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.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Arrogance of Judge Jones

This is a continuation of my criticisms of the Kitzmiller v. Dover opinion, which the Darwinists have asserted is flawless.

One of the big arguments against teaching or even mentioning ID and irreducible complexity in the public schools is that ID and IC should first "pay their dues" by becoming more accepted in the scientific community. But in the Kutzmiller v. Dover opinion, Judge Jones went far beyond that argument by concluding that ID and IC are unscientific. The Kitzmiller v. Dover opinion says (page 89), "ID's backers have sought to a avoid the scientific scrutiny which we have now determined that it cannot withstand by advocating that the controversy, but not ID itself, should be taught in science class" and "It is our view that a reasonable, objective observer would, after reviewing both the voluminous record in this case, and our narrative, reach the inescapable conclusion that ID is an interesting theological argument, but that it is not science." (emphasis added) In other words, Jones was not merely alleging that ID had not been published in peer-reviewed scientific journals or was not widely accepted in the scientific community -- he said that he himself had reached the "inescapable conclusion" that ID is not science. Whether or not ID or IC is science has nothing to do with the fact that the scientific community -- and not Judge Jones -- is supposed to make that determination. Those who say that scientific questions should not be decided by public opinion polls were perfectly happy to have Judge Jones decide scientific questions, even though deciding scientific questions was not necessary for deciding the Kitzmiller case.

Judge Jones turned a deaf ear to 85 scientists who filed an amicus brief pleading with him to refrain from ruling on the scientific merits of ID and IC. The brief said,

. . . . the scientific theory of intelligent design should not be stigmatized by the courts as less scientific than competing theories . . . . .litigation should not usurp the laboratory or scientific journals as the venue where scientific disputes are resolved. Doubts as to whether a theory adequately explains the evidence should be resolved by scientific debate, not by court rulings. . . . . . Whether or not intelligent design is adopted as an explanation for biological origins, science benefits from the competition of alternate hypotheses. Amici see great value to design theory simply because it forces scientists to confront evidence which conflicts with the Neo-Darwinian paradigm . . . . .

As for the last point -- forcing scientists "to confront evidence which conflicts with the Neo-Darwinian paradigm" -- many scientific articles speak glibly in vague, nebulous terms about evolution without trying to look at the details of evolutionary mechanisms. Just saying that "evolutiondidit" can be as mind-numbing as saying "goddidit." A healthy skepticism helps lead to new ideas. For example, I have seen co-evolution discussed just in vague terms like "mutual evolutionary influence" and "caught in a cycle of co-evolution." However, when co-evolutionary mechanisms are examined in detail, co-evolution does not seem so simple anymore.

I assert that judges should not judge the scientific merits of ideas unless absolutely necessary for deciding a case (e.g., a product liability case), and it was not necessary in Kitzmiller. The courts have no general constitutional or legal authority to decide scientific questions. If we are going to have courts settle the evolution controversy, then why not have the courts also settle controversies over other scientific theories, e.g., the controversies over global warming and string theory? The global warming controversy, unlike the evolution controversy, is of great practical importance.

In Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, 509 U.S. 579 (1993), the Supreme Court admitted that the courts are ill-suited to judge scientific questions. The opinion of the court said,

there are important differences between the quest for truth in the courtroom and the quest for truth in the laboratory. Scientific conclusions are subject to perpetual revision. Law, on the other hand, must resolve disputes finally and quickly.

-- and Chief Justice Rehnquist said in separate comments,

Twenty two amicus briefs have been filed in the case, and indeed the Court's opinion contains no less than 37 citations to amicus briefs and other secondary sources.

The various briefs filed in this case are markedly different from typical briefs, in that large parts of them do not deal with decided cases or statutory language -- the sort of material we customarily interpret. Instead, they deal with definitions of scientific knowledge, scientific method, scientific validity, and peer review --i n short, matters far afield from the expertise of judges . . . . . . the unusual subject matter should cause us to proceed with great caution in deciding more than we have to, because our reach can so easily exceed our grasp.

To make matters much worse, Jones not only ruled against ID but ruled against all criticisms of Darwinism, saying, inter alia (page 138), " we will enter an order permanently enjoining Defendants . . . . from requiring teachers to denigrate or disparage the scientific theory of evolution."

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5 Comments:

Anonymous Voice In The Wilderness said...

Arrogance of Anti-Darwinists

> One of the big arguments against teaching or even mentioning ID and irreducible complexity in the public schools is that ID and IC should first "pay their dues" by becoming more accepted in the scientific community. <

Nonsense. Nobody is saying that they should "pay their dues". They are saying that something claiming to be scientific should show at least the faintest sign that it is. Since ID is not scientific, this is impossible.

> But in the Kutzmiller v. Dover opinion, Judge Jones went far beyond that argument by concluding that ID and IC are unscientific. <

He merely stated the obvious.

"It is our view that a reasonable, objective observer would, after reviewing both the voluminous record in this case, and our narrative, reach the inescapable conclusion that ID is an interesting theological argument, but that it is not science."

That statement is clearly correct.

> In other words <

Why is it that whenever you begin with "In other words" you follow with either a demonstration of your lack of understanding or pure unsupported conjecture?

> he said that he himself had reached the "inescapable conclusion" that ID is not science. <

Any rational person would have come to the same conclusion.

> the scientific theory of intelligent design should not be stigmatized by the courts as less scientific than competing theories <

Nobody has brought up any scientific theory of intelligent design so this is a moot point. All that has been brought up is the superstition of intelligent design.

> I assert that judges should not judge the scientific merits of ideas unless absolutely necessary for deciding a case <

Since it was necessary in this case, what is your point?

> To make matters much worse, Jones not only ruled against ID but ruled against all criticisms of Darwinism, saying, inter alia (page 138), " we will enter an order permanently enjoining Defendants . . . . from requiring teachers to denigrate or disparage the scientific theory of evolution." <

He did not rule against all criticisms of Darwinism, he only enjoined neolithic pressure groups "requiring teachers to denigrate or disparage the scientific theory of evolution."

As usual, you are posting something which your partisanship prevents you from truly understanding.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006 2:15:00 PM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

VIW said --
>>>>>>>
Nonsense. Nobody is saying that they should "pay their dues".
<<<<<<<

Lots of people have said that. I see it all the time. That is why I posted it.

>>>>>>>>
They are saying that something claiming to be scientific should show at least the faintest sign that it is. Since ID is not scientific, this is impossible.

He merely stated the obvious.

That statement is clearly correct.

Any rational person would have come to the same conclusion.

Nobody has brought up any scientific theory of intelligent design so this is a moot point. All that has been brought up is the superstition of intelligent design.
<<<<<<<<<<

VIW, what you fail to understand is that even when a particular judgment or verdict may appear to some people to be inescapable, the courts must still go through the motions of due process. Lots of judgments and verdicts have been thrown out because of "technicalities."

There is no rule saying that a judge may not rule on scientific issues where not absolutely necessary -- I just think that it is a very bad idea for a judge to do so.

>>>>>> I assert that judges should not judge the scientific merits of ideas unless absolutely necessary for deciding a case <

Since it was necessary in this case, what is your point? <<<<<<

The best evidence that it was not necessary in this case is that no one predicted positively that Judge Jones would do it.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006 3:21:00 PM  
Anonymous Voice In The Wilderness said...

> I see it all the time. <

Yes, you post it all of the time.

> VIW, what you fail to understand is that even when a particular judgment or verdict may appear to some people to be inescapable, the courts must still go through the motions of due process. <

The courts do not waste a lot of time determining if the Sun rises in the East.

> There is no rule saying that a judge may not rule on scientific issues where not absolutely necessary -- I just think that it is a very bad idea for a judge to do so. <

In this case it was necessary. What he should do if it were not necessary is a moot point.

> The best evidence that it was not necessary in this case is that no one predicted positively that Judge Jones would do it. <

"Nobody told me that the key would not fit the front door."

Did anyone predict positively that the Sun would set in the West?

Thursday, August 10, 2006 12:14:00 PM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

Voice In The Wilderness said --
<<<<<<> I see it all the time. <

Yes, you post it all of the time. <<<<<<<

And your point is --- ? Anyway, I do not post it all the time. In fact, I cannot remember ever posting it before on this blog. If you can find an instance where I posted it before, please let me know.

>>>>>>The courts do not waste a lot of time determining if the Sun rises in the East. <<<<<<

And yet Judge Jones wasted three weeks of time listening to expert testimony about ID and wasted a lot of time writing dozens of pages about ID in his official opinion.

<<<<<< > The best evidence that it was not necessary in this case is that no one predicted positively that Judge Jones would do it. <

Did anyone predict positively that the Sun would set in the West? <<<<<

OK, VIW, I'll bet you 1000:1 that Calvary Chapel school et al. will win their suit against UC. Will you take the bet?

Give up, VIW, and stop wasting my time. You are only making yourself look more and more stupid.

Thursday, August 10, 2006 5:57:00 PM  
Anonymous Voice In The Wilderness said...

>>>>>>The courts do not waste a lot of time determining if the Sun rises in the East. <<<<<<

> And yet Judge Jones wasted three weeks of time listening to expert testimony about ID and wasted a lot of time writing dozens of pages about ID in his official opinion.<

What is the connection? Judge Jones gave the IDiots three weeks to prove that mythology was science. They failed.

> OK, VIW, I'll bet you 1000:1 that Calvary Chapel school et al. will win their suit against UC. Will you take the bet? <

Of course.

Give up, Larry(?). You are only making yourself look more and more stupid.

Friday, August 11, 2006 1:42:00 AM  

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