I'm from Missouri

This site is named for the famous statement of US Congressman Willard Duncan Vandiver from Missouri : "I`m from Missouri -- you'll have to show me." This site is dedicated to skepticism of official dogma in all subjects. Just-so stories are not accepted here. This is a site where controversial subjects such as evolution theory and the Holocaust may be freely debated.

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Location: Los Angeles, California, United States

My biggest motivation for creating my own blogs was to avoid the arbitrary censorship practiced by other blogs and various other Internet forums. Censorship will be avoided in my blogs -- there will be no deletion of comments, no closing of comment threads, no holding up of comments for moderation, and no commenter registration hassles. Comments containing nothing but insults and/or ad hominem attacks are discouraged. My non-response to a particular comment should not be interpreted as agreement, approval, or inability to answer.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Judge Jones is hot speaker on the lecture circuit

As a result of his mixture of celebrity and notoriety stemming from the Dover trial, Judge Jones has become a hot speaker on the lecture circuit. I have already written about one of his speeches, in "Judge Jones the hypocrite". The York Daily Record's report on the commencement address that Jones gave to 500 graduates at his alma mater, Dickinson College, said,

"The founders believed that true religion was not something handed down by a church or contained in a Bible, but was to be found through free, rational inquiry," said Jones, who was thrust into the national spotlight by last year's court fight over the teaching of evolution in the Dover school district.

The founding fathers -- from school namesake John Dickinson to Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson -- were products of the Enlightenment, Jones said.

"They possessed a great confidence in an individual's ability to understand the world and its most fundamental laws through the exercise of his or her reason," he said.

"This core set of beliefs led the founders, who constantly engaged and questioned things, to secure their idea of religious freedom by barring any alliance between church and state."

For starters, how historically accurate are those statements? Others argue with equal fervor that the USA was founded as a Christian nation.

Because of Judge Jones' background, probably most people tacitly assume that his above statements have something to do with the controversies over Darwinism and intelligent design. His above statements imply that he views intelligent design as "something handed down by a church or contained in a Bible" (never mind that the Bible says nothing about irreducible complexity, bacterial flagella, blood-clotting cascades, etc.). But is there any major religious denomination in the USA where a particular view regarding the origin of species -- e.g., creationism, intelligent design, and even Darwinism -- is part of official doctrine? Were any of the 10,000+ Christian clergy members who signed the pro-Darwinist Clergy Letter charged with heresy?

Also, it has become fashionable lately to pretend to be a follower of the principles of the founding fathers. But a true follower of the founding fathers would embrace such things as the denial of citizenship and/or voting rights on the basis of race or sex. The founding fathers would not have been happy living under all of our principles and policies, so why should we be happy living under all of theirs? Furthermore, the founding fathers were not all-wise and all-knowing -- for example, many of the biggest issues today, e.g., environmental protection and privacy & free speech on the Internet, were not even on their radar screen. To me, there is nothing particularly special about the founding fathers -- they were just a group of men who happened to be in the right place at the right time.

BTW, Judge Jones, what would the founding fathers have thought about people who try to abuse the establishment clause for the purpose of suppressing scientific ideas that they disagree with -- or thought about a judge who went along with those people?

For more views on Judge Jones' speech at Dickinson College, see this article on uncommondescent.com.

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10 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

BTW, Judge Jones, what would the founding fathers have thought about people who try to abuse the establishment clause for the purpose of suppressing scientific ideas that they disagree with

Why does it matter? Behe himself testified under oath that Intelligent Design is not science.

Are you suggesting that Jones was supposed to ignore this fact?

Tuesday, May 23, 2006 5:19:00 PM  
Blogger BWE said...

Dave Scott is an idiot.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006 9:50:00 PM  
Blogger Colin said...

Leaving aside your dubious analysis, since when does giving a commencement address to a class of 500--at his own alma mater, no less--make a man a "hot speaker on the lecture circuit"?

I spoke to a high-school class last week. Should I go get an agent?

Tuesday, May 23, 2006 10:22:00 PM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

Colin said ( 5/23/2006 10:22:11 PM ) --

>>>>>since when does giving a commencement address to a class of 500--at his own alma mater, no less--make a man a "hot speaker on the lecture circuit"?<<<<<

My article titled "Judge Jones the hypocrite" describes a recent speech he made at another school, Gettysburg Lutheran Theological Seminary. A York Daily Record article about that speech said,

"The talk is one of about 12 he scheduled from January through May. He said he's going to take advantage of the opportunity to educate the public, which he said few judges tend to do." http://www.ydr.com/doverbiology/ci_3752985

Wednesday, May 24, 2006 11:55:00 AM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

Anonymous said ( May 23, 2006 5:19:46 PM ) --

>>>>>BTW, Judge Jones, what would the founding fathers have thought about people who try to abuse the establishment clause for the purpose of suppressing scientific ideas that they disagree with

Why does it matter? Behe himself testified under oath that Intelligent Design is not science.<<<<<

It matters for a number of reasons.

Behe's opinion is just one man's opinion. It is an important opinion because Behe is one of the leading proponents of ID, but it is still just one man's opinion.

Actually, if Judge Jones had followed the precedent of Edwards v. Aguillard, he would not have allowed any expert witness testimony at all, because none of the expert witnesses in the Dover case had participated in the enactment or implementation of the ID policy and hence the courtroom testimony was -- in the words of Edwards -- a "Monday morning 'battle of the experts'." Edwards says,

".....the postenactment testimony of outside experts is of little use in determining the Louisiana Legislature's purpose in enacting this statute. The Louisiana Legislature did hear and rely on scientific experts in passing the bill, but none of the persons making the affidavits produced by the appellants participated in or contributed to the enactment of the law or its implementation. The District Court, in its discretion, properly concluded that a Monday morning 'battle of the experts' over possible technical meanings of terms in the statute would not illuminate the contemporaneous purpose of the Louisiana Legislature when it made the law." Edwards v. Aguillard, 482 U.S. 578, 595-596 (1987) http://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/historics/USSC_CR_0482_0578_ZO.html

And something is not necessarily religion just because it is not science. For example, astrology and alchemy are not science, but most people would not view them as religion. There is constitutional separation of church and state, but no constitutional separation of bogus science and state.

Judge Jones condemned the "contrived dualism" of creationists, i.e., the notion that there are only two possible alternatives, Darwinism and creationism, and hence if Darwinism is false, then creationism must be true. But Judge Jones has a "contrived dualism" of his own: things are either science or religion, so if they are not science, then they must be religion.

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"The world must construe according to its wits. This court must construe according to the law." -- Sir Thomas More, in the play "A Man for All Seasons."

Wednesday, May 24, 2006 2:35:00 PM  
Blogger Manuel said...

>>>>>>>>>>>>>For starters, how historically accurate are those statements? Others argue with equal fervor that the USA was founded as a Christian nation.

So just because people are capable of fervently arguing for something what they're fighting for is legitimate?

Remember the scene from A Few Good Men -- I strenuously object
-- Oh, now, since you strenuously object, I have to think about this one...

If you think ID is "bogus science" as you say, then why are you at all upset about the case and its outcome? It should never have been (nor should it eve be) adopted by high schools -- especially so given the absolute lack of REAL research (someone has offered IDiots a lot of money for REAL research, the money is still waiting...).

Wednesday, May 24, 2006 5:16:00 PM  
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