Answering Dembski’s Commenters

Answering Dembski’s Commenters April 5, 2006

It appears that a commenter is trying to top Dave’s ignorant question with even more ignorant statements on the subject. DonaldM writes:

The question has broader implications than you mention, Dave. If the newly elected board had recinded the policy at their December meeting, prior to the Judges ruling, they would have made the Judges ruling unnecssary. Furthermore, it may have saved the school board some money by doing so. It makes you wonder what behind door conversations might have taken place. It appears that they wanted Jones to rule…but why?

Also, it appears a motion to recind the policy was made but not seconded at that December meeting. Yet, this was the very issue that got them all elected in the first place. Very curious indeed!!!

The only thing that is curious about the situation is how completely impervious to reality these folks are. How many times and in how many ways does it have to be explained that there was nothing the school board could possibly have done that would have prevented the case from being ruled on? We’ve shown them the specific Supreme Court precedents that the judge was bound to follow, precedents that explicitly say that the voluntary changing of a policy done in the middle of legal proceedings does not moot those proceedings because the agency in question could as easily reinstate the policy later. We’ve cited case law and legal scholarship and the fact that no one connected to the case – not the judge, not the plaintiffs’ attorneys, not the defendants’ attorneys, no one – accepted their premise that rescinding the policy would moot the case and do away with the damages.

And by the way, he’s also wrong that there was a motion to rescind the policy at the Dec. 5th meeting. There was a time for public statements and one guy suggested that they do so. He was not a member of the board, so he could not make a motion. The matter was placed on the agenda for the next meeting, just as any other similar suggestion would be, and they voted to rescind the policy in January.

We’ve explained all this a dozen times at least, with absolutely no substantive response whatsoever. Yet these boneheads just keep repeating the same nonsense over and over again. Are they stupid? Are they liars? Do they just not care what the truth is and just choose whatever delusion fits their agenda? All of the above? It’s like there’s a force field around them preventing reality from getting through.

And on another post, a commenter named “lurker” said:

The blog below picked up on your comments here. Among other things, what caught my eye was the following statment he made:

“There isn’t an evolutionary biologist in the world who couldn’t honestly sign that statement because no one believes that “random mutation and natural selection” account for all of the complexity of life on the planet. Not even Richard Dawkins believes that.”

I’ve read many quotes by Dawkins (and others) and my understanding is he believes exactly this. If not RM+NS then what else?

There are both multiple sources of genetic variation and multiple ways that a given trait can spread and become fixed within a population. In addition to random mutation as a source of genetic variation you also have recombination, for example. In addition to natural selection as a mechanism for spreading a given variation throughout a population, you have genetic drift, sexual selection and others. No one, not even the most dogmatic “hyper adaptationist”, as Gould used to call Dawkins, denies the existence of these mechanisms (though they may well debate how important or prevalant they are and how much impact they’ve had, relative to natural selection, on the history of life). The DI’s statement is not a dissent from evolution, it’s a dissent from a straw man caricature of evolution.

And yet more foolishness from DaveScot in a comment someone else left that he edited. He writes:

The new board being “all present” is irrelevant which you’d know if you’d ever been on a BoD. They had a quorum on December 5th (which means the board can conduct business) and a super-majority of it were new members who’d campaigned on a promise to repeal the ID policy. They explicitely decided to table the issue until Jones reached a decision. Care to stick your foot in your mouth any farther today or will this be enough for one day? -ds

Is there anything funnier than the combination of smugness and stupidity? The board did not decide to “table” the issue – the issue was not on the agenda for the meeting. It was suggested by a member of the public during time for public comment. It would be quite odd for the school board to take a vote on something that one member of the public suggested at the very same meeting. They did what they would be expected to do, they put the matter on the agenda for the next meeting so that others would be allowed to comment on it with some time to prepare.

There were no policy matters considered at all at the Dec. 5th meeting, which is, again, what one would expect for the first meeting where a new board is being sworn in. They took care of the swearing in, some routine matters like setting a schedule, accepting hirings and appointments that had been made previously, getting reports on the district’s finances, and electing their officers. That’s the way a board like this works, you take care of all the administrative tasks at the first meeting so that you’re organized to consider questions of policy at subsequent meetings.

Now Dave, care to continue to make an idiot out of yourself or is that enough for one day?

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