Originally Posted by shetline
I can't figure out if you truly believe in what you're saying, or if you've simply grabbed onto what you think is a particularly clever way of playing dumb that you imagine you can defend by being stubbornly literal and inflexible.
You can't figure out that I won't change my mind because of your feeble attempt to guilt me into making a logical leap? I'm inflexible because I won't say that criticism of science = religious endorsement. I'm sorry but your approval and your guilt have no power over me.
The very act of singling one thing out from among many other things carries meaning. It doesn't take "mind reading" to infer meaning from acts of singling things out, or acts of calling special attention to particular things, verbally or otherwise. This is a basic aspect of human language and communication.
It does take mind reading though to infer the exact OPPOSITE meaning from singling something out. If our school dress code points out that burkas are tolerated at school. I have singled something out and I am doing so to prevent offense. To move beyond that and claim I love muslims, or that I hate them, or that I want you to be one of them, or that the school is now a church of Islam are all logical leaps.
The literal truth of the disclaimer stickers is only one layer of meaning. The particular singling out of evolution, with no mention of gravity or thermodynamics or quantum mechanics or anything else, also carries meaning. Pretending that this second layer of meaning doesn't exist, or must for some obscure reason be ignored in order to attain some special legalistic high level of objectivity, is absurd.
The court ruled that purposes of the sticker were promoting critical thinking (literal) and preventing offense (inferred) and that both had secular causes. I've not denied the existance of people and the ability of them to read whatever they want into the sticker. I've simply said it is not reasonable to believe the primary aim of the sticker was religious endorsement.
It is literally true for every single human being that we make mistakes and that anything anyone of us says must be considered carefully. But if you singled out one particular student in your classroom, and constantly brought up day after day that this one student makes mistakes, and that others must carefully consider whatever this particular student says, there would be a clear and unmistakable impact of doing so. Your continual singling out of this one student would be taken to mean -- by standard principles of human communication, not by uncalled-for "mind reading" -- that the particular student was particularly error-prone and particularly untrustworthy.
Your mistake is a bad analogy. Mentioning, pointing out or even devoting an entire section to scientific critiques of prevailing theories is not religious endorsement. While it is true that the motives of some parties in desiring to hear or mention the critique is religious it is a clear leap to say that critique of one thing equal endorsement and advocation of another. If I criticize Bush it doesn't mean I support the terrorists or John Kerry. You certainly must understand that sort of analogy even if your bias won't allow you to apply it in this context.
There are an infinite number of true things one could say at any given moment. Random historical facts, mathematically correct sums of randomly picked numbers, etc. Absent some strange mental illness or brain damage, none of us go about doing this on a regular basis. Picking one particular true thing to say out of all possible true things again carries meaning in and of itself. It is not an error in communication on the part of a receiver to imply meaning based on what the sender has chosen to communicate about, a meaning layered on top of the literal content of the message. To imply meaning from the sender's selective process is so basic to human communication that it can only be considered an error on the part of the sender to not account for the implications of his or her choices of particular messages to send.
Again I've not said that people can't imply meaning into the communication of the sticker. I've even said they can delude themselves into understandings that the sticker doesn't support in any fashion. That doesn't mean someone loses the right to do something though. That doesn't mean a court gets to grant a permanent injunction.
That the disclaimer stickers might be literally true is not sufficient reason to place those stickers insider books. No one is printing up stickers that say "56 + 127 = 183" and sticking them in history or art books. Certainly no one is fighting passionate legal battles to do so, nor are they inspiring anyone to fund their legal fees to do so. It is completely proper on the receiving end of a message, and not "mind reading", to read meaning not only into a sender's selection of a message to send, but into the degree of effort required to deliver the message.
Bad analogy again. Mentioning evolution in science book is appropriate. Mentioning math in other subject books might not be. You say that no one is printing up stickers singling out a math problem. They are welcome to do so. If someone claims from that example you gave above that singling out the math problem means they love addition, hate subtraction, share a view with some other group, etc. I'll point out that the court still shouldn't be allowed to grant injunctions based off any of those logical leaps.
Students who see those disclaimer stickers, not by "mind reading" or by any error on their part, will obviously go beyond the literal wording of the stickers and add layers of meaning based on the singling out of evolution and the special effort made to deliver the literal message contained on the stickers. That message clearly is that evolution in particular is particularly questionable. The slightest effort into examining motive for making the special effort to deliver that particular literally-true message adds a clear layer of religious intent to the meaning.
Rather than claiming that it is evolution is questionable, it is preferable to say that they are allowed to still question evolution. That meaning respects the rights and thoughts of the parties being taught. I find it very odd that all the analogies people bring up mention singling out people instead of a thought or ideal and then predicate the singling out for being wrong based on the feelings of the person being singled out. Evolution is an ideal. It has no feelings. Telling people that while they do have to learn it, the district will still respect them as individuals with their own thoughts and feelings is not harmful to evolution. If anything (inferred) it is more helpful to the teaching of evolution because when people feel like their rights are not being respected, they shut down their willingness to listen to you. I see all the board actions as attempts to modernize and improve the teaching of evolution. If the sticker has any secondary meaning, it is that while people must learn to mastery evolution, the district still respects them as humans and individuals.
If you're going to continue to argue against the above case I've made, I simply cannot take you seriously. If I give you any credit at all for basic human intelligence -- and I do, I think you are an intelligent man -- I have to assume you're arguing for the sake of arguing, trying to win a point, trying to cling to something you don't want to give up, not that you're actually so blind and insensitive to the intent of these stickers nor really so devoted to the idea that applying basic principles of implied meaning in human communications somehow constitutes improper "mind reading" or "thought control" when done within the judicial system.
You don't have to take me seriously. You don't have to give me credit. You don't have to think me intelligent. My intellect is developed enough not to give in to guilt or need affirmation from others. In fact since the general consensus is formed from an average intellect, I've gotten quite used to not needing the endorsement of that general consensus or any sort of average intellect since it often cannot see or understand the reasoning of a superior intellect. Understand that I'm not saying I'm smarter than you. I'm simply saying that I don't need your guilt or endorsement to know that my reasoning, my unwillingness to make a logical leap can stand well on their own.