West Virginia lawsuit filed to ban teaching evolution since it’s a “faith”

May 27, 2015 • 9:30 am

To paraphrase Clarence Darrow, creationism is always busy and needs feeding, and their lawsuits and incursions into the schools won’t stop until religion is no longer with us. Fortunately, this latest lawsuit, reported by the National Center for Science Education (NCSE), is a bull-goose loser. (The short 3-page complaint is here.) The state is West Virginia, and Kenneth Smith is asking for his daughter not to be taught evolution in her public school because it’s a “faith” that will hurt his her education. The claim is that teaching evolution itself violates the First Amendment. The relevant bit:

Screen shot 2015-05-27 at 8.46.26 AM

This is not really novel, as lots of creationists—and even some secular folks—claim that science itself is based on faith (or is a faith) and I’ve heard people argue (one of them, I believe, is my friend Larry Moran) that while teaching that the Earth is 4.6 billion years old is legal, teaching that it is not 10,000 years old is unconstitutional in the U.S.. The latter is supposed to be an unwarranted attack on religion, but I’m not convinced.

But this lawsuit has no legs. As the NCSE reports:

Absent from the complaint is any mention of the relevant case law. In McLean v. Arkansas (1982), for example, the court commented, “it is clearly established in the case law, and perhaps also in common sense, that evolution is not a religion and that teaching evolution does not violate the Establishment Clause.”

Similarly, in Peloza v. Capistrano School District (1994), the court characterized the Supreme Court’s decision in Edwards v. Aguillard (1987) as holding “unequivocally that while the belief in a divine creator of the universe is a religious belief, the scientific theory that higher forms of life evolved from lower forms is not.”

Let us be clear: the only reason people like Kenneth Smith characterize evolution as a “faith” is because it contravenes their own religion. As tons of evidence attest, evolution is a fact, and evolutionary biology is a well-established branch of science, no more a “faith” than organic chemistry, quantum mechanics, or cell biology. Frankly, I’m surprised the lawsuit isn’t just dismissed out of hand.

h/t: Lauren

157 thoughts on “West Virginia lawsuit filed to ban teaching evolution since it’s a “faith”

  1. It will be dismissed out of hand because, first and foremost, it lacks a jurisdictional clause. “The man who represents himself has a fool for a client.”

    1. I was going to comment on your prior post–but you beat me to it!

      District courts often review pro se complaints and will dismiss them if they’re deeply flawed. I won’t be surprised if this one is dismissed sua sponte.

      If not, the defendants will file a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, which should prevail.

  2. that while teaching that the Earth is 4.6 billion years old is legal, teaching that it is not 10,000 years old is unconstitutional in the U.S.. The latter is supposed to be an unwarranted attack on religion, but I’m not convinced.

    I know little about US laws but I find it implausible, too. For one, teaching the former entails that the latter is false. For another, a law would have many a loophole. If it said you couldn’t say that 10,000 is false, can you say 10,000 + 1 Day is false, then? How about 9,000 years, or 11,000. It’s unfeasible to enforce this.

    1. I think I understand where Larry is coming from. Explicitly saying that the earth is not 10,000 years old, or saying that stratigraphy is not due to a world wide flood is making a specific reference about an established religious belief. To my ear that would be an encroachment on the establishment clause of the constitution. I personally consider it a small matter, but I can see why Larry perceives that it crosses the line, technically.

        1. I am not sure what you are asking. As I understand it the establishment clause in this circumstance means that a teacher can not promote an established religion in class, but more to the point they also cannot openly criticize an established religion. I do not know if that means thou shalt not diss minutia about a specific religion, like the claimed biblical age of the earth, but perhaps it does mean that. I personally would not do it out of an abundance of caution.
          You could say other crazy things are not true. You could say that of course the earth was not created last Thursday, for example, since no established religion claims that.

          1. “You could say that of course the earth was not created last Thursday, for example, since no established religion claims that.”

            Are you sure of that?

            “We believe….

            * that everyone but you was placed here and pre-programmed to act as parts of your test environment.
            * that everyone but you knows this.

          2. What I mean is that assuming standard number theory, 6000 is not equal to 4.5 billion, so saying the earth is 4.5 billion years old entails that the earth is not 6000 years old. Hence my question about logical consequence.

      1. Moran is a harsh critic of creationism and ID but he disagrees with JC’s strong support of using the establishment clause to keep religion out of classes. So if Moran made such a point, I am pretty sure it was in the service of highlighting the difficulty of using the establishment clause in this way and showing why he thinks it won’t work. That is, I’m pretty sure he’d be arguing against using the establishment clause at all, not for using it in an even more legalistic and narrow way.

      2. I think the Establishment Clause prohibits a teacher from making overtly religious statements, pro or con. It doesn’t prohibit a teacher from making facially neutral statements about a matter that may be congruent with a religious belief.

    2. I don’t think that’s actually Larry’s position. First off, he’s Canadian, and he’s not saying what should be done, just how he thinks the First Amendment causes problems and was therefore a bad idea.

      Larry is all in favor of examining creationist claims directly in science classes. But he may think the U.S. Constitution makes that impossible.

      1. “Larry is all in favor of examining creationist claims directly in science classes.”

        As a purely practical matter, this is just crazy. I know that Jerry addressed some of the absurdities here: https://whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com/2013/07/29/once-again-larry-moran-decries-legal-battles-against-creationism/

        I would add only this: how much time do you want science teachers to spend debunking Cheonjiwang Bonpuri, or Jamshid, or Kumulipo or Enûma Eliš? Hell, if the science teacher were unwilling to spend a SIGNIFICANT amount of class time arguing about just exactly how many turtles it is, all the way down, then I just might have to file a lawsuit myself. After all, fair is fair.

        1. Exactly. If I’m in science class I don’t want to listen to some doofus’ cockamamie idea being disputed. I’m there to learn science. It was bad enough putting up with the constant disruptions in elementary school by a tenacious JW girl.

      2. I might have been mistaken about Larry’s stand, but there were at least two people who claimed that the establishment clause meant that you couldn’t say anti-creationist things in public schools. (Perhaps one was Josh Rosenau at the NCSE.) When I teach evolution, I do dispel creationism as part of my instruction about the historical effect that Darwin had on contemporary beliefs about the origin of animals and plants.

        1. Exactly. You can’t talk about Copernicus without explaining how he disproved geocentricism; you can’t talk about Michelson and Morley without explaining how they inadvertently disproved the luminiferous aether; and you can’t talk about Darwin without explaining how he disproved creationism.

          That that particular theory remains popular today in religious superstition is unfortunate, but to give religions veto power over the science classroom is exactly the sort of establishment the First Amendment prohibits.

          You can’t get into the theological implications of Evolution in the science classroom. If the discussion veers off into questions of Original Sin and ensoulment and the like, it’s gone into forbidden territory — and rightly so. But questions of the origins of species and the genetic heritage of humans and other organisms are the entire point of evolutionary biology, and to veer away from them simply because it contradicts dogma is simply unacceptable.


          1. You can’t talk about Penzias and Wilson without going into how they disproved pigeon shit as the source of static from the microwave background radiation — that might provide an even better analogy for the subject-matter here.

  3. Edit – the headline should be West Virginia not Virginial Virginia has enough crazies without borrowing more.

    1. Agreed, and conflating the two is a major faux pas. One wouldn’t conflate or confuse Mexico with New Mexico, despite their shared history. I say this having lived in both Virginia and West Virginia (not to mention Texas, close enough to Mexico and New Mexico).

        1. I was in my twenties before I figured out that Arkansas was not pronounced to rhyme with Kansas. Ar-Can-Saw would have been another State altogether.

          Are all USAnian children still supposed to memorise the State names, capitols and abbreviations?

          1. “Are all USAnian children still supposed to memorise the State names, capitols and abbreviations?”

            I went to school in the 60s & 70s and we didn’t. Teachers talked with scorn about the bad old days when students were required to memorize “laundry lists” of facts.

            1. My kids, in elementary school during the later 90’s, sure had to learn those. Personally, I think it’s fun.

              1. I find it mildly curious and amusing the way ‘muricans always have to twin the name of a town with its state. e.g. they can’t say just ‘Boise’, it always has to be ‘Boise, Idaho’ or ‘Little Rock, Arkansas’, or ‘Raleigh, North Carolina’. They even extend this to overseas cities whose inhabitants would never think of doing it, like ‘London, England’ or ‘Paris, France’ (to distinguish it from Paris, Texas?)

                I suppose it’s a handy way to remember where places are.

                Also curious is the way the state capital is so often not the largest city – umm, Albany, or Austin, or Sacramento for instance. (I was wrong about Viriginia though, I guessed Roanoke. Wikipedia says Richmond).

              2. It’s because America is a big place and sometimes place names are repeated (Springfield anyone?) or the person you are talking to may not know where that city is. We do the same in Canada, especially when talking to people out of province or out of country so they have an idea of where exactly I’m referring. I could be talking about “Hamilton, Ontario” or I could be talking about Hamilton in NZ.

              3. When U.S. clients ask me where I’m based, I usually say, “Lincoln, but not the one in Nebraska.” How many others do I have to negate?


              4. There are two reasons, I think, for mentioning the state. First, a listener is more likely to know American geography at the state level, that at the municipal. Just now, I wrote something in which I referred to Wind Point, Wisconsin, because many readers will know where Wisconsin is, but even those who know Wisconsin may well not know there even is a Wind Point in Wisconsin. Which leads to the second reason. With so many towns to name, and only so many places in Britain to name them after, many of the early settlers of a region reused the same names over and over again– there’s an awful lot of Springfields out there! (Other work arounds, of course, were using Indian names, and other colonial languages.)

              5. @Gregory
                I do agree it’s a perfectly valid reason. I guess in Europe place names often (not always) give away their origin by the way they sound, which performs a similar function.

              6. Let’s keep in mind also the relative size of the US to, say, the countries in Europe. It’s a lot easier to picture a state on the US map (and thus get some idea of where the city/town is) than to know where every city in the US is located by name alone. Remember that the language doesn’t vary like they do in Europe, so we don’t have that kind of help.

              7. Also in America and Canada we took a lot of our names from Europe. I live near Paris, Ontario. I find it helpful to say “Paris, Ontario” to people so they don’t think I’m talking about the more famous Paris in France.

              8. Yeah…I’ve mentioned it before. Europeans think France is big, but Texas is bigger than France and California longer than Italy, and most big American cities are farther from their nearest neighbors than European capitals are from their counterparts. Sacramento to Phoenix is farther than Paris to Berlin, and Sacramento to Carson City, Nevada, is almost as far as Paris to Brussels. And Carson City is right on the border….



              9. “we took a lot of our names from Europe”

                I doubt there are many cities in England which do not have counterparts on the East Coast of the U.S. . On my frequent trips to see Grandma near Hartford, I pass Bridgeport, Bristol, Danbury, Derby, Groton, Milford, New Briton, New Haven, New London, Norwalk, Norwitch, Stamford, Torrington….etc.

              10. Exactly! And the same nostalgia that resulted in those names went west with the settlers. Oregon, for instance, has Portland, Albany, Salem…(originally from Maine, New York, & Massachusetts…)

              11. And, in contrast, we also see place names from Native Americans. My current home town of Poughkeepsie (from the Wappinger language, “the reed-covered lodge by the little-water place,”). My old home city of Muskegon, Michigan (from the Ottawa tribe term “Masquigon”, meaning “marshy river or swamp”). The blending of names is weirdly balanced, while the dominant culture has become pretty one sided.

              12. Oh, I love the Native American names! Here in the Great Lakes regions they’re often French-ified…So cool how they vary cross-country as the local tribes change.

              13. Oh, yes! Chicago. The name “Chicago” is derived from a French rendering of the Native American word shikaakwa, translated as “wild leek” or “wild onion” or “wild garlic”, from the Miami-Illinois language.

                I fully agree. The rainbow of names is a charming aspect of North America.

  4. Kenneth Smith is as mad as a hatter. See his self-published book The True Origin of Man on Amazon and by all means, browse through the Look inside. Don’t drink coffee of beer at the same time lest it comes out via the nose.

    Did I mention he wears his racism on his sleeve?

    1. Thanks for the warning as I am reading this during my coffee break. So, according to the book cover, is the claiming that Adam and Eve were 100% “Pure White”? WTF? Also, is it a thing now to write D.N.A.?

        1. Especially since our official site astronaut did by reading The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy on ISS.

              1. Listen to the radio shows. The colour rendition is better than in the book, whose sound is far better than the TV version.
                Oh gods – did the USian TV system try doing H2G2, or did they just re-sell the Beeb version while failing to understand it?

              2. I have an audio book version read by the author himself and it was really great!

              3. I spent the week between first transmission of Episode 1 and first transmission of Episode 2 nagging my parents for a tape recorder – and the next week needing a better microphone.

            1. Oh, for heaven’s sake, mankind, it’s only four light years away, you know. I’m sorry, but if you can’t be bothered to take an interest in local affairs, that’s your own lookout. Energize the demolition beams.

            1. That’s an awful lot of towels to carry ’round with one, no? Still, I suppose, better to have it and not need it. Probably work okay as an emergency mattress, too, come to think of it, should the local variety turn out to be carnivorous.


      1. So … a good, low kick at this particular Creationist bawbag would be to ask him his feelings on whether Jesus was a Hasidic Jew or a reform Jew?

        1. The Hasidic branch of Judaism began in the 18th century, in eastern Europe, with a rabbi often referred to as The Baal Shem Tov.
          The reform branch of Judaism began in Germany in the very early 1900s.
          So, I’m afraid I don’t understand your point or why you mention these. Can you clarify?

          1. Well, for Hasidic and Reform, substitute two branches of Judaism which are mutually opposed and which date back to the change of the ages. Perhaps that group of Ethiopian Jews who IIRC left the Levant at around the change of the ages – they’d have the additional benefit of setting the patsy up for revealing their anti-negroism.
            Wikipedia calls them “Beta Israel“, with repetition of their asserted Babylonian or Augustine origin myths.
            I get a bit vague on all these equally incomprehensible delusional idiots. Are they the ones the Mormons consider themselves descended from?

              1. That is, unless your point is to denegrate Jews, starting some 2,000 years ago and nearly that long before the time of Darwin, Newton, and all the modern sciences.

              2. There is a certain, very common, bunch of delusional christians who would be utterly appalled, shocked and horrified at the concept that their seer, prophet, god or boojum, Jesus Christ, was not himself a Christian, of any stripe, but was a Jew. And if you follow his statements reported in the BuyBull, an observant Jew, who would be classified into a fairly conservative sept today.
                The target is the delusional idiots and hard-of-thinking fools who cannot handle the fact that the titular head of their religion was not actually a follower of that religion, but of another one.
                Would Tom Cruise be jumping with joy on the sofa of life if he realised that L.Ron Hubbard was (probably) a Somethingelseian for 41 years, but was only a “believer” in Scientology for a maximum of 34 years.
                Was Mohammed a Muslim? Certainly not a birth.

          1. Didn’t P(S)aul give them a Get-out-of-Circumcision-Free Card back in the first century?
            I had a friend who was circumcised in his mid-teenage years. For some medical reason, not some bullshit religious reason. While it didn’t exactly slow him down (even a spinal splint and broken back didn’t slow him down!) that doesn’t make the idea more appealing. and we’ve got anaesthetics.

    2. This book is the best thing since Ken Ham’s PhD thesis! Check out the excepts on Amazon. I was amazed to learn that genetic scientists have bionic arms.

      1. You probably mean Kent Hovind’s PhD thesis. Note Kenneth’s claim of having a science degree; I’d so much like to know which ehh, university!

    3. Wow! Thanks for the heads up to set the coffee down. The Amazon excerpts are priceless. He does manage to present a hypothesis that is new to me:

      After murdering Able, Cain, lily white Cain with the pure white hair, was exiled and came to live with… wait for it… some apes! Cain is Tarzan! And, of course, in time he mated with them, solving the question of who Cain married, and… well, you know the rest… The good white folks have been struggling with the dark descendants of Cain and his ape mate(s) ever since… And, as a bonus, this explains why genomic evidence shows we are closely related!

      The creativity and effort that goes into keeping alive old myths is a thing to behold… and a source of dismay.

      Still, as entertaining as this is, it can’t quite compete with Hubbard’s A History of Man with it’s traumatized clams and all.

    4. “Customers Who Viewed This Item Also Viewed

      Faith Versus Fact: Why Science and Religion…
      Jerry A. Coyne”


    5. While you’re at Amazon, try this one:
      Birth Control is Sinful in the Christian Marriages and also Robbing God of Priesthood Children!!
      It is truly a classic of the CAPITAL! LETTERS!! genre.

      (I must give credit to Dan Rutter’s entertaining and link-rich blog HowToSpotaPsychopath for pointing me to this one
      He also, long ago, led me to WEIT)

      1. 648 pages? Six hundred and forty-eight pages of ALL CAPS? Herrgott deliver us. You don’t need to be religious to be bugnuts but it sure helps.

  5. I don’t get Larry’s position, either. It is a true statement that not only is there no credible evidence to support a claim of a young age for the Earth, but that any such claim can be trivially falsified by any of seemingly endless sources of evidence.

    Could make for a great teachable moment. Posit to the students a theory that there is, right this moment, a very angry and hungry T-Rex crashing through the classroom and eating the students. Rawr. Is it merely the case that this theory is unsupported by any evidence, or can evidence be supplied to falsify this claim?

    The step from that to falsification of the Young Earth theory should be obvious for anybody qualified to teach science — though, of course, Why Evolution Is True can serve as a great cheat sheet.


    1. Yes. Moran’s position just seems like a technical sort of wink*wink*nod*nod*

      “The earth is 4.5 billion years old.”

      “So it’s NOT only 10,000 years old?”

      “I didn’t SAY that (*wink*wink*nod*nod*)

      It’s like a version of “Don’t Ask; Don’t Tell” where you can say that Gary and Bob are happily married, but can’t mention that they are homosexual.

      If this really is the law, it sounds silly enough to be apologetics.

    2. I sort of agree with Mark; I don’t think its the place of HS science teachers to bring up religious views just to say they’re wrong. Yes, absolutely say what the age of the earth is. Yes, absolutely give the best scientific answer to “so its not just 10k years old?” if you’re asked that question. But if you’ve discussed the science behind geochronology and the actual age of the Earth, and none of the students have brought up YECism, there is no reason to mention it specifically.

      Think of it this way: there are many wrong ideas out there. If you’re ignoring all of them except the Christian wrong ideas, then you can be reasonably accused of unfair treatment.

      1. Yes, but if you’re teaching Darwin, I don’t see any way around some criticism of creationist views since that was the dominant explanation for life that Darwin dispelled in 1859. The import of his work would be impossible to convey without mentioning the views it displaced, and you’d miss a huge lesson in how to resolve competing paradigms and about a great revolution in human thought.

        1. I agree with Jerry on this. It’s important to realize that the chief claims of creationism– young Earth, universal flood, special creation of species– were all once respectable scientific ideas, held and debated on scientific grounds by scientists qua scientists, the latter two right up until the lifetime of Darwin. Famously, the great geologist Sedgwick did not give up on the Flood until 1831. It’s hard to see the import of Darwin’s stress on island faunas having affinity to those of the nearest mainland, unless you know the alternative is that the alternative is a global island fauna created to be suited to the island environment, with no constraints of dispersal ability or geographic adjacency.

    1. I was just about to send this to Son of Hempenstein, Esq, when I noticed the pro se.

      A further kiss of death.

      And BTW, NB: Defendants’ Is Smith a grocer?

      1. He also gets it wrong in the third paragraph (number six): “all Defendant’s acts” (there are several defendants).

  6. Let us be clear: the only reason people like Kenneth Smith characterize evolution as a “faith” is because it contravenes their own religion.

    Oh, I don’t know. That is, it might not just be an attack on evolution. When pushed to the wall a lot of creationists react like many Christians often do: they’ll suddenly insist that it takes “faith” to believe in everything.

    It takes faith to believe the earth goes around the sun. It takes faith to believe the sun exists at all. Hell, it takes faith to believe that YOU exist, and are not just a brain in a vat being fed lies about the Matrix by an alien race or evil demon. It’s ALL supposition, belief, uncertainty, confusion … and faith faith faith faith. So why is it so wrong to believe in God or Jesus on faith? After all, faith is the default method.

    The spiritual are often so eager to grant their views reasonable credibility that they play games. They will turn the entire field of human knowledge into epistemic mush and level the whole world into ruins — just so they can stand triumphant on their groundless beliefs and shout “I know you are, but what am I?”

    Sure, they single out evolution because it’s more obvious a conflict, but bottom line reality itself is in conflict with their religion. If it wasn’t evolution, it would be something else. Faith, faith, faith. “We don’t arrive at conclusions; we make moral choices.”

    1. “They will turn the entire field of human knowledge into epistemic mush and level the whole world into ruins ”

      — that’s precisely what so-called “presuppositionalism” or the like is.

    2. The hilariously (and appallingly) ridiculous part of it is that of the “pot calling the kettle black” aspect; attacking something as a “faith” because it contradicts your own belief system which, of course, is based on nothing more than faith in one ancient book.

      The worst part about it is that, believing that they are operating under God’s guidance, these people will NEVER give up; there is no stance too absurd to take; no ploy too absurd to try, to further their ends- like Jerry says, “…until religion is no longer with us.”

  7. Just think. If this guy is right – everything the professor has been doing for the past 30 or 40 years is tax exempt. It should be a huge windfall.

    West Virginia should be very proud.

    1. That’s a good point.
      Just go with the flow and claim that evolution, nay all of biology, is a faith. Then, all biology teachers or profesors claim tax-exempt status and file the mother of all tax returns!

      “Good morning IRS, I’d like all of the money I’ve ever paid to you back now, with interest. See, it turns out, I’ve been a minster this whole time . . . IRS? . . . helloooooooo.”

      I wonder if that will work?

  8. That’s ridiculous…. you know what else is ridiculous?

    Type this “what really happened to dinosaurs” into the google search engine…

    I suggest we all leave a feedback to google.

    1. That is pathetic. The first item up is a long fiction or young earth story. Is google saying this is the number one hit on this question?

      1. That popped up all over my Twitter & G+ yesterday.
        Many objections have already been registered, but I’d encourage anyone else concerned throw their 2 cents right in Google’s face.

      2. Its still better than Bing (IMO). Type it in there, and I bet you get an entire first page of companies selling your dinosaur products.

    2. Google is considering going to a ‘fact based results going at the top”:


      Lets hope they do.

      I recently read (perhaps here?) that creationists have been gaming Google results to get creationist results near the top.

      Perhaps this is in result of so many people telling them to spend five minutes doing research on the internet. At one time, five minutes was all you needed. Now you have to actually wade through the Christian propaganda.

      1. I’d be astonished if the major creationist sites didn’t hire professional SEOs to do everything they can to make their results appear near the top. They are doing battle with evil, after all, and spreading their message is, quite literally, their only goal.

        Even without that, though, they have huge hordes of True Believers who link furiously to their site’s articles. While Google has long combated link bots, the creation of dummy pages solely for the purpose of creating links to sites, any link based algorithm will still favor widespread and passionately held bullshit over any kind of real knowledge since the followers of said bullshit are legion and motivated. Surely ICR must get 100x as many “natural” links to it’s articles as talk.origins does, or even this site.

        I wonder if the Google pushback may already be under way? Over the past year I have had many occasions of despair when I typed something into Google (vaccines, GMO, climate change, transitional fossils, etc.) only to see the first page dominated by the hysterical rants of True Believers of various anti-science views. Today, however, searching for some of these terms turns up a much more reasonable list of sites than I’ve encountered in the past. For example, “transitional fossil” turns up links from evolution.berkeley.edu and talk.origins, neither of which probably devotes any effort to promotion and both of which are no doubt out-linked by huge margins by ICR and similar sites.

        OTOH, maybe Google is profiling me and has simply learned my distaste for religious propaganda.

  9. Anybody else think maybe Ol’ Larry probably has some strong opinions on President Obama?
    You have to love the way he invokes being a tax payer. As though paying taxes, as everybody does, gives him some purview over public schools.

    1. Well, it DOES give him some purview, in the sense that he’s certainly free to attend his local school board meetings and spew all the nonsense he wants. In fact, he might feel right at home there…

  10. I think when you say

    Let us be clear: the only reason people like Kenneth Smith characterize evolution as a “faith” is because it contravenes their own religion.

    you give them too much credit. They characterize it as such because they don’t understand it. All they know is faith. They reduce everything to faith.

  11. The child wants to be a vet who doesn’t understand evolution. Not impossible but certainly problematic. I’d like the guy looking at my cat to understand his inner fish. Perhaps she can focus on d*gs 😀

    1. “…affects my child’s future directly
      through the state grading system to enter college and ability to earn economic security
      and a good job in her chosen veterinarian medical field of work.”

      I saw a meme the other day that I wish I had saved. Maybe from a WFLA post on FB? Something to the effect of: “If you want to, you can teach your children that the Earth is only 6,000 years old, but if you do, our children might not want to hire your children to wash their dishes.”

      1. Yep, but for the foreseeable future their children likely will still vote for their children to represent them at various levels of government.

  12. “Absent from the complaint is any mention of the relevant case law.”

    In general, one doesn’t argue case law in a Complaint; one does in opposing a Motion to Dismiss or Motion to Strike or Demurrer. (They’re called different things in different places. I don’t practice much in federal courts, but I think that there, it’s probably a Rule 12(b)6 Motion to Dismiss, for “failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.”

    I often do put case law in a Complaint, but it’s not for the purpose of ensuring the sufficiency of the Complaint. It’s to telegraph the sufficiency of the Complaint to the Defendants, to avoid a Demurrer (as we call it here in California state courts)or a Motion to Strike. Or even to send a subtle message to get settlement discussions rolling.

    1. Gack. Apologies for failing to close the parenthesis. Ah, the futility of attempting to proofread one’s own work…

      1. I think the point of the NCSE comment was not that one necessarily should cite case law in the Complaint but rather that, if you’re filing in the teeth of relevant case law, you’d be wise to make mention of it and why it doesn’t apply.

  13. Jerry, if evolution is faith based and therefore can be labeled a religion, can you, as a member of the evolution “clergy” claim tax exemption?

    1. That’s a cute and clever li’l argument, mister … and the IRS takes a mighty dim view of cute and clever li’l arguments. Yup, it sure do.

      1. Just ask “Dr. Dino” – though what it seems they really got him for was smurfing and failing to pay payroll taxes rather than failing to pay his own income taxes.

  14. …being taught a faith base (evolutionary ideology) that just doesn’t exist and has no math to back it.

    1) How does Smith propose to prove that it doesn’t exist? I think what he must have wanted to say was “untrue.”

    2) No math? Unlike veterinary medicine or Christianity? I read the whole complaint then, which includes this: “While denying the Plaintiff’s accurate scientific mathematical system of genetic variations that proves evolution is a religion.” (Sentence fragment in the original.) Oh, goodie, he’s got a system. I wonder where he stands on calendar reform?

      1. If he’s got a “system” & a big bankroll, they’ll send a plane to pick him up. I’m sure the clerks and judges in the District of West Virginia would be happy to see him go.

  15. The faithful need to be reminded what faith is not and more potently that it is not needed for any part of life.

    One does not have to have faith that electromagnetic or gravitational forces work, they simply work. No belief, not even epistemology.

    Pretend you are a cat. Does a cat have faith that all O2 molecules are the same? Most cats are aware there is a danger if their head is placed under water and they can no longer breath. There is no faith involved.

    And so it is with people who have no faith. They can step on an airplane and empirically see that it looks much like the last airplane they got on and think (not believe or hope) that it will probably fly just like the last one.

    I have no faith in evolution, but it happens to be an empirical fact. This illustrates how little most religious people know about science. Why not choose dark energy? We do not know what it is (though there are many things we can that it is not). It has some properties we have learned to identify but most scientists would not say it is a fact that dark energy exists. Some theorists might feel motivated to believe in dark energy, maybe even have faith in it, but this is not scientific.

  16. “the scientific theory that higher forms of life evolved from lower forms is not”

    Aw, how cute. They still believe in “higher” and “lower” life forms.

  17. Here’s something I’ve never seen mentioned:

    If the universe is 6,000 years old, than a 60 year old person has been alive for 1% of the history of the universe! 100 60-year-olds would take us back to The Beginning. I propose a new unit of time: 1 centicreation, or 60 years. The length of a centicreation will expand over time, but I’m sure that the we will have experts who can calculate it as needed.

    1. You could get back to The Beginning in just over six lifetimes of Methuselah (Noah’s granddaddy), since the bible says he lived to be 969.

  18. I’m not at all surprised to see that Mr. Smith is representing himself pro se. His lawsuit is so clearly frivolous that filing it on his behalf would have raised grave ethical concerns for any lawyer. The case will no doubt be summarily disposed of on a well-pleaded defense motion to dismiss based on the complaint’s failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.

  19. Come now, Mr. Smith, you’ve got to be joking!

    First, they claim God of the Gaps; now, it’s God of the Loopholes. I think that’s all it is – a stupid ploy to get one’s way, through a loophole.

    1. Are you sure this isn’t some sort of set-up? It isn’t even grammatical.

      Never having read an American legal document before, is it a joke?

        1. Oh that is classic. What impressed me though is that, foaming at the mouth as she is, she still writes coherent, fairly grammatical English.

          1. She has a website so we can all benefit from her legal nous.
            Blessed! We are blessed to receive this boon. Though I feel the touch of the wet piece of string, not a noodly appendage.

            1. She’s actually quite eloquent. Nothing wrong with her English. I’d say she’s quite intelligent, just a bit short on the commonsense.

              And if she’s the black chick in the picture with the cellphone, not a bad looker, at that. Which should strictly be irrelevant to anyone of principle, just I haven’t got any 😉

        2. Wow, she really ought to pay more attention to taking her medication on schedule.

          This whole system is a joke.

          A classic example of a self-represented plaintiff (probably) with a fool for a client. When you hear that line coming out, you just know that the Powers That Be are not going to take such comments as all part of the joke.
          I’ll get popcorn.
          Filed on 15th April 2015. So it’s live! I’m setting up a news-watch on this one. What do you reckon – give up at the second Tasering, or going to go full Waco?

  20. Wait until he learns about the courses she’ll have to take in pre-med (college or university) and then veterinary school.

Leave a Reply