« November 2005 »

Memo to the Caldwells: YOU ARE DUMB.

Ah, creationists. A year ago, I dedicated an entire week to them, but they just can't get enough. Today we discuss the curious case of Larry Caldwell and wife Jeanne, who are professional harassholes.

You see, America's court system has been, for all practical intents and purposes, the sole means by which we've fought back the creationists. It was the 1987 Supreme Court decision that forced them to rename it "intelligent design", it was the hassle of the court case that got the Dover 8 tossed out on their asses. Time and time again, courts have ruled that creationism is religion. This is mainly because creationism is religion.

The Cardwells are the type of creationists who see their repeated defeat in court not as a sign that they are wrong, but rather as a tactical guide to future action. They've sued their local district to try to get anti-evolution bullshit introduced, and their most recent claims that a University of Berkeley site promoting evolution violates the separation of church and state.

Now, we've seen the "evolution is just a matter of faith" argument before. From, well, complete fucking idiots who don't understand evolution, and therefore think it's magic. It's not their fault, as Arthur C. Clarke pointed out. They feel the same way about math. And airplanes. And toasters. You don't think that bread turns brown just because heat's applied to it, do you? And where does that heat come from? There's no heat in an electrical outlet. It's cool to the touch. No matter how many forks you stick in it, no heat will come out. It's MAGIC TOAST.

But that's not the thrust of the Caldwell's lawsuit. You see, the Berkeley web site, "Understanding Evolution", is aimed at helping teachers teach the subject. Teachers NEED to be more comfortable with the subject because of all the ridiculous arguments put forth by the Caldwells and their ilk. So the Berkeley site includes a wide variety of resources for teachers. And one of those resources is a FAQ on the "evolution controversy". And one of the questions in that FAQ links to a separate website, at the National Center for Science Education, featuring pro-evolution statemnents by various religious groups, like Wisconsin clergy, the American Jewish Alliance, and some Georgia Episcopalians.

Since the Berkeley website received funding from the National Science Foundation, this means the government is endorsing pro-evolution religions over anti-evolution religions, and that, according to the Caldwells, is unconstitutional.

Or, to translate into the voices I'm sure are coursing through the Caldwell's heads, "I'M NOT A MONKEY, I'M NOT A MONKEY, I'M NOT A MONKEY!"What's hilarious is that, in the news coverage of the latest trial, Jeanne Caldwell actually gets away with a statement that, while true, is utterly misleading. ACTUAL QUOTE TIME!

"Yes, I'm a Christian, but I would not categorize myself as an ID proponent. I believe God created the world."

When this story got picked up by the Associated Press, however, this statement got interpreted thusly: " The plaintiffs are not proponents of "intelligent design" -- a theory that living organisms are so complex they must have been created by a higher intelligence -- but they object to the teaching of evolution as scientific fact, Jeanne Caldwell said.

Whoops. They're not ID proponents because they're RABID, PURE CREATIONISTS. They don't believe in fucking around with mamby-pamby sciency-sounding names. The AP version makes them sound reasonable, because the standard media dichotomy is "intelligent design" vs. "evolution". By saying they weren't proponents of ID, the AP moved them toward the other side of the semantic equation, when the exact opposite was called for.

The lawsuit is ridiculous, but it'll have to make its way through the system, and Berkeley will have to spend time and money defending itself for a tiny infraction on a tiny part of its tiny website that's not really an infraction at all, but can be sort of vaguely portrayed as one by a couple of harassholes bitter about getting slapped down in court for being religious.

Let's hope the Caldwells hear those magical words, "Berkeley is awarded court costs", in the near future.