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Kansas: It's BAAAAAACK!!! - Page 3

post #81 of 186
Quote:
Originally Posted by midwinter

Why is it straightforward?

Why is it not? I think if you (or anyone else) wants to claim that the statement:

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion"

Means something more complicated or broad than:

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion"

Then the burden is on you to show how to broaden this beyond:

a) "Congress"
b) making a law
c) "respecting"
d) "an establishment of religion"

The burden isn't on me to prove that words mean what they mean.

Furthermore, as it applies to the subject at hand...it is incumbent on you (or anyone wanting the sticker to be a violation of the "establishment clause") to show the violation of this statement. Perhaps it is in the "penumbras" of the statement.

Quote:
Originally Posted by midwinter

I thought your statement was pretty straightforward. Apparently I was wrong.

Now you are playing again. Your disingenousness is showing.
post #82 of 186
Quote:
Originally Posted by trumptman

I've said we can speculate on them all we want but it is pointless because there is no way to prove any aspect of this to each other on these forums. I can't prove to you what they were thinking, nor can you to me. The same school board went from having the previous textbook not only not teach evolution, but have the chapter ripped out while offering classes in alternatives, to teaching no alternatives and adopting a textbook with not just a mention of evolution but an entire 101 pg. section (out of 1100 pages) devoted exclusively to teaching evolution. While they were changed after the the selection process they also changed the district policies that forbid the teaching of evolution as well. You claim all these actions were them being told to "cut it out" but we can just go around and around as to why you discredit all their actions with intentions you are certain they have that do not match their actions.

This is exactly what I'm talking about. It's like my 3-year-old daughter proclaiming her innocence of writing with crayon on the wall because she knows I didn't actually see her do it. We know what was going on here, there's no mystery, there's no mind-reading. That doesn't mean it violates the Establishment clause, but there's no need to play dumb about the intentions here. The question is whether they backed down enough to get away with it, not whether we need to guess their intent. Their intent is crystal clear to any reasonable person.

Quote:
I could care less about the sticker. If anyone is stupid enough to believe a sticker is going to stop or help someone believe evolution, then they are deluded.

You could care less? Hmm, that doesn't answer it does it?Putting a disclaimer sticker singling out evolution on a science book is wrong. We can fairly debate about judicial decisions. But the sticker is wrong. That you can't say so worries me that we really aren't on the same page about this.

Quote:
I consider myself a reasonable person. I also consider you a reasonable person. I don't think any of us would read that sticker and think that the PRIMARY purpose of it is to endorse religion and proselytize for it.

Here's what I would think: It looks like someone trying to single out evolution with a warning - which of course has a religious motive, because no one outside of religious motivations sees evolution as needing a warning - but they're trying to do it in such a way that they can get away with it.
post #83 of 186
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Cuilla

Why is it not? I think if you (or anyone else) wants to claim that the statement:

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion"

Means something more complicated or broad than:

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion"

Then the burden is on you to show how to broaden this beyond:

a) "Congress"
b) making a law
c) "respecting"
d) "an establishment of religion"

The burden isn't on me to prove that words mean what they mean.

Furthermore, as it applies to the subject at hand...it is incumbent on you (or anyone wanting the sticker to be a violation of the "establishment clause") to show the violation of this statement. Perhaps it is in the "penumbras" of the statement.

As for a) Congress, the meaning of that has changed. The Bill of Rights didn't apply to the states when the constitution was ratified, it only applied to the federal government. If states wanted to violate the first amendment, they could (states had their own constitutions of course).

When and why did that change, Chris? And do you agree with that change?
post #84 of 186
Quote:
Originally Posted by BRussell

As for a) Congress, the meaning of that has changed.

Please explain.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BRussell

The Bill of Rights didn't apply to the states when the constitution was ratified, it only applied to the federal government. If states wanted to violate the first amendment, they could (states had their own constitutions of course).

When and why did that change, Chris?

Well, you are the one claiming it did, so why don't you tell me.

P.S. I wasn't claiming that the BoR didn't apply to the states. I was simply look at one of the BoR and what it (plainly) says.
post #85 of 186
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Cuilla

The burden isn't on me to prove that words mean what they mean.

If only all of my opponents in the courtroom and the classroom could have that mindset.

post #86 of 186
Quote:
Originally Posted by ShawnJ

If only all of my opponents in the courtroom and the classroom could have that mindset.


Well...if you are the one claiming that they mean somethign different...then the burden is on you.
post #87 of 186
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Cuilla

Why is it not? I think if you (or anyone else) wants to claim that the statement:

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion"

Means something more complicated or broad than:

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion"

Then the burden is on you to show how to broaden this beyond:

a) "Congress"
b) making a law
c) "respecting"
d) "an establishment of religion"

The burden isn't on me to prove that words mean what they mean.

I didn't ask you to prove what they mean. I asked you to explain why the statement is "straightforward." How do we know that that statement doesn't mean

"Congress does not have an ability to legislate what goes on in churches"?

Simple question.

Quote:
Furthermore, as it applies to the subject at hand...it is incumbent on you (or anyone wanting the sticker to be a violation of the "establishment clause") to show the violation of this statement. Perhaps it is in the "penumbras" of the statement.

Are you going to keep making that Griswold v Connecticut joke forever? HAHAHAHA!!! I GET IT!!! PRIVACY IS STUPID AND ISN'T IN THE CONSTITUTION!!! HAHAHAHAH!!!

But back to the matter at hand:

1) If the sticker is so harmless and only points out what is an empirical fact, why put it on there in the first place?

2) If the sticker doesn't denigrate evolutionary theory, why single out evolution at all?

Quote:
Now you are playing again. Your disingenousness is showing.

It is difficult not to be disingenuous in discussions like this.
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post #88 of 186
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Cuilla

Please explain.

Well, you are the one claiming it did, so why don't you tell me.

P.S. I wasn't claiming that the BoR didn't apply to the states. I was simply look at one of the BoR and what it (plainly) says.

I was just curious if you were intentionally playing dumb, or you really didn't know. The Bill of Rights didn't originally apply to the states (that's why only "Congress" is referred to in the First Amendment). That changed starting with the 14th Amendment, which of course was passed in the wake of the prohibition of slavery. The courts then used the 14th amendment to "incorporate" the Bill of Rights so that they applied to states.

The basic point is that some states didn't respect the rights of its people, with things like slavery and Dred Scott and other terrible laws, and so the country laid the smack down on them, and told them they have to. Thereafter, states were required to enforce the federal Bill of Rights, so it was no longer just "Congress shall make now law," but also state government.
post #89 of 186
Quote:
Originally Posted by midwinter

I didn't ask you to prove what they mean. I asked you to explain why the statement is "straightforward." How do we know that that statement doesn't mean

"Congress does not have an ability to legislate what goes on in churches"?

Simple question.

Are you being deliberately obtuse?

Because of this part:

"or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;"


Quote:
Originally Posted by midwinter

Are you going to keep making that Griswold v Connecticut joke forever? HAHAHAHA!!! I GET IT!!! PRIVACY IS STUPID AND ISN'T IN THE CONSTITUTION!!! HAHAHAHAH!!!

Well, if the shoe fits...

Quote:
Originally Posted by midwinter

1) If the sticker is so harmless and only points out what is an empirical fact, why put it on there in the first place?

2) If the sticker doesn't denigrate evolutionary theory, why single out evolution at all?

The real questions are:

1) How is the sticker harmful?

2) How does the sticker denigrate evolutionary theory?
post #90 of 186
Quote:
Originally Posted by BRussell

The Bill of Rights didn't originally apply to the states (that's why only "Congress" is referred to in the First Amendment). That changed starting with the 14th Amendment

How?

This line perhaps:

"No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States;"

Meaning that a state cannot do something that contradicts the BoR?

OK. But you still have to show that the sticker is "making a law" and is "respecting the establishment of religion". It may be the first, but it certainly isn't the latter.
post #91 of 186
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Cuilla

P.S. I wasn't claiming that the BoR didn't apply to the states. I was simply look at one of the BoR and what it (plainly) says.

Then you have no point?

Your "simple reading" doesn't account for:

1) The fact that the Supreme Court has held that the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment of the Constitution extends the Bill of Rights to the states.

2) If that federal amendment extends the Bill of Rights to the States, then state law may not conflict with it.

3) States allow local governments to give publicly elected school boards the power to enact policies, an administrative type of law. None of those steps on the hierarchy of laws may conflict with the Constitution.

So you're left with arguing about whether the school board policy violates the establishment clause.
post #92 of 186
Quote:
Originally Posted by ShawnJ

Then you have no point?

Your "simple reading" doesn't account for:

1) The fact that the Supreme Court has held that the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment of the Constitution extends the Bill of Rights to the states.

2) If that federal amendment extends the Bill of Rights to the States, then state law may not conflict with it.

3) States allow local governments to give publicly elected school boards the power to enact policies, an administrative type of law. None of those steps on the hierarchy of laws may conflict with the Constitution.

So you're left with arguing about whether the school board policy violates the establishment clause.

OK

Show how the stickers do that. Show how a sticker with this text:

"This textbook contains material on evolution. Evolution is a theory, not a fact, regarding the origins of living things. This material should be approached with an open mind, studied carefully, and critically considered."

violates the establishment clause.
post #93 of 186
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Cuilla

Are you being deliberately obtuse?

Because of this part:

"or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;"

But how does that change my reading? Congress can't legislate what goes on inside the church buildings or stop people from doing things in them.

Quote:
Well, if the shoe fits...

I have no idea what you mean here.

Quote:
The real questions are:

1) How is the sticker harmful?

2) How does the sticker denigrate evolutionary theory?

I thought we were past these two questions. In response to them, I asked something along the lines of "If it is not harmful because it merely states an empirical fact, why is evolutionand no other theory in the textbooksingled out?"
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post #94 of 186
[QUOTE=midwinter]But how does that change my reading? Congress can't legislate what goes on inside the church buildings or stop people from doing things in them.

You said:

Quote:
Originally Posted by midwinter

How do we know that that statement doesn't mean

"Congress does not have an ability to legislate what goes on in churches"?

In reference to:

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion"

So "respecting" means to "show deferential regard for" meaning that "Congress shall make no law that shows deferential regard for an establishment of religion", which should explain why this part of the statement doesn't mean "Congress does not have an ability to legislate what goes on in churches". However, the rest of the statement (""or prohibiting the free exercise thereof") does mean "Congress does not have an ability (or rather the constitutional right) to legislate what goes on in churches".


Quote:
Originally Posted by midwinter

I thought we were past these two questions.

Apparently not.

Quote:
Originally Posted by midwinter

In response to them, I asked something along the lines of "If it is not harmful because it merely states an empirical fact, why is evolutionand no other theory in the textbooksingled out?"

Why does it matter?
post #95 of 186
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Cuilla

How?

This line perhaps:

"No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States;"

Meaning that a state cannot do something that contradicts the BoR?

OK. But you still have to show that the sticker is "making a law" and is "respecting the establishment of religion". It may be the first, but it certainly isn't the latter.

It's debatable whether the sticker violates the Establishment clause. The other issues (e.g., that the school board isn't Congress) are not debatable. You can't just read a sentence and say "it doesn't look like a problem to me," and call that constitutional analysis.
post #96 of 186
Quote:
Originally Posted by BRussell

It's debatable whether the sticker violates the Establishment clause.

Not really. It doesn't.
post #97 of 186
Thread Starter 
[QUOTE=Chris Cuilla]
Quote:
Originally Posted by midwinter

So "respecting" means to "show deferential regard for" meaning that "Congress shall make no law that shows deferential regard for an establishment of religion", which should explain why this part of the statement doesn't mean "Congress does not have an ability to legislate what goes on in churches".

Well. Here we are, then. First off, your definition of "respecting" isn't accurate. "Respecting," in this this sense, simply means "with regard to" and nothing about deferential. A synonym would be "about." It's a pretty common expression in the late 18th century (my OED says it doesn't emerge until the mid-18th century, so that makes sense). Second, the clause clearly states that "Congress shall make no law about church buildings."

Quote:
However, the rest of the statement (""or prohibiting the free exercise thereof") does mean "Congress does not have an ability (or rather the constitutional right) to legislate what goes on in churches".

OK. But then it doesn't say anything explicitly about what goes on outside of them. In my reading, the gummit cannot legislate what goes on inside the church buildings, but it is free to persecute people outside of those buildings.
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post #98 of 186
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Cuilla

Not really. It doesn't.

Well a federal judge with a lot more constitutional knowledge and experience than you, appointed by the president and confirmed by the US Senate, disagrees with you. I think it's debatable: It's true that the sticker didn't say anything about religion, but
1. There's precedent holding that banning evolution in schools violates the establishment clause. This sticker doesn't outright ban evolution, but where exactly you draw the line is a tough call.
2. These challenges to evolution are religious in nature, because there is no other source of resistance to biological evolution. To single out evolution with warning sticker is therefore to promote religion.
3. The sticker was false - it's not accurate to say evolution is a theory of the origin of living things, and it's not really accurate to say it's "a theory not a fact."
post #99 of 186
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Cuilla

Why does it matter?

Because some people decided to take a perfectly good textbook and slap a sticker on it about evolution and critical thinking. If it is a fact that evolution is a theory (I agree), and if it is a fact that the textbook contains a discussion of evolution (I agree), why bother putting the sticker on at all? Do we need a sticker that says "This book contains many words and pictures"? And evolution certainly isn't the only theory in the textbook; why is it singled out? Shouldn't there be a sticker about gravity, too? "This textbook contains a discussion of gravity. Gravity is only one of many theories about the attraction of objects, and it is important to consider this information critically." Or genetics. "This textbook contains a discussion of genetics. Genetics is only one of many theories about the passing on of hereditary traits...."

Why just the one theory?
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post #100 of 186
Quote:
Originally Posted by midwinter

First off, your definition of "respecting" isn't accurate. "Respecting" this this sense, simply means "with regard to" and nothing about deferential. A synonym would be "about." It's a pretty common expression in the late 18th century (my OED says it doesn't emerge until the mid-18th century, so that makes sense).

OK. You are right. So the correct reading is
"Congress shall make no law with regard to an establishment of religion"

But this is far from "clearly" referring to church buildings...

Quote:
Originally Posted by midwinter

Second, the clause clearly states that "Congress shall make no law about church buildings."

The "establishment of religion" phrase can be worded as "action of establishing religion (or religious organization)" or an "institution of religion". These don't refer to buildings at all but, rather, organizations or the process of organizing.

So we finally have:

"Congress shall make no law with regard to an action of establishing an institution of religion"

or

"Congress shall make no law with regard to an institution of religion"

They basically didn't want the gov't to interfere with church or create a church. Now the first can actually be read two ways:

1. Congress can't make any laws to start a (gov't) church, or
2. Congress can't make any laws the govern how churches are established.

They are likely meaing #1 (recall this was a response to the Church of England).

In the end none of this helps to support the idea that these stickers violate this clause.

Quote:
Originally Posted by midwinter

In my reading, the gummit cannot legislate what goes on inside the church buildings, but it is free to persecute people outside of those buildings.

That seems rather broad (and wrong).
post #101 of 186
Quote:
Originally Posted by BRussell

Well a federal judge with a lot more constitutional knowledge and experience than you, appointed by the president and confirmed by the US Senate, disagrees with you.

And he can be wrong.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BRussell

I think it's debatable

I see that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BRussell

It's true that the sticker didn't say anything about religion,

Correct.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BRussell

but
1. There's precedent holding that banning evolution in schools violates the establishment clause. This sticker doesn't outright ban evolution, but where exactly you draw the line is a tough call.

You draw the line where...well...it actually bans it I suppose.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BRussell

2. These challenges to evolution are religious in nature,

Back to "thought control" as Nick has eloquently pointed out.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BRussell

To single out evolution with warning sticker is therefore to promote religion.

No.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BRussell

3. The sticker was false - it's not accurate to say evolution is a theory of the origin of living things

Seperate matter. Has nothing to do with the law or the constitutionality of it. P.S. Admittedly, the language "origins of living things" is sloppy and imprecise but not entirely wrong. But still, this is a separate issue.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BRussell

and it's not really accurate to say it's "a theory not a fact."

Of course it is.

A theory is "a supposition or a system of ideas intended to explain something, especially one based on general principles independent of the thing to be explained" or "an idea accounting for or justifying something"...the "something" is/are facts. So a theory is not a fact it is an attempt to explain something about facts.
post #102 of 186
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Cuilla

And he can be wrong.

The courts can be wrong but you unequivocally claimed that you were right and this judge was wrong. That's laughable. Furthermore, it's the job of the courts to interpret the constitution, and our system is set up so that they carry the weight of law when they do. Unless you disagree with our system.

Quote:
I see that.



Correct.



You draw the line where...well...it actually bans it I suppose.

Maybe, but what if the school didn't ban it, but made Thursday "anti-evolution" day at school. Or what if they didn't ban it, but required that schools spend less than a minute on it and 40 hours on intelligent design?

Quote:
Back to "thought control" as Nick has eloquently pointed out.

No.

Yes.

Quote:
Seperate matter. Has nothing to do with the law or the constitutionality of it.

It does, because the primary argument for it is that the sticker is just a simple true statement "so what can be wrong with that?" But it's not a true statement.

Quote:
Of course it is.

A theory is "a supposition or a system of ideas intended to explain something, especially one based on general principles independent of the thing to be explained" or "an idea accounting for or justifying something"...the "something" is/are facts. So a theory is not a fact it is an attempt to explain something about facts.

Evolution has been factually demonstrated. Fruit flies, plants, etc., have been taken through many generations and evolution has occurred. Something like human evolution has obviously not been recreated in the lab, but that's not the totality of evolution.
post #103 of 186
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Cuilla

OK. You are right. So the correct reading is
"Congress shall make no law with regard to an establishment of religion"

But this is far from "clearly" referring to church buildings...

Then why does it say "an establishment" rather than "an establishing"?

Quote:
The "establishment of religion" phrase can be worded as "action of establishing religion (or religious organization)" or an "institution of religion". These don't refer to buildings at all but, rather, organizations or the process of organizing.

You can't just lop off the article. It's not "the establishment of religion"; it's "an establishment of religion." So. "an establishment of religion" doesn't necessarily mean "the founding of a national religion"; it might also mean the buildings themselves and what goes on inside them.

Quote:
So we finally have:

"Congress shall make no law with regard to an action of establishing an institution of religion"

or

"Congress shall make no law with regard to an institution of religion"

They basically didn't want the gov't to interfere with church or create a church. Now the first can actually be read two ways:

1. Congress can't make any laws to start a (gov't) church, or
2. Congress can't make any laws the govern how churches are established.

They are likely meaing #1 (recall this was a response to the Church of England).

And here I was thinking you were the one arguing it was such a straightforward statement! And I didn't do a rolleyes or call you obtuse or bang you over the head with the simple fact that while earlier you had contended that this was straightforward and obvious, now you're articulating that there is an interpretive process involved in reading the 1st Amendment. In short, my position in all of this has been that it is *not* obvious and *not* straightforward, which your post here has just made clear. But I'll be happy to continue arguing that the 1st Amendment doesn't prohibit the persecution of Christians in the town square.

Quote:
In the end none of this helps to support the idea that these stickers violate this clause.

Well, I'm not making that argument. I'm asking a simple question: why was evolution singled out in a textbook full of other theories. No one has answered it (although Nick came close).
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post #104 of 186
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Cuilla

Back to "thought control" as Nick has eloquently pointed out.

i get the point about thought control. in this case, the thoughts and intent are plainly obvious. the thoughts overwhelming point to favoring ID/creationism over evolution. The sticker was brought up, iirc, amid the ID v Evolution debate.
post #105 of 186
Quote:
Originally Posted by BRussell

Maybe, but what if the school didn't ban it, but made Thursday "anti-evolution" day at school. Or what if they didn't ban it, but required that schools spend less than a minute on it and 40 hours on intelligent design?

Instead of hypotheticals, let's just deal with what actually happened. It is easier.

Yes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BRussell

But it's not a true statement.

But that wasn't the grounds of the decision.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BRussell

Evolution has been factually demonstrated.

Evolution is a theory used to explain a set of facts in the form of fossils and physiological characteristics of the variety of living organisms. It is not a fact in and of itself. The statement is valid.
post #106 of 186
Quote:
Originally Posted by midwinter

In short, my position in all of this has been that it is *not* obvious and *not* straightforward,

OK. You've made a fair point. I still contend that it is relatively (fairly? ) straightforward (and it is quite unlikely they were referring to buildings). And (as we saw) likely more narrow than is often applied/understood. Here are the original texts that ended in what we have now:

Madison's original: ''The civil rights of none shall be abridged on account of religious belief or worship, nor shall any national religion be established, nor shall the full and equal rights of conscience be in any manner, or on any pretence, infringed.''

House modification: ''Congress shall make no law establishing religion, or to prevent the free exercise thereof, or to infringe the rights of conscience.''

Senate modification: "Congress shall make no law establishing articles of faith, or a mode of worship, or prohibiting the free exercise of religion, . . .''

These provide a clearer picture of the intention.

Quote:
Originally Posted by midwinter

why was evolution singled out in a textbook full of other theories.

What difference does it make?
post #107 of 186
Quote:
Originally Posted by thuh Freak

in this case, the thoughts and intent are plainly obvious. the thoughts overwhelming point to favoring ID/creationism over evolution.

So what if they were?
post #108 of 186
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Cuilla

What difference does it make?

Because I'm concerned about the amount of money spent on these stickers by the taxpayers. This strikes me as typical big government tax and spend on stupid things like a $400 hammer. If these sticker jokers go unchecked, soon we'll have stickers on everything stating objective facts about things. I can see it now... Only Snoop Dog's CDs will be singled out to have parental advisory stickers. Then big billboards will be put up by the highway department in NYC saying "There are black people in Harlem. Travelers should be aware of this" or "There are Italian people in Bensonhurst." And then there'll be some kind of damned law demanding that Jews wear some kind of identifying badge or something. Slippery slope, this.

But seriously.

If the school board of Kansas wants to make it clear to the concerned citizens of that fine state that teachers in the school system will emphasize that Evolution is a theory, I don't have a problem with that. Teachers should emphasize that evolution is a theory. That's what PTA meetings are for. If the school board wants to put a sticker on a science textbook that says "All knowledge should be viewed critically," I don't have a problem with that.

But here, evolution was singled out *specifically*, and since the argument is that singling it out denigrates it, I want to know why it was singled out. I'm not even arguing that it denigrates it, since I don't know why it, among all the other theories in that textbook, was picked out to be set out as the prime example of a theory that needs to be viewed skeptically. But it could be worse. Teachers in Kansas could pull a black student out of each class, bring them to the front of the room, and say "This person is black. Many violent crimes are committed by black people."

That wouldn't be denigrating, would it? I mean, isn't that all an empirical fact?
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post #109 of 186
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Cuilla

Madison's original: ''The civil rights of none shall be abridged on account of religious belief or worship, nor shall any national religion be established, nor shall the full and equal rights of conscience be in any manner, or on any pretence, infringed.''

House modification: ''Congress shall make no law establishing religion, or to prevent the free exercise thereof, or to infringe the rights of conscience.''

Senate modification: "Congress shall make no law establishing articles of faith, or a mode of worship, or prohibiting the free exercise of religion, . . .''

These provide a clearer picture of the intention.

So now you're arguing that not only it is not "straightforward," but that if we are to understand it we need to assess *intention*? And we do that by what? ADDING MORE TEXT to it? More people? More intentions? Good lord, man! What about the intentional fallacy?!?
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post #110 of 186
Quote:
Originally Posted by ShawnJ

Yeah, I'm in law school now, and 20 pages into a basic legal writing book tells me that you also have to consider the consequences of a legal matter when considering its constitutionality-- and the consequence of singling out evolution as something to "think critically about" probably violates the establishment clause in some way.

That's my guess.

That's all I got for now-- I'm going on 3 hours sleep and 250 miles of driving today.

\

How about we state that you are wrong and it doesn't have to be simple or unsimple. You are wrong because failure to endorse one position or even having a desire to single out that same position does not constitute an endorsement of another position. Opposition to evolution does not = religious endorsement. Even if the correlation is strong the court cannot see it that way. The actions must be directly attributed. They must be causal. They cannot be circumstantial.

Certainly as someone who attends law school, you must know that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BRussell

This is exactly what I'm talking about. It's like my 3-year-old daughter proclaiming her innocence of writing with crayon on the wall because she knows I didn't actually see her do it. We know what was going on here, there's no mystery, there's no mind-reading. That doesn't mean it violates the Establishment clause, but there's no need to play dumb about the intentions here. The question is whether they backed down enough to get away with it, not whether we need to guess their intent. Their intent is crystal clear to any reasonable person.

That is a terrible analogy because the actions of the board promoted the teaching of evolution in every circumstance but you want to discredit those actions claiming they really didn't want to do them. I can claim they really did want to do them. No one can win that argument. What can be looked at though are the actions. They choose the textbook recommended by their science department. They choose a book that clearly had a section devoted to evolution instead of one that merely attempted to gloss over the issue. They repealed previous actions that prevented the teaching of evolution. You are taking ACTIONS and giving them the exact opposite effect using unknowable intent. To fix your analogy it is like catching your daughter going around the housing cleaning all day and saying to yourself, "She's only doing that so she can write on the wall." It is preposterous to disregard actual actions taken because you believe something different is going on in their heart or mind.

BRUssell, you are such a better thinker than this. Look at what you wrote. You state outright that it doesn't matter IF they violate the establishment clause because their intent is crystal clear. In otherwords actions don't matter because we know your thoughts. What the hell is that other than a thought purity directive or mind control? When you can discredit ACTIONS because you don't believe the thoughts that drove them were pure enough in intention, that shows my exact issue. It shows exactly what is wrong with the ruling.

Quote:
You could care less? Hmm, that doesn't answer it does it?Putting a disclaimer sticker singling out evolution on a science book is wrong. We can fairly debate about judicial decisions. But the sticker is wrong. That you can't say so worries me that we really aren't on the same page about this.

I disagree strongly that singling out evolution itself is proof of religious advocacy. It is a clear logical leap and I won't make it or agree with it. Just because A+B=C does not mean that A+D=C. It is entirely possible for a person to take issue or even strongly advocate against evolution and not have religious thought in their mind. The appeals court decision (which I read last night) askes the correct questions in this area. If the content of the sticker is not in disagreement with the content of the book then all the sticker does is affirm. Affirming a position is not undermining it even if it is singled out.

So in that regard we aren't on the same page and never will be because I refuse to endorse a belief that pointing at something undermines it. If there can be found anything in the wording that conflicts with the textbook then we have something to stand on. Pointing or singling it out as something to expressly discredit with words that contradict the teaching or vocabulary of the book would be something we can both agree is wrong. But when I look at the words as a reasonable person, nothing in them is going to change my mind about evolution or advocate religion to me. Is it possible that somebody profoundly religious will use the word "theory" to justify to themselves a six day old earth? Sure but the court doesn't deal with possibilities or extremes. It deals with what is reasonable. A reasonable person when reading a science book will apply the scientific definition of theory to that word when reading it. The fact that an unreasonable person or that even all people may not do that is not religious advocation.

Quote:
Here's what I would think: It looks like someone trying to single out evolution with a warning - which of course has a religious motive, because no one outside of religious motivations sees evolution as needing a warning - but they're trying to do it in such a way that they can get away with it.

I think you are showing your own bias and limitations. It is fine to have them and as humans we all have them, but do not expect me to support a court acting on them. Someone can single out evolution without it being a warning and without it having a religious motive. Those two items must be proven before they can be acted on. I do not want courts thinking they can grant permanent injunctions, be it for or against positions with which I agree based on what you, I or someone happens to "think." I want proof. I want facts. I don't want it to even be in dispute.

You could be 100% correct in your view that some of these people, very unreasonable people, will hold out some ridiculous hope that a sticker using scientific words and definitions in a scientific book will allow them to somehow twist their own reasoning and their own definitions into something that they can use to justify their own religious views or even advocate them to others. But the first amendment doesn't say you can't be unreasonable. It doesn't say you can't have religious views or even advocate them to others. The Lemon Test demands that for the sticker to be unconstitutional, a reasonable person would read it and have to feel that the PRIMARY PURPOSE was the state advocating on behalf of religion. That has not happened here.

Nick

"During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

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"During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

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post #111 of 186
Quote:
Originally Posted by midwinter

Because I'm concerned about the amount of money spent on these stickers by the taxpayers. This strikes me as typical big government tax and spend on stupid things like a $400 hammer. If these sticker jokers go unchecked, soon we'll have stickers on everything stating objective facts about things. I can see it now... Only Snoop Dog's CDs will be singled out to have parental advisory stickers. Then big billboards will be put up by the highway department in NYC saying "There are black people in Harlem. Travelers should be aware of this" or "There are Italian people in Bensonhurst." And then there'll be some kind of damned law demanding that Jews wear some kind of identifying badge or something. Slippery slope, this.

Thanks for the laugh. Needed that this afternoon.

Quote:
Originally Posted by midwinter

But seriously.

If the school board of Kansas wants to make it clear to the concerned citizens of that fine state that teachers in the school system will emphasize that Evolution is a theory, I don't have a problem with that. Teachers should emphasize that evolution is a theory. That's what PTA meetings are for. If the school board wants to put a sticker on a science textbook that says "All knowledge should be viewed critically," I don't have a problem with that.

Personally, I would rather we pushed for requiring a basic primer on science and the scientific method (not to mention classes in logic and critical thinking in general)...but I digress.

Quote:
Originally Posted by midwinter

since the argument is that singling it out denigrates it,

But this argument is dubious. How does singling it out denigrate it?

Quote:
Originally Posted by midwinter

I want to know why it was singled out.

For fun? So you, me, BR, BRussell and Nick would have something to argue about when work is slow (or whatever reason brings you here).

Quote:
Originally Posted by midwinter

Teachers in Kansas could pull a black student out of each class, bring them to the front of the room, and say "This person is black. Many violent crimes are committed by black people."

That wouldn't be denigrating, would it? I mean, isn't that all an empirical fact?

Hmmm. Interesting analogy. I wonder if it works.

Assuming the stated facts ("This person is black." and "Many violent crimes are committed by black people.") are correct, true, empirical facts...the question comes to "denigrating"...which means "to attack the character or reputation of; speak ill of; defame" or "to disparage; belittle". And it gets back to how stating a correct fact about something is the same as "to attack the character or reputation of; speak ill of; defame" or "to disparage; belittle".

The problem I have with your analogy is that you make it about an individual person and provides the implication that the facts are true about him/her (that s/he is black...perhaps easily true...and they s/he commits violent crimes)...they may or may not be.

Would it be embarassing to the person called up? Probably. But that doesn't make the stated facts untrue (assuming they are true of course).

Are we concerned about evolution's feelings getting hurt here? About it being embarrassed?
post #112 of 186
Quote:
Originally Posted by midwinter

So now you're arguing that not only it is not "straightforward," but that if we are to understand it we need to assess *intention*? And we do that by what? ADDING MORE TEXT to it? More people? More intentions? Good lord, man! What about the intentional fallacy?!?

Actually I was addressing your "building" point specifically.
post #113 of 186
Quote:
Originally Posted by BRussell

Well a federal judge with a lot more constitutional knowledge and experience than you, appointed by the president and confirmed by the US Senate, disagrees with you. I think it's debatable: It's true that the sticker didn't say anything about religion, but

That is a very large BUT you are tossing up there because the prior statement admits nothing wrong has occured. Make sure it is facts justifying the BUT and not your feels, opinions or biases. Also remember that the judge had his order vacated and remanded back by a panel of three judges who meet the exact same criteria you mentioned as well.

Quote:
1. There's precedent holding that banning evolution in schools violates the establishment clause. This sticker doesn't outright ban evolution, but where exactly you draw the line is a tough call.

It is only a call if a reasonable person will determine that the state wants them to apply the definitions of a religious group to scientific words in a scientific textbook. Since there is no basis for that, it isn't a call of any sort let alone a tough one.

Quote:
2. These challenges to evolution are religious in nature, because there is no other source of resistance to biological evolution. To single out evolution with warning sticker is therefore to promote religion.

Some of the challenges were religious in nature. Others might be scientific in nature. The proof must be presented and affirmed, not assumed which is what you have done. Since skepticism is part of the scientific method, assuming the skepticism is from a different source must be proven.

Quote:
3. The sticker was false - it's not accurate to say evolution is a theory of the origin of living things, and it's not really accurate to say it's "a theory not a fact."

Something that explains is a theory. The empircal evidence that supports it are the facts. From what I have always understood, even scientifically, a unifying explanation of a process is a theory. I can say for example that it is a scientific fact that gravity exists. I can say it has been tested empirically and repeatedly. If I want to explain how gravity works though (and boy wouldn't that be great) I would have to put forth a unifying theory of gravitation.

Nick

"During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

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"During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

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post #114 of 186
Quote:
Originally Posted by trumptman

That is a terrible analogy because the actions of the board promoted the teaching of evolution in every circumstance but you want to discredit those actions claiming they really didn't want to do them. I can claim they really did want to do them. No one can win that argument. What can be looked at though are the actions. They choose the textbook recommended by their science department. They choose a book that clearly had a section devoted to evolution instead of one that merely attempted to gloss over the issue. They repealed previous actions that prevented the teaching of evolution. You are taking ACTIONS and giving them the exact opposite effect using unknowable intent. To fix your analogy it is like catching your daughter going around the housing cleaning all day and saying to yourself, "She's only doing that so she can write on the wall." It is preposterous to disregard actual actions taken because you believe something different is going on in their heart or mind.

BRUssell, you are such a better thinker than this. Look at what you wrote. You state outright that it doesn't matter IF they violate the establishment clause because their intent is crystal clear. In otherwords actions don't matter because we know your thoughts. What the hell is that other than a thought purity directive or mind control? When you can discredit ACTIONS because you don't believe the thoughts that drove them were pure enough in intention, that shows my exact issue. It shows exactly what is wrong with the ruling.

First, on your last paragraph, I've repeatedly stated that it's a tough call to say whether the sticker violates the establishment clause, and I've said I'm even inclined to agree that it does not. What I am saying is that it's ridiculous to claim this has nothing to do with religion. The public debate over evolution simply doesn't exist outside of religious beliefs.

On the first paragraph, yes, someone can win that argument. It's a slam-dunk. The sticker was an attempt to cater to creationism and anti-evolution beliefs. Only a non-reasonable person could claim otherwise. I'm glad the school board changed and finally chose a text that covered evolution, as opposed to prior actions banning evolution. The question is whether their adoption of a warning sticker was acceptable.

Quote:
I disagree strongly that singling out evolution itself is proof of religious advocacy. It is a clear logical leap and I won't make it or agree with it. Just because A+B=C does not mean that A+D=C. It is entirely possible for a person to take issue or even strongly advocate against evolution and not have religious thought in their mind. The appeals court decision (which I read last night) askes the correct questions in this area. If the content of the sticker is not in disagreement with the content of the book then all the sticker does is affirm. Affirming a position is not undermining it even if it is singled out.

So in that regard we aren't on the same page and never will be because I refuse to endorse a belief that pointing at something undermines it. If there can be found anything in the wording that conflicts with the textbook then we have something to stand on. Pointing or singling it out as something to expressly discredit with words that contradict the teaching or vocabulary of the book would be something we can both agree is wrong. But when I look at the words as a reasonable person, nothing in them is going to change my mind about evolution or advocate religion to me. Is it possible that somebody profoundly religious will use the word "theory" to justify to themselves a six day old earth? Sure but the court doesn't deal with possibilities or extremes. It deals with what is reasonable. A reasonable person when reading a science book will apply the scientific definition of theory to that word when reading it. The fact that an unreasonable person or that even all people may not do that is not religious advocation.

And all this is to say that you believe the sticker is just fine. I find that truly shocking. We can disagree on the constitutionality of it, but I can't believe you think a political body should put false (evolution is not about origins), misleading (evolution does have factual components), and biased (everything should be critically considered, not just evolution) stickers on textbooks that you use in your classes.

Quote:
I think you are showing your own bias and limitations. It is fine to have them and as humans we all have them, but do not expect me to support a court acting on them. Someone can single out evolution without it being a warning and without it having a religious motive. Those two items must be proven before they can be acted on. I do not want courts thinking they can grant permanent injunctions, be it for or against positions with which I agree based on what you, I or someone happens to "think." I want proof. I want facts. I don't want it to even be in dispute.

You could be 100% correct in your view that some of these people, very unreasonable people, will hold out some ridiculous hope that a sticker using scientific words and definitions in a scientific book will allow them to somehow twist their own reasoning and their own definitions into something that they can use to justify their own religious views or even advocate them to others. But the first amendment doesn't say you can't be unreasonable. It doesn't say you can't have religious views or even advocate them to others. The Lemon Test demands that for the sticker to be unconstitutional, a reasonable person would read it and have to feel that the PRIMARY PURPOSE was the state advocating on behalf of religion. That has not happened here.

Nick

Again, let's get something straight here: I'm willing to believe the sticker is perfectly constitutional. That's a technical legal question. But it's a human, common-sense question to ask what is the motive behind this sticker, and it really couldn't be any more slam-dunk obvious to any reasonable person. They were catering to anti-evolution beliefs, and those beliefs are always religious in nature.
post #115 of 186
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Cuilla

Actually I was addressing your "building" point specifically.

I understood that. My point was that the only way you were able to address that point is to make claims about the intentions of the founders, which, as my link points out, is impossible to know. In other words, you were initially arguing that the 1st amendment says what it says and that's that. I argued that it does not say what it says, and that it requires an interpretive act to understand it (i.e. you must decide that the sentence is not about buildings). Now you're arguing that it does not say what it says and that in order to understand it, we have to look at the founders' intentions, which means we have to add more text to the text we're arguing about, more possible meanings, more interpretive acts, and more ruling out of possible meanings.

Even more confusing is that the argument that the text says what it says is what we call in my discipline a "New Critical" reading (i.e. you don't need anything but the text and your brain to understand it. No intention. No biography. No context, historical or otherwise.) But now you're arguing that we need intention.

I'm confused.
Gangs are not seen as legitimate, because they don't have control over public schools.
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Gangs are not seen as legitimate, because they don't have control over public schools.
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post #116 of 186
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Cuilla

The problem I have with your analogy is that you make it about an individual person and provides the implication that the facts are true about him/her (that s/he is black...perhaps easily true...and they s/he commits violent crimes)...they may or may not be.

That is not what I said. I said "This is a black person. Many violent crimes are committed by black people." I said nothing about the person.

Quote:
Would it be embarassing to the person called up? Probably. But that doesn't make the stated facts untrue (assuming they are true of course).

Are we concerned about evolution's feelings getting hurt here? About it being embarrassed?

Silly rabbit! Evolution doesn't have feelings! But it can be singled out and impugned because it is the only thing singled out!

Sheesh. Does evolution have feelings... Lord have mercy, what are they teaching these days!
Gangs are not seen as legitimate, because they don't have control over public schools.
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Gangs are not seen as legitimate, because they don't have control over public schools.
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post #117 of 186
Quote:
Originally Posted by trumptman

I don't get the objection about evolution being singled out for something RIGHT about it. Not to be rude but what sort of bizarro-world do we live in where singling something out and stating the truth about it is now ill-intent.

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.

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.

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.

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.

You would be the one responsible for the common interpretation and impact of your literally-true statements. No one would believe you, and quite rightfully so, if you feigned innocence of intent. Even if you had no special problem with that one student yourself -- you'd simply picked him or her out randomly at the beginning of the school year -- you'd still either have to know the impact that selection would make on the particular student, or you'd have to be so terribly lacking in understanding and communications skills that a "reasonable man" could not be expected to routinely account for such a bizarre incapacity of yours nor be required to allow for such by default.

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.

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.

The impact of e-mail spam which reads "Go to Hawaii" is going to be far less than having a man who looks like he's been to hell and back die on your front doorstep handing you a note which reads, "Go to Hawaii". It is not "mind reading", nor is it an error on the part of the recipient of such a message, to assume that this message was very important, to dig into and try to discover the best explanation for this man going to such effort and sacrifice to deliver the message, and to then add that meaning to the literal words of message.

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.

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.
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We were once so close to heaven
Peter came out and gave us medals
Declaring us the nicest of the damned -- They Might Be Giants          See the stars at skyviewcafe.com
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post #118 of 186
Quote:
Originally Posted by midwinter

But it can be singled out and impugned

Please explain how stating a correct fact about something is impugning or denigrating it.
post #119 of 186
Quote:
Originally Posted by midwinter

My point was that the only way you were able to address that point is to make claims about the intentions of the founders,

Actuall, what I did was provide the original verbiage that was used leading upto our current verbiage. This verbiage can possible help us to understand the current verbiage.

Quote:
Originally Posted by midwinter

I argued that it does not say what it says,

I still think it does say what it says, but we have a clearer idea of what the words meant (given that there are multiple definitions of this "establishment" issue) when they were written to help us parse (interpret, if you must) out the meaning.

Quote:
Originally Posted by midwinter

Now you're arguing that it does not say what it says and that in order to understand it, we have to look at the founders' intentions,

I think you are twisting things bit.

You made a fair point that there can be some variation in the interpretation of the statement. I admit to being wrong on that point. The variation is not very wide mind you, and examining the original, previous text that led up to the current text helps us to know which meaning the authors were using in regard to the primary word in question here ("establishment").
post #120 of 186
Quote:
Originally Posted by BRussell

They were catering to anti-evolution beliefs, and those beliefs are always religious in nature.

This statement is simply incorrect.
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