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, December 05, 2006

The "Dover Trap" Myth

Ed "It's my way or the highway" Brayton wrote,

Ouachita Parish, a northern county in Louisiana, has bought into the DI's "strengths and weaknesses" position and, as a result, set up a Dover trap for their local school districts to fall into.

Wrong, Ed. The Ouachita Parish School District cannot set up a trap for local districts to fall into, because Ouachita Parish School District is the local school district.

Ed was referring to an academic freedom policy for teachers that was enacted by the Ouachita Parish School District. The rest of Ed's post has the usual Darwinist propaganda about ID.

Anyway, the "Dover trap" is the idea that government entities that enact policies that require, encourage, or authorize criticism of Darwinism in public-school science classes are risking causing lawsuits that could cost taxpayers seven-figure rip-offs in plaintiffs' attorney fee awards (never mind that Judge Jones asserted that his broad ruling in the Dover case would help prevent government entities from running up big legal bills in future cases -- LOL). However, Darwinists do not seem to realize that they had a lot of things going for them in the Dover lawsuit that they would not or might not have in other lawsuits:

(1) The statement read to the science classes gave the appearance of endorsing a specific challenge to evolution, intelligent design.

(2) Some Dover school board members were fundies who made no effort to hide their religious motivations.

(3) The school board members did not bother to learn about intelligent design themselves.

(4) There was a book, "Of Pandas and People," that could be directly linked to creationism.

(5) There was expert witness testimony from a conspiracy theorist, Barbara Forrest.

(6) The judge, John E. Jones III, is a real crackpot (if you want to see proof, just enter "Jones" in the search window that is visible in the top border of the blog screen when you are scrolled to the very top). Even with a good judge, the defendants probably would have lost anyway, though not on such broad grounds.

(7) Because of the changeover in the membership of the Dover school board, there was no appeal, and an appeals court might have refuted some of Jones' gross errors.

Also, the Dover decision does not carry much precedential weight because it is the decision of just a single district court judge. Furthermore, the Darwinists have come very close to losing two big lawsuits, Freiler v. Tangipahoa Parish Board of Education and the Selman v. Cobb County textbook sticker case, and the latter lawsuit may be lost yet (it is now on remand in district court). Freiler came within single votes of being granted an en banc (full court) rehearing by the appeals court and certiorari by the Supreme Court. Also, at an oral hearing, appeals judges appeared to leaning towards reversal of the Selman decision:

Judge Ed Carnes, one of the panel members, said the three-sentence disclaimer seemed to him to be "literally accurate." . . . . . The final panelist, Judge Frank Hull, questioned how the federal district court could have found the sticker's language misleading to biology students when there was no evidence to support that view . . . .

During the county's arguments, Linwood Gunn, the school board's attorney, asked the panel to view the stickers in the context of the time when they were adopted. He contended the board was in the process of strengthening its teaching of evolution at that time. "If they wanted to restrict evolution instruction, they would have done nothing," Mr. Gunn said. "They would have maintained the status quo....All they did was improve evolution instruction." Responding to the board's argument, Judge Carnes appeared to signal agreement, suggesting the court should "look at the whole sweep of events, instead of just 33 words on the sticker."

Also, future passage of the Public Expressions of Religions Act -- which would prohibit attorney-fee awards to prevailing plaintiffs in establishment clause lawsuits -- or future passage of a similar bill would take most of the spring out of the Dover trap. This year HR 2679, the House version of PERA, passed by the fairly large margin of 244 - 173. S 3696, the Senate version, was passed by the Judiciary Committee but had hearings in the Judiciary Committee but has not yet been passed by the committee and is not expected to be voted on by the full Senate in the few remaining days of the 109th Congress. S 3696 has one sponsor and 19 cosponsors (one was added recently), a respectable number. Recent Democratic Party gains in Congress will probably make it harder to pass PERA in the future. As I said before, I think that such a bill would have a much better chance of passing if it just capped attorney fee awards in both establishment clause and free exercise clause cases instead of just completely prohibiting the awards in establishment clause cases only.

So far as court action is concerned, Darwinists are not sitting as pretty as they think they are.

I do have a criticism of the Ouachita (darn, those Louisiana parish names are hard to remember and correctly spell -- Tangipahoa is another one) Parish School District's academic freedom policy statement, though. This statement says,

WHEREAS, diverse organizations including Americans United for Separation of Church and State and American Civil Liberties Union have acknowledged that “any genuinely scientific evidence for or against any explanation of life may be taught” (5), and . . .

- - - - - - - - - - - -

(5) Joint Statement of Current Law on Religion in the Public Schools (4/12/1995) Religion In The Public Schools: A Joint Statement Of Current Law http://www.aclu.org/religion/schools/16146leg19950412.html (Accessed July 20, 2006).

The specific mention of AUSCS and ACLU as being among the organizations listed in the joint statement was unnecessary. This mention seems to be protesting too much -- it implies that the school district anticipates or fears that one or both of these organizations will sue over the academic freedom policy statement.

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8 Comments:

Anonymous Jacob said...

LOL... worst blog ever.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006 5:01:00 AM  
Anonymous Voice in the Wilderness said...

> Wrong, Ed. The Ouachita Parish School District cannot set up a trap for local districts to fall into, because Ouachita Parish School District is the local school district. <

Wrong, Larry(?). The ouachita Parish School District is not the only local school district in Northern Louisiana.

> Furthermore, the Darwinists have come very close to losing two big lawsuits <

Close only counts in horseshoes.

> The judge, John E. Jones III, is a real crackpot (if you want to see proof, just enter "Jones" in the search window that is visible in the top border of the blog screen when you are scrolled to the very top). <

There is no proof there, just your usual unsubstantiated opinions and rants.

From that point you go on to your hare-brained idea of limiting attorney's fees to prevent people from protecting their rights. You have already advocated restrictions on freedom of speech.

In short, YOU are the crackpot.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006 8:51:00 AM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

Voice in the Wilderness said...
>>>>>> Wrong, Ed. The Ouachita Parish School District cannot set up a trap for local districts to fall into, because Ouachita Parish School District is the local school district.<

Wrong, Larry(?). The ouachita Parish School District is not the only local school district in Northern Louisiana. <<<<<<

The Ouachita Parish School District has no school district under it. That was my point.

>>>>> Furthermore, the Darwinists have come very close to losing two big lawsuits <

Close only counts in horseshoes. <<<<<

Tell that to the people who fight tooth and nail over every Supreme Court nomination.

>>>>> From that point you go on to your hare-brained idea of limiting attorney's fees to prevent people from protecting their rights. <<<<<

Hare-brained? Then the majority of the House that voted in favor of PERA -- which would not merely limit but would prohibit attorney-fee awards in establishment clause cases -- are at least as hare-brained as I am.

There were no statutory awards of attorney fees in civil rights cases at all until about 30 years ago.

>>>>> You have already advocated restrictions on freedom of speech. <<<<<

I am only trying to improve the integrity of initiative & referendum procedures.

By your standards, the California law prohibiting campaigning within a certain distance of voting places is a violation of freedom of speech.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006 11:42:00 AM  
Anonymous xaqvbvop said...

Good suggestion, Larry. HR 2679 attracted the votes of 26 House Democrats, all of whom are returning. A somewhat less stringent version might pass Congress easily.

Darwinists should realize that scientific disputes are not settled by judges.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006 5:38:00 PM  
Anonymous Voice in the Wilderness said...

> The Ouachita Parish School District has no school district under it. That was my point. <

Since that has no relevance to Ed's statement I can't imagine why you would try to make such a point.

> Hare-brained? Then the majority of the House that voted in favor of PERA -- which would not merely limit but would prohibit attorney-fee awards in establishment clause cases -- are at least as hare-brained as I am. <

I don't doubt that many of them are indeed hare-brained but not so hare-brained that they would see a relationship between limiting attorney-fee awards and limiting freedom or speech. Only you are that screwy.

> I am only trying to improve the integrity of initiative & referendum procedures. <

You have shown no problem with the South Dakota case except that it did not go the way you wanted.

> By your standards, the California law prohibiting campaigning within a certain distance of voting places is a violation of freedom of speech. <

No. I have the ability to reason and would not jump to such a conclusion. You, lacking the ability to reason might see some connection.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006 10:56:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You Bayou Boys are just plain silly!

Wednesday, December 06, 2006 7:50:00 PM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

xaqvbvop said...
>>>>>> Good suggestion, Larry. HR 2679 attracted the votes of 26 House Democrats, all of whom are returning. A somewhat less stringent version might pass Congress easily. <<<<<<

It looks like the big problem is not the House but the Senate. The bill passed the House by a comfortable margin, 244-173, and I doubt that Democratic Party gains in the House are great enough to put House passage in jeopardy in the next Congress.

I feel that my "less stringent version" (a cap on fees in both establishment clause and free exercise clause cases instead of just a prohibition on fees in establishment clause cases) is not just a compromise but is actually vastly superior to the present version. For example, public officials often find themselves between a rock and a hard place in regard to public expressions of religion, e.g., where there is a question of whether to allow a private individual or organization to publicly express religion, there is a threat of a free exercise lawsuit if such expression is censored and a threat of an establishment clause lawsuit if such expression is allowed. Having just a prohibition on fee awards in establishment clause cases would of course cause public officials to lean towards risking an establishment clause suit rather than a free exercise suit. Having fee caps on both kinds of lawsuits would keep the playing field level.

Friday, December 08, 2006 5:45:00 AM  
Anonymous Voice in the Wilderness said...

A better idea would be to take up the system used by the British. The loser always pays the legal fees of both sides. That would eliminate many of these frivolous lawsuits.

Friday, December 08, 2006 7:13:00 AM  

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