I guess this is what I get for living in a Red state


Apparently Fletcher has decided to push Intelligent Design into the schools. I can’t believe that people can allow this. I understand that Kentucky has a lot of fundamental christians in it, but not only will it hurt the teaching of science in Kentucky, but it proves that Kentucky has been doing a terrible job teaching science in the past. If they had been doing a good job then the people that are living in Kentucky would know that Intelligent Design is not science!

Here is a copy of the letter that I am sending to Fletcher:

Governor Fletcher,
I was disappointed to hear the news that you were beginning the process of pushing Intelligent Design into science classes. The problem with this is that Intelligent Design is not science. Science is the pursuit of knowledge through a reproducible, predictable process of theory, testing, result and then if needed refinement of the theory and starting the process over. Intelligent design offers none of these possibilities. It doesn’t even offer a solution to the question, “Where did we come from?” If there really was an Intelligent Designer where did he come from? Intelligent Design cannot and never will provide a solution to that question, because it devalues their supreme being and that is something that Intelligent Designers would never do.

There are enough problems in Kentucky’s schools teaching actual science. We do not need to add poor logic and magic to a class that is centered around structured learning of processes and concepts. You have school districts that can’t teach good science as it is because they have art teachers teaching science. Perhaps the money that might be put into getting Intelligent Design into schools could be better used to hire scientists for teaching positions and let other teachers teach what they are trained to teach. Intelligent Design is equivalent to saying, “We don’t know how it happened, so it must have been done by magic” which is not science, that is mysticism. If legislation is passed along these lines, it becomes a slippery slope. Would it then be justifiable to teach that the position of stars in the sky can adversely effect our futures, followed by a class on the proper way to arrange school desks so that they are correct according to Feng Shui?

Intelligent Design offers no new information to the quest to understand from where we came. All it offers are passages from the bible, which can no more be proved than Intelligent Design itself. They take the time to point out things that we don’t understand yet and then as an answer to that offer a deity. Just today, one of Intelligent Designs poorly formed arguments was knocked down by good science. Their “you don’t even know how a honey bee flies” argument was answered by scientists using good methods and theories. You can read about it at: http://news.yahoo.com/s/space/20060110/sc_space/scientistsfinallyfigureouthowbeesfly. This is a perfect example of what Intelligent Design uses to promote itself. Promoters of Intelligent Design point to instances where scientists haven’t yet proved their theories, and argue that because no explanation for some phenomenon is known, no explanation must therefore exist. In some cases they point to things that are more proven than the existence of gravity and call those “proof” that a “GOD” exists. No matter how they try to cloak it, that is what Intelligent Design is really attempting to push.

They call Evolution a theory. Evolution is a theory in the same manner that gravity is a theory. There is just as much proof for gravity as there is for evolution, but you don’t see the Fundamentalist Christians pushing for alternate reasons for us staying on the planet being taught in classes. The reason is that promoting anti-gravity theories in school doesn’t help promote their religious beliefs in schools.

Intelligent Design has already been ruled to be unconstitutional in another state. Ignoring a judge’s ruling on the matter seems to be irresponsible and wasteful. Enough money has been spent in another state to prove that Intelligent Design should not be taught in the science classroom. Luckily, in this case it was another states residents tax money that was wasted, not only in court costs and time, but also in elections when the board members that attempted to put Intelligent Design into the classroom were completely voted out of office. To see that you want to waste Kentucky’s thin resources on this leads me to think that you are not learning from the events that took place in Pennsylvania.

If you would like to put Intelligent Design into a religious studies class or something similar then at least you would be putting it in the right category. Putting it in a science class is an attempt to validate a “theory” that has no proof, testable outcome, and basis in a logical reality. Moreover, it is really just an attempt to put religion into public schools in a place where it is not labeled as such. If any more proof of that is needed try pushing Intelligent Design into schools with the assumption that Zeus and Athena were the creators of the universe. It will be interesting to see how much push the idea will get from people in the state. You don’t see many Intelligent Design promoters quoting the Qur’an as proof of an Intelligent Designer. It is always Christians behind Intelligent Design and they are always quoting from the bible as their source of “Facts” and directives. Sometimes the Intelligent Design promoters will even openly tell you that they are attempting to get people to move toward the Christian way of life. This makes Intelligent Design, in its current form, nothing more than Creationism, which the Supreme Court has already ruled against.
Everyday real scientists come one step closer to understanding how the world has come to be the way that it is. All Intelligent Design can do is point to a book and try to connect reality to text that was written in that book thousands of years ago and doesn’t even make sense with the things in the world that we already understand. Do we want to go back to teaching students that God sends lightning down to “smite” people or that rain is angels crying? Do we want people to think that an eclipse is a sign of an angry god? That is not science, that is imagination. These are the things that people used to believe because they didn’t know what caused an eclipse. They didn’t know why it rained and they didn’t know what caused lightning. We look back on the cultures that believed in those things and chuckle at them. Perhaps in 100 years our children’s children will feel the same about the concept of Intelligent Design.

Teaching Intelligent Design as a method of science to Kentucky students is not only irresponsible and wrong, it is unconstitutional.

Thank you for your time,

Brent Norris

NOTE: This letter is being posting to my journal at the following URL: http://www.brentnorris.net/blog/?p=183

Any replies that I receive will also be posted there.

Well what do you think? I will send this tomorrow, so if you see any errors please let me know.

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8 Responses to I guess this is what I get for living in a Red state

  1. Jeff says:

    Brent, this was fantastic. I suggest posting it to forums.randi.org as well for advice on what to modify. Personally, I think that it is well worded and clear. I might develop your (correct) idea that science is not about making observations fit established beliefs in the last paragraph a little more. Other than that, kudos. I plan on re-reading this when I have a little more time, so I may chime back in.

    Also, if you (or anyone else sympathetic to the anti-ID cause) are not already a member of the KASES mailing list (www.kases.org), do so. I see them and perhaps the ACLU being the “command central” of the fight when it comes. We need to get ready for this, and get ready now.

  2. Brent says:


    Final draft is up.  This is what I sent.  Replies will be added as I get them.

  3. maxx says:

    In the ‘bee’ comments above, I’d change the grammar to “… you don’t even know how bees fly” instead of “how a bee flies”.
    Other than that, a great letter. You have my endorsement, should you decide to run against him for governor of Kentucky. In fact, do so, and I’ll move back to be your campaign finance manager 😉

    Fletcher is playing to his core re-election audience; of which you are clearly not one. It is even possible that he himself doesn’t really belive the BS, but politics today is about getting re-elected by mobilizing the largest group of people and getting them to vote – and supporting a vaunted theory espoused by the bible belt will get him exactly that. So he loses your vote… so what? You probably wouldn’t have voted for him anyway, and besides there are many many more Joe Q. BibleThumpers than Brent Norrises in the state.

    Intelligent Design is just a backlash against logic, which has taken hold because of the religious resurgence that we have going on in the world. The ‘Christians’ see the ‘threat’, and instead of ‘criminals’ they see ‘Enemies of the Faith’ and react with biblical fervor. The enemies of the faith seem to include the islamic fundamentalists, lax morality, declining family values, blah blah. And much as it pains me to admit it, my Republican brethren have done a great deal to exploit this situation – for their political ends.

    The scary thing is that Sen. Sam Brownback is likely to be the republican candidate for 2008, and he’s from Kansas… where they voted to -uphold- Intelligent Design! Bush we can dismiss easily as having below average intelligence (his existence is probably the most stinging refutation that the ‘creator’ is ‘intelligent’), but Brownback will be a lot harder to marginalize. And with a conservative supreme court and no sign that the democrats are going to take back the senate, it doesn’t look like we’ve seen the end of this insanity.

    Time to drink heavily and arm ourselves against the marauding bands of the religious! Viva La Revolucion!

  4. noneofus says:

    “Would it then be justifiable to teach that the position of stars in the sky can adversely effect our futures…”

    Well, obviously they do. The closest star actually determines day and night, winter and summer and if life can exist on this planet. Stars farther away could drastically effect our future by tossing our solar system into a black hole, meteor showers, stray comet, eternal winter or any number of cataclysmic disasters.
    I just had to throw that in for good measure. :~]

    Overall, your letter sounds fairly well written, but I would not expect him to actually read it or be informed of the content.

  5. Brent says:

    Yeah sadly probably the most I can hope for is to be a +1 on a chart somewhere that shows how many people complained about this.

    I probably could have sent in a letter that says, “Ugh. Intelligent Design… BAD!” and got the same effect.

  6. Noneofus says:

    FRESNO, Calif. – A rural high school teaching a religion-based alternative to evolution was sued Tuesday by a group of parents who said the class should be stopped because it violates the U.S. Constitution.

    Frazier Mountain High School in Lebec violated the separation of church and state while attempting to legitimize the theory of “intelligent design” by introducing it as a philosophy class taught by a minister’s wife, according to the federal lawsuit filed by parents of 13 students.

    The lawsuit was filed by Americans United for Separation of Church and State, which successfully blocked Dover, Pa., schools last month from using science courses to advance the theory that living things are so complex they must have been designed by a higher being.

    Similar battles are being fought in Georgia and Kansas over the controversial subject.
    The ‘Govenator’ will probably have to wait till his ‘fat lip’ goes down, before he will be able to comment on this suit. Did you guys see him with stitches in his lip from a motorcycle wreck?

    I agree with Maxx, that Fletcher probably doesn’t care if it goes into effect or not, he has made a stand.

  7. Pingback: Brent’s Thoughts » Fletcher’s Reply

  8. Pingback: Southern Kentucky Skeptics » Blog Archive » Previous Post: Letter to Governor Fletcher

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