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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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.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Twilight of the age of monkey trials





The legendary Scopes trial of 1925 started it all. Now it appears that the age of monkey trials is coming to an end. A Panda's Thumb article quoted the following from a World Magazine cover story article that discussed a new textbook titled "Explore Evolution" --
.
COVER STORY ARTICLE | “When the base cracks” July 21, 2007

Teach the controversy

Two years after Intelligent Design advocates lost a key court battle, some biology classrooms and ID supporters are finding a balanced approach to evolution that—so far—is lawsuit-proof | Mark Bergin


[…]

Explore Evolution: The Arguments for and Against Neo-Darwinism (Hill House Publishers, 2007) does not address alternative theories of origins but succinctly lays out the scientific strengths and weaknesses of the most critical elements of Darwinism.

Explore Evolution encapsulates a “teach the controversy” paradigm that the Discovery Institute has advocated for the better part of the past decade. Over that time, the institute has advised school boards against the inclusion of Intelligent Design in their science standards . . . .

. . . the Dover lawsuit also highlighted the effectiveness of the Discovery Institute’s approach. State school boards in Pennsylvania, South Carolina, New Mexico, and Minnesota along with local boards in Wisconsin and Louisiana have adopted science standards that encourage critical analysis of Darwinian Theory. To date, not a single lawsuit has challenged such standards.

“This is an approach that if I were a Darwinist I would be particularly frightened of,” said John West, associate director of the Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture. “The policy that we’ve recommended turns out to be the precise common-ground approach we said it would be. It reduces the decibel level; you don’t get sued; you get good education; and the Darwinists don’t have a leg to stand on.”
(emphasis added)

What would put a further damper on monkey trials would be the passage of Congressional bills to bar plaintiffs' attorney fee awards in establishment clause lawsuits (I would greatly prefer a law that would cap fee awards in both establishment clause and free exercise clause lawsuits). Such a bill passed the House by a large margin in the last Congress but the Senate companion bill was never voted on by the committee. The bills have been re-introduced this year; the Senate version, S 415, now has 18 sponsors plus one sponsor, and the House version, H.R. 725, has 59 co-sponsors plus one sponsor. Enactment of these bills into law would be the coup de grace to the "Dover trap".

Furthermore, the two big recent monkey trial decisions, Kitzmiller v. Dover and Selman v. Cobb County , turned out to be duds. The Dover decision is just a district court decision of a single judge and furthermore this decision was completely discredited by the revelation that the opinion's ID-as-science section was ghostwritten by the ACLU. The Cobb County decision was vacated and remanded by the appeals court because of missing evidence and was then settled out of court when the school board took a dive. Now there is just ACSI v. Stearns, which does not involve public K-12 schools -- it is a lawsuit by fundy schools against the University of California.
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7 Comments:

Anonymous Voice in the Wilderness said...

> this decision was completely discredited by the revelation that the opinion's ID-as-science section was ghostwritten by the ACLU. <

How does using normal judicial practice "discredit" a decision?

Obviously you know nothing about law or court procedures, as you have shown again.

Friday, July 20, 2007 4:10:00 AM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

>>>>>> How does using normal judicial practice "discredit" a decision? <<<<<<

We've been over this many times before, dunghill. It is not normal practice -- it is greatly frowned upon. In the worst cases it can be grounds for vacating a decision. I was actually more generous towards Jones than many of his other critics, who condemned him just for copying. I said that my big argument was not with the copying but was with the one-sidedness of the copying. He copied exclusively from the plaintiffs' opening post-trial brief while ignoring the defendants' opening post-trial brief and the plaintiffs' and defendants' answering post-trial briefs. He gave no evidence that he even read any post-trial brief other than the one that he copied from. Even good unreviewed district court opinions have limited value as precedent, and this opinion was not a good one.

Friday, July 20, 2007 7:01:00 AM  
Anonymous Voice in the Wilderness said...

> We've been over this many times before, dunghill. <

Yes we have but you still don't understand, dimwit.

> It is not normal practice -- it is greatly frowned upon. By who?

> In the worst cases it can be grounds for vacating a decision. <

Give an example.

> the one-sidedness of the copying. <

There was no reason to copy the losing argument.

> He gave no evidence that he even read any post-trial brief other than the one that he copied from. <

You give little evidence that you ever read anything before ranting about it.

Friday, July 20, 2007 2:45:00 PM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

>>>>>> In the worst cases it can be grounds for vacating a decision. <

Give an example. <<<<<<<

OK, I was mistaken -- it isn't sole grounds for reversing a decision. Apparently there was a reversal of a decision that involved copying, Bright v. Westmoreland, but apparently there were other factors involved. However, copying is still greatly frowned upon -- see here and here.

>>>>>> the one-sidedness of the copying. <

There was no reason to copy the losing argument. <<<<<<

But there was -- to give some evidence that the judge had at least read the other post-trial briefs.

I have been over this many times already, and I am not going over it again for your sake but for the sake of other readers who might not have seen the whole story.

There were four major post-trial briefs -- opening and answering briefs from the plaintiffs and the defendants (also, the plaintiffs' opening brief was accompanied by a "supplemental" brief). The ID-as-science section was copied entirely from just the plaintiffs' opening post-trial brief. That's ridiculous. Jones did not even need to answer the defendants' opening brief himself because that was done by the plaintiffs' answering brief. If the defendants' arguments were that bad, all the more reason to include them in the opinion in order to rebut them. I am the only one of Jones' critics that I know of who is not arguing that Jones' opinion should have been his own original work -- I have only argued that he should at least have copied some material from the other briefs.

>>>>>> You give little evidence that you ever read anything before ranting about it. <<<<<<

The difference is that I am not writing a court opinion here -- I can be cross-examined on what I write here. There is no way to cross-examine Judge Jones on what he wrote in the Dover opinion -- he won't even discuss the case anymore. And other litigants and judges certainly won't be able to cross-examine him.

Friday, July 20, 2007 4:29:00 PM  
Anonymous Voice in the Wilderness said...

> I have been over this many times already >

The classic Larry Fafarman tactic. Take something that didn't make sense in the beginning and repeat it in hopes that it will become true.

Saturday, July 21, 2007 4:44:00 PM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

Voice in the Wilderness driveled,

>>>>> The classic Larry Fafarman tactic. Take something that didn't make sense in the beginning and repeat it in hopes that it will become true. <<<<<<

Classic ViW tactic -- take my stated reason for doing something and twist it into something completely different. I said that I repeated the story for the benefit of readers who hadn't seen it, dunghill -- I did not repeat it "in the hopes that it will become true," because it was true from the beginning. Everything I said is factually accurate -- it is not a matter of opinion.

Saturday, July 21, 2007 5:11:00 PM  
Anonymous Voice in the Wilderness said...

> Everything I said is factually accurate -- it is not a matter of opinion. <

One could not have stated the opposite of the truth with more precision.

Sunday, July 22, 2007 8:44:00 PM  

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