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.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Judge Jones hides behind "judicial independence" issue

I have confirmed that there will be a "dialogue" session for Judge John E. "I am not a lousy judge" Jones III at Kansas University on Sept. 27, following his speech on Sept. 26. This speech and dialogue are part of a series called "Knowledge, Faith and Reason."

The title of his Sept.26 speech is, “Judicial Independence and Kitzmiller v. Dover et al.” I suspect that this speech will just be a rehash of his speech on the same subject at a national executive committee meeting of the Anti-Defamation League. In the whole speech to the ADL, he cited only one criticism that could be considered to be an attack on judicial independence:

Ms. Schlafly authored a January 2006 column and within her column she noted that, and I'm quoting here, that I "owed my position as a Federal Judge entirely to the evangelical Christians who pulled the lever for George W. Bush in 2002" and that I, I'm still quoting here, "stuck the knife in those who brought me to the dance in Kitzmiller versus Dover Area School District."

In the context of her January 2006 column, Schlafly's above statements could be interpreted as meaning that she only expected Judge Jones to be fair rather than expecting him to be biased in favor of her opinions. However, I cannot defend her judicial philosophy in general, because she supported House bills withdrawing federal court jurisdiction over the Pledge of Allegiance and the definition of marriage (she was right about one thing -- Article III of the Constitution does give Congress the right to restrict appellate jurisdiction of the Supreme Court over certain kinds of cases).

Anyway, Judge Jones is obviously trying to discredit legitimate criticism of his Kitzmiller decision by falsely characterizing all criticism of the decision as being against judicial independence.

A related article on this blog is "False stereotyping of criticism of Judge Jones".

My very first article on this blog contains 20 criticisms of Judge Jones' rulings in the Kitzmiller v. Dover case. A total of about a dozen articles on this blog -- about 10% of the total -- are devoted to criticizing him and his decisions. BTW, most of my criticisms of Judge Jones do not concern his rulings regarding the scientific merits of ID and irreducible complexity but concern his procedural rulings in Kitzmiller and his judicial philosophy. Anyway, the KU dialogue session is scheduled to last only 1½ hours and I think that he will probably steer it in the direction of the scientific merits of ID and irreducible complexity -- even though that is not the subject of the preceding day's speech -- because that is the area where he is least vulnerable because of the great complexity of the issues involved.

Why I changed Judge Jones' sobriquet from "I am not an activist judge" to "I am not a lousy judge":

In the conclusion section of the Kitzmiller opinion, Jones said,

Those who disagree with our holding will likely mark it as the product of an activist judge. If so, they will have erred as this is manifestly not an activist Court.

Then later, he said on a radio talk show, "People term 'activist judges' judges they don't agree with." So why would he assert in the Kitzmiller opinion that he is not an "activist judge" if he thinks that the term only means that some people disagree with him? He might as well have asserted in the Kitzmiller opinion that he is not a "lousy judge." So my sobriquet for him from now on will be "I am not a lousy judge."

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18 Comments:

Anonymous Sherry D said...

It looks like Judge Jones' pronouncements are correct. He is by no means an "activist". He appears to be a strict constructionist. We need more of these.

Are you OK Larry? Your "arguments" seem to be going further afield.

What happened to your case on the holocaust? It was very instructive as to your mental state.

Monday, September 18, 2006 11:17:00 AM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

Sherry D. said --

>>>> It looks like Judge Jones' pronouncements are correct. He is by no means an "activist". He appears to be a strict constructionist. <<<<<

"Strict constructionist," my eye! Here is what he said at a commencement speech at Dickinson College:

. . . .this much is very clear. 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. At bottom then, 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.

Jones was making the self-contradictory claim that the Founders' purpose behind the establishment clause was to establish their own "true religion" as the official state religion! Jones' statement also shows hostility towards organized religion.

Also, "strict constructionist" and "judicial activist" are not antonyms. Conservative judges as well as liberal judges can be "activists."

>>>>> We need more of these. <<<<<

One is too many.

>>>>> Are you OK Larry? <<<<<

I'm fine.

>>>>>What happened to your case on the holocaust? <<<<<

Nothing has "happened" to it. I have already written a lot about it and have nothing new to say. When something new comes up, I will post it.

BTW, what "happened" to Kevin Vicklund's promise to discuss all of my first post's criticisms of Judge Jones' rulings in Kitzmiller? He made that promise several months ago, and so far he has discussed hardly any of them.

>>>>> It was very instructive as to your mental state. <<<<<<

Yes, it really showed my common sense in contrast to the irrationality and hysteria of my critics.

Monday, September 18, 2006 4:29:00 PM  
Anonymous Voice In The Wilderness said...

Fake Larry(?) said...

> Jones was making the self-contradictory claim that the Founders' purpose behind the establishment clause was to establish their own "true religion" as the official state religion! <

You have posted that many times before and it says nothing of the kind until passed through your "interpretation" filter.

> Jones' statement also shows hostility towards organized religion. <

That also appears to be something that you have pulled out of the air. It seems to show nothing of the kind.

> BTW, what "happened" to Kevin Vicklund's promise to discuss all of my first post's criticisms of Judge Jones' rulings in Kitzmiller? He made that promise several months ago, and so far he has discussed hardly any of them. <

Since you have dodged nearly every question put to you, or at best tried to change the subject, I don't think that you have a place to stand.

> Yes, it really showed my common sense in contrast to the irrationality and hysteria of my critics. <

You have yet to show any common sense, only irrationality and hysteria.

Monday, September 18, 2006 6:08:00 PM  
Anonymous Sherry D said...

> "Strict constructionist," my eye! Here is what he said at a commencement speech at Dickinson College: <

What you quote does not seem to disprove the idea that he is a strict constructionist. In fact it tends to prove that he is.

> Jones was making the self-contradictory claim that the Founders' purpose behind the establishment clause was to establish their own "true religion" as the official state religion! <

He says nothing of the kind. You seem to have basic perceptual problems in reading. Have you discussed this with your therapist? There are therapies that have been shown to be very successful in curing this.

> Jones' statement also shows hostility towards organized religion. <

Again, you seem to be misreading it. Try again to see what he is actually saying.

> Also, "strict constructionist" and "judicial activist" are not antonyms. <

They are not antonyms but they are mutually exclusive groups. You cannot at the same time be both.

> Conservative judges as well as liberal judges can be "activists." <

True, but that has nothing to do with being a constructionist or a judicial activist. Conservatives tend to be constructionists and liberals tend to be activists but there is nothing that requires either to be so.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006 11:06:00 AM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

Sherry D. said,
>>>>> What you quote does not seem to disprove the idea that he is a strict constructionist. In fact it tends to prove that he is. <<<<<

To me, a strict constructionist interprets the constitution literally and does not add his own extraneous ideas or philosophy. Otherwise, another judge could come along and claim that the founding fathers were a bunch of fundies and claim that he is a strict constructionist too.

Jefferson is generally considered to be the biggest deist among the founding fathers, and he didn't even attend the constitutional convention. Also, he probably would have supported intelligent design because the teleological argument of design is one of the tenets of deism.

To me, a judge who interprets the Constitution according to suppositions about the thoughts of the fuddy-duddies who wrote it is far more of an "activist" than a judge who interprets the Constitution according to modern thinking. At least the latter is in keeping with the times. I have heard more of this founding father crap than I can take. As I said, if the founding fathers were so smart, than why did we have a civil war because people could not agree on how to interpret the Constitution? Enough said.

>>>>>> Jones was making the self-contradictory claim that the Founders' purpose behind the establishment clause was to establish their own "true religion" as the official state religion! <

He says nothing of the kind. You seem to have basic perceptual problems in reading. Have you discussed this with your therapist? <<<<<<

You are the one who needs to go to a headshrinker. Jones was the one -- not me -- who introduced the term "true religion" here.

>>>>>> Jones' statement also shows hostility towards organized religion. <

Again, you seem to be misreading it. Try again to see what he is actually saying.<<<<<<

Try substituting the words "koran" for "bible" and "mosque" for "church" and you will see what I mean by "hostility." The jihadis will be after your hide before you can say Jack Robinson.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006 3:32:00 AM  
Anonymous Sherry D said...

> To me, a strict constructionist interprets the constitution literally and does not add his own extraneous ideas or philosophy. <

That is what Judge Jones appears to have done. The extraneous ideas or philosophy are only your warped and mistaken interpretations of what he actually said. He did not try to establish a new meaning of "true religion". He instead tried to determine from their writings what the founding fathers meant by the terms they used. He appears far more successful than you have been in your "interpretations".

> To me, a judge who interprets the Constitution according to suppositions about the thoughts of the fuddy-duddies who wrote it is far more of an "activist" than a judge who interprets the Constitution according to modern thinking. <

That seems like a complete inversion of the word. As VIW suggests, perhaps you should stick to English as the rest of the world knows it rather than try to design your own language.

> At least the latter is in keeping with the times. <

A lot of fads and dumb ideas are in keeping with the times. Our constitution has survived for so long because we do not "interpret" it to "keep up with the times".

> if the founding fathers were so smart, than why did we have a civil war because people could not agree on how to interpret the Constitution? <

We didn't. We had a civil war because we did not go by the Constitution.

> Enough said. <

Does that mean that you won't be repeating this endlessly, as you do with most of your failed arguments?

> Jones was the one -- not me -- who introduced the term "true religion" here. <

In doing so he was not trying to come up with a new term. Religion was the issue.

> Try substituting the words "koran" for "bible" and "mosque" for "church" and you will see what I mean by "hostility." <

No. It would only seem out of place due to the rarity of Moslems in the US at that time. If there were, those words would be quite appropriate.

> The jihadis will be after your hide before you can say Jack Robinson. <

Yes. They seem to be quite capable of getting on fanatic and irrational crusades. You must feel quite close to them.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006 7:28:00 AM  
Blogger Dave Fafarman said...

< A lot of fads and dumb ideas are in keeping with the times. >

Touché!

> if the founding fathers were so smart, than why did we have a civil war because people could not agree on how to interpret the Constitution? <

< We didn't. We had a civil war because we did not go by the Constitution. >

I beg to differ here. The Constitution did sow the seeds of the conflict and did have to be amended. And the defeated South did then get shafted in regard to economic and trade policies particularly (one of the less publicized roots of the war), taking about a century to recover.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006 10:27:00 AM  
Blogger Dave Fafarman said...

According to Larry(?):
Try substituting the words "koran" for "bible" and "mosque" for "church" and you will see what I mean by "hostility." The jihadis will be after your hide before you can say Jack Robinson.

This implies that the jihadis require some reason or basis for their hostility (rather than a pretext or excuse). It also mistakenly attributes said hostility to the originating statement rather than to the perpetually-offended response.

Incidentally, is there sufficient time to say "Vernon Robinson" instead? (Candidate for Congress in North Carolina.) I like him, even if and perhaps especially if he's somewhat of a "fundie". He has his priorities straight.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006 10:36:00 AM  
Blogger Dave Fafarman said...

> They seem to be quite capable of getting on fanatic and irrational crusades. <

Apropos of which, I herewith forward a message I received yesterday:

Hooray for Michigan State University (The Spartans) and Professor Wichman!

Well, what do we have here. Looks like a small case of some people being able to dish it out, but not take it. Let's start at the top. The story begins at Michigan State University with a mechanical engineering professor named Indrek Wichman. Wichman sent an e-mail to the Muslim Students' Association. The e-mail was in response to the students' protest of the Danish cartoons that portrayed the Prophet Muhammad as a terrorist. The group had complained the cartoons were "hate speech". Enter Professor Wichman. In his e-mail, he said the following:

Dear Moslem Association: As a professor of Mechanical Engineering here at MSU I intend to protest your protest. I am offended not by cartoons, but by more mundane things like beheadings of civilians, cowardly attacks on public buildings, suicide murders, murders of Catholic priests and nuns (the latest in Turkey and Somalia), burnings of Christian churches, the continued persecution of Coptic Christians in Egypt, the imposition of Sharia law on non-Muslims, the rapes of Scandinavian girls and women (called "whores" in your culture), the murder of a film director in Holland, and the rioting and looting in Paris France. This is what offends me, a soft-spoken person and academic, and many, many, many of my colleagues. I counsel you dissatisfied, aggressive, brutal, and uncivilized slave-trading Moslems to be very aware of this as you proceed with your infantile "protests". If you do not like the values of the West -- see the 1st Amendment -- you are free to leave. I hope for God's sake that most of you choose that option. Please return to your ancestral homelands and build them up yourselves instead of troubling Americans.

Cordially,
I. S. Wichman
Professor of Mechanical Engineering

As you might imagine, the Muslim group at the university doesn't like this too well. They're demanding that Wichman be reprimanded and mandatory diversity training for faculty and a seminar on hate and discrimination for freshmen. Now the Michigan chapter of CAIR has jumped into the fray. CAIR, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, apparently doesn't believe that the good professor had the right to express his opinion. For its part, the university is standing its ground. They say the e-mail was private, and they don't intend to publicly condemn his remarks. That will probably change. Wichman says he never intended the e-mail to be made public, and wouldn't have used the same strong language if he'd known it was going to get out. Hey folks, send this to your friends, and ask them to do the same. Tell them to keep passing it around until the whole country gets it. We are in a war. This political correctness crap is getting old! "We cannot defeat crime and terrorism and be politically correct."

Wednesday, September 20, 2006 10:46:00 AM  
Anonymous sherry d said...

> I beg to differ here. The Constitution did sow the seeds of the conflict and did have to be amended. <

The only items in the Constitution that had any relevance were the recognition of the unequal treatment of blacks. You may be aware that the first constitution to ban the international slave trade was the Confederate Constitution, more than four years before the 13th amendment was passed.

Of course there is also the argument that slavery remained in five of the states in the Union until after the Civil War, but we are getting farther afield.

The openly expressed opinion of the majority of the U.S. Supreme Court was that any state had the right to succeed. Andrew Johnson was warned, after the war, that he should stay out of the courts in any attempt to punish southerners as such attempts may backfire.

> And the defeated South did then get shafted in regard to economic and trade policies particularly <

The South was shafted economically before the war. That may have been a bigger cause of the Civil War than slavery. It is notable that not all of the ordinances of secession of the various states named slavery. All of them mentioned unfair taxes and trade policies. The South, with approximately 1/3 of the population, was paying more than 1/2 of the taxes, by some accounts 2/3.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006 2:25:00 PM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

Sherry D. said (9-20-06 @ 7:28:23 AM) --

>>>>> He did not try to establish a new meaning of "true religion". He instead tried to determine from their writings what the founding fathers meant by the terms they used. <<<<<

As I said, some other judge claiming to be a strict constructionist could come along and say that the Founders were all or mostly a bunch of bible-pounding fundies. Antonin Scalia is regarded as a strict constructionist and look at how he has voted in establishment clause cases.

Judge Jones ought to get off the lecture circuit before he makes a bigger fool of himself than he has made already.

>>>>>> if the founding fathers were so smart, than why did we have a civil war because people could not agree on how to interpret the Constitution? <

We didn't. We had a civil war because we did not go by the Constitution. <<<<<<

The Constitution did not prohibit secession. If it had, some states probably would not have ratified it.

I was just giving an example to show that the Founders were not infallible -- they did not write the Constitution in a way that would have prevented the Civil War.

>>>>>> Enough said. <

Does that mean that you won't be repeating this endlessly,<<<<<

I will repeat it as often as necessary.

>>>> In doing so he was not trying to come up with a new term. Religion was the issue. <<<<<

It was just an inappropriate thing for a judge to say.

>>>>>> Try substituting the words "koran" for "bible" and "mosque" for "church" and you will see what I mean by "hostility." <

No. It would only seem out of place due to the rarity of Moslems in the US at that time. If there were, those words would be quite appropriate. <<<<<<

I was just trying to illustrate that Jones was expressing hostility towards organized religion. What does that have to do with the number of Moslems in the US now or then?

>>>>> The jihadis will be after your hide before you can say Jack Robinson. <

Yes. They seem to be quite capable of getting on fanatic and irrational crusades. You must feel quite close to them. <<<<<<

Have you been taking your anti-psychotic meds lately? Just trying to give you some of your own medicine.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006 3:05:00 PM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

Fake Dave said --
>>>> Incidentally, is there sufficient time to say "Vernon Robinson" instead? <<<<<

If there is not enough time to say "Jack Robinson," how in hell could there be enough time to say "Vernon Robinson"? There is not even enough time to say "Vern Robinson."

BTW, One of my favorite hobbies is looking up the origins of idioms. I always thought that "Jack Robinson" was a reference to the baseball player, but Answers.com says,

"before you can say Jack Robinson" --- This expression originated in the 1700s, but the identity of Jack Robinson has been lost. Grose's Classical Dictionary (1785) said he was a man who paid such brief visits to acquaintances that there was scarcely time to announce his arrival before he had departed, but it gives no further documentation.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006 3:34:00 PM  
Blogger Dave Fafarman said...

Regarding my earlier post about Prof. Indrek Wichman, I have been advised by the person who sent it to me that it is not very current (happened in April).

Thursday, September 21, 2006 2:22:00 AM  
Anonymous Voice In The Wilderness said...

Fake Larry(?) I replied to this earlier and my response seems to have disappeared. Then again you claim not to have censorship. What are we to believe?

> As I said, some other judge claiming to be a strict constructionist <

Someone could arrive claiming to be Moses and bring a new set of commandments. That has nothing to do with a judge acting like a constructionist, as Judge Jones has done.

> Antonin Scalia is regarded as a strict constructionist <

By whom?

> Judge Jones ought to get off the lecture circuit before he makes a bigger fool of himself than he has made already. <

He has done a good job of showing his opponents to be fools.

> The Constitution did not prohibit secession. If it had, some states probably would not have ratified it. <

Exactly. But the Union decided to go against the Constitution. Andrew Johnson was warned by several Supreme Court justices not to attempt to use the courts to punish southerners. It could blow up in his face.

> I was just giving an example to show that the Founders were not infallible <

Nor did they claim to be. That is why the Constitution has a built in method for amendment.

> they did not write the Constitution in a way that would have prevented the Civil War. <

Nor could any constitution have prevented it.

> I will repeat it as often as necessary. <

No matter how much of a fool it shows you to be. This is why you are losing all of your debates. You can't see when you have a failed argument.

> It was just an inappropriate thing for a judge to say. <

Addressing the issue at hand directly is never inappropriate.

> I was just trying to illustrate that Jones was expressing hostility towards organized religion. <

And you failed to do so because he wasn't.

> What does that have to do with the number of Moslems in the US now or then? <

You cannot be as dense as you sometimes appear to be. Go back and read it again and you may answer your own question.

> Just trying to give you some of your own medicine. <

It isn't required for her. You are the one who has the obvious mental problems. That is why Ed Brayton has stopped posting. He pointed out that while people often call each other insane, in your case it is a reality. He doesn't believe that it is good to rattle the clinically insane. I, in contrast, am getting a great deal of enjoyment out of it.

Thursday, September 21, 2006 11:33:00 AM  
Anonymous Sherry D said...

> Have you been taking your anti-psychotic meds lately? Just trying to give you some of your own medicine. <

Unfortunately you don't seem to understand. I was not trying to insult you. I was sincere. If you are not getting mental help it is a shame. You obviously need it.

In addition to having perceptual problems, you are delusional. You appear to have a Don Quixote complex. Help is available and you could likely get to the point where you could be living a useful and fulfilling life rather than the mad hermit life you appear from here to be living.

It is with the greatest sincerity that I am recommending that you at least see a mental health professional for his/her diagnosis.

Thursday, September 21, 2006 8:09:00 PM  
Anonymous Voice In The Wilderness said...

Sherry D, I think you take Larry(?) far too seriously. I don’t think that even he takes himself seriously. It is just a cry for attention.

It is quite obvious that he rarely reads any posts before attempting to answer them. As for his new threads, that looks like he just does a Google search for the key words; evolution, Darwin, Irreducible Complexity, etc. and then puts on a sort of boilerplate criticism or support of what he finds.

Don’t feel sorry for him. He revels in our attacks as they validate his existence. Of course he could get attention in more constructive ways but he has rejected that. Look at his denial of his brother for example.

In the mean time he is a great source of entertainment.

Friday, September 22, 2006 8:49:00 AM  
Anonymous Sherry D said...

> In the mean time he is a great source of entertainment. <

Can’t you find a better way to entertain yourself? Heckling a person who is intellectually unable to defend himself doesn’t make you look good. I know that it is easily to get frustrated by Larry’s apparent density but it is no doubt just a symptom of whatever is torturing him.

Mental illness is a serious business. In the past children who did not learn quickly enough to suit the teacher were put in a corner with a dunce cap. This was counterproductive. Some relished the attention. Others, incapable of living up to the standard expected were just humiliated and felt that none of their efforts could be acceptable. They just gave up trying.

While Larry may be responsible for putting the dunce cap on his own head, I don’t think pointing our fingers and laughing at him is doing him, or us, any good.

Friday, September 22, 2006 9:01:00 AM  
Anonymous Voice In The Urbanness said...

Great post, Sherry. I agree that Larry(?) has obvious serious mental problems but as he is quite harmless and there is little chance of him getting the help he so badly needs, I will continue to point to the dunce cap which, as you said, he has voluntarily put on his own head.

Saturday, September 23, 2006 11:37:00 PM  

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