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Judge Jones: Towering Intellectual or Narcissistic Putz?

Judge Jones tours the American countryside seeking the adulation of our intellectual elite and extolling the genius of his Kitzmiller v. Dover decision. The press release below indicates that Jones let the ACLU essentially dictate his decision. Instead of original and impeccable reasoning, Jones uncritically took extensive material from the ACLU’s proposed “findings of fact and conclusions of law” and either copied it directly or modified it ever so slightly. Outside the legal system this is called plagiarism. But since judges are allowed to draw on briefs of the parties, this is called legal scholarship. Even so, courts frown on decisions in which judges extensively copy and paste from other briefs — which is exactly what Jones did! Wired Magazine voted Jones one of the sexiest geeks of 2005. Time characterized him as a legal genius. Truth be told, Jones is a narcissistic putz.

In case you have trouble downloading the Discovery article cited below, i.e., “A Comparison of Judge Jones’ Opinion …”, I’ve uploaded it on the UD server here: www.uncommondescent.com/documentation/Comparing_Jones_and_ACLU.pdf.

“Masterful” Federal Ruling on Intelligent Design Was Copied from ACLU

Seattle — The key section of the widely-noted court decision on intelligent design issued a year ago on December 20 was copied nearly verbatim from a document written by ACLU lawyers, according to a study released today by scholars affiliated with the Discovery Institute. [Go here.]

“Judge John Jones copied verbatim or virtually verbatim 90.9% of his 6,004-word section on whether intelligent design is science from the ACLU’s proposed ‘Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law’ submitted to him nearly a month before his ruling,” said Dr. John West, Vice President for Public Policy and Legal Affairs at Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture.

“Ironically, Judge Jones has been hailed as ‘an outstanding thinker’ for his ‘masterful’ ruling, and even honored by Time magazine as one of the world’s ‘most influential people’ in the category of ‘scientists and thinkers,’” said West. “But Jones’ analysis of the scientific status of intelligent design contains virtually nothing written by Jones himself. This finding seriously undercuts the credibility of a central part of the ruling.”

The study notes that, while judges routinely make use of proposed findings of fact, “the extent to which Judge Jones simply copied the language submitted to him by the ACLU is stunning. For all practical purposes, Jones allowed ACLU attorneys to write nearly the entire section of his opinion analyzing whether intelligent design is science. As a result, this central part of Judge Jones’ ruling reflected essentially no original deliberative activity or independent examination of the record on Jones’ part.”

Jones’ copying was so uncritical that he even reprinted a number of factual errors originally made by ACLU attorneys.

For example, Jones claimed that biochemist Michael Behe, when asked about articles purporting to explain the evolution of the immune system, responded that the articles were “not ‘good enough.’” Behe actually said the exact opposite: “it’s not that they aren’t good enough. It’s simply that they are addressed to a different subject.” Jones’ misrepresentation of Behe came directly from the ACLU’s “Findings of Fact.”

Again copying from the ACLU, Jones insisted that “ID is not supported by any peer-reviewed… publications.” But, in fact, the court record contained evidence of several such publications.

The study, titled “A Comparison of Judge Jones’ Opinion in Kitzmiller v. Dover with Plaintiffs’ Proposed ‘Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law,’” was co-authored by West and law professor David DeWolf and is available from Discovery Institute’s website at www.discovery.org/csc. [For the actual document, go here.]

West noted that “those who thought the Dover decision would end the debate over Darwinian evolution were obviously wrong. That debate is just as vibrant and vigorous as it ever was, and Darwinists know it.” West cited a recent New York Times report about a gathering of scientists at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in November where there was “a rough consensus” that the theory “of evolution by natural selection” was “losing out in the intellectual marketplace.”

“A year after Dover, it’s the Darwinists who seem filled with gloom, not us,” said West, highlighting several positive developments over the past few months:

***In June, South Carolina adopted a science standard requiring students to learn how “scientists… investigate and critically analyze aspects of evolutionary theory.”

***In September, legal scholar Francis Beckwith, whose support for the constitutionality of intelligent design is well-known, was granted tenure at Baylor University after an effort by Darwinists to deny him tenure backfired.

***At the end of November, the Ouachita Parish School District in Louisiana enacted a policy that protects the academic freedom of teachers to objectively cover scientific criticisms of Darwinian evolution as well as the evidence in favor of the theory.

“As we made clear from the beginning, Discovery Institute opposed the Dover school board policy because attempts to mandate intelligent design are counterproductive,” said West. “At the same time, Darwinist efforts to use the courts to restrict open discussion of evolution offend free speech and academic freedom. We are delighted that the Darwinist attempt to muzzle the debate has failed.”

Discovery Institute is the nation’s leading public policy center that defends the rights of teachers and students to analyze the strengths and weaknesses of Darwinian evolution. The Institute has a national program to defend the rights of scientists, teachers, and students who are being threatened because they dare to raise critical questions about evolution. For more information, visit www.discovery.org/csc.

FOR RELEASE DEC. 12, 2006
Press Contact: Anika Smith
Discovery Institute
(206) 292-0401 x. 155
[email protected]

###

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110 Responses to Judge Jones: Towering Intellectual or Narcissistic Putz?

  1. The Dover decision was rife with bad luck. A higher court probably would have at least moderated Jones’s decision; but unfortunately appeal was impossible here. Higher courts tend to be more responsible.

  2. Isn’t Jones the one who said that his was “manifestly NOT an activist court”?
    Yet he was taking his marching orders from a manifestly activist organization?

  3. Your take on Judge Jones concerns me Mr. Dembski. Here a judge listens to the evidence, makes a judgement in agreement with Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law presented by the ACLU. Now suddenly he is a narcissitic putz!?! Just a few months ago you had agreed to make an effort to conduct yourself in a more honarable fashion. What would JESUS do? Would JESUS resort to name calling? I don’t think so. I know my comment won’t get posted, becasue anything that disturbs your equilibrium never seems to find its way onto your blog. Just one more sign of the weak platform you stand on.

  4. Personally I have no problem with the “plagiarism” itself and I think that charge overblown. To me the key point in the reuse of information is whether someone was harmed (the ACLU certainly was not) and whether the information is accurate (apparently it wasn’t). The real problem is that it shows just how dishonest Jones was during the proceedings of the court case. I remember hearing from someone who recently attended a speech given by Jones. Jones bragged that he had made up his mind within the first week yet let the case continue (presumably so it’d gather more media attention to himself). So essentially he made up his mind BEFORE most of the evidence was presented before the court. This heavy usage of the ACLU document just highlights this even more. Activist judge or limelight seeker or both?

  5. “What would JESUS do?”

    I’m guessing NOT side with the ACLU on anything. If this entry is correct, then what Jones did is essentially the same as a high school kid copying an essay from an encyclopedia, then changing a few words to make it look like he didn’t copy it from an encyclopedia.

    “Would JESUS resort to name calling?”

    Maybe you haven’t read the Bible?

    “I know my comment won’t get posted, because anything that disturbs your equilibrium never seems to find its way onto your blog. Just one more sign of the weak platform you stand on.”

    I am imagining this.

  6. This case bothers me mostly because it suggests that Judge Jones didn’t put much effort into considering this case honestly and objectively. To simply adopt the ACLU’s argument in this fashion suggests (to me, anyway) possible corruption… a deal between ACLU and Jones. Or at the very least, like I said, that Jones simply didn’t put any thought whatsoever into the arguments put forth by the defendants, and simply accepted “uncritically” the plaintiff’s argument. I agree with Patrick that it’s not plagiarism in the usual sense, as certainly the ACLU lawyers were thrilled that they were permitted to write the Judge’s decision for him.

    For Hooligans: Obviously, Jesus would have called a “spade” a “spade” as necessary, witness Matt. 23:27 as just ONE example:

    “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness. ”

    TRoutMac

  7. “hooligans” wrote:

    “Your take on Judge Jones concerns me Mr. Dembski.”

    He is Dr. Dembski. A man that has an earned Ph.D. in mathematics from the University of Chicago *and a second* earned doctorate in philosophy from the University of Illinois, and has done postdoctoral work at the University of Chicago and MIT (no less!) in research of chaos and probability theory certainly holds the academic title, “Doctor.” He most certainly demolishes anything you have to offer in the academic realm (spare us any lies that you work at NASA or other sort of nonsense).

    But yet again, this demonstrates the personal hate and prejudiced dislike of anti-intelligent design hacks — it is a religious and philosophical issue to them and nothing but — and the facts be damned. Dr. Dembski is committing heresy and he must be stopped according to these neo-Darwinian fundamentalists. Telling a little (or not so little) lie for Darwin is all too common.

    “hooligans” further blurted:

    “Here a judge listens to the evidence, makes a judgement in agreement with Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law presented by the ACLU.”

    To those that actually read and comprehended Dr. Dembski’s concerns, that is the entire point. Judge Jones did *not* listen to the evidence and make a judgment in agreement with the paper submitted by the ACLU — he simply lifted the content of the ACLU paper and used it as “his decision.” A material difference. It’s something a putz would do.

    “hooligans” further admitted his ignorance:

    “What would JESUS do? Would JESUS resort to name calling? I don’t think so.”

    This is about Intelligent Design theory, not about “what would Jesus do”? He may as well ask, “What would Martha Stewart do?” It simply has no bearing on anything to do with the discussion.

    And really, “putz”? Is “hooligans” really shocked by the reading of such a word? I’m sure he had to hold himself back quite a bit and not use the words he typically does all day, everyday.

    In any case, Jesus wouldn’t resort to “name calling” (i.e., insults)? Interesting.

    “hooligans” added “I don’t think so.” Why just “think so”? The New Testament is readily available, he could have just taken the time to check his facts. But that is something he evidently is not accustomed to doing.

    It simply demonstrates the fact that, yet again, the pop-level critics of Intelligent Design are typified by being completely ignorant of the issues, unfamiliar with the literature and simply uninformed hacks. The repeated spelling errors likewise don’t particularly speak well for his level of literacy.

    So what about “hooligans” and his informed “I don’t so” concerning Jesus never “calling someone names” or offering insults?

    “Meanwhile, when a crowd of many thousands had gathered, so that they were trampling on one another, Jesus began to speak first to his disciples, saying: “Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy.” (Luke 12:1)

    That wasn’t really a sweet compliment.

    His audience caught on that he wasn’t offering them sweet compliments:

    “One of the experts in the law answered him, ‘Teacher, when you say these things, you insult us also.’ ” (Luke 11:45)

    The Greek word used in the text is *hubrizo*, which means “treat in an arrogant or spiteful manner, mistreat, scoff at, insult.”

    The examples are replete throughout the Gospel accounts.

    “You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desire. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” (John 8:44)

    Certainly a bit more biting than “putz”. And it came from Jesus.

  8. The “plagiarism” doesn’t bother me too much. As a political science major, I can testify that judges are legally permitted to copy from the briefs that are submitted to them.

    My problem is two-fold. First, while copying is okay, when you copy 90.9% of another person’s document, you haven’t thought for yourself. Even if you agree with someone else, you should explain why you agree–not merely copy their arguments. (Any high school or college student can tell you that).

    Second, Judge Jones was so careful about copying that he copied over many factual errors, as the report points out. Again, any high school or college student could tell you that you need to check what you’re writing (or copying!) with the facts.

    Even if I didn’t plagiaize a paper, if 90.9% of my paper was quoted from other sources and those other sources were often factually incorrect, I would fail college–not become a federal judge.

  9. More on this subject:

    http://reasonablekansans.blogs.....re_07.html

    As for name-calling, I think the charge of narcissism can be easily maintained but “putz” means a “fool or idiot”. It’s possible Jones did not truly comprehend the evidence and arguments put before him but I would think that term overkill.

  10. Brood of vipers, narcissistic putz, what’s the difference?

  11. hooligans

    A. It’s “honorable,” not “honarable.”

    B. It’s DR. Dembski, not MR. Dembski. Dr. Dembski has TWO PhDs–one in Philosophy, one in Mathematics. Which, coincidentally enough, is usually two more PhDs than his most vocal detractors ever seem to possess.

    C. If you seriously believe that what Jesus would do is support a judical decision that flies in the face of free expression and serious scientific debate, I suggest you pop out a New Testament and re-read the words of Jesus before making any further poorly-considered estimates of what he would or wouldn’t do. As I recall, he said something about the truth setting you free. Censuring debate via judical fiat seems contrary to that notion.
    D. If Judge Jones is a narcissistic putz, you have no basis for assuming that he wasn’t one before Kitzmiller v. Dover, thus no basis for assuming that his descent into putzdom was sudden. Dr. Dembski’s appellation is, at worst, indelicate. However, its accuracy hardly seems in question.

  12. When I was a lad, long ago, I played baseball. When beaten by an opposing team, we would often complain about the unfairness of it all. We would accuse the other team of cheating, being lucky, or just generally being the scum of the earth. Our coaches would tell us to shut up, stop whining, improve our game and beat them next time.

    Generally, I am a supporter of ID’s cultural goals, but I found the above to be good advice.

    Blessed are the whiners, for they shall inherit the earth. I don’t remember that one.

  13. Last year on a Xian debate forum, I called Jones a fraud, a braindead twit and insinuated mis-dealings if not outright bribe.

    Everyone, including other IDists, reprimanded me for this. “How dare I?”, they said. ” His decision was right”, said some christian darwinists – an oxymoron in my view.

    Fine, but here is the evidence I believed would come sooner or later. It just din’t “smell” right.

    I hope, Christian IDists will stop being such over-polite wimps and start being more like Christ who called hypocrites by their name and even took a whip to swindelling profiteers.

    I’m glad to see Dr. Dembski calling this guy a putz – he deserves it.

    “He…makes fools out of judges” – Job 12:17

  14. Jones has a lot of chutzpah kvelling like a maven and macher when all he did was schlep the ACLU brief out as his own like a common gonif. No mench is he, the mamser!

    A pisher nudnik with a schlock spiel. Talking out of his tuchus like some kind of shamus.

    But in all fairness I’m not sure that makes him a putz. :-)

  15. Okay, I changed putz to schlemiel. Satisfied?

  16. I too played sports as a lad. If the game is played–and officiated–according to the rules, bj’s advice is sound. Suck it up and get ‘em next time. However, what is a baseball player to do when the playing field isn’t level? The doc referenced above is fascinating not only that it shows the similarity between the ruling and the findings of fact, but in the errors of fact that Jones either made or was unaware of. And so the data seems to support not that he is narcissistic, but that he is intellectually lazy, or perhaps disengaged. Either way, this is a significant indictment of a sitting federal judge.

  17. “A pisher nudnik with a schlock spiel. Talking out of his tuchus like some kind of shamus.”

    LOL! I don’t know what it means, but it sounds funny as… Also, I’m glad to see a little political correctness fall by the wayside. If he acted like a “schlemiel” o “putz” or whatever, he deserves to be called that. He can defend himself if he wants to.

  18. “He can defend himself if he wants to.”

    Or, he can have the ACLU pen a defense on his behalf. Whichever.

    TRoutMac

  19. SteveB,
    “I too played sports as a lad. If the game is played–and officiated–according to the rules, bj’s advice is sound. Suck it up and get ‘em next time. However, what is a baseball player to do when the playing field isn’t level? The doc referenced above is fascinating not only that it shows the similarity between the ruling and the findings of fact, but in the errors of fact that Jones either made or was unaware of. And so the data seems to support not that he is narcissistic, but that he is intellectually lazy, or perhaps disengaged. Either way, this is a significant indictment of a sitting federal judge. ”

    My coaches were old school. These days, I don’t know who is more juvenile in little league sports, the kids or their coaches and parents. My coaches didn’t care what had happened on the field in the past, even if it was unfair. They just knew that whining was immature and poor preparation for what was coming next-more games. My judgement is that there has been too much whining about the Dover result, and that this whining is no way to prepare for the future.
    Just my opinion.

  20. You had to know something was up when Judge Jones said that ID relied on the supernatural when the ID experts testified that it did not.

    His twisting and spinning Dr Behe’s proposed experiment (bac flag) was another clue.

    As I read his decision I was wondering just what strawman he was ruling against.

  21. hooligans — did Jesus resort to name calling? Um, yes. “…you brood of vipers … you white washed tombs … full of dead mens bones …”

    What Bible are you reading Mr hooligans ?

  22. A schlemiel is similar to a schmendrick. An example would be a person who let’s people walk all over them and always comes out the loser in relations with people, a bungling loser. A schmuck is a person who creates problems for others, a jerk. So a better word for JJ would be schmuck.

  23. Putz sounds better, so we’re back to putz.

  24. My coaches were old school.

    You are right. Players do not complain about the refs. However, incompetent refs did and do exist. League administrators would eventually recognize them as such and they would soon have to be finding other weekend or after school work.

    Judge Jones is clearly incompetent, and, sadly, he is a lot more damaging and a lot harder to get rid of than a bad ref.

  25. Putz is good, it’s a less biting version of schmuck.

  26. 26

    William Dembski wrote,

    . . .courts frown on decisions in which judges extensively copy and paste from other briefs — which is exactly what Jones did!

    Yes, this is true. This is what the Supreme Court said in United States v. El Paso Gas Co.:

    A trial judge’s findings will stand if supported by evidence even where they are not his own work product, United States v. Crescent Amusement Co., 323 U.S. 173 , but such findings are less helpful on judicial review than those prepared by the trial judge himself.(emphasis added)

    – and –

    [ Footnote 4 ] Judge J. Skelly Wright of the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia recently said: “Who shall prepare the findings? Rule 52 says the court shall prepare the findings. “The court shall find the facts specially and [376 U.S. 651, 657] state separately its conclusions of law.’ We all know what has happened. Many courts simply decide the case in favor of the plaintiff or the defendant, have him prepare the findings of fact and conclusions of law and sign them. This has been denounced by every court of appeals save one. This is an abandonment of the duty and the trust that has been placed in the judge by these rules. It is a non-compliance with Rule 52 specifically and it betrays the primary purpose of Rule 52 — the primary purpose being that the preparation of these findings by the judge shall assist in the adjudication of the lawsuit. “I suggest to you strongly that you avoid as far as you possibly can simply signing what some lawyer puts under your nose. These lawyers, and properly so, in their zeal and advocacy and their enthusiasm are going to state the case for their side in these findings as strongly as they possibly can. When these findings get to the courts of appeals they won’t be worth the paper they are written on as far as assisting the court of appeals in determining why the judge decided the case.” Seminars for Newly Appointed United States District Judges (1963), p. 166. (emphasis added)
    – from http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/.....651#656%22

    One thing we now know for sure — Judge Jones was falsely given credit for a lot of stuff that he did not write. And Jones did not even bother to check the record to make sure that the ACLU material that he was going to use was factually accurate.

    Not all of Jones’ cutting and pasting of the ACLU briefs was just technical stuff (some people have been claiming that Jones’ cutting and pasting of the technical stuff is excusable because he is not a scientist). Jones wrote in the conclusion section of the opinion,

    To preserve the separation of church and state mandated by the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, and Art. I, § 3 of the Pennsylvania Constitution, we will enter an order permanently enjoining Defendants from maintaining the ID Policy in any school within the Dover Area School District, from requiring teachers to denigrate or disparage the scientific theory of evolution, and from requiring teachers to refer to a religious, alternative theory known as ID. (emphasis added) -from http://www.talkorigins.org/faq.....sion3.html

    For comparison, here is what an ACLU brief said:

    351. In order to preserve the separation of church and state mandated by the Establishment Clause, and Art. I, Sec. 3 of the Pennsylvania Constitution, it is necessary and appropriate to enter an order enjoining defendants from implementing their biology curriculum change, from requiring teachers to denigrate or disparage the scientific theory of evolution, and from requiring teachers to refer to an alternative theory known as “intelligent design.” (emphasis added) — from http://www.talkorigins.org/faq......html#p497

    For the following reasons, I am especially troubled by the prohibition against “requiring teachers to denigrate or disparage the scientific theory of evolution”:
    (1) The words “disparage” and “denigrate” are ambiguous in this context.
    (2) This prohibition could be applied to scientific criticisms of evolution that were not reviewed by Jones (Jones reviewed only ID).
    (3) This general prohibition appears to be contrary to the Supreme Court’s following statement in Edwards v. Aguillard: “We do not imply that a legislature could never require that scientific critiques of prevailing scientific theories be taught.”
    (4) This prohibition was not even included in the order at the end of the opinion, showing that Jones just absent-mindedly copied the entire above section of the ACLU brief and changed a few words in a feeble effort to make the section appear to be original.

    Sorry for the long-winded comment, folks — but most of it was just cut and pasted.

  27. The basic problem here is that two words are grossly insufficient for enumerating JJ’s many character flaws. We need at least lazy, narcissitic, petered out poseur with delusions of grandeur.

    lazy: for lifting someone else’s opinion whole

    narcissitic: for running around the country patting himself on the back before crowds of sycophants

    petered out: because in becoming a federal judge he rose to his personal level of incompetence

    poseur: because he’s pretending the opinion was his

    with delusions of grandeur: because he thinks his case was more significant than the Scopes Monkey Trial

    I’m sure I missed some things…

  28. Guys, guys. Let’s calm down about all of this. It is highly probable that we are simply living in one of the universes in which the original thinking expressed by Judge Jones accidentally matches up with the wording of the ACLU lawyers. Improbable things happen all the time.

    We have NO EVIDENCE WHATSOEVER that Judge Jones simply cut-and-pasted. You IDiots are always trying to perceive design where none exists. It’s tiresome.

  29. “Judge Jones: Towering Intellectual or Narcissistic Putz?”

    He could be both, but I have my suspicions.

  30. “it is necessary and appropriate to enter an order enjoining defendants from … requiring teachers to denigrate or disparage the scientific theory of evolution”

    Wow. Does any other academic field exist whose position is so inherently weak that it must make this sort of appeal to judicial fiat for its legitimacy? I can’t think of one.

  31. “NO EVIDENCE WHATSOEVER that Judge Jones simply cut-and-pasted. ”

    Fair enough. He cut and pasted… and then made a few superficial edits. Did you read the original document?

  32. Two points…

    First, if you want a judge to grant a particular decree or order, chances are the form you’ll have to fill out to make this happen, will be the decree or order itself, with the particulars filled in by you, for the judge to look over and sign. This saves the judge time and effort (and the taxpayers money), enables him/her to hear more cases, and makes the process fair and consistent by ensuring that all instances of a particular decree or order read the same way and say the same things.

    Second, even Dembski admits that only one particular part of the decision was “90.9 percent” lifted from the ACLU. This press release admits the truth but is worded in such a way as to imply (to those who don’t read carefully) that “90.9 percent” of the ENTIRE RULING was “plagirized.”

    Third, I see nothing in this post that actually refutes or debunks the points that Judge Jones supposedly stole from someone else; nor does anyone even try to make a case that the pasting results in a less-than-coherent ruling.

    Fourth, if Judge Jones had to paste text from the ACLU, it’s probably because he’s reinforcing a point that the ACLU have lots of experience making and explaining – you know, like, something that’s been obvious and true for a long time.

    Fifth, pasting or no pasting, a judge is expected to make a ruling based on evidence, testimony, reasoning, and findings brought forth in the trial, so it shouldn’t be surprising when said judge repeats that information when he explains his judgement. What do you expect him to do — reword everything and base his ruling on his new interpretation? Get information from his favorite blogger instead?

    Okay, that’s more than two points – so sue me…

  33. “It is highly probable that … the original thinking expressed by Judge Jones … matches … [that] of the ACLU lawyers. Improbable things happen all the time.”

    Talk about shooting your own argument (and axioms) in the foot! (or perhaps feet!?)

  34. Answering Raging Bee

    1. This was a trial that was supposed to be about determining the legitimacy of the Dover school districts use of a single phrase. It was not supposed to be about the science of ID or evolution, it was supposed to be about if alllowing criticism of evolution was going against the separation of church and state. What the judge did was to take the position as official arbiter of the legitimacy of ID as good science and then make a plagiarized comment on that. Thus showing that not only was he going beyond the scope of the trial at hand but also that he didn’t actually research the legitimacy of what he copied (he missed the factual errors)

    2. You can intepret what he wrote anyway you like, but nowhere does he state the judge’s entire opinion was a cut and paste. Then if you read the PDF it clearly says right at that start :

    “Infact,90.9% (or5,458words)of JudgeJones’ 6,004-word section on intelligent design as science was taken virtually verbatim from the
    ACLU’s proposed “Findings of Fact and Conclusions o fLaw” submitted to Judge Jones
    nearly a month before his ruling.”

    3. The judge copied factual errors made by the ACLU, those errors are spelled out. As far as coherency see my first answer. The judge wants to play the grand inquistor out to claim that ID is scientific heresy. That wasn’t what the trial was supposed to be about.

    4. The ACLU are lawyers who have an agenda to win their case. They are not unbiased scientists out to seek the truth about evolution or ID. As lawyers out to win a case they are not interested in truth (as is shown by the errors) but rather like most all lawyers they are out to win at all costs, by hook or by crook. The judge obviously didn’t check to see if what he was copying was factual, thus showing his prejudice in favor of the ACLU’s position and not acting as an ubiased seeker of truth i.e. what his job required.

    5. His ruling was supposed to stick to the issue at hand, it wasn’t supposed to be a diatribe against ID and a glorification of the perfection of evolutionary theory.

  35. mentok
    This was a trial that was supposed to be about determining the legitimacy of the Dover school districts use of a single phrase. It was not supposed to be about the science of ID or evolution,

    Perhaps the defense should not have made the scientific legitimacy of ID a major point in their arguments then.

    From the defendant’s opening statement:

    Defendants’ expert will show this Court that intelligent design theory, IDT, is science, [...] It is not religion.

  36. My previous post (28) was, of course, in jest.

  37. Franky172 since the trial was about the establishment clause:

    “”Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion”

    That language is about restricting congress from making laws that give preferential treatment to a specific religion. It was the duty of the defense to argue that ID was not a teaching of a church, that it is not a religion, but rather that it is a scientific dissent from darwinism. Otherwise how can you argue agaisnt the claim that mentioning ID is going agasint the establishment clause? What the judge did was to judge the legitimacy of the science of ID. When in fact all he was supposed to do was rule whether or not the mention of ID was a going agaisnt the constitution where it bans preferential treatment by law of a religion.

  38. For example the defense had to argue that ID is a scientific dissent from darwinism while the ACLU tried to argue that ID is bad science and an establishment of religion. The judge should have ignored the matter of bad or good science because that was irrelevant to the case. Instead he turned that into the centerpiece of his opinion. What was relevant was whether or not ID is a religion. What that showed was that he was not making a decision based solely on the constitutionality of mentioning ID, but was instead trying to use the court, the power of the U.S. law, to discredit the scientific basis of ID. He was promoting darwinism, he wasn’t protecting the constitution, he was an advocate for evolution, not an advocate for american law.

  39. It was the duty of the defense to argue that ID was not a teaching of a church, that it is not a religion, but rather that it is a scientific dissent from darwinism.

    So now you agree that the scientific nature of ID was in fact on the table at Dover, and that the defense attorneys brought it forward, and in fact had one of their main arguments that “ID is science”.

    I agree, and so, evidently did the defense (more from their opening statement):

    Dr. Minnich will testify that IDT is science,
    [...]
    Dr. Fuller will testify that intelligent design is science,
    [...]
    Taken together, this expert testimony will confirm the defendants’ judgment by showing that intelligent design theory [...] is science.
    [...]
    Indeed, the evidence will further show that intelligent design theory is really science in its purest form,

    So, if the defense argued that ID was science, and the prosecution argued that ID was not science, how, exactly, could Judge Jones make a ruling on the merits of the case without finding fact for either of the cases put forth?

    I look forward to reading more tomorrow.

  40. What was obvious to me is that Judge Jones saw that the Dover School Board was very suspect indeed and instead of limiting his judgement on them, he took it upon himself to rule against ID.

    It should be noted that the plaintiffs did not present any facts that would demonstrate that ID is not science.

  41. It’s simple. The defense had to argue that ID was not religion, that’s all. The other side had to argue that ID was religion, that’s all. The claim that ID was not science or that is was bad science was irrelevant. Everything else was irrelevant. The defense could have argued that ID was philosophy or astronomy or sewing, it doesn’t matter what ID is or isn’t as long as it is not religion. What the claimant did was to argue that ID is bad science and that allowing mentioning of ID is establishment of religion. The court is not there to decide the curriculum of a school based on the subjective or objective nature of what is truth or fact or wrong or non factual taught in that curriculum. That is the job of the school board and the local and state government. The judge clearly was an advocate for evolution and was using the court to preach evolutionary dogma and to denigrate the scientific nature and basis of ID. That was hailed as some kind of historic and great deed when in fact it actually showed the overstepping of bounds by the judge and his misuse of the media interest in the case to preach evolution and denigrate ID. It was a classic case of misuse of judicial perogatives for purely political and religious reasons. He should have been lambasted by the press and by any non biased commentator for his decision to portray the case as a battle between evolution and religion and between evolution and ID. All it was supposed to be was about whether or not ID was a religion, nothing more. What he did was install evolution as a state protected belief system on the origin of species which in denying God as the origin is in fact an establishment of a religion. That was clearly unconstitutional and foolish. Yet he is assailed as some kind of intellectual hero when what he ended up doing was the exact opposite of what he claims to have done. He installed a state protected ideology, a monopoly, on the origin of species and of humans (religious territory to most people) and disallowed dissent.

  42. Folks, I spend 13 years as a litigator in a major firm, and now I teach law. I think Judge Jones’ ruling about whether ID is “science” was unnecessary. However, you are barking up the wrong tree here. Trial judges routinely use portions of the proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law submitted by the parties — it is exactly why the parties are asked to submit them. Calling this “plaigiarism” is misplaced, because the ethical rules govering scholars and journalists regarding giving credit to sources simply don’t apply in this context. A judge is supposed to decide cases based on the facts presented by the parties. Forget about this one — this dog won’t hunt.

  43. It is hard to shake the label of “activist judge” when you copy your decision verbatim from ACLU documents.

  44. doperdeck if the judge copies the supposed “facts” of a party which are not in actuality facts but rather outright lies and misrepresentations then what does that say about the that judges opinion? If I argue a case and present numerous “facts” in a written form which are not actually facts but instead lies and misrepresentations, and then I win the case, should the judge then simply repeat those lies and misrepresentations as part of his “insight”?

  45. dopderbeck:

    Calling this “plaigiarism” [sic] is misplaced, because the ethical rules govering [sic] scholars and journalists regarding giving credit to sources simply don’t apply in this context. A judge is supposed to decide cases based on the facts presented by the parties.

    The problem is that Judge Jones doesn’t have the faintest idea what ID theory is all about. As “Dirty Harry” Callahan once observed: “A man’s got to know his limitations.”

  46. There are two problems with most of the previous posts and with Dr Dembski’s original post.

    First, many people condemn bad spelling, and secondly, we all assume that design detection can be applied in real life to detect plagiarism.

    As the detection of spelling errors also relies on design detection, both these assertions are religious and not science and should not be allowed.

    Judge Jones is safe. The Design Inference is obviously a religious idea, and the constitution will protect JJ and all future judgements from such criticism.

    Long live the American legal system, that also found OJ was innocent.

    By the way, we in Australia have almost the exact wording about establishing religion yet our government financially supports religious schools, and the teaching of ID or religion for that matter, is allowed and even funded in public schools. Funny how the meaning of specific law speciates through geographical isolation. This proves unintelligent evolution is true.

  47. The more I learn about how the legal system works, the less I respect it.

    The copying and pasting might be fine enough, but it came from documents presented a month before the evidence was presented.

    Now at least it begins to make sense the way he seems to have utterly not heard much of the testimony.

    It means the trial was a charade.

    Profoundly interesting, important and not widely known testimony was falling upon deaf ears.

    I think he should be disbarred, or impeached.

  48. Ed Darrell is a lawyer? He’s a middle school social studies teacher in Texas who couldn’t earn a living as a botanist. Interestingly, he isn’t even teaching science. I don’t believe for a nanosecond he’s licensed to practice law anywhere.

  49. Excuse me. Ed is an “alternative” high school social studies teacher. If he managed to pass the bar anywhere I’ll eat my hat. I remember exchanging a series of long emails with Ed two years ago where he was claiming that knowledge of evolution is important for the Texas grapefruit industry. For what must have been a couple thousand words I couldn’t make Ed understand that commercial grapefruit orchards in Texas are populated with cloned (by cuttings) Ruby Reds grafted onto hardier citrus rootstocks. It shouldn’t take a botanist to understand how that works but still Ed just didn’t get it. Evolution is all important to the Texas grapefruit industry says he. I didn’t bother pointing out that grapefruit were purposely hybridized in the Barbados a hundred years before Darwin was born. It wouldn’t have made any difference.

  50. Putz does have a better sound to it. No argument there. Absent a more complete single word descriptor I guess it’ll have to do. Dickweed would be more hip. Beavis and Butthead really popularized it.

    http://www.urbandictionary.com.....m=dickweed

    The preferred definition fits really well.

  51. dopderbeck

    Another lawyer to tries to argue this isn’t plagiarism. How quaint.

    http://encarta.msn.com/diction.....arize.html

    plagiarize

    Definition:

    copy something from other person’s work: to copy another person’s idea or written work and claim it as original

    Which part of the definition don’t you understand?

  52. chunkdz,

    “Brood of vipers, narcissistic putz, what’s the difference?”

    A little less than 2000 years.

  53. 53

    avocationist said ( Dec 13th 2006 at 2:33 am ) –

    The more I learn about how the legal system works, the less I respect it.

    The copying and pasting might be fine enough, but it came from documents presented a month before the evidence was presented.

    Not true — the copying and pasting came from documents presented after the end of courtroom testimony. An example is the following document —

    http://www2.ncseweb.org/kvd/al.....88-334.pdf

    – the same document in html format is at –

    http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/dover/pf.html

    I think he should be disbarred, or impeached.

    I’ll drink to that (attorneys are disbarred, federal judges are impeached).

  54. “Long live the American legal system, that also found OJ was innocent.”

    LOL! Yes that’s an excellent point. JJ recites ACLU talking points and OJ goes free after murdering two people. I just can’t wait until jury duty time.

  55. doperbeck:
    Trial judges routinely use portions of the proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law submitted by the parties — it is exactly why the parties are asked to submit them.

    One has to wonder what facts can be found in Judge Jones’ ruling. One fact I found was that he is still clue-less as to what ID is.

  56. It’s simple. The defense had to argue that ID was not religion, that’s all. The other side had to argue that ID was religion, that’s all. The claim that ID was not science or that is was bad science was irrelevant.

    Actually, according to my understanding of the Lemon test, an act must pass three tests to ensure that it does not violate the establishment clause:

    1. It must have secular legislative purpose.
    2. It’s effect must not inhibit or advance religion
    and
    3. There must be no “excessive entanglement” with religion (whatever that means).

    Obviously for the purposes of the 1st part of the Lemon test, declaring ID to be “science” enables the act of the school board to have secular legislative purpose and thus pass the first part of the Lemon test. I believe this is why the Thomas Moore Law Center, ACLU, and Jones all believed this was paramount to the case.

    Certainly the Thomas Moore Law Center could have taken some other route and suggested that the secular legislative purpose of the school board was some other pressing need, but what?

  57. The judge should have ignored the matter of bad or good science because that was irrelevant to the case. Instead he turned that into the centerpiece of his opinion.

    That’s because the plaintiffs (not the judge) used the fact that ID was bad science to prove that it was, in fact, a NOTHING MORE than a religious belief badly disguised as science. If ID had been proven to be real science, then its religious origins would have been irrelevant.

    And the quickest proof that ID really is a religious doctrine can be found in an early draft of “Pandas:” anyone here remember the famous phrase “cdesign proponentsists?” Think about that before you complain about “plagirism.”

    The judge copied factual errors made by the ACLU, those errors are spelled out.

    Where? Given the utterly idiotic hysterical hyperbole I’ve seen about the ACLU from places like this, the above statement lacks credibility.

  58. BJ said something earlier about whining and being prepared for the next time.

    However I believe an open discussion of past follies are key to being prepared for the next time.

    For example we now know not just appear to target evolution. This is easily done as we all know the design inference extends beyond biology.

    Make it clear that ID proceeds as if the Torah, Bible and Qu’ran don’t even exist- even though their mere existence constitutes evidence. IOW don’t conflate any inferences derived from the theory with the theory itself.

    Basically keep the following in mind:

    “(A) decision respecting the subject matter to be taught in public schools does not violate the Establishment Clause simply because the material to be taught ‘happens to coincide or harmonize with the tenets of some or all religions’” Justice Lewis Powell in his concurrence to Edwards v. Aguillard

    So we take a page right from Southern California- all incoming high school freshman are to assemble and watch two pro-ID videos- “The Privileged Planet” and “Unlocking the Mytery of Life”.

    Following which Andrea Bottaro’s rebuttal* will be read along with a pro-ID response (in-process but anyone can jump in).

    Then get on with the school year but ALLOW open discussions of the data presented.

    If some wants to argue that Stonehenge is a formation due to stochastic processes- allow them to make their case.

    “Turtles all the way down…”, make your case.

    Living organisms are the result of the random mixing of elements, compounds and lightning strikes- make your case.

    By allowing them to make their case they may see for themselves, which is the first step to developing critical thinking skills.

    * the only real way to rebut the contents of either video and actually demonstrate our existence is the result of sheer-dumb-luck. Mere blather and finger-pointing will not ‘git-r-dun’…

  59. Raging Bee:
    That’s because the plaintiffs (not the judge) used the fact that ID was bad science to prove that it was, in fact, a NOTHING MORE than a religious belief badly disguised as science.

    Reality tells us the plaintiffs erected a strawman, sold it to the judge, who bought it, then destroyed that starwman in front of him.

    The judge, thinking the strawman was ID, then over-stepped the boudary of this case to make a sweeping ruling that was irrelevant to the case he heard.

    If the judge had REALLY wanted the facts about “Pandas” he would have allowed the publishers to enter the case. Or at least he would have considered their brief.

    As it is he listened to only what the ID critics had to say about ID, accepted a bluff as actual evidence and discarded everything the ID experts said about ID.

    And I believe he did that because he knew the school board didn’t have a clue to what ID was, had religious motivations and acted deceptively.

    However the same can be said about the plaintiffs’ witnesses.

  60. Dave,

    Please don’t get me started on wordly definitions…, I noticed how this past week, Theist Evolutionist can find all things wrong with ID, IDers, YECs, but not say one single word against Krause and the conference by NAS in recent post.

    They routinely “disparage” IDers, and YECS, but not the atheist scientist who mocked and scoffed @ Christians. Not one single word to defend the 15% of Christians, nor to demand apology by fellow atheist scientist for their attacks of comparison of pedophiles to Christians.

    re: plagerize and peers who try to fit in.
    You see, it is not “plagerizing” as long as the ACLU does not care and other Judges and lawyers do it too. Judges must save time afterall and should not bother to read, spellcheck, nor fact check what the lawyers hand to them in a ruling decision.

    Its all “part of the game” you see.

    They all met up I’m sure after the decision over cocktails, cigars and schmoooooozed with each other. Laughing, mocking and jestering how yet again with money from the likes of George Soros, they Bamboozled innocent everyday people trying to make a difference in their childrens lives who wanted to offer serious alternatives of discussion to their children. Not that paying taxes means anything at all about the rights of citizens these days.

    Eventually I am sure the Judge asked the ACLU how their case with NAMBLA is going and if they could use any help!

    But you know, guilt by association is only a one-way street. Only pedophile, Republicans and Christian Scientist can be connected. Not ACLU, Democrat Atheist Scientist. No, they take a much higher road based upon the truth of materialism.

    That is how and why plagiarism is redefined today.

    Therefore good is evil and evil is good.

  61. idnet.com.au said,

    “By the way, we in Australia have almost the exact wording about establishing religion yet our government financially supports religious schools, and the teaching of ID or religion for that matter, is allowed and even funded in public schools. Funny how the meaning of specific law speciates through geographical isolation. This proves unintelligent evolution is true.”

    Thank you! And this is how our system of government should work as well mate. There is no such thing as “seperation of church and state” in our constitution.

    It is one BIG FAT LIE! Our society caved in to politically correct atheism. So now you have Chritians paying taxes for a system that does not represent them fairly in government.

    Therefore We the People are no longer Self Governed.

    But they are ruled over by ACLU and a few Judicial systems.

    Why they ever bought into it I do not know. But as a child raised in the secular system, I was taught no different.

    In fact, I was LIED to because of Judicial decisions forced onto me by Communist inspired organizations like the ACLU.

    You would think that All Christians would see this and fight it. We have a right to demand how our tax dollars are spent. Judges, lawyers and the Federal Government Serves We the People, not the other way around.

  62. Joseph wrote:

    However I believe an open discussion of past follies are key to being prepared for the next time.

    That’s funny — there’s nothing in your “open discussion” about actual scientific work supporting ID or disproving evolution. Seems to me that’s where a discussion of “past follies” would start.

    Make it clear that ID proceeds as if the Torah, Bible and Qu’ran don’t even exist…

    Y’all have been talking about ID for DECADES; so why do you have to make this clear now? Could it be because ID is, and always has been, based on those religious texts?

    …even though their mere existence constitutes evidence.

    Oops, you did it again. IF ID is science, then it shouldn’t have to even consider religious texts as “evidence” — this is science, not religion, remember?

  63. Counting down the seconds until Raging Bee is banned for being a troll by an ID proponent who just happens to be an agnostic…ironic, eh?

    We’ll support controversy, just not idiocy.

  64. I’m beginning to find you tiresome, Raing Bee. Goodbye. –WmAD

  65. DaveScot, quoting the Encarta Encyclopedia, said: Another lawyer to tries to argue this isn’t plagiarism. How quaint.

    Dave, the problem with your quote from Encarta here is that trial judges don’t claim that their opinions are “original” in the sense that a journalist or schoalar does. Trial judges are supposed to recite in their opinions the evidence presented at trial. That is their job. It isn’t plagiarism. You may think the common law legal system is “quaint,” but it has worked this way for centuries. Please, if you’re going to criticize the way judges do their jobs, at least try to understand what they do, rather than cuttting and pasting irrelevant Encarta definitions.

    Some folks have dickered about whether the ACLU’s proposed findings of fact were presented before or after trial. It doesn’t matter.

    It is common practice in many federal courts for the parties to present detailed proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law before trial. This is one way in which federal trial courts manage their dockets — this practice helps weed out issues on which a trial is not really necessary either because the parties essentially agree or because an issue a party wants to raise is irrelevant to the claims asserted.

    It also is common practice for judges to request additional submissions after trial, depending on the testimony and evidence actually adduced at trial.

    Finally, it is common practice for trial judges to adopt language from a party’s submission in whole or in part when framing a written opinion.

    As far as I can tell, based on 13 years of experience litigating in the federal courts, absolutely nothing Judge Jones did in writing this opinion can fairly be called unethical or nefarious. This is an unfair, uninformed criticism.

    Others have suggested Judge Jones got the facts wrong. That may well be the case. It is fair to criticize the accuracy of a court’s factual findings if they are not supported by the record. Still others (including me, in other places) have criticized Judge Jones’ effort to define what “science” means. That, again, is a fair criticism based on the issues that were actually before the court and the proper role of judges.

    The suggestion that it was inherently improper for the trial judge to use a party’s proposed findings of fact, however, is simply wrong.

  66. However I believe an open discussion of past follies are key to being prepared for the next time.

    Raging Bee:
    That’s funny — there’s nothing in your “open discussion” about actual scientific work supporting ID or disproving evolution.

    There is actual scientific work supporting ID. And disproving evolution is NOT what ID is about. (evolution has several meanings)

    Raging Bee:
    Seems to me that’s where a discussion of “past follies” would start.

    I prefer to keep my discussions “in context”. The context of this thread is the past folly of Judge Jones’ decision and how to make sure, or try to, that it isn’t repeated.

    Make it clear that ID proceeds as if the Torah, Bible and Qu’ran don’t even exist…

    Raging Bee:
    Y’all have been talking about ID for DECADES; so why do you have to make this clear now?

    Because people like you exist. People who, when there hear “ID” automatically think “religion” regardless of what reality demonstrates.

    …even though their mere existence constitutes evidence.

    Raging Bee:
    Oops, you did it again. IF ID is science, then it shouldn’t have to even consider religious texts as “evidence” — this is science, not religion, remember?

    Man that is twisted. Those books are evidence regardless of ID. Also those books can be viewed as historical and philosophical documents. People just formed their respective religion around them.

  67. 56. Raging Bee said,

    “That’s because the plaintiff’s (not the judge) used the fact that ID was bad science to prove that it was, in fact, NOTHING MORE than a religious belief badly disguised as science.”

    ID makes no assumption that a deity is the designer. Even if you infer that, ID is not religion, since religion is defined as a set of dogmas, rituals, and beliefs, backed by a belief in a ‘deity’. A common definiton of religion is, ” A set of beliefs, values, and practices based on the teachings of a spiritual leader.” These definitions are fairly specific, and are the most widely given by lexicon sources, but the most general description you’ll find is, “Belief and reverence of a supernatural power or powers … ”

    Nowhere in ID proposals does it stipulate that the interventionary agent is supernatural or divine, or that it is existent today, or that, if existent, it is to be revered, all necessary tenets of a religion. The fact that there is an implication of a divine deity is irrelevant.

    Raging Bee continued,

    “And the quickest proof that ID really is a religious doctrine can be found in an early draft of “Pandas:” anyone here remember the famous phrase “cdesign proponentsists?” Think about that before you complain about ‘plagerism.’”

    What is the relevance of a ‘typo’ in Pandas and People? The fact that authors Davis and Kenyon substituted the words ‘intelligent design’ for ‘creation’ in later editions, or the fact that they espouse a belief in ID does not make them spokesmen for the ID movement. So what’s the point?

    Lee Bowman

  68. Joseph, “And I believe he did that because he knew the school board didn’t have a clue to what ID was, had religious motivations and acted deceptively.”

    There may be truth in the statement, “he knew the school board didn’t have a clue to what ID was, had religious motivations and acted deceptively.” I don’t know. However, I still think you give judge Jones too much credit. If this were the case, he would have composed a finding that didn’t reject ID with a broad brush; but would have focused tightly on the evidence for motivaton on the part of the school board.

  69. To show y’all that I’m not just making up my position on “plagiarism,” I here is a quote from the U.S. Supreme Court on this very issue:

    “even when the trial judge adopts proposed findings verbatim, the findings are those of the court and may be reversed only if clearly erroneous. “ Anderson v. City of Bessmer City, 105 S.Ct. 1504 (1985).

    The Third Circuit, the circuit in which Judge Jones sits, also specifically recognizes that a trial court can adopt a party’s proposed findings verbatim. See Landsford-Coaldale Joint Water Authority v. Tonolli Corp., 4 F.3d 1209, 1215 (1993)(stating, “[w]e similarly reject the [plaintiff's] argument that the district court’s verbatim adoption of many of [the defendant's]proposed factual findings contravened the purposes of Fed.R.Civ.P. 52(a) such that they do not warrant review under the clearly erroneous standard. This argument has been rejected by the Supreme Court….“)

    Will those who have been trying to make political hay out of this aspect of Judge Jones’ opinion now acknowledge that they are wrong on this point?

  70. Some of the “findings of fact” in the final briefs of the plaintiffs are really off the deep end, even for Darwinist crackpots. For example, here are two:

    314. Intelligent design is not only religious, it is sectarian. It promotes the particular religious views held by some but not all believers in Christianity.

    – - – - – - – -

    326. Board members ensured that the teaching of evolution at Dover High School would be limited to propositions that did not conflict with their religious beliefs, and prevented the teaching of key aspects of the theory that did conflict with their religious beliefs, such as macroevolution, speciation, and common ancestry.

    – from
    http://www.talkorigins.org/faq......html#p455

    That Judge Jones would just mindlessly copy and paste statements from such a brief without checking them for factual accuracy is the height of irresponsibility.

    Also, I strongly suspect that the Dover opinion has no quotes from the defendants’ final briefs. Jones should have quoted something from those briefs, if for no other reason than to show that he at least looked at them.

  71. Since I posted yesterday, I have observed, with great interest your responses. It just goes to show you that, outside of name-calling, ID is completely bereft of any substantial scientific weight. Here at UD, the weblog of Dr. Dembski (sorry about the Mr thing), a leader in the research behind ID, we see name calling and a litany of copied articles from newspapers that back up ID. Wow, to say the least, I am not impressed.

    Additionally, based on my reading of your responses, Jesus would have resorted to calling when an impartial judge did something completely legal. By the way, didn’t the DI also provide for the Judge their Findings of Fact? Why yes they did! I guess the judge didn’t find them convincing enough to include them. To me, you sound a little sore at losing this trial, and when the DI whines about a common practice in courtrooms all over America, you know they are desperate.

  72. Larry,
    326. Board members ensured that the teaching of evolution at Dover High School would be limited to propositions that did not conflict with their religious beliefs, and prevented the teaching of key aspects of the theory that did conflict with their religious beliefs, such as macroevolution, speciation, and common ancestry.

    # 233. During the October 18, 2004 meeting, the following language was added to the Board Curriculum Committee’s recommended curriculum change: “Note: Origins of Life is Not Taught.” From the Board’s perspective, this change made it district policy that teachers were not permitted to teach major aspects of evolution, including macroevolution, speciation, and common ancestry, including that humans share common ancestors with other living creatures. 29:121-23 (Buckingham); Buckingham Dep. (3/31/05) at 71, 74; Bonsell Dep. (4/13/05) at 67-69.

    You disagree with the testimony cited when Bickingham says “origins of life were taught to the point that yes, that man descended from monkeys”?

    Or how about:

    Q. But the words, when it says origins of life, I guesses that the only point I want to clarify with you, is that that means, that’s a reference to specifically the concept that one, that any species originated or began with a previous species, right? Common ancestor, right?

    A. Yes.

    From: http://www.talkorigins.org/faq.....day16am739

  73. i have a question.
    Why would Judge Jone’s ruling galvanize Christians?

    Since he did cut and paste a lot of it, does this mean that it will galvanize Christians even more?

  74. dopderbeck

    Plagiarism is as plagiarism does. By another name it stinks the same.

    You seem to be distressed at the notion that people be allowed to learn the facts and render their own judgment about the ethical nature of it in this case. Your distress as a Jones apologist is telling and well warranted. People not already enamored by Jones won’t tend to view it in a positive light. Fence sitters will definitely be swayed into a negative opinion of Jones by it. That’s just how the cookie crumbles. Deal with it.

  75. “Hooligans” is no longer with us. We fail to impress him and he fails to impress us.

  76. DaveScot said: Plagiarism is as plagiarism does. By another name it stinks the same.

    Dave, even the Discovery Institute disagrees with you on this one. In a letter intended to reign in an organisation touting the “plagiarism” line, the DI said: “Indeed, judges routinely invite lawyers to propose findings of fact in order to verify what the lawyers believe to be the key factual issues in the case. Thus, in legal circles Judge Jones’ use of the ACLU’s proposed “Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law” would not be considered “plagiarism” nor a violation of judicial ethics. “

    Dave, you are just dead wrong here. Own up to it.

    DaveScot also said: Your distress as a Jones apologist is telling and well warranted.

    I’m no Judge Jones apologist. I’ve written extensively on my blog, in a long series of discussions on the ASA web list, and in a letter published in the journal First Things, about why I think Judge Jones went off the rails in holding that ID is not “science.” Google me in the context of “Judge Jones” and you’ll find those references (I won’t link them here so I don’t get accused of trolling). You’ll also see that I took lots of heat on a law school blog for criticizing Jones. Research before you accuse.

    That said, two wrongs don’t make things right. Accusing Judge Jones of plagiarism or other unethical conduct is wrong.

  77. Dopderbeck, I once had a judge rule in my favor. In his ruling, he used the language provided by an expert witness as his own. Yet when you read his ruling, 95% of it was his own thought, his own words. Is there a point at which your profession says, “c’mon, judge, think for yourself?”

    In post #26, above, Larry Fafarman sites statements that claim that it is seen as “poor practice” to get too heaily into regurgitating the work of others. Could you critique his post, especially the part preceeding “One thing we now know for sure — Judge Jones was … “?

  78. I agree that the “plagiarism” charge is a moot point. It only becomes interesting in light of Jones accepting so much praise for his decision and also his claim that he made up his mind before the rest of the evidence and testimony was given to him (but that’s a 2nd hand account of a speech given). Never mind all the other shenanigans that took place.

  79. dopderbeck

    I’m no Judge Jones apologist. I’ve written extensively on my blog, in a long series of discussions on the ASA web list, and in a letter published in the journal First Things, about why I think Judge Jones went off the rails in holding that ID is not “science.”

    I’m glad you feel that way because if you read into the second paragraph of the quoted material (my emphasis)

    Judge John Jones copied verbatim or virtually verbatim 90.9% of his 6,004-word section on whether intelligent design is science from the ACLU’s proposed ‘Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law’

    This is all about his finding of science and who really wrote it. Plagiarism and putzism are just rhetoric. You think those words are too strong. Point taken on the rhetoric.

    Jones’ copying the ACLU science finding verbatim and not advertising the fact that he did is not outside the normal bounds of judicial conduct. Granted. Is there anything about people being made aware of the details of his proper judicial conduct somehow objectionable? Is there anything in the Discovery press release that’s not accurate or is not something the public has a right to know?

  80. bfast asked: Is there a point at which your profession says, “c’mon, judge, think for yourself?”

    Yes — whenever you’re on the losing side of a case. ;-)

    Seriously, I think most honest observers of the judicial system are concerned about the ability of trial courts to render fair, comprehensive verdicts given the volume of cases they must handle. There are many proposals for addressing this problem, including increasing funding to hire more judges, using specialized courts or arbitration panels to hear certain types of claims, etc.

    In post #26, above, Larry Fafarman sites statements that claim that it is seen as “poor practice” to get too heaily into regurgitating the work of others. Could you critique his post

    Larry cites a portion of a speech given in 1963, which is in turn quoted in a 1964 Supreme Court opinion. The practice has changed significantly since then, in part because of the volume of cases trial courts must handle. The much more recent Supreme Court and Third Circuit cases I cited discuss some of this historical development. The Supreme Court recognized in Bessmer City in 1985 that there is nothing nefarious about adopting a party’s proposed findings. The circuit courts, in particular the Third Circuit, generally have followed suit, and it is has long been standard practice.

    When Larry says, One thing we now know for sure — Judge Jones was falsely given credit for a lot of stuff that he did not write, then, the argument is misplaced. Judge Jones isn’t a novelist; he’s a trial judge, and the way he drafted his opinion is perfectly appropriate.

    When Larry then says And Jones did not even bother to check the record to make sure that the ACLU material that he was going to use was factually accurate, I think that also is an unfair argument. The judge believed one side and not the other. That’s what happens in trials.

    DaveScot asks: Is there anything about people being made aware of the details of his proper judicial conduct somehow objectionable? Is there anything in the Discovery press release that’s not accurate or is not something the public has a right to know?

    To the first question, I would say no, that isn’t objectionable at all. It’s perfectly appropriate to critique the opinion, including the observation that the court apprently gave no credence to valid arguments raised by the losing side.

    To the second question, I’d say yes, IMHO there were a number of things in both the December 12 and December 13 DI press releases that were inappropriate, as follows:

    The December 13, 2006 press release says: “The egregious case of copying text from plaintiffs’ attorneys by federal judge John Jones has drawn additional criticism from legal scholars who explain that such copying should be scrutinized and carefully examined.”

    This statement is misleading, in two ways. First, the what Judge Jones did was not “egregious” under the common judicial practice. Second, the Supreme Court in the case I cited has said that factual findings adopted verbatim are subject to the same standard of review as any other finding made under Rule 52(a). Also, this is a less important point, but there’s hardly a chorus of “legal scholars” lamenting Judge Jones’ opinion.

    The DI’s December 12, 2006 press releaseI says Judge Jones’ adoption of the ACLU’s proposed findings is “stunning,” and further states that “[f]or all practical purposes, Jones allowed ACLU attorneys to write nearly the entire section of his opinion analyzing whether intelligent design is science. As a result, this central part of Judge Jones’ ruling reflected essentially no original deliberative activity or independent examination of the record on Jones’ part.”

    IMHO, these statements also are unfair and/or misleading. It was not “stunning,” nor, according to the U.S. Supreme Court cite I’ve supplied, would an appellate court presume that Judge Jones engaged in no “original deliberative activity or independent examination of the record.”

    The fallout from the DI press release, I think, illustrates my point. As a result of it, we’ve had in this thread numerous accusations of plagiarism and judicial misconduct, which are unfounded; I have also received a mass e-mail from a prominent religious right group making similar accusations. All of this hurts the credibility of ID generally and, even more troubling to me, tarnishes the Christian witness of everyone who opposes materialism on specifically Christian grounds.

  81. “Counting down the seconds until Raging Bee is banned for being a troll by an ID proponent who just happens to be an agnostic…ironic, eh?

    We’ll support controversy, just not idiocy. ”

    [Comment by Patrick — December 13, 2006 @ 10:25 am]

    “I’m beginning to find you tiresome, Ra[g]ing Bee. Goodbye. –WmAD”

    [Comment by William Dembski — December 13, 2006 @ 10:35 am]

    Wow, Patrick – you’re good. You’re REALLY good. ;)

  82. 82

    dopderbeck said (comment #80) –

    Larry cites a portion of a speech given in 1963, which is in turn quoted in a 1964 Supreme Court opinion. The practice has changed significantly since then, in part because of the volume of cases trial courts must handle.

    No one was rushing Jones. He was given plenty of time to write his opinion.

    People have argued that Jones’ “plagiarism” of findings of scientific facts should be excused because he is not a scientist. However, he also plagiarized an important “conclusion of law” in the conclusion section of the opinion: “we will enter an order permanently enjoining Defendants . . . . from requiring teachers to denigrate or disparage the scientific theory of evolution . . . .” (see comment #26). He did not even bother to include that prohibition in the opinion’s final order, showing that he just mindlessly copied that prohibition from the plaintiffs’ final briefs. If there is anyplace where Jones should have showed some independence of thought, it is here.

  83. dopderbeck this whole debate on whether or not it is acceptable behavior for a judge to copy the findings of the winning side in a court case for use in his decision is to me not the main point of this whole brouhaha. Although in a court case where there is a simple and clear cut case of right and wrong presented in a case, and the right wins, then it seems to me that a judge copying the winning sides briefs to whatever degree if that brief was factual and not full of errors, would be fine due to the overworked court system. But when there is a case where the judge decides to write about something outside the bounds of the case, outside of clear right and wrong in a legal sense, then what excuse does he have? If the reason for copying briefs is the congestion of the courts and the time restrictions judges labor under, then shouldn’t the judge stick to the law in his decision? His copying of the ACLU’s brief was an argument that was outside the bounds of the case, outside his legal authoritah. What did he think he was doing? Judging the scientific pros and cons of ID or evolution had no place in the case. If he was so pressed for time then why did he have time to copy irrelevant material in order to bias the entire world against the validity of ID and extol the virtues of evolution?

    I am glad this debate has taken place whereas you seem to think it harms the ID movement. From my perspective it refocuses light on a ridiculous event which was heralded by so many prejudiced and or uneducated and gullible people in their haste to see the dreaded “creationists” put back in their pandoras box. When looked at in an unbiased and non prejudicial fashion, in hindsight, after the passion of the moment has faded, then we can show that not only was the judge ridiculous and his opinion was worthless, but that also so many gullible people were taken in and fooled by prejudiced people with a fascist agenda to achieve at the expense of truth and justice.

  84. Judge Jones is a highly sought after speaker. Does anyone have an idea as to how well compensated he is for his efforts? Is it alarming that a judge would make considerable income based on the notoriety of his ruling? Or does he make speeches pro bono? Justice need not be tainted by an attraction to fame and fortune.

  85. Having not read the Discovery Institute analysis, I offer the following as food for thought, rather than definitive opinions:

    1. Are we to expect that the ACLU attorneys are themselves qualified to speak on the question of the definition of science?

    2. Do we think that the ACLU attorneys actually researched definitive works on the philosophy of science, did an analysis of the facts and came to the conclusion that ID is not science? After all, this is not a legal conclusion and is not central the case, as I understand it.

    3. Would it not be interesting to know how much of the ACLU brief on this topic was in fact not written by the ACLU attorneys, but by the various parties advising the ACLU attorneys? Is some of the ACLU “analysis” in fact nothing more than parroting of talking points from our friends who oppose ID, such as, dare I suggest perhaps our friends in Oakland, California?

    Just food for thought . . .

  86. dopderbeck

    I asked

    Is there anything in the Discovery press release that’s not accurate or is not something the public has a right to know?

    You replied

    I’d say yes, IMHO there were a number of things in both the December 12 and December 13 DI press releases that were inappropriate, as follows:

    I didn’t ask about what you thought was appropriate. I asked about what was factually incorrect. Your penchant for creating straw men by changing the actual words used is annoying.

    Try again and this time try to answer the question that I actually ask. Whether something is egregious or stunning is subjective; a matter of personal opinion not of fact. If I’d asked if the Discovery piece reflected any personal opinion you disagreed with then your answer would be a fine one. But I didn’t ask that. I asked if there was anything that wasn’t accurate.

  87. The DI’s December 12, 2006 press release says Judge Jones’ adoption of the ACLU’s proposed findings is “stunning,” and further states that “[f]or all practical purposes, Jones allowed ACLU attorneys to write nearly the entire section of his opinion analyzing whether intelligent design is science. As a result, this central part of Judge Jones’ ruling reflected essentially no original deliberative activity or independent examination of the record on Jones’ part.”

    IMHO, these statements also are unfair and/or misleading. It was not “stunning …”

    Perhaps not stunning by prevailing standards of judicial fiat, but certainly ‘stunning’ considering his taking the liberty of establishing biased and frankly false statements as fact in his conclusion.

    ” … nor, according to the U.S. Supreme Court cite I’ve supplied, would an appellate court presume that Judge Jones engaged in no “original deliberative activity or independent examination of the record.”

    They might, in an appeal where certain facts were pointed out to them, i.e. that Jones stepped beyond his authority in this case by making pronouncements against ID per se, and not just the actions of the school board. I predict that those pronouncements, while hailed as setting judicial precedent, will be disputed in a subsequent legal challenge.

    The fallout from the DI press release, I think, illustrates my point. As a result of it, we’ve had in this thread numerous accusations of plagiarism and judicial misconduct, which are unfounded … All of this hurts the credibility of ID generally and, even more troubling to me, tarnishes the Christian witness of everyone who opposes materialism on specifically Christian grounds.

    Point one: The term ‘plagiarism’ should never have been used, since quoting testimony by a judge in an opinion/ conclusion certainly is not. A better term, and one used a lot to criticize judges for similar actions is to be a ‘rubber stamp’ for one side or the other. I think that descriptor fits.

    Point two: There are even those (primarily religious fundamentalists) who feel that ID itself tarnishes Christian theology, since it proposes direct, and possibly ‘stepwise’ intervention to achieve creation, rather than the Biblical view. We don’t know the mechanism of creation, but to properly address science, creation by a mechanistic method involving genetic alterations is one possibility, and the one likely to be hypothesized. With ID, the basic premise at this time is design, without defining the agency or its method(s). But to be ‘allowed in’ by science, methodologies need to be proposed as well.

    So yes, this conflicts somewhat with fundamentalist religious beliefs, but it is a necessary approach for legitimizing Intelligent Design within the scientific realm. Now to further address the last point, does this critical assault on the ruling ‘tarnish’ Christian witness? No, since it is legitimate. It will certainly raise hackles on the materialist side and bring scathing rebuttals, but we must stand our ground. The ruling (against ID) is blatantly false and must somehow be amended or reversed. Otherwise, the movement to establish intelligent design as science is severely set back.

  88. Point two: There are even those (primarily religious fundamentalists) who feel that ID itself tarnishes Christian theology, since it proposes direct, and possibly ’stepwise’ intervention to achieve creation, rather than the Biblical view.

    This is untrue. ID infers intelligence as a causal component for life. There is nothing unbiblical about this. To the contrary it affirms creation. Where religious critics (which includes those affirming no God as well as believers) go wrong is in not separating an empirical claim from a claim that is outside the scientific realm. IDers do not take issue with standard theorists based on biblical passages but rather based on scientific data.

    We don’t know the mechanism of creation, but to properly address science, creation by a mechanistic method involving genetic alterations is one possibility, and the one likely to be hypothesized.

    I would remind the writer that before one can theorize about genetic alterations there must exist a genome that can change. ID is not just a counterpart to evolution. An inference of intelligence can be made at point of origins or any point thereafter.

    With ID, the basic premise at this time is design, without defining the agency or its method(s). But to be ‘allowed in’ by science, methodologies need to be proposed as well.

    The methodology entails testing hypotheses and in general can follow a Popperian approach.

  89. pk4_paul -Judge Jones is a highly sought after speaker.
    How can that be?????? Where could he find the time????? Don’t you know our courts are so crowded that judges have to cut and paste their reasoning from the ACLU?????

  90. DaveScot said: Try again and this time try to answer the question that I actually ask. Whether something is egregious or stunning is subjective; a matter of personal opinion not of fact.

    It’s disappointing, Dave, that you’re trying to take this tone and posture when you’ve been so thoroughly rebutted on the whole “plagairism” canard even by the Discovery Institute itself. And really, it’ s not necessary. Let’s have a civil conversation, even if we disagree.

    Anyway, “egregious” and “stunning” are not merely subjective statements. They are also factual statements that convey that the Court’s opinion severely violated an objective norm of judicial conduct. This is false. Thus, when I say the DI’s press releases were “inappropriate,” I’m saying I believe they were factually misleading as well as unbecoming. Their misleading nature is evidenced, I think, in how they were picked up in the popular media — including in the Family Research Council mass e-mail that accused Judge Jones of “stealing” and in this blog post that used the term “plagiarism.”

    If you disagree, that’s fine, but I have 13 years of courtroom experience and Supreme Court and Third Circuit precedent on my side.

    leebowman said: Now to further address the last point, does this critical assault on the ruling ‘tarnish’ Christian witness? No, since it is legitimate.

    I agree that it does not tarnish Christian witness to criticize the ruling per se. I’ve criticized it myself, on the grounds that the case could have been decided without any philosophical discussion of what “science” means. But it does tarnish Christian witness, I believe, for well-known Christians and Christian organizations to make allegations of plagiarism, stealing, etc., that are obviously false.

  91. Eric Anderson asked: Would it not be interesting to know how much of the ACLU brief on this topic was in fact not written by the ACLU attorneys, but by the various parties advising the ACLU attorneys?

    I can almost guarantee that the attorneys got the information for this part of their submissions from outside “experts.” There’s nothing unusual about this — when I litigated patent cases, I didn’t pretend to personally know everything about every technology without consulting an expert.

    However, you do raise a good point: the broad philosphical question of what constitutes “science” should not have been addressed by the court. Courts are supposed to decide specific “cases and controversies.” The specific case or controversy in Kitzmiller was whether the particular policy of one local school board was religiously motivated. The court could easily have decided that question without a broad discursus on “science,” which the court was ill-prepared to handle and which was poorly done.

  92. pk4_paul – Judge Jones is a highly sought after speaker.
    Tribute: How can that be?????? Where could he find the time?????

    It is fair, I think, to criticize Judge Jones’ hunger for publicity. Trial judges don’t belong on the cover of popular magazines; they belong in the courtroom resolving cases.

  93. pk4_paul:

    Point two: There are even those (primarily religious fundamentalists) who feel that ID itself tarnishes Christian theology, since it proposes direct, and possibly ’stepwise’ intervention to achieve creation, rather than the Biblical view.

    This is untrue.

    You don’t know the religious fundamentalist communities very well do you. I know many who say very simply, “the Bible says that creation took place in six days, to view other wise is to tarnish Christian theology.” If you read the statement you quoted again, it is not a declaration that ID does tarnish Christian theology, but that “some people feel” (I admit “feel” is psychbabble that really means “think” or “believe” in this case) I assure you, the community that believes that ID “tarnishes Christian theology” is a significant group!

    Dopderbeck, I have appreciated hearing your voice of experience on this topic. I agree with you that if the ID community shoots its mouth off without knowing courtroom standards, it is shooting itself in the foot.

  94. dopderbeck you wrote:

    The specific case or controversy in Kitzmiller was whether the particular policy of one local school board was religiously motivated. The court could easily have decided that question without a broad discursus on “science,” which the court was ill-prepared to handle and which was poorly done.

    I disagree with the first part of the above. The case was not supposed to decide motivations. Otherwise we could question the motivations of those who want to teach anything, including evolution. Is a gym teacher not going to be allowed to teach because he is motivated by his personal belief that by making children healthy that they will be more likely to go to church? Will an evolution textbook not be allowed to be used because the author is motivated by his desire to dispel students possible belief in God? Motivation should have been irrelevant. But it was clear that the lawyer for the claimant was obssessed with trying to prove that the members of the school board were religiously motivated as if that was somehow relevant.

    I know there has been precedent where motivation has been cited as legitimate in a previous somewhat similar case. But that was clearly unconstitutional and absurdly irrational. If motivation is to be a legal basis for determining what is or isn’t establishment of religion by the government, then everything the government is in charge of could be challenged in court based on the motivations of the people who make the decisions, laws or rulings, or whatever. Can a congressman be impeached because his religion teaches him that giving to the destitute is mandatory for the wealthy and by that motivation he votes to give aid to the suffering people in the Sudan? Wouldn’t that be establishment of religion if motivation can be used to determine it? It’s beyond ridiculous that motivation can be considered relevant.

    The only thing that was relevant was whether or not the mentioning of ID was giving state establishment of a religion. Since ID is nothing but the study of non religious empirical data, then it is simply not establishment of religion. If the same exact data and approach and arguments that are made by ID proponents are made by someone who claims that the intelligent designer is an alien life form from another gsolar system then it would be perfectly allowable? But if you leave the identity of the designer open then it is not allowable? If ID is religion then all philosophy classes which have in their curriculum some philosopher who advocates some kind of belief in a non human intelligence which interacts with our planet must also be not allowed. Also there are physicists who teach about the anthropic principle who must be censored. Any curriculum which teaches religion (most do have courses which include a study of world religions) must be shut down because they are mentioning views which advocate the possibility of a non human intelligence which interacts with our world. Poets and fiction and science fiction writers must be also carefully scrutinized to make sure there is absolutely no chance of students hearing that there may be a non human intelligence which interacts with our world. Especially if those author’s motives are unknown.

  95. Mentok said: I disagree with the first part of the above. The case was not supposed to decide motivations.

    Under the existing establishment clause jurisprudence, governmental purpose is the principal test of whether a given policy is constitutional or not. (The Lemon v. Kurtzman standard includes governmental purpose as one prong of a three-part test, but in recent Supreme Court jurisprudence the other parts of the test tend to collapse into the “purpose” prong.) Thus, the court did indeed have to decide a question of motivation — it was the essential question the court had to decide under the existing law.

    You raise some excellent questions about the potential problems with this approach to the establishment clause. Nevertheless, it is the approach the Supreme Court and appellate courts have taken, and Judge Jones therefore was bound to take it as well.

  96. I’m sorry, I realized I mis-stated something and want to clarify. The Lemon v. Kurtzman test asks “(1) whether the government practice had a secular purpose; (2) whether its principal or primary effect advanced or inhibited religion; and (3) whether it created an excessive entanglement of the government with religion.”

    Lately, the Supreme Court has focused on the “purpose” and “effect” prongs of this test, and has melded them together into something called the “endorsement” test. Justice O’Connor explained how purpose and intent realte to the “endorsement” test in Lynch v. Donelly as follows: “The proper inquiry under the purpose prong of Lemon, I submit, is whether the government intends to convey a message of endorsement or disapproval of religion. “

    Thus, under either the traditional Lemon test or the collapsed endorsement test, purpose and intent are central to the case.

    The “endorsement” test effectively “collapse[s] the ‘purpose’ and ‘effect’ prongs [of the Lemon test]into a single inquiry.” Id. at 250.

  97. dopderbeck you quoted Justic O’Connor:

    The proper inquiry under the purpose prong of Lemon, I submit, is whether the government intends to convey a message of endorsement or disapproval of religion

    That is very different then what motivates people. What she said is that the action itself has to convey a message of endorsement of religion. ID is clearly not an endorsement of religion. Religion is a specific theology, philosophy, ethics, morals, etc. ID does not endorse any religion. I can see not allowing a presentation of ID which endorses a religious teaching. Like saying that “the bible says this or that”. But simply interpreting scientific data to show inherent design is no different then what is taught in social studies classes when they learn about archeology. If we take her word as law then we have to conclude that disallowing the mentioning of ID because it may have a religious implication for some people is going against the establishment clause. If the implication of ID is religious in some way to some people then to disallow it goes against the establishment clause by “sending a message of disapproval” towards a person’s personal religious belief. What ID is is empirical study of the same exact data which is studied by evolutionists. The only difference is in interpretation of that data. So if ID is disallowed and evolution is allowed then that is the government conveying a disapproval of scientific research based on people’s individual religious beliefs while promoting to the exclusion of all other existential ontologies the evolutionary manifesto as state endorsed absolute truth on the question of human origins, which to most people is a religious endorsement of evolution because the state is sponsoring and promoting that most people’s religions are wrong. Evolution may not be a religion per se, but it is a religious point of view because it historically was created as counter to religious views and is in practical effect insisting that most all religions are bogus.

    Anyways.

    The way evolutionary theory is taught is that it starts off with the premise that all scientific research will confirm evolution because evolution is a truism. ID takes a critical look at that basal paradigm, it plays the role of keeping science honest by proposing an alternative interpretation of the same data and thereby making science more about actual findings then dogma.

  98. But it does tarnish Christian witness, I believe, for well-known Christians and Christian organizations to make allegations of plagiarism, stealing, etc., that are obviously false.

    Dop, a couple points.

    First, the allegation is not obviously false — namely plagerism as defined and commonly understood is signing one’s name to someone else’s ideas and Jones did that.

    Now, you point out that what he did is not an uncommon practice among judges and doesn’t violate any judicial standards in ethics, and it is good of you to do so, and, yes, it would be better not to describe Jones’ action as “plagerism” since that implies a violation of ethics and standards, and the use of words and ideas without permission.

    The second point is that regardless of what we call it, what Jones did was shockley and would convince me that he is an intellectual lightweight who doesn’t deserve the position of influence he holds, if I had not already been rather certain of it.

  99. mentok said: Religion is a specific theology, philosophy, ethics, morals, etc. ID does not endorse any religion. I can see not allowing a presentation of ID which endorses a religious teaching.

    This is where the Kitzmiller case gets dicey for the ID side. The “endorsement” test is measured by local public perception. There was evidence in the trial record that at least some segments of the local public understood the Dover policy to be an effort to teach Biblical creationism under the broader ID banner. There was also evidence that some of the school board members viewed it this way. Whether or not that characterization is fair as applied to ID generally, there was evidence that it was a fair characterization of the school board’s conduct and its effect on local public perception in this particular case. If the judge had restricted the case to this evidence, it could have been decided without the broader focus on whether ID generally can be demarcated as “science.”

    I say this is where it gets dicey for the ID side because the motivations and interests of local school board members often are different than those of ID theorists generally. Often local school board members really do want to introduce YEC views into the curriculum, and use ID as a vehicle for that. This happened after Kitzmiller in a California school district, for example, and the Discovery Institute quickly distanced itself from that effort.

    Given the conflicting interests of local YEC advocates and the existing establishment clause jurisprudence, my view is that those who are interested in design as a philosophical, theological, or scientific proposition should forget about introducing it into public schools at this point, get over Kitzmiller, and focus on theoretical work and research.

  100. dopderbeck

    There was evidence in the trial record that at least some segments of the local public understood the Dover policy to be an effort to teach Biblical creationism under the broader ID banner.

    There’s plenty of people who think that teaching evolution absent any criticism or alternative beliefs is the state disfavoring certain religions. I was pretty sure the constitution guarantees equal treatment under the law. Where’s the justice for all those folks?

  101. I say this is where it gets dicey for the ID side because the motivations and interests of local school board members often are different than those of ID theorists generally. Often local school board members really do want to introduce YEC views into the curriculum, and use ID as a vehicle for that.

    And this gets completely out of the realm of theories about the origins and development of life and moves entirely into the realm of theories of government, i.e what should be the powers of locally elected and accountable legislative bodies vs what should be the powers of unelected and unaccountable federal judges.

    And please note that before Engel and Abington, our public schools were nowhere near the intellectual wastelands that they are today.

  102. 102

    Actually, the Discovery Institute’s finding that 90 percent of the ID-as-science section was plagiarized from the ACLU suggests that this section is very one-sided. How much of the remaining 10 percent came from the defendants? The ACLU material certainly does not contain any arguments supporting the defendants, not even for the purpose of rebutting those arguments (this material is from the ACLU’s “proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law” brief and does not contain any of the defendants’ arguments or rebuttals of the defendants’ arguments). It seems that Jones should have presented some material from the defendants, if for no other reason than to show why he rejected this material. Some people have this strange idea that the sole purpose of judicial opinions is to present the winning side’s arguments and that it is out of order for a judicial opinion to discuss the losing side’s arguments.

    These final post-trial “proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law” briefs ought to be abolished because they contain nothing but the unrebutted and sometimes unsupported assertions of the parties. Where there is no courtroom trial, I believe that the usual briefing procedure is to have a plaintiff’s “opening” brief which is answered by a defendant’s “answering” brief which is answered by a plaintiff’s “reply” brief (the parties are called appellants and appellees in the appeals courts and petitioners and respondents in the Supreme Court — the appellants and the petitioners can be either the original plaintiffs or the original defendants). Jones allowed briefs rebutting the “proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law” briefs but the procedure that was used in the Dover case was still quite a bit different from normal briefing procedure.

  103. dopderbeck you wrote:

    There was evidence in the trial record that at least some segments of the local public understood the Dover policy to be an effort to teach Biblical creationism under the broader ID banner. There was also evidence that some of the school board members viewed it this way.

    From what I read of the court transcript it appears that some local media was saying the school board wanted to introduce “creationism” and that the head of the school board was saying that they were always only talking about intelligent design. He claimed that the media misrepresented the school board by stating they wanted to teach creationism. That is something we see all the time i.e ID being called creationism. When we look at the actual policy put in place it was nothing more then a couple paragraphs that mentioned that evolution is a theory with many unsolved problems so therefore it can’t be called a fact, that there is another theory called ID which can be read about on the students own time if they so choose. There was no mention of creationism. I seem to be inthe dark about how some local people’s sentiments have any relevance to the establishment clause. If that were the case then it should come down to a vote by the local populace. Otherwise you want to give more empowerment to one or another based on what criterion? If local values and sentiments or beliefs play such a big role then it should be found out democratically what those beliefs are.

    The plaintiffs also argued that the school board forbid the teachings on origins of species, macroevolution, and common descent. The judge summed up like this

    326. Board members ensured that the teaching of evolution at Dover High School would be limited to propositions that did not conflict with their religious beliefs, and prevented the teaching of key aspects of the theory that did conflict with their religious beliefs, such as macroevolution, speciation, and common ancestry.

    If you read the transcripts of the trial then you will see the above as a total misrepresentation. The schools long time unwritten policy had been not to teach about origin of life i.e abiogenesis. And for good reason if you are an evolutionist i.e. because abiogenesis seems to be impossible or extremely improbable in the best of circumstances when examined closely. Therefore the origin of life is a major chink in evolutionary dogma’s armour. So it was standard practice not to mention origin of life in Dover just as it is standard practice for most evolutionists everywhere to claim the the origin of life is irrelevant to evolution. Instead they taught the usual standard evolutionary dogma. The science teachers objected to the book ‘Of Pandas and People” because the subtitle was “The Central Question of Biological Origins”. They claimed that since the school policy was not to teach about origins of life that it would contradict school policy to recommend a book which mentions origins, and they felt they would be breaking the rules by mentioning the Pandas book. Now why would this upset them? Because the spontaneous origin of life from simple chemicals (abiogenesis) has been resistant to any coherent theory or explanation. Yet here comes the ID theorists who have a theory about the origin of life.

    So in order to assuage the concern of the science teachers they were going to make the until then unwritten official policy not to mention origin of life, into a codified rule. The teachers then complained that they feared that if they were asked about the origin of life that they didn’t know how to respond due to the new rule. It was a bait and switch on their part. They wanted the rule of no mention of origin of life to remain as it had been, but then when it was officially codified then they all of a sudden had a concern about it. So the school board told them not to worry and that they were free to answer as they saw fit. But still the teachers said they felt they were being compelled to teach origins of life sijmply because of having to mention ID. Of course that was nothing more then a silly nonsensical tactic to try to get the mention of ID removed.

    This was turned into a misrepresentation by the plaintiffs lawyer who claimed that ruling out teaching origin of life meant ruling out teaching origin of species, macroevolution and common descent. When in fact those are the central tenets of evolution and those topics were not being ruled out of bounds. In fact the teachers were told to follow the state guidelines on what must be taught about evolution.

  104. If any of you have not read the closing argument by the defense, you should, it sums up truthfully what went on before and during the trial in a concise and accurate fashion as opposed to the judge who was off in lal la land in his opinion. Also it makes solid case that Dover did nothing wrong. Read it at http://www.talkorigins.org/faq.....day21pm287

  105. DaveScot, “There’s plenty of people who think that teaching evolution absent any criticism or alternative beliefs is the state disfavoring certain religions.”

    It has become abundantly clear that there is an active anti-religous movement that cloaks itself in the cloak of science, and gets respect from the scientific community. When the scientific community is actively prosolatizing for a particular religious perspective, even if that perspective is a “religion is wrong” perspective, teaching it unfettered is, as far as I am concerned solidly in opposition to the first ammendment.

  106. Larry said: Jones allowed briefs rebutting the “proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law” briefs but the procedure that was used in the Dover case was still quite a bit different from normal briefing procedure.

    Not really. The kind of briefing schedule you’re referring to is often used for pre-trial motions, such as motions to dismiss. It isn’t necessarily employed for post-trial submissions. Anyway, absent a local rule to the contrary, briefing schedules are always within the discretion of the trial judge. I’ve been in cases where the judge allows only one brief from each side on an issue, and in others where the judge accepted letter briefs almost ad infinitum. One thing you have to remember is that, if you give a lawyer a chance to make an argument, you’ll always get one. At some point a judge has to close the tap.

    There simply is no way to make any hay out of any of the procedures Judge Jones employed in this case. They were all well within his discretion and well within typical trial practice.

    Mentok raises some questions about the trial record. The only observation I want to make here is that even the Discovery Institute recognized that this particular school board in Dover had gone off the rails and was trying to promote a particular kind of creationism rather than ID generally. I think you can criticize Judge Jones for pontificating unnecessarily about the philosophy of science, but I don’t think you can really fault the ultimate conclusion that this particular school board was acting in violation of the existing establishment clause jurisprudence.

    I do agree, BTW, that the existing Supreme Court establishment clause jurisprudence is out of whack with the actual aims of the first amendment, but there’s nothing Judge Jones or any other trial judge can do about that. Personally, I think school choice and vouchers are one possible way forward from this thicket, but that’s a whole ‘nother can of worms.

  107. dopderbeck

    I agree with your last two paragraphs and don’t know enough about normal courtroom procedure to argue about the first two. That said, I and everyone else still have the right to question and criticize how Jones conducted the trial and how he’s conducted himself in the year since it ended.

  108. 108

    dopderbeck said (Comment #106) –

    Larry said: Jones allowed briefs rebutting the “proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law” briefs but the procedure that was used in the Dover case was still quite a bit different from normal briefing procedure.

    Not really. The kind of briefing schedule you’re referring to is often used for pre-trial motions, such as motions to dismiss. It isn’t necessarily employed for post-trial submissions.

    OK, but I was talking about cases that have not been dismissed but that have no courtroom trials — e.g., where there is no dispute over the facts of the case and the only issues are conclusions of law. Also, the procedure that I described — a plaintiff’s (or appellant’s or petitioner’s) “opening” brief followed by an “answering” brief and then a “reply” brief — is usually followed by the federal appellate courts — in fact, the 9th circuit court of appeals even has color codes for the covers of these briefs. The Supreme Court also follows this procedure, with a few exceptions — see http://www.law.cornell.edu/rules/supct/15.html

  109. DOperdeck,

    “I do agree, BTW, that the existing Supreme Court establishment clause jurisprudence is out of whack with the actual aims of the first amendment, but there’s nothing Judge Jones or any other trial judge can do about that.Personally, I think school choice and vouchers are one possible way forward from this thicket, but that’s a whole ‘nother can of worms.”

    Well, recognizing the current establishment jurisprudence is wrong and never intended by our Founding Fathers is a start.

    I disagree with your summation, “there’s nothing… any other trial judge can do…” not on technical knowledge, but on common sense. I do not understand finer points of trial law, appellate court procedures and federal juridicstions.

    So, I appeal to history.

    We know Judges set “precedents” which go in opposite direction of original intent in favor of liberal interpretations.

    Plus, we know there are “precedents” for overturning past precedents. Has not the Supreme Court overturned rulings of past Supreme Courts? I believe there is historical precedent to right a wrong. The current establishment jurisprudence ruling goes against passed established rulings concerning government interference with states rights.

    The federal government has superceeded States rights according to our constitution and our Founding Fathers.

    Re: opening a can of worms. A wormy mess was opened by the establishment clause jurisprudence ruling. The Supreme Court overstepped its boundaries ruling against historical context. And ruled against original intent of our Founding Fathers. This based upon one line in a letter which the ACLU misrepresented from Jefferson in response to Dansbury Baptist members.

    A clear reading of Jefferson and his opinions on Federal Government overreach into State jurisdiction is seen in this quote, “power to prescribe any religious exercise. . . . must rest with the States”

    Jefferson knew the dangers centralized government becoming all to powerful. He expressly desired to insure the people are self-governing.

    The quote I took from an interesting look on history which our children never are allowed to see in our secular, atheist schools today…
    WallBuilders

    The current ruling went to far. It took away rights of one group in favor of another. Instead of allowing equal rights, it enforced atheist rights over all others.

    As an analogy, African Americans would be given rights endowed by our Creator, but Caucasion Americans rights would be stripped, forced to attend other schools based upon their color.

    Certainly today in hindsight we recognize civil rights of all people. But we also recognize you do not take rights away as a means to correct past wrongs.

    This is essentially the ruling in regards to the fallacy of “seperation of church and state.”

    It allows mainly the rich and wealthy who can afford it, to send their children to private parochial schools which allow different scientific views to be heard. This is discrimination against the poor who desire their children receive a religious foundation in education.

    Vouchers attempts to end this discrimination. It does not open a can of worms. It is the beginning idea of closing it. Ultimately allowing schools to benefit from the reimbursement of tax dollars per child is the only true justice. All schools, that simple. And eliminate the bureaucratic nightmare of government intervention, lawyers, judges, etc.

    We have become the most litigious society in the world. A student sneezes and he sues the teacher because she wore makeup that he is allergic too.

    Please note as IDNET stated, Australia exist today without this nonsensical lie of “seperation of church and state”. Their science programs are not floundering, in fact they’re flourishing. UK, the same.

    This lie promoted continuously by the ACLU never existed during our nations founding, nor for hundreds of years until recent “precedents” were set.
    The current rule of law is itself “a precedent” and is discrimnatory against a large segment of population.

    Until this injustice is corrected, millions of Americans are forced to send their children to secular schools for which they are unfairly taxed.

    And for which they are unjustly forced by Federal Government to indoctrinate their children into a secular, atheist worldview.

    Jefferson understood the dangers of a Federal Government having to much power in this precise case. He stood firm against it. And his concern is in fact what has happened today. As a result, our children and even uninformed Chrisitan adults, assume this is what our Founding Fathers desired or believed. School children never hear the truth of what our Founding Fathers said in the past, because it is “Deemed Unlawful” by Supreme Court “establishment clause jurisprudence” to talk about our own Founding Fathers religious beliefs in the school system.

    Try having a teacher, teach what Jefferson said about religion. Try allowing a teacher, teach their children that our Founding Fathers in fact, paid for and supplied Bibles to schools.

    A few parents would sue and the ACLU would be their Beast in the courtroom. This is beyond absurd that our children cannot hear the truth of our nations foundings.

    The only Wall being built is the one of great deception around We the People by the likes of atheist groups, and the origially communist inspired ACLU.

  110. 110

    I have finally realized the real reason why the ID-as-science section of Judge Jones’ Kitzmiller v. Dover opinion largely or completely ignores the defense arguments (over 90 percent of this section was written by the ACLU) : Jones knew that an appeal was unlikely because of the changeover in school board membership in the election. Had an appeal been likely, Jones probably would have answered the defense arguments because presumably he would not have wanted his opinion to go to the appeals court without answers to those arguments.

    Also, Jones said that the outcome of the election would not affect his decision. What a joke.

    The Dover opinion is not worth the legal stationery that it’s printed on.

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