Thursday, May 8, 2014

Goodness gracious Jerry Coyne is a moron

Jerry Coyne writes something on the Supreme Courts' Greece v Galloway decision that is almost too stupid to be worth commentary. Almost.

The most frightening thing on there, though, was this (my emphasis):

An opinion by Justice Thomas, joined by Justice Scalia, explained their refusal to join Part II-B of Justice Kennedy’s opinion. They argued that the Establishment Clause should not be seen as being applicable to the states. 
Do we need to remind Scalia, who is an “originalist” (i.e., one who adheres to what he sees as the original intent of the U.S. Constitution’s writers), what the Establishment Clause is? It’s at the beginning of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution: 
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances. 
Under what interpretation is that not applicable to the states? Are Scalia and Thomas saying that although Congress can’t have make an established religion, or prohibit exercise of some religions, or prohibit freedom of the press, the states can?

That’s insane. I look forward to reading their opinions; this is going to be juicy.

A prime purpose of the Establishment Clause was to protect state establishments of religion-- at the time of ratification, many states had official state churches. The Establishment Clause guaranteed that the federal government couldn't establish a national religion, which would deprive the individual states of their own state religions. Established state churches continued into the middle decades of the 19th century, and were perfectly constitutional, protected by the Establishment Clause from interference by the federal government. 

It wasn't until 1940, in the Supreme Court's ruling in Cantwell v. Connecticut, that the Establishment Clause was fully incorporated to the states, based on the 14th Amendment.

The Incorporation Doctrine is itself dubious. It is not stated explicitly in the 14th Amendment, and many legal scholars and Supreme Court justices (including Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia) have argued cogently that the Establishment Clause cannot be incorporated to the states, precisely because the Establishment Clause is an anti-incorporation doctrine. The Establishment Clause basically takes the federal government out of the state-religion-regulation game, and can't therefore be used as a basis for federal state-religion regulation. 

Coyne of course knows none of this. He poses as a public intellectual, even as a sage on Establishment Clause issues, but he is ignorant of the most rudimentary aspects of Establishment Clause history and jurisprudence.

It is a sorry state of affairs that this semi-literate anti-Christian bigot is taken seriously in our public discourse. 


  1. Commissar Boggs, Ministry of TruthMay 8, 2014 at 7:14 AM

    Coyne should stick to his research program in evolutionary fellatio.

    Coyne: "Under what interpretation is that not applicable to the states?"

    If Coyne wants to banish his ignorance, he could read Egnorance, or if that does not suffice, a simple search of Wikipedia would have worked:

    Prior to 1925, the Bill of Rights was held only to apply to the federal government.
    --- Wikipedia:Incorporation of the Bill of Rights

    This is not rocket law.

    In fact, Tiernon v. Mayor of Baltimore (1833) expressly limited application of the Bill of Rights to the federal government.

    Some amendments are still not fully incorporated. For example, the Fifth Amendment right to indictment by a grand jury has not been incorporated.

    1. Commissar Boggs, Ministry of TruthMay 8, 2014 at 7:28 AM

      In fact, Coyne could have asked some of his colleagues at Chicago, which, by all accounts, has a pretty good law school... now that some of the flakier adjunct faculty in Con law have left for greener pastures. :-)

  2. Commissar Boggs, Ministry of TruthMay 8, 2014 at 7:48 AM

    Today is V-E Day.

    My deepest gratitude goes out to the men who, just one year before, did this.

  3. May God bless them.

  4. "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof...Under what interpretation is that not applicable to the states?"

    This has to be a joke, right? Coyne cannot be that brain butt stupid, can he? It appears to be time for the men in white jackets to give Coyne his own padded room and jacket -- for his own safety and that of his students. This man has finally completely lost it. What an embarrassment! The pride of Darwinism has become a inane, mumbling loon.

    KW, Bach, Troyboy, how do you defend this moron?

    1. Big Rich,

      I haven't commented on this thread to defend Jerry Coyne against Egnor's claim that Coyne is a moron. I don't know enough about American Constitutional Law.

      The decision went 5:4. From what I gather, the reason for the majority decision varied. Two of the majority judges reasoned that it would be an infringement of the First Amendment if the council had attempted to alter the prayer offered. Inviting a clergyman to offer a prayer to make the occasion solemn doesn't infringe.

      The other 3 reasoned that the First Amendment doesn't apply to the states, so it's a minority opinion.

      I'm an Australian. There's no separation of state and religion. There's nothing stopping a council starting a public meeting with a prayer. Although, because Australia is a largely secular country, most would be surprised if it happened.

      Anyway. How do you defend that moron Egnor? He makes so many blunders, even in fields related to his own - neuroscience - when he cited Benjamin Libet's book 'Mind Time' as showing that the mind backdates sensations to the time action potentials are evoked in the peripheral nerve as evidence that the peripheral nervous system is self aware. Whereas Libet indicated that the mind backdates to the time the evoked potential arrives in the brain.

      And that's not mentioning the times Egnor has got history, the meaning of words, etc dead wrong.

  5. Commissar Boggs, Ministry of TruthMay 8, 2014 at 9:44 AM

    Daily Troot™:

    A certain gentleman has been a topic of discussion here recently. Here he is in all his glory. Draw your own conclusions about why he keeps his "job".

    KW, you related to this guy? Or did you both work at the Environmental Projection Agency?

    1. Wow, Boggs attacking a Black guy who is in no way related to the subject of the post. What a non-surprise.


    2. Commissar Boggs, Ministry of TruthMay 8, 2014 at 3:18 PM

      "Attacking" meaning showing video clips of the guy being himself.


    3. When presented with a highly edited video meant to show the subject of the video in the worst light possible calling it an “attack” is entirely appropriate. Who are you trying to fool? Pepe? Keep wriggling little worm.


    4. "Highly edited?" All they did was string together his greatest hits of buffoonishly mispronounced words. It's funny. You make it sound like it's somehow dishonest, as if words were subtracted from what he said in order to change his meaning. You know, kind of like how they did to George Zimmerman. This is just a portrait of Al and his distant relationship with the English language.

      And no, it's not racist. He happens to be black but it's immaterial.


    5. My goodness that Sharpton video is funny. Even funnier is that his regular audience probably didn't notice anything.

      I'm sure Sharpton knows how to pronounce "white interlopers", "Tawana Brawley" and "shakedown".

  6. So the constitution only applies to the federal goverment and state can pass any law they wish with out any regard to the constitution