We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Samizdata quote of the day

“I want a “leave me alone” society — one where Christian schools can turn people away for rejecting their doctrine, just as gay rights groups can reject those who don’t share their beliefs. I don’t want us all to get along — not because I’m misanthropic (well, not just because I’m misanthropic), but because I know that “consensus” is usually a fancy word for muting minority viewpoints. I want us all to be free to be annoyed with each other from our separate corners. Is that too much to ask?”

Troy Senik

He’s writing about Michael Bloomberg, who is up there with Hugh Grant and George Galloway in my current “rogues’ gallery”. Competition for membership of the gallery is proving quite competitive at the moment.

 

31 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • Laird

    Unfortunately, I think it is too much to ask. And not just because, as he says in the preceding paragraph, “[t]he left never seems to be happy until they’ve forced people who disagree with them to sacrifice their rights to free association on the altar of tolerance (“tolerance” defined by the left as the capacity to shut up on command).” There are also plenty on the right (notably the Christian right) who would also force others to accept their definitions of morality and proper conduct. (And let’s not even talk about the muslims.) So, appealing as his idea of a “leave-me-alone” (i.e., libertarian) society is, I can’t see it ever happening. No one in any position of power has any interest in permitting it.

  • Lee Moore

    Not being a fully paid up member of the Christian right, I’m a little hazy on their plans to force others to accept their definitions of morality and proper conduct. I aware of their possibly old fashioned views on abortion and stem cell research and so on, but those seem to me to me very special cases – ie they are asserting that the creature involved has a moral right to the protection of the laws. In the areas of contraception and homosexual behavior, I’m not aware of a large groundswell of Christian right opinion calling for them to be criminalised. (A big change from not that long ago.) As for gay marriage, that’s a matter of state recognition and state benefits, not a question of liberty. So I may be missing something, but from what I can see, the Christian right jihad against liberty seems to be pretty much restricted to abortion. All of their other old fashioned views seem to be restricted to disapproving non-legislatively of things they disapprove of. Which is usually called exercising ones freedom of expression. And to supporting benefits for their favored classes, which is thoroughly disreputable of course, but not quite the same as ramming their morality down other people’s throats. In any event no one can possibly compete with the left in supporting benefits for their favored classes.

    Whereas the lefties seem quite happy to wield the law, rather than mere disapproval, on a very wide range of subjects. “Hate speech”, anti-discrimination laws, regulation of commerce unto the nth degree, health fascism, enviro-fascism…….need I go on ? Of course it’s likely that lots of members of the Christian right also support anti-commerce and bash the rich laws, but I would say that 99% of laws that are proposed to force other people to accept their definitions of morality and proper conduct* originate from the left. And 100% of such laws that are actually passed.

    None of which is to say that I would welcome a world in which President Huckabee was supported by vast majorities in both houses of Congress, and a compliant Supreme Court. But at present I find lefty authoritarians far more threatening than righty ones.

    Anyway I think Laird is right to hold out little hope for a “leave-me-alone” society, but wrong to blame those “in power.” The sad truth is that liberty is extremely unpopular amongst the voting public. Most people are in favor of liberty for themselves and for the things they want to do, and against it for everybody else. Almost everyone I come across agrees that the rich should pay more. And they are also pretty much agreed on who the rich are – people richer than themselves.

    * there is of course another category of laws – public order, security etc – not considered here, but that’s not really about forcing others to accept definitions of morality and proper conduct. It’s about how to force compliance with whatever substantive laws there may be.

  • Laird

    All fair points, Lee. It wasn’t my intent to hold out the Christian right for particular disapprobation (or, for that matter, to suggest that they all share that mindset). My only point was that the right has its share of intolerant zealots, too, who given the power would happily regulate the conduct of people having different views. It’s not just about large issues such as abortion. The desire to control others’ actions runs deep in the human psyche, and there are very few would could tolerate a “leave me alone” society. There are busybodies everywhere who complain about, or at least sniff haughtily at, perfectly harmless actions such as affecting “inappropriate” hair styles or tatoos, or wearing in “immoral” clothing. Given the power, that disapproval would readily transform into regulation and prohibition. Most such people would consider themselves “conservatives”. And let’s not forget about drug prohibition, which is hugely popular among the right-wing whether Christian or not.

    You are correct that I shouldn’t blame only those “in power”, because the urge to control is everywhere.

  • Paul Marks

    I agree with Troy Senik.

  • Hmm

    Paul, I also agree with Troy, with some provisos: Being free to be annoyed with each other does not include intimidation of others and any act of intimidation should negate all rights to being left alone. There should be freedom of speech up to the point where speech invokes direct damaging action – and the mere act of taking of offense should never bestow rights or legal authority on the self declared offended party.

    Laird, who gets to decide what passes as ‘perfectly harmless actions’? The person on the receiving end? The bureaucrat? The druggy? The child?

  • Steven

    Not being a fully paid up member of the Christian right, I’m a little hazy on their plans to force others to accept their definitions of morality and proper conduct. I aware of their possibly old fashioned views on abortion and stem cell research and so on, but those seem to me to me very special cases – ie they are asserting that the creature involved has a moral right to the protection of the laws. In the areas of contraception and homosexual behavior, I’m not aware of a large groundswell of Christian right opinion calling for them to be criminalised. (A big change from not that long ago.) As for gay marriage, that’s a matter of state recognition and state benefits, not a question of liberty. So I may be missing something, but from what I can see, the Christian right jihad against liberty seems to be pretty much restricted to abortion. All of their other old fashioned views seem to be restricted to disapproving non-legislatively of things they disapprove of. Which is usually called exercising ones freedom of expression. And to supporting benefits for their favored classes, which is thoroughly disreputable of course, but not quite the same as ramming their morality down other people’s throats. In any event no one can possibly compete with the left in supporting benefits for their favored classes.

    It isn’t just gay marriage and abortion that the religious right try to jam down the public’s throat via legislation. The ongoing crusade to get religion back in the classroom via Intelligent Design at the local and state school board level is a great example of that movement on other fronts. The drug warriors that have gladly gutted the Fourth Amendment and vocally declare that government will save you from yourself even if it has to destroy your life in the process are often the same people hoping the likes of Pat Robertson will stump for them at election time. Todd Akin and his legitimate rape comment and not being kicked out of the GOP five minutes later is just a symptom of a far greater disease. Barry Goldwater was absolutely right when he warned about the Republican Party getting in bed with the Religious Right.

    Left and Right, politics or piety, autocrat or theocrat, do not matter a whit when the goal of both sides is to control others via the law and to force everyone into their vision of “proper” society.

  • Lee Moore

    1. The problem with the ramming of stuff down throats in schools is entirely a function of the government takeover of the schools. If the government had nothing to do with schools, who could possibly complain about parents sending their children to schools that teach the stuff they want their children to learn ? I was happy to see the result of the Indiana voucher case the other day. Vouchers where the parents control where the money goes is the nearest thing to non ramming that is achievable, until the state exits the business of education financing. (Which sadly is not going to happen any time soon.)

    2. Drugs. I agree.

    3. Todd Akin. Idiot,sure – but where’s the ramming ?

  • Lee Moore

    I should add that I’m a big supporter of homeschooling (as an option) so vouchers that can only be cashed at schools are not as good as vouchers that can be used by homeschoolers too.

  • Steven

    3. Todd Akin. Idiot,sure – but where’s the ramming ?

    Stuff like the push for the Academic Bill Of Rights or the Santorum Amendment to require ID in science classrooms. The flipside of that coin are bills to eliminate homeschooling.

    We’re not going to get rid of government funded (and run) schools, but that doesn’t mean that the schools should become pawns in anyone’s ideological fight. The religious right want to shoehorn God back in the classrooms without calling it God via stuff like Intelligent Design or their “Teach the Controversy” campaign and get people elected to school boards to do just that. The left is just as insidious when they get people on the state and local school boards to demand that Heather Has Two Daddies or that American History be turned into a study of how “Dead Rich White Guys Oppressed Everyone Who Wasn’t Also A Rich White Guy” campaigns in the name of Fairness. Those people are just as bad as the people who run for the school board on the campaign that we’ve spent too much on academics and need to spend some of that money on football.

  • Laird

    “Laird, who gets to decide what passes as ‘perfectly harmless actions’? The person on the receiving end? The bureaucrat? The druggy? The child?”

    By asking that question you make my point. Many people want to make that decision, which means that they want to control others’ actions. My opinion is that unless someone is causing direct physical harm to another what he does is his own affair. Otherwise, mind your own damn business. (And the answer is never “the bureaucrat”!) But far too few people subscribe to that philosophy, so the “leave me alone” society can never happen.

  • Lee Moore

    I share your sentiments Steven, but once schools are in the political arena, they’re in the political arena. Why should your view of what gets taught in schools be preferred to Mr Santorum’s or Ms Lefty-Moonbat’s ? If you get your way you’ll still be ramming it down people’s throats. I may prefer your ideas on what should be taught but that doesn’t avoid the ramming element.

    But I think you’re too pessimistic on the ” we’re not going to get rid of government funded (and run) schools” thing. I agree there’s no chance of getting the government out of financing education, but there’s some hope of getting it out of the running side of the business. Not so much in the UK which has a powerful central government and where Mr Gove’s modest reforms will be squished within twenty minutes of Labour’s return to power. But in the US with fifty different states each running their own system there are better prospects.

  • Steven

    I share your sentiments Steven, but once schools are in the political arena, they’re in the political arena. Why should your view of what gets taught in schools be preferred to Mr Santorum’s or Ms Lefty-Moonbat’s ? If you get your way you’ll still be ramming it down people’s throats. I may prefer your ideas on what should be taught but that doesn’t avoid the ramming element.

    Because in the case of ID, it is factually inaccurate and demonstrably NOT science. It has no place in a science classroom, period. I don’t care what the local sensibilities are, we should not be teaching children factually wrong information. As far as the rest, I’m more concerned with making sure children know how to think, not what to think. I’m far more tolerant of teaching kids the bad of American history so long as the good is also taught, but that’s not the case when agenda-driven people subvert the education system to further their own political goals.

    But in the US with fifty different states each running their own system there are better prospects.

    On paper, sure. But so long as Washington is willing to cut a check with strings attached, and school districts are perpetually impoverished (regardless of how much money they are getting from the taxpayers at every level) the reality is DC calls the shots for most US education. That’s why the monstrosity of No Child Left Behind is so pervasive; no district can tell Washington to piss up a rope because they all have their hand out and he who pays the piper picks the tune.

  • Julie near Chicago

    To avoid misapprehensions of the Academic Bill of Rights, here is the text in full, from the website of Students for Academic Freedom.

    The AAUP is the American Association of University Professors.

    I will give the links that verify the quotes in the ABoR in a reply to this comment, so as not to awaken the Smitebot in the PdH suit. :)

    I have changed the font to boldfaced type in a few places.

    http://www.studentsforacademicfreedom.org/documents/1925/abor.html

    —–

    Academic Bill of Rights is also available in Spanish.

    Academic Bill of Rights

    I. The Mission of the University.

    The central purposes of a University are the pursuit of truth, the discovery of new knowledge through scholarship and research, the study and reasoned criticism of intellectual and cultural traditions, the teaching and general development of students to help them become creative individuals and productive citizens of a pluralistic democracy, and the transmission of knowledge and learning to a society at large. Free inquiry and free speech within the academic community are indispensable to the achievement of these goals. The freedom to teach and to learn depend upon the creation of appropriate conditions and opportunities on the campus as a whole as well as in the classrooms and lecture halls. These purposes reflect the values — pluralism, diversity, opportunity, critical intelligence, openness and fairness — that are the cornerstones of American society.

    II. Academic Freedom

    1. The Concept . Academic freedom and intellectual diversity are values indispensable to the American university. From its first formulation in the General Report of the Committee on Academic Freedom and Tenure of the American Association of University Professors, the concept of academic freedom has been premised on the idea that human knowledge is a never-ending pursuit of the truth, that there is no humanly accessible truth that is not in principle open to challenge, and that no party or intellectual faction has a monopoly on wisdom. Therefore, academic freedom is most likely to thrive in an environment of intellectual diversity that protects and fosters independence of thought and speech. In the words of the General Report, it is vital to protect “as the first condition of progress, [a] complete and unlimited freedom to pursue inquiry and publish its results.”

    Because free inquiry and its fruits are crucial to the democratic enterprise itself, academic freedom is a national value as well. In a historic 1967 decision ( Keyishian v. Board of Regents of the University of the State of New York ) the Supreme Court of the United States overturned a New York State loyalty provision for teachers with these words: “Our Nation is deeply committed to safeguarding academic freedom, [a] transcendent value to all of us and not merely to the teachers concerned.” In Sweezy v. New Hampshire, (1957) the Court observed that the “essentiality of freedom in the community of American universities [was] almost self-evident.”

    2. The Practice . Academic freedom consists in protecting the intellectual independence of professors, researchers and students in the pursuit of knowledge and the expression of ideas from interference by legislators or authorities within the institution itself. This means that no political, ideological or religious orthodoxy will be imposed on professors and researchers through the hiring or tenure or termination process, or through any other administrative means by the academic institution. Nor shall legislatures impose any such orthodoxy through their control of the university budget.

    This protection includes students. From the first statement on academic freedom, it has been recognized that intellectual independence means the protection of students – as well as faculty – from the imposition of any orthodoxy of a political, religious or ideological nature. The 1915 General Report admonished faculty to avoid “taking unfair advantage of the student’s immaturity by indoctrinating him with the teacher’s own opinions before the student has had an opportunity fairly to examine other opinions upon the matters in question, and before he has sufficient knowledge and ripeness of judgment to be entitled to form any definitive opinion of his own.” In 1967, the AAUP’s Joint Statement on Rights and Freedoms of Students reinforced and amplified this injunction by affirming the inseparability of “the freedom to teach and freedom to learn.” In the words of the report, “Students should be free to take reasoned exception to the data or views offered in any course of study and to reserve judgment about matters of opinion.”

    Therefore, to secure the intellectual independence of faculty and students and to protect the principle of intellectual diversity, the following principles and procedures shall be observed.

    These principles fully apply only to public universities and to private universities that present themselves as bound by the canons of academic freedom. Private institutions choosing to restrict academic freedom on the basis of creed have an obligation to be as explicit as is possible about the scope and nature of these restrictions.

    1. All faculty shall be hired, fired, promoted and granted tenure on the basis of their competence and appropriate knowledge in the field of their expertise and, in the humanities, the social sciences, and the arts, with a view toward fostering a plurality of methodologies and perspectives. No faculty shall be hired or fired or denied promotion or tenure on the basis of his or her political or religious beliefs.

    2. No faculty member will be excluded from tenure, search and hiring committees on the basis of their political or religious beliefs.

    3. Students will be graded solely on the basis of their reasoned answers and appropriate knowledge of the subjects and disciplines they study, not on the basis of their political or religious beliefs.

    4. Curricula and reading lists in the humanities and social sciences should reflect the uncertainty and unsettled character of all human knowledge in these areas by providing students with dissenting sources and viewpoints where appropriate. While teachers are and should be free to pursue their own findings and perspectives in presenting their views, they should consider and make their students aware of other viewpoints. Academic disciplines should welcome a diversity of approaches to unsettled questions.

    5. Exposing students to the spectrum of significant scholarly viewpoints on the subjects examined in their courses is a major responsibility of faculty. Faculty will not use their courses for the purpose of political, ideological, religious or anti-religious indoctrination.

    6. Selection of speakers, allocation of funds for speakers programs and other student activities will observe the principles of academic freedom and promote intellectual pluralism.

    7. An environment conducive to the civil exchange of ideas being an essential component of a free university, the obstruction of invited campus speakers, destruction of campus literature or other effort to obstruct this exchange will not be tolerated.

    8. Knowledge advances when individual scholars are left free to reach their own conclusions about which methods, facts, and theories have been validated by research. Academic institutions and professional societies formed to advance knowledge within an area of research, maintain the integrity of the research process, and organize the professional lives of related researchers serve as indispensable venues within which scholars circulate research findings and debate their interpretation. To perform these functions adequately, academic institutions and professional societies should maintain a posture of organizational neutrality with respect to the substantive disagreements that divide researchers on questions within, or outside, their fields of inquiry.

    Op. cit., p. 50

    The Student Bill of Rights Declaración De Derechos Académicos

  • Julie near Chicago

    Links:

    The quote from the 1915 AAUP report is at

    http://www.aaup.org/report/1915-declaration-principles-academic-freedom-and-academic-tenure

    The quote from the 1967 report is contained in the text of Point 1, “Protection of the Freedom of Expression,” at

    http://www.aaup.org/report/joint-statement-rights-and-freedoms-students

    For some back-and-forth via a writeup by the magazine Inside Higher Education on a meeting of the American Historical Association, see

    http://www.studentsforacademicfreedom.org/news/1314/InsideHigherEdMoreCriticismofABOR011006.htm

  • Steven

    All of which sounds fair and equitable and a wonderful thing for a university to have. After all, it’ll protect Austrian School Economists in a world chockfull of Chicago School Economists, right?

    Then take a look at who is involved in pushing for the Academic Bill Of Rights and you’ll see who the bill is designed to protect. People like Michael Behe, a Biochemist and ID proponent who came up with the idea of irreducible complexity…and who when cross-examined during the Kitzmiller v. Dover trial testified that there was no proof of evolution in the immune system and when confronted with something like 57 books and articles on the subject claimed that wasn’t enough. And who can forget when Dr. Behe, under oath, repeatedly claimed that astrology is a valid scientific theory and has yielded some great scientific truths. Yeah. “What’s your sign?” is a scientific proposition. Do you want that guy teaching biochem to the next generation of physicians?

    Or Gerry Bouw, who has a PhD in astronomy from Case Western Reserve, not exactly a diploma mill. He claims that Copernicus, Galileo, Kepler, Newton, Einstein are all wrong because his bronze-age book says so. Five centuries of heliocentric models are wrong according to Dr. Bouw and his proof is the Bible. Do you want him teaching physics to the next generation of engineers?

    Maybe David Irving, the Holocaust denier is looking for a job. Do you want him as part of your history faculty? How excited are you going to be when you find out you kids will be a student of that guy and you get to pay for it?

    That’s who the Academic Bill of Rights is designed to protect and who it is designed to get into academia. People with an agenda to whom intellectual integrity is a foreign idea. When I get done with grad school and become a real astrophysicist, if I walk into an interview and say I think Lemaître was wrong and that the universe was really made about 6,000 years ago and the Earth is in the middle of it all and I know this because the Bible tells me so, I’m not getting hired. With the Academic Bill of Rights, that position can’t be held against me.

    (For full disclosure, I am not an atheist, nor am I anti-Christianity. I am anti-anti-science and recognize that Intelligent Design is just creationism retitled and have no interest in seeing anything involving religion in any science classroom, especially a public school classroom full of children who don’t know better. Also, Dr. Behe does teach biochemistry at Leheigh University, but even his department website distences itself from his ID beliefs. Dr. Bouw taught Computer Science at Baldwin Wallace University and has since retired. David Irving, sadly, has not yet suck started a shotgun.)

  • Julie near Chicago

    In the first place, you’re taking a matter that’s only pertinent through 12th grade and declaring that the ABoR will cause Creationism to be taught at University. But even if it were, the ABoR ALSO protects the rights of students and professors to disagree with it and to voice their disagreement without fear.

    However, in fact the ABoR doesn’t call for ANY particular subject or viewpoint to be taught.

    As for Dr. Behe, as long as he teaches good solid biochemistry and doesn’t demand that his students go to church with him–unlike Left and Liberal profs who are known to require their students to take part in political protests and so forth–who cares what he believes on his own time? The ABoR just says Lehigh can’t force him to follow somebody else’s political agenda, and he can’t use his professorial authority to mince students who don’t share his religious (or earth-historical) views.

    As a matter of fact I myself have a problem with the ABoR, but the only way to solve my problem is to have all colleges and universities completely private — no governmental funds of any sort accepted, and no governmental requirements or restrictions of any sort upon them.

    . . .

    “That’s who the Academic Bill of Rights is designed to protect and who it is designed to get into academia. People with an agenda to whom intellectual integrity is a foreign idea.”

    Let’s have the followers of Marx, Lenin, that GREAT PHILOSOPHER Mao, and the FabioGramsciNazis teaching econ, history, philosophy; and the people who approve Social Text magazine’s articles teaching English. Social Text–you know, the Sokal Hoax. “Transgressing the Boundaries: Towards a Transformative Hermeneutics of Quantum Gravity.” Social Text, 1996. If you don’t know it, look it up. It’s hilarious, especially the subsequent brouhaha.

    And Chumpsky [snark!], and the wonderfully benevolent crew of Hatchface Rahm Emmanuel’s brother Dr. Zeke, Peter Singer the “bioethicist,” and suchlike alleged humans teaching political history and ethics courses.

    And shutting up and shaming any student who dares to voice–or to show any sign of entertaining–a different opinion.

    That’s quite different, of course, because the ideas they are cramming down students’ throats are properly Leftist.

    Anyway, your point is the reason I included the link to the Higher Ed article and subsequent discussion. If you want back-and-forth, you can have it there.

    But I did think that it might be a good thing to put the ABoR out there for all to see for themselves–as I said.

    Meanwhile, if you can design a better one (after acquainting yourself perhaps a little more with the counterarguments), I would be quite happy to sign on to it. In the meantime, while any tool can be misused, it does seem to me that this one is a huge step in the right direction; and it certainly doesn’t close off the Left from screeching all it wants. It merely is an attempt to keep them from intimidating and effectively blacklisting students with non-Left views.

    Also by the way–there’s a lot in even very good ideas that can be misused. So the fact that some alleged nogoodnik (I haven’t heard of the cases you cite) took over part of the ABoR for bad purposes–IF in fact they were bad–doesn’t mean it’s an attempt to establish Devil-Worship on campus.

  • Paul Marks

    What should be taught at a university or school should be up to the owner of he university or school – which certainly should NOT be the government.

    As for “academic freedom” this was a clever con (clever enough to trick Frank Fetter) organised (a century ago) by Richard Ely and his Progressive allies to gain a MONOPOLY for his union-guild of academics – and crush all dissent in the of “academic freedom”. The campaign started with the attack on Jane Stanford (or Standford University) who had pushed Stanford University into fireing a leading Progressive (and vicious racist – he believed that Chinese immigrants were subhuman and should be treated according) – Richard Ely organised a campaign for “tenure” (now spread to schools as well as universities) in the name of “academic freedom” – because he knew that people like HIM (Richard Ely) would decide who got this “tenure” (and so on).

    Why do people think such associations union-guilds (to this day) target the handfull of universities (principly Hillsdale) that are not under the control of the left? Is it just a coincidence?

    The “Christian Right”.

    Do they control the school system of any of the 50 States?

    Samual Adams (back in the 1700s) may have dreamed of a state education system that would teach religion (his view of it), but this is NOT what happens.

    On the contrary – there is brainwashing but NOT by the “Christian Right”.

    It would be good if Lee Moore and other good hearted libertarins actually came to terms with the threat to liberty that actually exists NOW (the “Progressives” who control the schools and universities) rather than a hypothetical threat to freedom that might exist from the “Christian Right”.

    It is not the Christian right that controls the education of 90% of American children (even in Texas 80% of schools were found to be following a far-left curriculum – hard core “Social Justice” propaganda, and moral degeneracy – calling Sam Adams, up in Heaven, still so eager for State education now you have seen how it worked out?).

    By the way to (not on) the “Christian Right”.

    Catholic conseravatives have long taught that evolution does NOT conflict with the basic principles of the Christian faith.

    And Protestants?

    James McCosh (President of what is now Princeton and last of the great Common Sense philosphers in the United States in the 19th century) showed the same thing.

    Indeed the writers of the early 1900s essays on the “Fundementals” of the Christian faith (against the Progressives and their “Social Gospel”) were NOT against the theory of evolution – indeed some of the ORIGINAL “Fundemenatalists” were evolutionary scientists.

    So YOU HAVE FORGOTTEN YOUR OWN HISTORY people.

  • Jaded Voluntaryist

    The intellectual ringfencing some people try to do with regards to ID is actually very sneaky. On the surface it sounds like they are being reasonable, but really they’re not. What they are actually saying is

    “Sure, you can believe what you want. Unless you try and act on those beliefs, or tell anyone about them, or act as if they are true in any way. But yeah, you can believe whatever you want, but as long as you’re in public just pretend you believe what I do, m’kay? We’re all very tolerant here, but is is important that you recognise that we belong at the top…..”

    Which is of course the way most idealogical totalitarianism is packaged these days. I really don’t have a problem with ID. I don’t agree with it, but it doesn’t cause me to loose sleep at night*. Even pop-ID for the most part uses fairly rigorous scientific data as its basis. They use the same data as the evolutionists, they just come to difference conclusions. This is even more true when you get to the more respectable end of ID.

    And as long as the data is sound, as far as I’m concerned you should be able to come to whatever conclusions you want. This should be the very definition of academic freedom. It isn’t, sadly.

    Personally I think ID is the canary in the coal-mine. Unless people are free to come to conclusions that profoundly offends the dominant meta-context, then I don’t think they can really be considered free. This of course applies in public schools as in everywhere else.

    * – Full disclosure. I am a Christian who has some serious reservations about some of the concepts put forward by Evolution, most notably that it is an unintelligent and essentially undirected process. However, I object to ID as an attempt to replace the man-made religion of Scientism with another man-made religion called ID. In my view the universe was built to contain mystery and uncertainty.

  • Lee Moore

    PM : “It would be good if Lee Moore and other good hearted libertarins actually came to terms with the threat to liberty that actually exists NOW (the “Progressives” who control the schools and universities) rather than a hypothetical threat to freedom that might exist from the “Christian Right”.”

    Lee Moore has fully come to terms with this reality, as this was pretty much what he was saying to Steven. But although the current threat comes almost entirely from the progressives (and further lefties) we must not forgot that almost everybody has bossy tendencies. Even Steven who I am sure harbors no conscious desire to boss people about has a real reluctance to acknowledge let go of the reins when he finds people teaching what he regards as nonsense. As you say, the only people who should be telling teachers what to teach are their (private) employers. And the great merit of private employer-bossing is that there are lots of employers. If employer A doesn’t want you to teach intelligent design, or critical race theory, maybe employer B will feel differently. But no state employers please.

    Meanwhile I think Steven is greatly overestimating the horrors of “anti-science” teaching. By sheer coincidence I have met the arch-fiend Behe (a little hobbit-like creature) when Mrs Moore’s godchild was seeking a place at Lehigh. He was obviously an eccentric and an enthusiast – just the sort of chap that one would want teaching students. From my memory of university there were all sorts of weirdos teaching you stuff. They made you think, but nobody would have dreamed of believing what they said simply as a matter of authority. Having read up on Behe a bit since meeting him, it is obvious that he poses no danger to anyone. His views are essentially quarantined in biological academia, and some of his examples of irreducible complexity have provoked more orthodox evolutionists to explore his irreducible complexities till they have found reductions in them ! Just how science is supposed to work.

    Meanwhile the Behes of the world are as tiny pinpricks compared with progressive anti-evolutionists, eg the anti-sociobiology jihadists like Gould and his fellow travellers. But the solution is not to silence both Behe and those on the left who are reluctant to accept that genetics and evolution apply to humans just as much as other animals. It is to let it all hang out and steadily separate the crap from the diamonds.

  • Julie near Chicago

    By the way–I am quite sure that neither David Horowitz (who wrote the original version of the ABoR under present discussion), nor the Students for Academic Freedom, nor conservatives generally, nor the “Christian Right,” that monolithic juggernaut whom left-thinking folk everywhere know is the greatest threat to Life, the Universe and Everything, has the slightest sympathy with Holocaust Deniers, especially not the vocal and combative ones like David Irving (who also perpetrate lies as historians).

    But Mr. Horowitz, the Students for Academic Freedom, and most of the others recognize that sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. As long as the lunatics and liars of various views make no attempts, overt or covert, to indoctrinate nor to punish nor to blacklist students and other faculty members with their garbage–none of them are to be silenced. Indeed Mr. Horowitz defended Ward Churchill (he of the remark that the Twin Towers victims deserved to die because they were all “little Eichmanns”) against being fired by the U. of Colorado on the grounds of his beliefs, which Mr. Horowitz abhorred and abhors. (Churchill was eventually fired on grounds of acadamic malfeasance, namely, plagiarism and “academic fabrications.”

    To be perfectly clear: Horowitz defended Churchill’s right to hold and speak his beliefs when off-duty, NOT his right to plagiarize or to teach falsehoods.

    Of course, that’s within the area of educational institutions accepting funding (including grants) from government. Private institutions like Hillsdale should be completely free to hire whom and teach what they please–and to require morning Chapel if they want.

    If the New School (formerly the New School for Social Research, founded by Frankfurt School expats and damaging the intellectual and political fabric ever since) were innocent of all “public funding,” then it would enjoy the same right–under Paul’s preferred regime, and David Horowitz’s (I’m pretty sure), and mine.

  • Paul Marks

    Lee Moore – I stand corrected (it is difficult for me to follow a thread when it just appears as posts in my in-box). By the way why I type badly (leave out letters and so on) please feel free to correct my typing (do not just type it back at me – letter for letter).

    The bossy instincts that every group has can be dealt with by allowing NONE OF THEM to put their hands in the pockets of taxpayers, and do not all ANY group the government whip to tell people where to put their children.

    “But what if the parents do not teach their children about evolution – or send them to a school that will do so”.

    Well that is indeed upsetting – but a lesser evil (a LOT lesser an evil).

    Julie….

    Yes indeed – films and television likes to pretend that American antisemitism is dominated by shaven headed thugs with Southern accents.

    In reality American antisemitism is dominated by leftist teachers, academics, media people (and other such).

    Including the (oft ignored) “Religious Left” (all the heat about the religious right – misses the religous left). The Liberation Theology Catholics (and Liberation Theology Protestants) and the “New Evangelicals” among Protestants (people who see how the evangelical style fills churches – and try to steal the clothing of the evangelicals for the old leftist agenda that emptied the “mainline” churches).

  • The Wobbly Guy

    Wait, so Troy supports segregation? Even de facto segregation when white Americans decide to stay away from African-Americans and try all sorts of schemes to keep them away from their neighbourhoods?

    How racist of him.

    ^_-

  • Julie near Chicago

    JP,

    I call you out on using the phrase “Michael Bloomberg” in the hearing (or eyeshot) of decent people.

    Kindly watch your language.

    ;)

  • Julie near Chicagobut

    By the way — Steven writes,

    “When I get done with grad school and become a real astrophysicist, if I walk into an interview and say I think Lemaître was wrong and that the universe was really made about 6,000 years ago and the Earth is in the middle of it all and I know this because the Bible tells me so, I’m not getting hired. With the Academic Bill of Rights, that position can’t be held against me.”

    Horsefeathers. That’s maybe true if you’re applying for a position in the Underwater Basketweaving Department, but not if, as I presume, you’re wanting a job teaching physics or astrophysics or Earth Science; because in those cases, your words would show you lack professional expertise, which is prima facie grounds for their refusal to hire you. (Unless The Gov decides that you need to be of some other color or gender or a member of some other Designated Victim Group.)

    By the way, stranger things have happened than that “57 books and articles have agreed” that something not only unproven but virtually certainly downright false is True and Correct Science. And Warble Gloaming is far from the first example of same. So this argument is just an Appeal to Authority, which doesn’t prove anything. (Not saying the Prof is correct–just that the statement suggests one possible prejudicial factor in your estimate of Dr. Behe’s teaching.)

    Finally, you really should stop listening to the nitwits in your department and probably your social circle (which I think probably includes your fellow science students) who just spout the latest MSM/HuffPo/Humanities-Depts’/”Public-Intellectuals'” drivel on matters on which they’re either mostly ignorant, or pursuing an agenda of squashing certain ideas and movements. Find out for yourself who is REALLY “behind,” that is the originating force of, the ABoR. Find out from his and their own writings what they are really about. Many groups have come out in favor of the ABoR, and some of them have tried to take it farther than its originator inItended; but they are not the people who came up with the idea and got it going.

    Speaking of sources not to believe: Democratic Underground, Daily Kos, Counterpunch (if still in existence), CommonDreams.org, and one you may not know: Loonwatch. Any of them might say something that’s actually true, of course–stopped clock and all that, but I wouldn’t accept anything any of them says without confirmation from a reasonably credible source. ;)

  • Julie near Chicago

    No–now I see what it was. My signature was messed up. I didn’t do it (at least, not on purpose, and I certainly didn’t notice it)–this particular keyboard seems to have a bad habit of moving the cursor around and also hitting key shortcuts without getting instructions to do so.

    I will try to pay extra attention to that.

    Apologies.

  • we must not forgot that almost everybody has bossy tendencies

    Indeed, Lee. But there’s also the flip side of that coin that we must not forget: there are also people who have a tendency to be bossed.

    To somewhat ameliorate having ruined everyone’s day, a complementary link.

  • Greg

    Mr. Marks points out that “Catholic conservatives have long taught that evolution does not conflict with Catholicism…” I agree, in fact in my view–which is just my view not the result of a lifelong, intense search for pure truth, wisdom, etc supported by scientific inquiry and spirit guided meditation–I start from an assumption that everyone of good faith expounding on some topic is correct insofar as they correctly view and analyze that topic (and we all lack complete, correct information and we reason imperfectly). Our challenge is to reconcile conflicting views from people of good faith as in “how can they both be right?” How to reconcile Creationism and TBBT: in the beginning…darkness was on the face of the deep…and God said Be light made.” Now which is more miraculous, God creating things 6000 years ago more or less as they are now or God creating everything in an instant, infinitely small, with infinite (nearly so) energy, and have it all expand at the speed of light and slowly morph under Physical Laws that He created, into molecules and solids that eventually became us? As stories go, I like the latter better! Happy Easter all!

  • Paul Marks

    Happy Easter indeed Greg.

  • bobby b

    I want us all to be free to be annoyed with each other from our separate corners. Is that too much to ask?

    Yes. Such minor annoyances invariably biuld and combine and come to a head and then lead to war. War is messy, expensive, and is the most common cause of stresses that remove the power from the powerful.

    The power-conserving treatment of bulk societal annoyance lies in identifying and squishing each individual annoyance – individually. As war no longer need involve geographical boundaries, we no longer need to wage our wars against a “Them”, against some discrete horde of people “over there”. Instead, we can carefully search out those individuals, one at a time, of whom “Them” consists, and marginalize and correct and dispose of them quietly, individually, without triggering a reaction that brings the entire “Them” horde against us at once.

    Unless you can play the game as well as the powerful, you will always fall further and further behind in the hunting of individuals. If you can play that game well, you might struggle to stay even at best. If you want to actually prevail, then you must mount a mass defense against the hunters. We usually label that mass defense as “war.”

  • bobby b

    . . . if I walk into an interview and say I think Lemaître was wrong and that the universe was really made about 6,000 years ago and the Earth is in the middle of it all and I know this because the Bible tells me so, I’m not getting hired.

    Well, I should hope not. Go apply to teach at your church.

    Look, I’m a pretty hard-core conservative (albeit in a pretty liberal northern state within the U.S.) So are most of my friends. So are many of my acquaintances across the U.S. I’m an agnostic. So are some of my friends and acquaintances. Some of them are religious, whether they be Christian, Jewish, Bahain, or whatever.

    NONE of us holds (or at least professes) any religion-inspired beliefs concerning the origins of our world that contradict in any way the theories inspired by the evolutionary record or the geologic record. 6000 years old? No, sorry.

    But religions are at a strange place in the evolution of societies. Basic core beliefs in every religion are cluttered by the minutia that always surrounds and pervades each religion’s self-selected histories and traditions. There’s long been a sense that failing to support the minutia means admitting that the core principles are also error. But I suspect that’s changing.

    More and more, “religious” people embrace religion for its central messages, while trying not to be challenged on the minutia which they recognize as deeply flawed. For every one person who reads Genesis literally, I would guess five hundred take it as parable, or even as wrongly-relied-upon writings having nothing to do with a godhead but selected as sacred Word by the misinformed and mislead.

    As a fairly active and involved conservative, how many people do I personally know who believe that gay marriage is wrong because it violates religious precepts? None. How many do I know who believe the earth was formed 6000 years ago? None. How many do I know who follow some Intelligent Design belief? None.

    Sure, there are some out there who buy into all of these beliefs. The number has been decreasing for decades, though, and they now make up a much smaller part of our conservative coalition. The legislation pushed by conservatives is now almost free of the influence of those groups, but it serves the needs of liberals to portray conservatives as fundamental Christians.

    And please keep in mind that opposition to abortion need not be driven by religion. Many of us have a purely secular moral revulsion to the intellectual dishonesty that allows us to consider the rights of a woman as always, by definition, trumping even a discussion of the value of those rights as against the value of the rights of the kids. When we outlawed slavery, we arbitrarily stole from the property owners their established “rights” in the slaves they had purchased, because we recognized that the “rights” claimed by can not completely trump another’s rights.

  • Laird

    “As a fairly active and involved conservative, how many people do I personally know who believe that gay marriage is wrong because it violates religious precepts? None. How many do I know who believe the earth was formed 6000 years ago? None. How many do I know who follow some Intelligent Design belief? None.”

    Bobby B, your observations are colored by your location (in a “pretty liberal northern state”). Spend some time down here in the Bible Belt and I can assure you that the answers to your questions would not be “none”; not even close. And while my observations undoubtedly are equally colored by location, I don’t agree that the number of people who hold such beliefs is decreasing. Not from where I sit, anyway.