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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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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.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

More thoughts about Judge Jones' "plagiarism"

I believe that when there is no courtroom trial, the usual briefing procedure is to have a plaintiff’s (or appellant’s or petitioner’s) “opening” brief which is answered by the defendant’s (or appellee’s or respondent’s) “answering” brief which is answered by the plaintiff’s “reply” brief — at least that is the usual kind of procedure in the federal appeals courts and the Supreme Court (the appellants in an appeals court and the petitioners in the Supreme Court can be either the original plaintiffs or the original defendants). The reason why the plaintiff gets the last word is that the plaintiff has the heavier burden of proof. The post-trial briefs in the Dover case consisted of “opening” briefs from both sides followed just by “answering” briefs from both sides (there were no “replies” to the “answers”), and the “opening” briefs were proposed “findings of fact and conclusions of law” briefs which are much different in format from regular opening briefs (for example, a proposed “findings of fact and conclusions of law” brief could be just a list of numbered items) — see the last items here (the plaintiffs also submitted a brief supporting their proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law).

The Discovery Institute has shown that most of the ID-as-science section of the Dover opinion was copied almost verbatim from just the plaintiffs’ opening post-trial brief, “Plaintiffs’ Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law” — see this. This was extremely one-sided and also showed that Jones did no independent thinking. Some people have this strange idea that judicial opinions are supposed to present only the winning side’s arguments and completely ignore the losing side’s arguments. What if the new Dover Area school board had pulled a switcheroo and decided to appeal (they said they wanted to get Jones' opinion, so why not go all the way and get the appeals courts' opinion -- and maybe even the SC's opinion?)? Then the Dover opinion would have gone to the appeals court without answers to the defendants' arguments regarding the question of whether ID is science.

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11 Comments:

Anonymous Voice In The Urbanness said...

> This was extremely one-sided and also showed that Jones did no independent thinking. <

Not at all. It only shows that Jones saw the creationist's argument to be as empty and politically motivated as it clearly was.

Saturday, December 16, 2006 5:36:00 PM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

>>>>> Not at all. It only shows that Jones saw the creationist's argument to be as empty and politically motivated as it clearly was. <<<<<<

Actually, if the defendants’ arguments regarding the question of whether ID is science were really that bad, Judge Jones would have had good reason to present and rebut those arguments just for the purpose of showing how weak the defendants’ position was. Jones instead mostly or completely ignored those arguments.

Saturday, December 16, 2006 11:01:00 PM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

Actually, I am much more disturbed by the lack of even-handedness than by the large amount of copying. Almost all of the opinion’s ID-as-science section came from the plaintiffs’ “opening” post-trial brief — “Plaintiffs’ Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law” — and consequently little or nothing ( I don’t know how much ) came from the other post-trial briefs: the defendants’ “opening” brief and the plaintiffs’ and defendants’ “answering” briefs. An “opening” brief is obviously going to be very one-sided. As I said, if the defendants’ arguments were really terrible, all the more reason to put them in the opinion in order to attack them.

Sunday, December 17, 2006 8:19:00 AM  
Anonymous Voice in the Urbanness said...

> Actually, if the defendants’ arguments regarding the question of whether ID is science were really that bad, Judge Jones would have had good reason to present and rebut those arguments just for the purpose of showing how weak the defendants’ position was. <

Not necessarily. If he thought that they were really bad he might have thought that they weren't worth repeating. This seems to be the case here.

> Actually, I am much more disturbed by the lack of even-handedness than by the large amount of copying. <

Hopefully you have been educated enough by the many recent posts that you are not disturbed at all by the copying. As to the lack of even-handedness, his job was to make a decision, not to waffle and say that both sides have their points, expecially when one side, the creationists, does not.

If the creationists want their side taught in school it would perhaps be better if they argued in favor of religion being taught in school as religion. Trying to make it science, which it is not, seems a fool's errand.

Sunday, December 17, 2006 8:41:00 AM  
Anonymous Jim Sherwood said...

Why repeat the absurd claim that intelligent design theory is creationism? Anyone who has looked into the theory knows that intelligent design theory is a far wider category, and that it has no connection with religion. Those who make uninformed statements about intelligent design thereby tend to discredit Darwinism. Fortunately.

Sunday, December 17, 2006 2:06:00 PM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

VIU said,
>>>>> If he thought that they were really bad he might have thought that they weren't worth repeating. <<<<<<

And your above statement is so stupid that it is not worth repeating, but I am doing it anyway just to strengthen my case, as a smart judge would do when he thinks that a litigant's argument is not worth repeating.

Judges try to make their opinions as strong as possible. One of the ways they do this is by presenting and rebutting weak arguments. Whether or not the defendants' arguments were weak, Jones' probable reason for ignoring them was the fact that the case was not likely to be appealed because of the changeover in the board membership.

Let's look at the real world. Suppose that the case had been appealed and that you are an attorney representing the Dover plaintiffs and that you are in an appeals courtroom filled with reporters and that the judges have allowed microphones and TV cameras. A judge wonders aloud about why the Dover opinion does not answer the defendants' arguments on the question of whether ID is science. Are you going to answer, "because Judge Jones thought that those arguments were too dumb to be worth answering, your honor"?

The new board was really stupid for not appealing the case. The new board members said that they did not want to repeal the ID policy prior to the judgment because they wanted to hear what Judge Jones had to say. They happily paid $1 million in school district funds in exchange for an opinion that is not worth the legal stationery that it is printed on. For a few bucks more, they could have gotten the opinion of the appeals court and maybe also the Supreme Court. And they could have thrown the Dover plaintiffs a real curve by both repealing the ID policy and appealing the case!

>>>>> As to the lack of even-handedness, his job was to make a decision, not to waffle and say that both sides have their points, expecially when one side, the creationists, does not. <<<<<

By not answering the defendants' points, Jones implied that those points were really good.


>>>>> Hopefully you have been educated enough by the many recent posts that you are not disturbed at all by the copying. <<<<<<

I didn't say that I was not disturbed at all by the copying, you stupid, fatheaded beetlebrain. I only said that I was more disturbed by the one-sidedness than by all the copying.

What is all this "education" crap? As the Earl of Kent said in King Lear, "I am too old to learn."

Sunday, December 17, 2006 10:46:00 PM  
Anonymous Voice in the Urbanness said...

> Why repeat the absurd claim that intelligent design theory is creationism? <

You find the truth absurd?

> Anyone who has looked into the theory knows that intelligent design theory is a far wider category <

It is creationism, unless you are one of these idiots who try to claim that you can have intelligent design without a designer.

> and that it has no connection with religion. <

The designer makes it religion.

> Those who make uninformed statements about intelligent design thereby tend to discredit Darwinism. <

Those who support ID seem only to make uninformed statements.

Sunday, December 17, 2006 11:17:00 PM  
Anonymous Voice in the Urbanness said...

As we can see, Larry(?) has no answers so he falls back on personal attacks and repitition.

> Judges try to make their opinions as strong as possible. <

That would be gilding the lily. Why waste time when the arguments were absurd to begin with?

> A judge wonders aloud about why the Dover opinion does not answer the defendants' arguments on the question of whether ID is science. <

I thought that you were going to talk about the real world?

> The new board was really stupid for not appealing the case. <

The new board did not continue the criminal waste of the public's money.

> They happily paid $1 million in school district funds in exchange for an opinion that is not worth the legal stationery that it is printed on. <

The opinion is binding. That is worth more than stationery.

> By not answering the defendants' points, Jones implied that those points were really good. <

Only if you have brain damage!

> you stupid, fatheaded beetlebrain. <

I notice that when you are losing an argument you resort to this sort of thing. That is one reason that people don't want to be associated with you.

> What is all this "education" crap? <

Well I know that you seem to be beyond hope of education.

Sunday, December 17, 2006 11:25:00 PM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

VIU, I answered your crap once and that is enough.

One more thing -- when answering a comment, please identify who you are answering -- otherwise people might think that you are answering me (in one of your comments, you did not state that you were answering Jim Sherwood).

Monday, December 18, 2006 12:15:00 AM  
Anonymous Voice in the Wilderness said...

> I answered your crap once and that is enough. <

I have never seen you answer any of his stuff except to repeat your own unsupported opinion. For that matter that is your standard with everyone.

> when answering a comment, please identify who you are answering <

You mean whether it is to you or someone you are pretending to be?

Monday, December 18, 2006 6:13:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Larry, here's an example of REAL plagirism from your own chums on the ID side:

Professor Irons concluded his study with these comments: "It seems to me the height of hypocrisy for the Discovery Institute to accuse Judge Jones of copying 90 percent of one section of his opinion (just 16 percent of its total length) from the proposed findings of fact by the plaintiff's lawyers, when the DI itself tried to palm off as 'original' work a law review article that was copied 95 percent from the authors' own book. Concealing this fact from the law review editors, until I discovered and documented this effort, seriously undercuts the credibility of the DI on this or any other issue."

More details in Ed's blog. Any comments?

Monday, December 18, 2006 7:28:00 AM  

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