of viewing Creation, ID, and Evolution as competing concepts to the exclusion of all others, try viewing them as complimentary, congruous, and a continuing work in progress. That requires almost a Thomist approach.

    • The Union of Concerned Scientists makes a pretty compelling case, too:
      http://www.ucsusa.org/scientific_integrity/what_you_can_do/why-intelligent-design-is-not.html

      The intelligent design movement is exceptionally good at creating false controversies and misconceptions. Yet their basic claims are easily debunked.

      There is scientific controversy over evolution: There is no debate about evolution among the vast majority of scientists, and no credible alternative scientific theory exists. Debates within the community are about specific mechanisms within evolution, not whether evolution occurred.

      Structures found in nature are too complex to have evolved step-by-step through natural selection [the concept of “irreducible complexity”1]: Natural selection does not require that all structures have the same function or even need to be functional at each step in the development of an organism.

      Intelligent design is a scientific theory2: A scientific theory is supported by extensive research and repeated experimentation and observation in the natural world. Unlike a true scientific theory, the existence of an “intelligent” agent can not be tested, nor is it falsifiable.

      Intelligent design is based on the scientific method3: Intelligent design might base its ideas on observations in the natural world, but it does not test them in the natural world, or attempt to develop mechanisms (such as natural selection) to explain their observations4.

      Most scientists are atheists5 and believe only in the material world: Such accusations are neither fair nor true. The scientific method is limited to using evidence from the natural world to explain phenomena. It does not preclude the existence of God or other spiritual beliefs and only states that they are not part of science. Belief in a higher being is a personal, not a scientific, question.

      • You said, “Yet their basic claims are easily debunked.”

        Let me give counter points to each of your debunked claims one by one. (you will have to look back at our original points to make sense of this)

        1. Micro-evolution is scientific fact. Because of the natural genetic diversity within every living organism produces some life forms who thrive in different environments species will adapt to their environments. Macro-evolution on the other hand has no scientific proof, and has never been reproduced. (your standard). This theory extrapolates from the micro-evolution that actual genetic mutations account for one kind of animal slowly evolving into another kind (genus). Research on genetic mutation shows that they do not add any new information or complexity, but in fact are overwhelmingly fatal to the mutated organism.

        2. You said, “Unlike a true scientific theory, the existence of an “intelligent” agent can not be tested, nor is it falsifiable.”

        I conclude then by your ridiculous assumption that there is no way I can verify that the “intelligent” agent called Don Progreba exists or not therefore I choose to wish he doesn’t. And he doesn’t! (So why am I arguing with him?)

        3. The SETI project which searched the universe for signals containing information was based on the logic that if a signal had information there was an intelligent life form that produced it. If this is bad science why are we still looking for intelligent life in the universe when we wouldn’t be able to recognize it if was out there?

        Using the exact same logic: Human DNA contains more information that the Encyclopedia Britannica, therefore that information must have been produced by a source of intelligence.

        4. If you decide to call the source of the design evidenced in the very orderly and complex world we live in God, you would be in the majority of people. But you are correct that would not be scientific because you would be entering into the venerable field of metaphysics. Most scientist are not trained in this field but often make ridiculous statements and claims in this field. If you are watching “The Cosmos” you will see many examples of this speculation.

        • Your counter points reduced.
          1. False dichotomy. The only difference between micro and macro evolution is the time frame, not the mechanism.
          Then you round it out by suggesting mutations are always fatal. That has been fully rejected on a number levels. I suggest you look into antibiotic resistance where genetic mutations leading to new molecular pathways of handling the biocidal molecules have been demonstrated to convey a positive benefit to the species targeted by the antibiotic.

          2. Your deduction reduces to ad hominem. You have no argument.

          3. Your use of the SETI project is lacking in several fundamental assumptions relevant to the tenets of communication information and signal parsing. Once you understand the difference between say the information found within the arrangement of a protein and the information contained within an EMR signal transmission then we can talk.

          Your last statement in 3. sidesteps the issues relevant to SETI and attempts to make your deduction equivalent to the “vast amount of information” in human DNA. (so you are saying there are vast amounts of communications from extraterrestrial life out there or not?) Suggesting there is too much information and therefore no possible way we simple humans could possibly understand any of it is a false premise under the appeal to a higher authority. And you again rely on a false premise that the world is 6 to 7 thousand years old. If you want a few sources for the actual age of the planet those can be provided. Regarding Natural Selection, it has been working to sort those molecules and mechanisms which lead to generation of more of the same for a very long time. On par of 2 billion years, or so.

          4. ID is not metaphysics as much as it is rehashed and reshaped theocratic claptrap with the intent to impose a single Abrahamic form of Bronze age thought on the US public school system. And your suggestion that scientists would not be able to recognize this difference suggests they don’t understand how to establish criteria on when something is “testable” or not. Invoking a sky fairy as the answer to causing heart disease, pesticide resistance, cancer, whatever, in this case an evil sky fairy you would refer to as Stan, ignores how how the scientific method works in the first place. That can be covered as well if you have time.

          And lastly, you ignore previous findings from the Kitzmiller v. Dover court case. Which is where this will end up, again, if folks of your ilk (dominionists) keep pushing it.

          “Religious bondage shackles and debilitates the mind and unfits it for any noble enterprise.”

          James Madison

          • My basic point is that ID uses scientific methodology, and real scientists use it. Therefore evolutionary theory is not the only game in town. Here is an counterpoint to your counterpoint.

            1. You said, ” The only difference between micro and macro evolution is the time frame” So are you saying that biodiversity and evolution are the same? Can you give me one example of one genus evolving into another? Use only real science: observable and repeatable please.

            Also what mechanism are you talking about? No one understands the mechanisms of evolution. James Tour quoted above says, “…I simply do not understand, chemically, how macroevolution could have happened. Hence, am I not free to join the ranks of the skeptical and to sign such a statement without reprisals from those that disagree with me? … Does anyone understand the chemical details behind macroevolution? If so, I would like to sit with that person and be taught, so I invite them to meet with me.” He has had no takers.

            2. So you agree that “the existence of an “intelligent” agent can not be tested.”? Are you intelligent? Can your existence be tested? That is simply my point. Please prove to me this statement.

            3. I am not saying “there are vast amounts of communications from extraterrestrial life out there” What I am saying is that SETI is based on the scientific principle that if there is communication there is a communicator. The complexity and vast amounts of information contained in DNA suggests a communicator (designer) in the same way that a message received from extraterrestrial life would suggest the existence of alien beings. If SETI is science then ID is science.

            4. ID is science, but to assume that the I in ID is in fact God is a metaphysical statement which is not scientific. Anyone making this statement is making a leap of faith. It cannot be proven.

            5. Lastly your case reference is not scientific either. Science is not determined in the courtrooms. But this is in fact the case. Evolution cannot be proven by science so you resort to the courts. I am also not afraid of a justice who believes in ID for the same reason. Consensus or court rulings are not scientific evidence. If you can’t win the argument, sue me!

            • DAMN your dense, revvy! But HEY, you may be as famous a Charles Darwin some day for your scholarly treatise, the Origin of Feces!

              Rev, keep your religeeious horse manure to yourself and OUTTA the public schools!

              And a justice as dumb as van dope has NO place on the Supreme Court! Sorry. He’s an idiot! That’s ALL Montana needs now is the Van Dope Monkey Trial! Geez. PLEASE God make these morons go away!

              • “Evolution cannot be proven by science so you resort to the courts. I am also not afraid of a justice who believes in ID for the same reason.”

                Um, Revvy Tiny Timmy, would you and your pal Van Dope like to borrow my copy of movie Inherit Two Guys Breaking Wind?

                Jus’ wondering. Tell that ignernt putz Van Dope to come on this site and present his argument. I don’t think he has the stones to show up here. The man is a moron, as you apparently are too! Here’s a hint, revrearend. Keep your religeeous nonsense to yourself! Your sancteeemonious self=righteesous baloney knows no bounds!

                And really, do you actually have a church? With people? Who actually LISTEN to your nonsense? Or are you one of them little moronic “preachers” who got your preachin’ degree through a correspondence course from liberty uni VERS ity? Thas where Van Dope got his law degree I’d wager!!

            • 1. Your current argument is conflation. You evidently do not understand the difference between the mechanism, evolution, and the outcome, biodiversity.

              2. you still have not advanced beyond your first salvo, one of ad hominem. Please cover how your first response to Mr. Pogreba was not ad hominem.

              3. Again, you attempt to change the discourse. Your original position is not tenable as aforementioned. And your deduction that “alien communications” relate in some form to the “complexities of DNA” is truly a leap of faith. Evolution is a process which has been in effect for numerous millennium.

              4. ID is not science as it offers nothing testable. Ergo, no “I” exists. Your “scientific” source has yet to provide something tenable from a scientific standpoint; read a testable hypothesis. And lastly, if there is a mysterious force present it is the one scientists refer to as Chance. You know, a list of Probable Outcomes given an infinite number of combinations. For example: With known probable starting molecules what other molecules will form?

              5. Parting salvo? You chose to ignore the entire Kitzmuller vs. Dover contents and then chose to suggest it was simply a court case without first understanding the contents of the issue. For shame. That is lame if not outright lazy.
              If you require specific examples of evolution in experimentation let’s start with guppies as found here
              “http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090610185526.htm”
              and I want you to go through the changes elicited as we discuss this mechanisms of evolution involved.
              Then we can proceed to a discussion of what constitutes a new species (a scientifically difficult discussion) and why when taking a singular temporarily relevant snapshot it will always bring forth a minimum of scientific uncertainty (thus the scientific difficulty based on numerical probabilities). And then we can proceed to what uncertainty means in a scientific sense.
              And by the way the idea you floated “if you can’t win sue me” is the reason for the Kitzmuller vs. Dover suit in the first place. The creationists said “sue me”, i.e. take me to court, and they were subsequently taken to court where they lost.

        • That is perhaps the most absurd comparison of all time. The Union of Concerned Scientists are simply suggesting that we teach students scientific knowledge, not religion. Given the absolute impossibility of debating/proving/disproving the existence of an intelligent creator, it has no place in science classes.

          If a person wants to teach it in their homes, excellent. If some”scientist” can find research legitimizing it, sure. But to teach it to students now would be on par with teaching about Yggdrasil, and I suspect you know that.

          • Don, if you would adhere to your own admonishment about reading comprehension you would have discovered I made no argument as to what is taught in schools.

            • Then what are you arguing? The premise of the post–and the original article is that teaching ID should be permissible in schools.

              That’s the point in dispute.

              No one thinks parents can’t teach what they want in their homes or that people shouldn’t be able to believe what they will.

  • I see no conflict between Creationism and Evolution.

    Nonetheless, Creationism = religion, and religion does not belong in public schools (religious schools another matter).

    Religion should be taught in the home.

  • I’m very distressed that this moron has been nominated by Fox, a Koch ‘ho,’ for the MT Supreme Court.

    The Kochs installed creationists on the Kansas Board of Education, scientific nitwits. The anti-tax brothers goal was to destroy K-12 education, and the whackjobs accomodated by pushing vouchers and corporate schools.

    Though David is generally a supporter of actual science, he and Charles have funded the “wedge document” strategy developed by the “creationists in tuxedos” at the Discovery Institute in their attacks on climate science. Their anticipated tar sands profits from XL have made this their priority, second only to ousting anyone who believes that health care is a human right.

    I’m glad someone has brought up Kitzmuller v. Dover. A Republican judge examined the case for ID and found it not only wanting but downright mendacious. A leading scientific advocate of ID admitted in testimony that astrology fitted his definition of science.

    The Harvard Law Review has a reputation for embarrassing itself by publishing absolute crap. I am reminded of the garbage promoting the for-profit prison industry, a decade ago, written by Sasha Volokh, cherry picking his way through a minefield of facts to claim unwarranted efficacy. The industry referred to his tripe as a “Harvard study,” even though it was not even a review of the literature, just a mere student “note.”

    The issue of whether creationism can be taught using public funds was resolved long ago in the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals. It can’t. Van Dyke should know that, unless like Volokh, he ignores evidence to the contrary of his belief system. He does not belong on any court, not just the Supreme Court of the state.

    Lastly, just because the Rev. posting here is a nitwit, don’t write off all members or ministers of the Assembly of God. They include many decent and thoughtful people who aren’t trying to impose denominational belief on the rest of us at taxpayer expense.

    • “They include many decent and thoughtful people who aren’t trying to impose denominational belief on the rest of us at taxpayer expense.”

      Source please. For I have yet to see this. But I thoroughly enjoyed your post.

      • I’m an old agnostic. Best boss I ever had was an Assembly minister who never proselytized, was incredibly supportive. His wife was an angel. My beliefs and his never got in the way of our relationship.

        I’ve known others, not on a par with him but decent people.

        Not the sort of thing you’d find on a Google search, though.

        • I know. I exaggerate a little. But what I see happening now is these fundamentalist groups seeking out lost souls, inviting them in, recruiting them, giving them a sense of mission in life to fill their giant void, and sending them forth to vote and promote the rightwing agenda. And many folks willing fall for this crappola simply to have some meaning in their lives and a sense of belonging. I see it all the time. People so poor that they don’t have a pot to piss in, dress up in their finest, go to a sleazy church to attend a glitzy, cheesy indoctrination session every Sunday or more often, and leave feeling somewhat special for a little while.

          It’s really kinda sick. The churches do NOTHING for these folks except to schmooze them for their vote! That’s it.
          And they are specialists in giving the sad lost souls an issue that they can wrap their tiny, uncritical pea brains around. Abortion is the biggie. Endless repetition of killing babies causes them to snap. They become warriors for Jaysus, and then, anything else the fundi preachers farts out becomes gospel! Education? Public schools bad, commies. Gummint? You don’t need it. You’ve got the LAWyord! (and your fundi preacher) Godly men? The rightwing Pubbies like stevey daines and his mentor, creation museum found Giantfart!

          It’s all by design, a very intelligent design!

          Jesus plus nothing. It’s all an ignernt inbred needs!

            • But the great news is that if you find the LAWyord, you instantly become eligible for higher office in the Pubbie Party!, no matter WHAT your past was! No wonder the Fundis call it the good news. It IS!, for criminals past, present, and future! Just look at this fellow.

              ca-gop-candidate-for-governor-is-a-registered-sex-offender-commited-manslaughter

              Mr. Gianfart’s party is a big tent indeed! Big enough for every reprobate, cheese merchant, and creep out there. I mean, look at daines!

  • P.S. The creationists are ascendant on the Texas Board of Education at present, as good an argument for devolution as one could find.

  • For Revvy and liarwyer mr. van dope! I think it’s their personal debating technique.

    http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Gish_Gallop

    I’d never heard of this technique before, just seen it in action a lot! And now, we’ve got a wacko who wants to bring this to the Montana Supremes! Good grief!

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