Tuesday, October 28, 2008

What happened at the NKU mock trial of the creationist teacher

Someone complained in the comments section of a previous post that I had not given an update on the mock trial of a creation teacher at Northern Kentucky University event.

Here is the account of the event from P. Z. Myers blog Pharyngula, a pro-evolution blog. The worst the correspondent seemed to be able to say was that one of the qeustioners was a "plant" for one of the creationist witnesses during the Q&A time at the end of the trial. His evidence for the person being a plant was that he read his question from a piece of paper (and we know people never read questions from a piece of paper unless they're plants, right?).

At the end, the audience voted on whether the teacher should get her job back. Here are the results, also from Pharyngula:

36%Believe she should remain fired.
2%Believe she should remain fired, but for other reasons.
4%Believed should she keep her job, providing she stop including young earth science research as part of her teaching.
28%Believed she should keep her job, if she agrees to make it clear when teaching young earth research that most scientists reject that research and accept evolution as the explanation for the origins of the Earth and its plant and animal life.
31%Should be given her job back unconditionally (that is, she should be permitted to continue presenting research by young earth scientists that challenges evolution).


Anonymous said...

Glad to see that you accept the ID is a form of creationism.

Martin Cothran said...

I suggest you check your eyesight.

Anonymous said...

I was the one who questioned the lack of followup. Mr Cothran was concerned about the "fairness" and I was wondering what people thought about that particular aspect. [As I pointed out earlier, scientific conclusions aren't reached by popular acclaim.] Anyhow, there seems to have been more confusion in the proceedings than indicated in Mr Cothran's post. These are someone else's comments:

The information set out before the event began clearly stated that the teacher had been warned but continued to teach ID.
The confusion in the room as far as the verdict (at least this is my opinion) was between those who read the material, and therefore were given the impression that she lied in her testimony, and those who didn't read it and assumed that she was being truthful and hadn't been warned.
The teacher and her attorney stated repetedly that she didn't believe, or teach, Young Earth Creationism. The material was actually Intelligent Design.
The superintendant and his lawyer continuously ignored that fact and argued against YEC. There was no discussion of ID specifically except for the points made by Dr. Scripture in support of it.
It was either complete incompetance or someone got railroaded.
Finding the table of ID propaganda on the way out made you feel like someone had pulled one over on you.
Had I played the attorney for the school board, with no legal or biological training, I'd have slaughtered them. You couldn't help but feel that the towel was being thrown in.
Add to that the fact that the expert witness for the defense had no scientific credentials but was perfectly willing to speak in arrogant and condesending tones about his atheism (thus supporting the believe in god OR believe in evolution argument) and you have to wonder just what the hell they INTENDED the outcome to be.
I am very tempted to call Mark Neikirk and see if I can get some details on who put this little fiasco together and what information was given to the players but if I found out that my concerns were valid I'd go through the roof.
All in all, a ridiculous sham disguised as a legitimate conversation. A real pity that it had to happen in a place of learning.


Anonymous said...

"the audience voted"

How stupid is this? The audience's opinions are meaningless. You can have a Federal trial on the constitutionality of teaching creationism (like 1987 and 2005) or you can have an administrative trial on whether or not the dismissal was justified or you can have a civil trial for "damages". But you really ought to have a judge who is "in control" and lawyers who are competent at their assigned task. Massive fail for this exercise in silliness as a "debate".

"make it clear when teaching young earth research"

Oops - constitutionally forbidden.

"continue presenting research by young earth scientists"


In other words, a lot of the audience didn't know or didn't care that this is unconstitutional. And no judge or lawyer bothered to tell them???