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Using Copyrights To Fight Intelligent Design 1634

An anonymous reader writes "The National Academies' National Research Council and the National Science Teachers Association are using the power of copyright to ensure that students in Kansas receive a robust education. They're backed by the AAS: The American Association for the Advancement of Science." From the release: "[they] have decided they cannot grant the Kansas State School Board permission to use substantial sections of text from two standards-related documents: the research council's 'National Science Education Standards' and 'Pathways to Science Standards', published by NSTA. The organizations sent letters to Kansas school authorities on Wednesday, Oct. 26 requesting that their copyrighted material not be used ... Leshner said AAAS backs the decision on copyright permission. 'We need to protect the integrity of science education if we expect the young people of Kansas to be fully productive members of an increasingly competitive world economy that is driven by science and technology ... We cannot allow young people to be denied an appropriate science education simply on ideological grounds.'"
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Using Copyrights To Fight Intelligent Design

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 30, 2005 @03:44PM (#13909931)
    We cannot allow young people to be denied an appropriate science education simply on ideological grounds

    So that's exactly what we're going to do! Instead of getting mostly science with a bit of creationism thrown it, now it's no science at all. Good job denying the young people a science education and punishing the people not responsible.
    • I think the idea is that the school board will feel the same way about it as you, and will captiulate to the scientific community's demands lest the kidlets go entirely knowledge free. Probably won't happen, but it seems to be that that's the goal.
    • by SatanicPuppy ( 611928 ) <> on Sunday October 30, 2005 @03:50PM (#13909966) Journal
      Seems more like they're refusing to allow junk science and superstition to be cloaked in legitimacy.

      Frankly I'd rather those kids were taught no science at all, than to be taught crap science. If we allow politicians the right to decide what is true in science, we are well and truly screwed.
      • by rbochan ( 827946 ) on Sunday October 30, 2005 @04:51PM (#13910335) Homepage
        ...than people had feared.
        According to this article [] that was posted to Fark yesterday... the school administration, aka the ones who voted to include ID in the curriculum, didn't even bother to research the concept at all.

        A couple of choice quotes from one of the Einsteins on that board:

        "They said it was a scientific thing," said Geesey, who added that "it wasn't my job" to learn more about intelligent design because she didn't serve on the curriculum committee."


        "The only people in the school district with a scientific background were opposed to intelligent design ... and you ignored them?" he asked.

        "Yes," Geesey said."

        Grade-A fucking scary.

    • by efuseekay ( 138418 ) on Sunday October 30, 2005 @03:52PM (#13909972)

      They are making a point.

      Do you think the parents of Kansas will allow their children to go to schools who do not have the materials to teach science? The idea is to make a ruckus, raise the profile of the idiocy of the Kansas Board of Education, who are basically quietly destroying science education as Dorothy knows it in Kansas.

      Now, if Kansas parents collectively shrug their shoulders and say,"Well, no science is Ok.", then they deserve to have their children shut out of every known college/university/whatever-you-name-it in the world (not just the US). Of course, in this case, the children become the victims. But, chances are the KBE will be voted out post-haste before they have a chance to reach this level of idiocy.
      • by delcielo ( 217760 ) on Sunday October 30, 2005 @06:01PM (#13910785) Journal
        Ironically, one of the reasons I've sent my daughter to a Catholic school here is that they teach evolution. They also mention that people who view the bible literally don't believe in evolution; but evolution is taught in the science class as science. Being a Catholic school gives them the freedom to make the simple statement about the literalists without there being a problem with the separation of church and state.

        If, however, there had been no school in our area that taught evolution, I would have taught it to her myself. After all, that's what we're here for, isn't it? Any idiot can make sandwiches. It's times like these when you get a chance to actually parent.

        There's an important point that the creationists miss in all of that. Kids will still be taught evolution regardless of whether or not they get their way with the standards. 99 percent of the parents in this state will tell their kids that evolution is fact. Some of the rest will find themselves explaining evolution simply to inform their kids about the debate. Still more kids will simply hear it from eachother or from media, the internet, etc.

        Everybody will hear or learn about evolution, and the standards won't change which side of the debate people fall on. This whole thing about changing the standards is not only idealogically questionable, it's not practical or effective. They're achieving nothing but ridicule.

        I for one hope that the board members continue to vocally extoll their positions and beliefs here; because the more they talk, the more unreasonable they sound. Like most of the ultra-conservative movement in this nation, the Kansas Creationists are running headlong for a backlash.

    • by Yahweh Doesn't Exist ( 906833 ) on Sunday October 30, 2005 @03:55PM (#13909990)
      they're fighting for their ideals. people don't like to comprimise on those. Martin Luther King didn't have a dream about "mostly equality with a bit of racism thrown in".

      why settle for "mostly science with a bit of creationism thrown in" if the bit of creationism undermines the entire scientific method?
  • Arrooooo? (Score:5, Funny)

    by SatanicPuppy ( 611928 ) <> on Sunday October 30, 2005 @03:44PM (#13909932) Journal
    Holy crap! Two wrongs DO make a right!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 30, 2005 @03:47PM (#13909950)
    Luckily, the offical text of the Flying Spaghetti Monster [] is published under a free license!
  • by saskboy ( 600063 ) on Sunday October 30, 2005 @03:53PM (#13909977) Homepage Journal
    [Taken from ebate-on-intelligent-design-that.html [] ]
    The only debate on Intelligent Design that is worthy of its subject

    Moderator: We're here today to debate the hot new topic, evolution versus Intelligent Des---

    (Scientist pulls out baseball bat.)

    Moderator: Hey, what are you doing?

    (Scientist breaks Intelligent Design advocate's kneecap.)

    Intelligent Design advocate: YEAAARRRRGGGHHHH! YOU BROKE MY KNEECAP!

    Scientist: Perhaps it only appears that I broke your kneecap. Certainly, all the evidence points to the hypothesis I broke your kneecap. For example, your kneecap is broken; it appears to be a fresh wound; and I am holding a baseball bat, which is spattered with your blood. However, a mere preponderance of evidence doesn't mean anything. Perhaps your kneecap was designed that way. Certainly, there are some features of the current situation that are inexplicable according to the "naturalistic" explanation you have just advanced, such as the exact contours of the excruciating pain that you are experiencing right now.

    Intelligent Design advocate: AAAAH! THE PAIN!

    Scientist: Frankly, I personally find it completely implausible that the random actions of a scientist such as myself could cause pain of this particular kind. I have no precise explanation for why I find this hypothesis implausible --- it just is. Your knee must have been designed that way!

    Intelligent Design advocate: YOU BASTARD! YOU KNOW YOU DID IT!

    Scientist: I surely do not. How can we know anything for certain? Frankly, I think we should expose people to all points of view. Furthermore, you should really re-examine whether your hypothesis is scientific at all: the breaking of your kneecap happened in the past, so we can't rewind and run it over again, like a laboratory experiment. Even if we could, it wouldn't prove that I broke your kneecap the previous time. Plus, let's not even get into the fact that the entire universe might have just popped into existence right before I said this sentence, with all the evidence of my alleged kneecap-breaking already pre-formed.

    Intelligent Design advocate: That's a load of bullpoop sophistry! Get me a doctor and a lawyer, not necessarily in that order, and we'll see how that plays in court!

    Scientist (turning to audience): And so we see, ladies and gentlemen, when push comes to shove, advocates of Intelligent Design do not actually believe any of the arguments that they profess to believe. When it comes to matters that hit home, they prefer evidence, the scientific method, testable hypotheses, and naturalistic explanations. In fact, they strongly privilege naturalistic explanations over supernatural hocus-pocus or metaphysical wankery. It is only within the reality-distortion field of their ideological crusade that they give credence to the flimsy, ridiculous arguments which we so commonly see on display. I must confess, it kind of felt good, for once, to be the one spouting free-form bullshit; it's so terribly easy and relaxing, compared to marshaling rigorous arguments backed up by empirical evidence. But I fear that if I were to continue, then it would be habit-forming, and bad for my soul. Therefore, I bid you adieu.
  • by Hesperus ( 16733 ) on Sunday October 30, 2005 @03:54PM (#13909981) Homepage
    It's about durned time somebody rekonized that we wuz put here by Ayleens! I luv Intellegent design!
    • by RichardX ( 457979 ) on Sunday October 30, 2005 @04:02PM (#13910022) Homepage
      As Penn & Teller said, it's interesting to note that there are two groups who believe the exact same thing...
      IDers believe that we were put here by an "unspecified intelligence", which should coincide perfectly with the Raelian belief that were were put here by aliens... yet, put the two in a room fast enough, and the IDer can't back away fast enough.

      I guess you can have any "unspecified intelligence" you like so long as it's the Judeo-Christian God.
  • Crazy. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by twitter ( 104583 ) on Sunday October 30, 2005 @03:59PM (#13910006) Homepage Journal
    How, exactly, will students in Kansas be better educated when they have less access to information?

    How also can they deny Kansas fair use quotation of parts of their standards documents?

    Oh wait, it gets worse! []

    Therefore, despite much outstanding material contained in the standards, we have no choice but to ask the KSBE to refrain from referencing or quoting from NSTA Pathways in the KSES.

    Refrain from REFERENCING them? That's nuts, out of control.

  • Isn't this the sort of copyright abuse that would have all of Slashdot up in arms yelling "Fair use! Fair use!" if it were being employed in any other context?

    I happen to think that Intelligent Design is stupid (albeit considerably less stupid than the "scientific creatonism" it replaced). But I fail to see it as so incredibly heinous that it requires Slashdot to abandon its previous principled stance on the abuse of copyright and the right of fair use. How can you wail loud and long about Microsoft, The Church of Scientology, etc. to abuse their copyrights, but when The National Academies' National Research Council and the National Science Teachers Association do the same thing, then the ends justify the means? Fair use for me, but not for thee?

    Evidently any principle can be compromised if you hate your enemies enough.

    • I call Troll. (Score:3, Insightful)

      by PCM2 ( 4486 )
      This is a straw-man argument and it comes up so often that it's virtually a new category of troll.

      Fact: Slashdot readers love copyright. The GNU General Public License is a document that depends on copyright. It is a license that documents the terms under which the software developer grants a license to use, copy, and modify the copyrighted work. Fail to comply with the terms and the license is revoked, at which point the customary laws regarding copyright infringement apply.

      I don't hear too many people "wa
    • by Cederic ( 9623 ) on Sunday October 30, 2005 @05:34PM (#13910619) Journal

      You appear to have adopted the fallicious opinion that Slashdot is a single entity with a single mind.

      In reality lots of people think lots of different ways.

      I suspect you'll also find many Slashdot readers are very much in favour of copyrights. After all, the GPL and 'Free' software rely heavily on them.

      The inclusion of the standards from the National Science Teachers Association would be far beyond fair use - it is a derivative work. Worse than that, it (rightly or wrongly) implies support from that body for the derivative work.

      Preventing derivative works that detract greatly from someone (other than satire) is not generally something people rail against here on Slashdot.

  • by 0WaitState ( 231806 ) on Sunday October 30, 2005 @04:14PM (#13910085)
    Learn the truth about the Flying Spaghetti Monster [], essentially intelligent design with the diety replaced by the flying spaghetti monster. No more provable/disprovable than ID, and lots more fun.
  • by brian.glanz ( 849625 ) on Sunday October 30, 2005 @04:23PM (#13910139) Homepage Journal
    Curious what with all the recent debate about use of the word "theory," [] as Boyle writes up, that the AAAS' CEO Leshner refers to evolution, FTA: "as a scientific organizing principle."

    Sad that piddling language parsing, legalese, even copyright are what the American Thinkers have to trot out to "win" the debate with the American Believers. How did the intellectuals lose this one --> we had the religious sitting in public classrooms for decades, being taught science and certainly being taught evolution, with blind religious belief kept strictly separate from the curriculum.

    Now, less than half of the U.S. "believes in evolution?" []

    Even I grew up in conservative Catholic schools, but I was taught evolution. It's not as if the majority of Americans were taught creationism in school. We've lost this battle on two fronts: in the classroom, obviously, where we're in complete control and we've no excuses, and then in the churches and temples across this country.

    This is a massive, historic failure by American intellectuals and American education. Scientific methodology, philosophy, nay critical thinking have not been adequately communicated to the tens of millions of people who now also believe they, their country and their president "lead the world," "police the world," and are the world's "only Super Power." We have a Believer for what they call "the leader of the free world."

    Here's a thought: 99% of us reading and writing here loved science and math class, we couldn't get enough of it. I still see some sigs here and there with "Jesus saved me and he can save you, too" appending an otherwise critically considered opinion. Generally speaking though, we're not blind Believers.

    So I'm preaching to the choir, in some respects, except that rather than preaching I'm really saying: we've failed, failed the American people and in some regard the world, for at least one entire generation. What are we going to do about it?

    It could be as simple as communication. Maybe the thinkers should learn to play organs and guitars, write some melodramatic music and stories about the origins of the universe, life and humankind. While marching around with candles and holding up portraits of Great Scientists, we can explain the afterlife (worm pudding), but in a comforting way ( maybe some of Thanatopsis? []). We can discuss modding, karmatic /., and maybe Newton's third law of motion (action, reaction) so the congregation understands justice in a critically considered and organized nature.

    If we dress science up a bit, teach it as Truth (not as right or wrong, but as critically considered and open minded). We could strongly recommend that all people, for all their life, attend a science class every Sunday morning.

    I'm willing to propose that if families regularly attended science class together, we would all enjoy a more reasonable, and more peaceful world.

    As much as we intellectuals have failed to "save" the believers, we can take a hard look at where this country has been since 2000 and say undoubtedly, that even moreso the believers have failed us all. Are not the biggest sinners walking this earth today also those most loudly denouncing sin?


  • by zappepcs ( 820751 ) on Sunday October 30, 2005 @04:28PM (#13910173) Journal
    It amazes me that anyone will simply settle for believing in ID (my family included) because it doesn't bother to explore or learn, it is simply settling for the idea that "oh, its too big and complex for me to understand, so some intelligent being must have done it, some greater person must have done it, so there is no point in me trying to understand it"

    It doesn't matter 'who' or what created the universe or life, science is about discovering as much as we can about it. 60+ billion year old bones doesn't jive with ID or Christianity. There are thousands of ways to argue, but my point is that who cares... they are BOTH theories, and arguing that one is better or more right than the other is simply making yourself a zealot, and worthy of dispise, or worse, belittlement.

    Its just sad that with so much information at our collective disposal, that we still have this kind of zealotry involved in simple things like presenting THEORIES...
  • by John Hasler ( 414242 ) on Sunday October 30, 2005 @04:37PM (#13910232) Homepage
    This sort of appalling misuse of copyright to advance ideology is another reason why standards should not be subject to restrictive copyright licensing.

    No, I am not a "fundamentalist". In fact, I am an atheist who knows damn well that "intelligent design" -> "creationism" -> religion -> bunk. Nontheless I find this method of opposing the establishment of religion unacceptable.
  • by MrByte420 ( 554317 ) * on Sunday October 30, 2005 @05:25PM (#13910558) Journal
    If conservatives don't believe in Evolution, then why are they so worried about bird flu? :-)
  • by Flying pig ( 925874 ) on Sunday October 30, 2005 @06:00PM (#13910777)
    As a newbie around here, I am frankly amazed at some of what is being posted. People in the 21st century, presumably many in technical careers, are writing about Intelligent Design as if it wasn't just another derivation of one of the so-called 7 proofs of the existence of God. This is a pre-medieval discussion!

    To my mind, it's a pity that basic history of science and history of religion is not taught in schools. It might come as a shock to a lot of Americans to discover that a lot of the people who discovered that Creationism was bunk were mostly ordained clergy in the Church of England (==Episcopalians), working in Cambridge in the 19th century. As they gradually understood the geological history of the Earth and the fossil record, as they took on the ideas of evolution, the sheer weight of evidence caused a lot of them to re-think the basics of their faith. In other words, it was the people with the theological background - men who could easily read the Bible in the original, which is more than I imagine the Kansas Board of Education can do - who accumulated and accepted the evidence that the Bible could not be literally true, and had to think out their theology based on the new discoveries. The -I choose the word with care- garbage that is Intelligent Design is part of a trend of thought that any well educated student of theology will know is fatally flawed. So why is this discussion still going on?

    The problem, of course, is that a lot of religion in the US grew in a cultural vacuum. It took place on the frontiers, well away from the academic world in Europe (and the East Coast.) That's how ludicrous religions like Mormonism were able to evolve: uneducated people with limited vocabularies didn't realise that prophets with names like Moron and Ether were either the result of ignorance or exploitation. It hurts me to say this, because I have relatives descended from a family member who was on the first of the Mormon treks to Utah and they are fine people. But they have also not had the educational opportunities of the English side of the family, who in recent history got their educations at Cambridge, Oxford and London and as a result regard both Mormons and Southern Baptists in much the same light as Wahabis or Hassidim. It's extraordinary that George Bush senior, for whom I have a lot of time, is an educated man who knows that Christian fundamentalism is deeply flawed, while his son claims to embrace it. But it's just like an educated Pakistani or Iranian struggling to understand why his son is picking up aggressive (and regressive) ideas down the madrissah.

    Until I found that people were still taking this stuff seriously, I used to think that Richard Dawkins and Jay Gould protested too much. But now I realise that there is a huge tide of reaction in the US, and that it needs to be stopped and reversed or it will ultimately lead to new wars of religion. It's absurd to watch American politicians attacking reactionary Islam and claiming to spread democracy while being prepared, in support of reactionary Christianity, to reduce women's rights. Theologically, I suspect all fundamentalists are much the same at bottom, and they are never happier than when they are either fighting fundamentalists of different religions, or fighting non-fundamentalists of their own religion.

  • by mr_z_beeblebrox ( 591077 ) on Sunday October 30, 2005 @06:07PM (#13910827) Journal
    Thank the FSM

    Pastafarianism wins again!!
  • by alucinor ( 849600 ) on Sunday October 30, 2005 @06:17PM (#13910886) Journal
    I remember from my AI class in college that we don't even have a concrete scientific definition of intelligence. So then how can "intelligent design" even be a topic of discussion? We should show students that there is an amazing and remarkable pattern in the evolution of species and in the complexity of their composition, and that this pattern extends throughout the universe. But what to conclude from this pattern is either: 1) It appears to be a pattern only because if the universe weren't so ordered, we wouldn't be here to perceive it in the first place (anthropic principle). This would also lead you to think that there must be an infinity of universes: a continuum infinity of dud universe that have bad physics, and a countable infinity of successful universes that have good physics which actually work out. 2) There is only one universe, so some huge meta-physic must guide its processes. Some may call this meta-physic God. From (1) you might also decide that we're actually living in a dud universe, since it really is breaking down. Who knows, maybe it's nothing more than a flash-in-the-pan pop, and there are actually far more elegant and robust, eternal universes out there.

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