Fletcher’s Reply

I previously wrote a letter to Governer Fletcher about his pushing of Intelligent Design during his state of the commonwealth speech. I just got the reply and since the Governer (or more likely his staff) wants to continue to use old technology (my tax dollars at work, free versus paying postage) and actually mailed me a paper letter instead of just replying with the email address they had, I have to type it in. Any errors are probably mine.

Dear Mr. Norris,

Thank you for contacting me regarding the teaching of “.” My educational background provided me with thorough understanding of science and the theory of evolution. Our nation, however, was founded on self-evident truths. Among these truths are inalienable rights “endowed by their Creator.” From my perspective, it is not a matter of faith, or religion, or theory. It is similar to basic self-evident objective truths that are the basis of knowledge. For example, 2+2=4. It disappoints and astounds me that the so-called intellectual elite are so concerned about accepting self-evident truths that nearly 90% of the population understands. In fact, this acknowledgement led to the intellectual curiosity Einstein spoke of that, in turn, led to the exploration of new knowledge.

To deny this understanding of our nation's beginning, and prevent it from being taught to American students, is to undermine the foundation of our nation. Schools should be able to approach this subject from a historical perspective, not a religious one, without offending anybody. I have not suggested any new legislation, and none is needed. Since 1970, state law specifically allowes public schools to teach, “” in conjunction with the theory of evolution. In 1990, under the landmark Education Refore Act, control of curriculum now rests with local districts. I urged school district to utilize this freedom and empower students with all possible considerations regarding the origin of matter and species. It will be up to the teachers and local school officials, however, to make this decision.

Our nation's founders gave credit for our inalienable rights to a Creator. Among our rights are you liberty to disagree with goverment officials any my liberty of free speech. Those who laid the foundation of our country knew this would ne the greatness of America. Although you may question the intelligence of raising this issue, the computer, which is state-of-the-art, and less sophisticated in function than this writer, was built by an intelligent designer.

I have read through this at least 5 times now, and I still don't think half of it are complete thoughts. The 90% figure that he quotes at the top is an obvious falsehood. While their may be 90% of the population that believe in a god not all 90% of them believe in a creation story and of those that do, not all of them believe in Intelligent Design. Also, no matter how many people believe in something that doesn't make it true nor does it make it science. At one point almost everyone thought that the world was flat. Regardless of how much they believed that, that doesn't change the fact that it isn't. A large part of the worlds population thought that lightning was cause by gods. That doesn't change the fact that it isn't. Believing in something doesn't make it correct.
The last part about the computer, doesn't make any sense either. No one claims to have broken the laws of science to create a computer. Last I checked everything in todays computers still works within accepted facts and laws. Intelligent Design is not the same. To accept Intelligent Design you have to believe in some form of magic.
I also like the statement of talking about the historical aspect of Inteligent Design, because so far the only historical information that I have ever heard about Intelligent Design involves “The Bible” and as far as I know it is not an accepted text book for public schools (yet). Where else are you going to get historical data for creationism? I haven't seen any papers with science studies that document data over a long term regarding Intelligent Designs “system”. Where is this historical data?
I wonder how many people know that there are laws allowing the teaching of Intelligent Design in Kentucky's schools. I also wonder if it was pushed if the courts could deem those laws unconsitutional as promoting religion in schools. Along similar lines as the ruling in PA.
Also apparently the “endowed by their creator” line that he is quoting was also poorly researched, because it isn't in the consitution, it is in the Declaration of Independence. The constitution that our country was founded on is ACTUALLY designed to be a non-religious document. The people that wrote it made an effort to make it that way, because they knew that religous zealotry is a bad thing, no matter how popular your religion is at any one time.
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27 Responses to Fletcher’s Reply

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  3. noneofus says:

    I think he made several points in the letter.

    The main points are…
    1. It is legal in KY to teach Intelligent Design.
    2. It is up to each district to make the decision as to teach it or not.

    You are probably debating a lawyer or a group of lawyers, so you are inept stepping into their realm of expertise (KY Law), similar to his comment about computers being in your realm of expertise.

  4. maxx says:

    2+2=4 is a self-evident truth??!!!
    Yes, if you start with the assumption that you are working with simple numerical math, then sure 2+2=4.
    But if you start with a different assumption, namely that you are working with algebraic equations, then it can be proved that 2+2 != 4, like so:
    Now (a-a) = 0, and anything divided by zero becomes indeterminate, so:
    substitute the numbers for ‘a’ and ‘b’ from the beginning, and we get-
    2+2= indeterminate

    Put that in your pipe and smoke it, Ernie Fletcher!

  5. Brent says:

    Nice to see all those math classes at WKU weren’t wasted on you.

  6. noneofus says:

    It is an interesting fact that Consititutional Law trumps State Law, so no matter what the KY State Law is, if it conflicts with Constitutional Law it would be invalid.

    Also, did you know that Mr E Fletcher is an Ordained Minister? No wonder he is using his ‘bully pulpit’ to ‘suggest’ to the school districts what they can do.

    If a school district chose to teach ID in their science classes, it would be up to that school district to assume all the legal costs associated with the defense of that action against the ACLU.

    IMO – It’s a ‘no lose’ position for Fletcher. He has come out for the teaching of ID, but assumes no responsibility for the actions of others. He satisfies the ‘morale majority’ and doesn’t lose anyone that was going to vote for him and it costs him nothing from his state budget no matter what the results.

  7. Rich says:

    Thanks for your article on setting up rsync on windows. The DOI is the founding document of the USA, not the constitution and the founders did give the credit he mentions. It is foolish not to believe in a creator, everything must be created to exist.

    Seperation of Church and state means that there should be no state church, but that does not mean that we as a society should ignore the last 5 thousand years of western tradition in our government, and the beliefs of most people in a creator.

    This creatar endowed us with the laws we are supposed to abide by (dont lie, steal, murder, dishonor your parents, covet others belongings, put other gods before Him, take His name in vain, etc.

    It takes just as much faith to not believe in a creator as is does to believe in one, maybe more, because you must believe that everything just happened by magic, not through the creation of a superior being.

  8. Brent says:

    The Declaration of Independence is not a founding of a nation. It is a call to war. The people here decided they should be independent from England and sent them a letter telling them they were going to fight to be that way. They didn’t say anything about starting a country or what they were going to do with their independence. Your statement is easy to debunk, because when the war was over there was no nation. They tried to build one unsuccessfully with the articles of the confederacy, which failed because it was too unscructured and loose. They then went back and actually founded our nation with the current laws that we have.
    There is no belief in magic when if comes to where things came from. Believing in magic is believing in a God figure. That REQUIRES magic. Believing things came about through the physical laws that we have come to understand requires no magic. Just because we don’t understand the whole process makes it seem like magic, but that doesn’t make it magic.

    Throughout time things have been attributed to magic that we didn’t understand and looking at those things now, it seems dumb that we called them magic (or godlike). Hopefully, 100 years from know people will look at the things that religion preaches and laugh about how people didn’t understand and called it god, just like we look at the Greeks and the Romans and laugh at what they thought was god. Greek and Roman religous stories are now called “Mythology” because the current dominate religion wants to imply that they are myths. At their time though they were believed as much (probably more) than Christians believe the “Mythology” that is in the bible. At least the Greeks and Romans believed so much that they would actually sacrifice for their beliefs and I don’t just mean they would give up cookies or swearing for a while. I mean they would actually KILL things on the altars of their gods. The bible tells Christians to do it, but they just ignore that part, because it isn’t accepted anymore in our part of the world.

    We are not endowed with laws by anyone. As proof look at all the people that have broken the laws that you mention. If we were “endowed” with these laws then why the hell would there be so many people breaking them? Human compassion and intelligence is where are laws have come from, not some magical thing in the sky (oh wait is he still in the sky now that we have went past the sky?) Humans as creatures are bad by nature and good by intelligence. We are slowly working on the concept that killing is bad. (Slowly because look at all the killing that is going on right now. Even our country that has laws against killing is actively killing people right now.) Actually, I think the biggest step to calming the killing throughout the world is the end of religion. Look at all the people that have and ARE killing people in “their” “god’s” name. When people become more intelligent and self reliant they will become less dependent on a mythical figure to SCARE them into doing the right thing and just do the right thing because it is the right thing.

    Religion is a control mechanism and hopefully someday it will be an outdated mechanism, that the world no longer needs.

  9. maxx says:

    Rich said… “This creatar endowed us with the laws we are supposed to abide by (insert abbreviated version of the 10 commandments here)”.

    Um… No. This ‘creatar’ -supposedly- endowed -Moses- with ‘commandments’, which he then construed to be “laws” that the -children of Israel- would obey from then on.

    So your assumption about “us” and “laws” and “supposed to obey” are all -very- bogus. This particular view makes possible a re-write of the Bible depicting an American Jesus complete with Coca-Cola can and M-16. Oh yeah, and Jesus doesn’t get crucified, he kicks the ass of the non-believers Rambo-style!

    I think that if Intelligent Design is going to be taught, there should be versions of it – AID (Allah’s Intelligent Design), YID (Yahweh’s Intelligent Design), GID (God’s Intelligent Design) and of course OIDfD (Oprah’s Intelligent Design for Dumbasses) – all come to mind. Then the students who ‘elect’ to take these classes can spend some quality time kicking each others asses, with the eventual result that they’ll all end up flipping burgers (or becoming meat shields in bogus wars) for the kids that elect to take -real- science classes.

    And another thing: of the 10 Commandments, there are ONLY TWO which have the distinction of being laws – “Thou Shalt Not Kill” and “Thou Shalt Not Steal”. The rest of them might be imMORAL, but they are not ilLEGAL. There is a huge difference between the two things. Coveting the neighbors wife and disrespecting the parents might be a sign of societal decline, but isn’t illegal – and are therefore not covered under the umbrella of LAW.

    So to use your own argument against you:
    If EIGHT of the TEN commandments didn’t become REAL LAWS for “US”, then why should anyone believe in the ‘Creatar(d)’? Doesn’t it stand to reason that we should worship the Supreme Court instead?
    Maybe MID (Marshall’s Intelligent Design) should be added to the list of elective classes…

  10. Jeff Prewitt says:

    Rich said: “everything must be created to exist”

    Who created God? Nobody?

    .: God does not exist QED

    I so totally won this debate.

  11. Brent says:

    Besides all that the 10 commandments that everyone quotes as being from God are not even the correct ones. They are the commonly accepted ones, because they are the ones that make more sense.

    Unfortunately, I can’t find the link to the other set that are mentioned in the Bible. Jeff can you help me out there?

  12. noneofus says:

    Current scientific theory is that there were at least two planes, resembling the surface of an ocean, and where those two planes touched, were Big Bangs, one of which caused the creation of our universe. There were several big bangs and several universes existing in different dimensions, not parallel like in Superman, but different. These universes in other dimensions are still being created.

    But so what? Neither this explanation, nor Intelligent Design, nor Evolution explains where everything came from.

    ID doesn’t explain where God came from or if he had a Brother or Sister, evolution doesn’t explain where the stardust or meteorites that brought the building blocks of life came from, and the Big Bangs theory doesn’t explain where the rippling planes came from or where the material that they were made from came.

    There simply is no explanation we can understand, so the point in not worth the time debating.

    While none of those can explain from where we came, some still choose to believe in the God created everything version, some in the Evolution theory, and others in aliens seeded the planet.

    What is the point then? Religion is classified as believing in God and Science is the observable physics of our world. One demands proof, the other depends on faith. Those aren’t compatible and should not be taught in the same classes in school.

    IMO – The schools should teach an ‘Origins of Man’ class.

    In the first quarter they could teach about the movement of man from some point on the planet to the current day spread of civilization.

    In the second quarter they could teach about the evolution of the species from the primordial brew.

    In the third quarter they could teach about different theories of where life begins in humans.

    In the final quarter they could teach about the beliefs of civilizations throughout time around the planet, including all religions. No specific religion should be given more emphasis than others. It should also be explained that religion might just be that, a belief, nothing more.

    Students that take the class would get no credit towards a diploma, just a better understanding of the views of different people.

    I think this would satisfy the people that want ‘equal time’ for opposing theories, but not break the rules of separation of church and state.

  13. Brent says:

    The problem is that it would never happen, because the hardcore religious right have no motivation to push for it. They don’t want anything in school dealing with religion unless it is their religion.

  14. robert says:

    All very interesting comments –
    But I do not see why education can not include Intelligent Design and the most current theory on the origins of life. I believe in God and enjoy the study of science. For me, I discover what God created through science. It really makes it more enjoyable. While I do believe in God I also accept and appreciate no teaching of religion (Christianity, Hindu, Muslim, Judaism, atheist, etc ) in schools. But let’s explore all options on the origin of life, not just the secular view. I do not see why so many people refuse to explore? Are they afraid that they will be faced with ideas that require thought? Something might conflict with their current view and make them ask another question? The thought of coming out of some comfort zone bother them? If I can sit and look at the world through the eyes of science and be excited at what we are discovering and still hold onto my value that God created this then why do you all get up set?

    Oh well – for as open minded as so many people claim to be they refuse to explore the world through all the available glasses, or at least the ones associated with Christianity. I appreciate those people who are willing to stand up and say yes! God created it and now let’s explore it with science.


  15. Brent says:

    Hey if you want to do that, fine, but don’t do it in a science class, because “exploring” ID as a possible solution doesn’t involve science at all. Trying to act like it does will actually make people dumber as they loose the meaning of actual science.

    That is another nice trick you are trying to pull there too. Making people that want to keep logic in school and magic in your houses of make believe seem like bigots.

    “Why won’t you let us talk about our beliefs in school? You get to talk about yours!”

    No that isn’t how it is. Evolution IS NOT A BELIEF. No matter how much christians try to play it off as one. Evolution IS NOT A THEORY. No matter how much christians try to play it off as one. If christians don’t want to believe in evolution then they need to stop believing in gravity, several forces in atoms, hell, probably raditation too. Lets see them walk into a reactor core with faith in god that they won’t be harmed.

    Anyway back to my point… People may believe in Evolution, but it is not a belief. It requires no faith only looking at the tons of evidence that supports it, similiar to believing in gravity only requires realizing that you can’t float in the air.

    Believing in ANY of these origins of life from religion stories ALL REQUIRE some faith in magic and therefore they aren’t science and do not belong in an building that is supposed to be teaching people to thinking intelligently. People that believe in god have their own buildings that they paid for because they believe in a god, they can teach whatever they want in there.  I don’t come into your church and try to make you think logically about the illogical stuff in the bible, why do you think we should make people think illogical about things in schools?

  16. Trey says:

    Just wanted to say I love the statement Rich made saying, “It takes just as much faith to not believe in a creator as is does to believe in one, maybe more, because you must believe that everything just happened by magic, not through the creation of a superior being.”

    God has always existed, God does exist and God will always exist.

  17. Brent says:

    That doesn’t make a damn bit of sense. Where did God come from? Always existing (like most of religion) doesn’t make any sense. More magic. If god exists then how come he doesn’t do anything these days in comparision to in the bible when he did all this stuff. How come we don’t have all the crap going on that the bible does? Where is your god? Do you have a single event in the last 200 years that can be positively done by god? I mean in the bible there is all this stuff that is done by him and there is no doubt about who did it. Where is that now? There are no events in properly recorded history that can be aimed definitely at god. It is a helluva trick to just disappear after a certain point in time… you know about the time when people actually started recording good history.

  18. noneofus says:

    The point of this discussion isn’t to debate the existance of a God or not, that is impossible to prove one way or another, the point of this discussion is whether Intelligent Design should be taught in school as an alternative to the Theory of Evolution.

    Statements like those are ‘flame bait’, they add no substance to the discussion.

  19. Trey says:

    Sorry, I will leave the site. Taijian!

  20. maxx says:

    Wow… I forget to check this thread for a few days, and look at the discussion I missed!

    Bill Maher had a great comment this past week – … since churches don’t have to pay taxes, they can’t call the fire department when someone sets them on fire. Sorry Reverend, but thats one of the services that comes with ‘paying into the system’ – I pay my taxes so I’ll call the fire department; you can pray to your God for RAIN!

    And now wouldn’t -that- be a real miracle? Wouldn’t that prove the existence of God? Just something simple like that… He could go:
    Oh look, my house (the house of God) is on fire / extremists are planting bombs in the dome of my mosque / terrorists are hiding out in there evading capture having commited some crimes… let me turn on the rain, smite them with lightning, or crank out the earthquake.

    See, now that would totally make sense. That the creator would get involved when there was a direct challenge to his authority. Kind of like how we get busy and let loose with the bombs and the Gitmo resort stay for those who pose a threat to us. But to just sit by and do nothing? Thats more the style of the UN. Following Jeff’s logic from above, this means that all life was created by the United Nations in the current form that it enjoys. Yay! We’ve solved the mystery of life!

    I know God exists. I saw him in the street this past weekend, and he demanded that I give him some money. Unfortunately all I had was plastic, so he promised to save me a special place in hell. I said that’d be fine as long as the hotels there took Mastercard.
    Just because he looked homeless doesn’t mean he didn’t THEORETICALLY create the Universe! As per ID, he had just as good a chance as anyone else. I hope they teach students about him in classrooms in Kansas.

  21. Brent says:

    Amen brother maxx! Testify! …zrt..squelch…

    **Irony Overload**

    **NO CARRIER**

  22. maxx says:

    I just want you to know that everytime someone says something I disagree with, I now say “What?! More Magic!” – it makes me laugh, and leaves them completely bewildered.
    Of course, them being bewildered is just a theory, so according to ID it is just as likely that they have read this entire thread and are fully cognizant.

  23. Brian Myres says:

    Brent…your arguments are sound, but watch your use of the word “theory.” Evolution IS a theory precisely because it is backed up by tremendous evidence…to consider it a guess or conjecture (as in “hypothesis”) plays into the hands of ignorant people like Jerry Falwell, who states it’s “only a theory” all the time. He doesn’t understand what a scientific theory is (a collection of hypotheses that have been accepted by the evidence procured, i.e., proved to the acceptance of the scientific community, acknowledging that theories themselves will evolve as new evidence accrues; science does not deal in absolute truth!) and therefore makes that dumb statement. Most americans believe (and you’re correct…I don’t care if 99.9% believe something, that doesn’t make it so!) that a theory is a mere guess due to the colloquial use of the term, but in science it’s only a theory when overwhelming evidence has backed it up. If more people knew that, it would help. Somebody should ask Fletcher which science class it was that taught him about “revealed truths;” did he go to Liberty “University?”
    Brian Myres
    KASES member
    Retired Prof. of Biology, Cypress College, CA

  24. maxx says:

    Bill Maher had an awesome line in last week’s ‘Real Time’ which I thought you’d appreciate:

    …since our new governmental position on science is “Screw it! We prefer witchcraft!”… instead of retiring the shuttle Atlantis, we should drive it to the stupidest state and have the natives beat it with sticks!

  25. Brent says:

    That is truly a great line maxx.

  26. Brent says:

    I have just sent the following letter to Gov. Ernie Fletcher. I’ll let you know if I get a response. Incidentally, Ken Carstens, Chair of the Legislative Committee of the Kentucky Academy of Science informs me that KAS was unaware that the governor’s office had responded with a form letter.

    Dear Governor Fletcher:

    In January, the Kentucky Academy of Science sent you a letter expressing its concerns about the teaching of intelligent design in Kentucky public school biology classes. You responded with a letter dated February 13, 2006. In that letter, you claimed that intelligent design is a “self-evident truth.” You also asserted that not teaching intelligent design in Kentucky science classes would “undermine the foundation of our nation.”

    The tone of your letter is condescending and insulting, in particular your comment that “it disappoints and astounds me that the so-called intellectual elite are so concerned about accepting self-evident truths that nearly 90% of the population understands.” It is simply incomprehensible to me that the governor could think that input from the Kentucky Academy of Science is irrelevant to the discussion of science education in the commonwealth.

    Not only does your letter not respond to the concerns raised by the academy, it now appears that it was not even written as a direct response to the letter that the academy sent you. Rather, it appears to be a form letter sent out by the governor’s office in response to any letter expressing concern about the teaching of intelligent design, because an identically worded letter was sent to Brent Norris of Edmonson County in response to his letter to you voicing similar concerns.

    As a Kentucky academic, I am deeply concerned about the poor state of science education in the commonwealth as well as by the efforts on the part of the legislature and your office to further undermine the quality of science education in Kentucky.


    Dr. David Ludden
    Assistant Professor of Psychology
    Lindsey Wilson College
    Columbia, KY 42728


  27. Jaimes says:

    RE: Robert Said:”While I do believe in God I also accept and appreciate no teaching of religion (Christianity, Hindu, Muslim, Judaism, atheist, etc ) in schools.”

    Atheism is not a religion… it’s what you are at birth.

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