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.

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.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Kitzmiller is most overrated decision in American history

Jay Benedict as
Judge John E. Jones III

I thought that the completely discredited Kitzmiller v. Dover decision would be just a footnote in history by now, but dyed-in-the-wool Darwinists are still kicking it around as though it means something. That decision was completely discredited when it was revealed that the opinion's ID-as-science section was ghostwritten by the ACLU. Even good unreviewed district court opinions have limited value as precedents, and this was not a good opinion.

The NOVA series on PBS TV will broadcast a reenactment of the Dover trial in November, and a book review by Kevin Padian about three books about the case was published in Nature magazine (subscription required or can be viewed at a subscribing library, or can be purchased as single article at exorbitant price of $30 for 2 pages). An NCSE article about the book review says,

Padian praises all three of the books as "entertaining and informative," giving the nod to Humes's Monkey Girl on account of its comprehensiveness; he also mentions a fourth book, by local reporter Laurie Lebo, to appear on the trial, which, he says, "promises even more lively details of this perfect storm of religious intolerance, First Amendment violation and the never-ending assault on American science education."

Wow -- a mere one-minute evolution-disclaimer statement was a "perfect storm of religious intolerance, First Amendment violation and the never-ending assault on American science education." I wonder what Padian would have said if those fundies on the Dover school board had decided to teach biblical creationism and only biblical creationism. LOL

An announcement of the NOVA program said,

Judgment Day: Intelligent Design on Trial (w.t.)
November 13, 2007 at 8 pm ET check local listings

One of the latest battles in the war over evolution took place in a tiny town in eastern Pennsylvania called Dover. In 2004, the local school board ordered science teachers to read a statement to their high school biology students. The statement suggested that there is an alternative to Darwin's theory of evolution called intelligent design, the idea that life is too complex to have evolved naturally and therefore had to have been designed by an intelligent agent. The science teachers refused to comply with the order, and alarmed parents filed a lawsuit in federal court accusing the school board of violating the separation of church and state. Suddenly, the small town of Dover was torn apart by controversy, pitting neighbor against neighbor. NOVA captures the emotional conflict in interviews with the townspeople, scientists and lawyers who participated in the historic six-week trial, Kitzmiller, et. al. v. Dover School District, et. al., which was closely watched by the world's media. With recreations based on court transcripts, NOVA presents the arguments by lawyers and expert witnesses in riveting detail and provides an eye-opening crash course on questions such as "What is evolution?" and "Does intelligent design qualify as science?" For years to come, the lessons from Dover will continue to have a profound impact on how science is viewed in our society and how to teach it the classroom.
Produced by NOVA WGBH Science Unit and Vulcan Productions, Inc. Additional production by The Big Table Film Company.

A website named TV Barn said of the NOVA program,

Meanwhile, another program that promises to make the fall interesting for PBS got its first preview. "Judgment Day: Intelligent Design on Trial," an episode of "Nova" scheduled to air Nov. 13, will recreate the widely covered 2004 trial over a school-board policy in Dover, Pa., that would have required science teachers to give evolution and God-made-this theories equal time.

Since cameras weren't allowed in the courtroom, "Nova" hired actors to re-enact portions of the transcript. First the O.J. civil trial, then Michael Jackson, now public television.

Unlike Ken Burns, who waited for trouble to come his way, Paula Apsell, the executive producer of "Nova," and the makers of "Judgment Day" seem to have sensed from the get-go they would take a lot of abuse from the intelligent design proponents. The producers said they went to great pains to represent the anti-evolution point of view, even as the Seattle organization that leads those efforts stonewalled "Nova's" requests for interviews.

"If you believe that intelligent design got a fair shake in the trial, then you'll certainly believe that it gets a fair shake in this program because this is a program about the trial," said Apsell.

Judge John E. Jones III (shown here portrayed by Jay Benedict), who was appointed by President Bush, ruled for the teachers who refused to teach intelligent design, and the voters turned out the anti-evolutionists in the next school board election.

Jones, appearing in L.A. to help promote the two-hour program, said he didn't cut people off at the trial, and let everyone have their say. Jones quoted the journalist Margaret Talbot, who wrote after the trial in the New Yorker, "It was a science class that everybody wished they'd been able to take when they were in school."

Posted by Aaron Barnhart on Thursday, July 12, 2007 at 09:48 AM in TV Barn
(emphasis added)

As for the statement that the Discovery Institute "stonewalled" Nova's requests for interviews, that is the second time that they did that sort of thing -- Casey Luskin stonewalled Edward Humes' request for an interview for the book "Monkey Girl," which was about the Dover case. That is really stupid -- since these presentations of the case are going to be produced anyway, the DI might as well take advantage of the opportunity to present its views. I think they hate me at the Discovery Institute -- they have ignored my requests for help in my protest of Wikipedia's violation of its IRS 501(c)(3) nonprofit tax status by political campaigning. I think that the reasons why they hate me are that I am a holocaust revisionist and that I criticized Luskin for spurning Humes' request for an interview. I pointed out to the DI that they can protest Wikipedia's IRS violation without becoming associated with me.

There are misleading statements in the TV Barn article. Judge Jones did not "rule" for the teachers, because they were not plaintiffs. The teachers were not required to "teach" intelligent design but were only required to read aloud a one-minute statement that mentioned intelligent design. By refusing to read the statement, the teachers reneged on their agreement that the book "Of Pandas and People" could be used as a supplemental text. And the requirement that they read the statement was not unreasonable -- in Peloza v. Capistrano Board of Education, the 9th circuit federal court of appeals ruled that a teacher could be required to teach Darwinism even though it conflicted with his religious beliefs. However, I feel that the Dover teachers should have been given more say in the wording of the statement.

Also, the school board elections were close and voter concern about the cost of the lawsuit is believed to have been a major factor in the defeat of the incumbents.

Also, this is the first time I have seen Judge Jones -- who made last year's Time magazine list of the world's 100 most influential people -- in the news since November, even though I frequently Google him. Jones has become so obscure in just one year that he should be retroactively dumped from last year's Time list. Jones lied here when he said that he let everyone have their say. He denied the intervention petition of the publisher of the book "Of Pandas and People," then thoroughly trashed the book in the written opinion. The name of the book appears 75 times in the written opinion -- about half the appearances concern the book itself and about half concern the school board's decision to choose the book. And who cares if Jones was appointed by Dubya -- that is an irrelevant piece of trivia.

As for the statement "It was a science class that everybody wished they'd been able to take when they were in school," the irony of this statement is that this is the science class that people can't take in public schools because Kitzmiller and similar decisions have made criticisms of Darwinism generally taboo there.

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Anonymous Jim Sherwood said...

The Darwinists say, "What's science?
Any dogma that has our alliance.
So although we've no proof
Of our notions, we'll goof
With your kids: and force your compliance."

Saturday, July 21, 2007 2:14:00 PM  
Anonymous Howard A. Landman said...

I have read the Kitzmiller decision and the entire 21-day transcript and also the demonstratives where available (e.g. Padian's).

I agree that the Kitzmiller case is overrated, but only in the sense that it wasn't a difficult decision. The defendants effectively hung themselves by (1) publicly stating their religious motivations, (2) ignoring tons of good advice from their lawyers and science teachers and plowing ahead with a clearly unconstitutional policy, and (3) lying repeatedly under oath about 1 and 2 in ways that were easy to catch and plentifully contradicted by the evidence. Judge Jones' description of this behavior as "breathtaking inanity" doesn't even begin to cover it. The morons got exactly what they deserved; too bad the Dover taxpayers had to foot the multi-million-dollar bill for their stupidity.

The U.S. is currently ranked 39th out of the 40 most industrialized nations in terms of understanding of biology. (40th place is held by Turkey, which has its own Islamic fundamentalist creationist movement.) Creationists seem determined to drive us to the bottom of this heap and, since the 21st century will be the century of biology, are happily greasing the skids for us to devolve into a 3rd world country that won't even be able to compete with India or China. Enjoy the ride down ...

Thursday, August 16, 2007 10:12:00 PM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

Howard A. Landman said...

>>>>>>> I agree that the Kitzmiller case is overrated, but only in the sense that it wasn't a difficult decision. <<<<<<<

It is a myth that the Kitzmiller decision was an inevitable slam-dunk shoo-in. Two other decisions against evolution disclaimers came close to being reversed. Freiler v. Tangipahoa Parish (2000) came within one vote of getting an en banc (full court) appeals court rehearing and within one vote of getting Supreme Court review. In Selman v. Cobb County (2005-2006), the appeals court judges indicated in an oral hearing that they were leaning towards reversal but then vacated and remanded the decision because of missing evidence (the school board then took a dive by settling out of court). Also, a law professor's blog argues that Kitzmiller was wrongly decided and a law journal article argues that teaching ID is constitutional "outside of the unusual context of the Kitzmiller situation." Several law journal articles said that Jones should not have ruled on the scientific merits of ID, including an article by an opponent of ID.

>>>>>> Judge Jones' description of this behavior as "breathtaking inanity" doesn't even begin to cover it. <<<<<

He should have kept his negative opinions about the defendants to himself.

>>>>>> too bad the Dover taxpayers had to foot the multi-million-dollar bill <<<<<<

It was not a multi-million dollar bill -- it was a one million dollar bill.

>>>>>>> The U.S. is currently ranked 39th out of the 40 most industrialized nations in terms of understanding of biology. <<<<<<

The study that you are referring to was not a ranking on understanding of biology -- it was a ranking on belief in Darwinism. And there were 34 -- not 40 -- countries in the study. Belief in Darwinism has nothing to do with a country's technological competitiveness.

Friday, August 17, 2007 3:46:00 AM  

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