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, September 29, 2007

New documentary film about "the controversy"

The above cartoon is a rerun. It was very popular.

A Lawrence Journal-World article about a documentary film titled "Kansas v. Darwin" says,

In the beginning, God created controversy.

And filmmaker Jeff Tamblyn was there to cover it.

To clarify, this particular “beginning” took place in 2005 when three members of the Kansas State Board of Education — Steve Abrams, Kathy Martin and Connie Morris — conducted controversial hearings to debate where God belonged in the classroom. Specifically, in what ratio should evolution and intelligent design be implemented into the state’s school science standards?

That's pretty biased reporting. The question was not "where God belonged in the classroom," but was where criticism of Darwinism belonged in the classroom.

The article said,

. . . .“When we started the project and began to talk about it, the reception we got was chilly,” says Tamblyn, who directed, produced and co-wrote the enterprise.

“One of the first things that everybody asked us was, ‘Which side are you on?’ In fact, that may eventually become a tagline for the movie.”. . .

. . . . .More than 135 hours of footage later, Tamblyn started assembling the film with the help of co-writer/editor Mark von Schlemmer . . . .

. . . .“We thought we were done with the film a little over a year ago,” Tamblyn says. “We sent it out to some festivals like Toronto and Telluride, and it didn’t get in. But this prompted me to take another look at the story. I felt like we could make a better movie.”

The first editing revision turned out to be a metaphor for what sparked the initial controversy.

“We took out a lot of the science,” Tamblyn explains.

“There was a lot of stuff in there about cells and molecular biology. It was over people’s heads, and they were going to sleep. Instead, we really zeroed in on the politics and the politics of faith.”

Nearly a year and a half since the first festival edit floundered, “Kansas vs. Darwin” is making its official premiere Monday at the Kansas International Film Festival.

Well, when you "took out a lot of the science," you took out a lot of the core of the debate over whether weaknesses of Darwinism should be taught in the public schools. IMO that answers the question, "which side are you on"?

Although the religious side was in full force during the hearings, the Kansas Citizens for Science decided to stage a boycott. Their reasoning was that science is not something that can be determined in the courtroom.

This was not a "courtroom" -- it was a hearing of the Kansas Board of Education. And the purpose of the hearing was not to decide whether Darwinism is true or false, but was to determine whether weaknesses of Darwinism should be taught in public schools.

BTW, the "kangaroo court" excuse for the Darwinists' boycott of the Kansas BOE hearings just does not hold water. Why didn't the Darwinists boycott the Dover trial after learning that the judge was a conservative church-going Bush-appointed Republican?

There have been a number of other recent movie or TV productions about the controversy:

(1) "Flock of Dodos: The Evolution-Intelligent Design Circus," a 2006 movie

(2) "Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed," a movie scheduled for release in 2008

(3) "Darwin's Deadly Legacy", a Darwin-to-Hitler TV production

(4) A PBS TV NOVA series reenactment of the Dover trial

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Friday, September 28, 2007

Fatheaded Ed Brayton's new song and dance

BVD-clad yellow-journalist blogger Fatheaded Ed Brayton has a new song and dance to explain the mysterious disappearance and reappearance of one of his articles in Michigan Messenger. His song and dance includes the following statement:
And as usual, his criticisms were way off base. He said, for example, that my statement that John Warner had reserved the room at the Dirksen building for the Moon gathering was wrong and he quoted an early Washington Post article saying that it was a mystery who had reserved it. Someone even posted, in a comment on Larry's blog, a later source where Warner had finally admitted to having reserved the room. AFTER he had seen that documentation on his own blog, he still posted the exact same claim in a comment when I reposted my article the next day. Clearly, Larry just doesn't care what the truth is as long as he can try and make me look bad.

Ed, you stupid fathead, all I did was just re-post my original comment which had been rudely deleted. I played dumb about Senator Warner to see if you could independently verify your statement about him. Instead of showing that you could do that, you simply deleted my comment. Yes, I did make you look bad again.

I am obviously still able to post comments on Michigan Messenger but I now consider that blog to be a waste of time. Of course, there is the problem that my comments there are always being deleted even when they are on-topic, polite, and serious, but also very few of the articles there have any comments at all and those that do generally have only 1-3 comments. It is not a place to go for a discussion.



"Smile -- you're on Candid Camera"

A New York Times article by Darwinist propagandist Cornelia "Corny" Dean says,

A few months ago, the evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins received an e-mail message from a producer at Rampant Films inviting him to be interviewed for a documentary called “Crossroads.”

The film, with Ben Stein, the actor, economist and freelance columnist, as its host, is described on Rampant’s Web site as an examination of the intersection of science and religion. . . . .

But now, Dr. Dawkins and other scientists who agreed to be interviewed say they are surprised — and in some cases, angered — to find themselves not in “Crossroads” but in a film with a new name and one that makes the case for intelligent design, an ideological cousin of creationism. The film, “Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed,” also has a different producer, Premise Media.

There she goes again with that "ideological cousin of creationism" stuff.

The article continues,

The film is described in its online trailer as “a startling revelation that freedom of thought and freedom of inquiry have been expelled from publicly-funded high schools, universities and research institutions.” According to its Web site, the film asserts that people in academia who see evidence of a supernatural intelligence in biological processes have unfairly lost their jobs, been denied tenure or suffered other penalties as part of a scientific conspiracy to keep God out of the nation’s laboratories and classrooms . . .

. . . . .If he had known the film’s premise, Dr. Dawkins said in an e-mail message, he would never have appeared in it. “At no time was I given the slightest clue that these people were a creationist front,” he said.

Eugenie C. Scott, a physical anthropologist who heads the National Center for Science Education, said she agreed to be filmed after receiving what she described as a deceptive invitation.

“I have certainly been taped by people and appeared in productions where people’s views are different than mine, and that’s fine,” Dr. Scott said, adding that she would have appeared in the film anyway. “I just expect people to be honest with me, and they weren’t.”

You expect them to be honest with you? If your responses depend on who is interviewing you and why, how are you being honest with them?

These Darwinists don't understand that you are supposed to smile and say "I'll be darned" when told that you are on Candid Camera.

I wouldn't mind being interviewed by filmmakers and authors. They can lie to me all they want. May they make a big sucker out of me. May I be completely bamboozled. May they show me no mercy.

These Darwinists should be grateful for the opportunity to publicize themselves and their views. They take these opportunities for granted. And they should not look a gift horse in the mouth.

Here is another article that I wrote on the same subject.



Thursday, September 27, 2007

A tale of two "faith-based initiatives"

A news article said,

WASHINGTON -- Sen. David Vitter, R-La., earmarked $100,000 in a spending bill for a Louisiana Christian group that has challenged the teaching of Darwinian evolution in the public school system and to which he has political ties.

The money is included in the labor, health and education financing bill for fiscal 2008 and specifies payment to the Louisiana Family Forum "to develop a plan to promote better science education" . . . . .

. . . . The nonprofit Louisiana Family Forum, launched in Baton Rouge in 1999 by former state Rep. Tony Perkins, has in recent years taken the lead in promoting "origins science," which includes the possibility of divine intervention in the creation of the universe.

The group's stated mission is to "persuasively present biblical principles in the centers of influence on issues affecting the family through research, communication and networking." Until recently, its Web site contained a "battle plan to combat evolution," which called the theory a "dangerous" concept that "has no place in the classroom." The document was removed after a reporter's inquiry.

How is this Vitter appropriation any worse than the government-supported UC-Berkeley website which gives teachers advice on how to use religion to promote Darwinism? See this and this.


Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Wrangling over wrist of hominid fossil

A news article says,
WASHINGTON (Sept. 22) - Scientists, wringing their hands over the identity of the famed "hobbit" fossil, have found a new clue in the wrist. Since the discovery of the bones in Indonesia in 2003, researchers have wrangled over whether the find was an ancient human ancestor or simply a modern human suffering from a genetic disorder.

Now, a study of the bones in the creature's left wrist lends weight to the human ancestor theory, according to a report in Friday's issue of the journal Science.

The wrist bones of the 3-foot-tall creature, technically known as Homo floresiensis, are basically indistinguishable from an African ape or early hominin(sic)-like wrist and nothing at all like that seen in modern humans and Neanderthals, according to the research team led by Matthew W. Tocheri of the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History.

That indicates that it is an early hominin(sic) and not a modern human with a physical disorder, they contend . . . .

. . . .But others have questioned whether it was really a new species. Robert D. Martin of the Field Museum in Chicago and co-authors challenged the original classification, arguing that it appears to be a modern human suffering from microencephaly, a genetic disorder that results in small brain size and other defects.

There are things that can go wrong in the development of the wrist, Tocheri said, but they don't result in a complete change of design from modern human to chimpanzee or gorilla wrist.

"My take is that the brain size of (that specimen) is simply too small. That problem remains unanswered," he said in a telephone interview.

Huh? Why does he assume that the small size of the brain is a genetic defect rather than normal?

The article continued,
"People ask me whether this new evidence changes anything, well it doesn't," he said. "I think the evidence they've presented is fine, it's the interpretation that is problematic."

It is amazing that with all the other factors that there are to be considered, some scientists would consider the wrist bones as the deciding factor in whether to classify the fossil as ape or human.


Monday, September 24, 2007

Overpaid judges

A USA Today article titled "Pay gap dismays federal judges" says,

Salaries of federal judges lag far behind those of private attorneys and law school deans, contributing to their departure from the bench in unprecedented numbers.

Since 2005, 22 of 875 federal judges serving lifetime appointments have resigned or retired — more than at any time in history, according to the Administrative Office of the United States Courts. Most earned higher salaries after leaving the bench. Of the 19 who have taken jobs, 14 went into private practice and five into education or government.

Something is very fishy about those numbers. If the number who have taken other jobs, 19, is subtracted from the number who have resigned or retired, 22, that leaves only three judges who have retired since 2005 out of a total of 875 judges. That number three is awfully low.

A sidebar of the article says,

Statistics collected by the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts show:

• Salaries of deans at the top 25 law schools reach $430,000. Senior law professors earn about $330,000. The median salary of all law school deans in 2005 was $229,600.

• New law school graduates start at $160,000 in big-city firms.

The problem is not that federal judges are underpaid -- the problem is that other legal professionals are overpaid.

Also, a caption on a photo in the article says,

Ohio Supreme Court Chief Justice Thomas Moyer says Ohio judges haven't had an increase in pay for seven years.

However, the caption does not note that Ohio judges have been getting cost-of-living increases. Another article says,

In Ohio, judges receive regular cost-of-living increases.

This other article also said,

Pennsylvania judges went a decade without any raise in base pay, according to Stuart Ditzen, a spokesman for the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts. In July 2005, the Legislature raised salaries for lawmakers, judges and other state officials — during a 2 a.m. vote that enraged voters and led to the defeat of at least six legislative leaders that November. Voters also ousted Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice Russell Nigro — the first time in state history, Ditzen says, that a high-court justice was voted off the bench.

After the election, the Legislature repealed the pay raise for everyone. In September 2006, the Pennsylvania State Supreme Court upheld the pay raise for more than 1,000 state judges, Ditzen says. The court's decision further fueled a citizens' revolt. The activist group that helped defeat Nigro — called PA Clean Sweep — is now campaigning to persuade voters to defeat 66 of the 67 judges on the November ballot. One judge who returned her pay increase to the state treasury has been spared the organization's wrath, says the group's founder, Russ Diamond.

I am sure glad to see a public backlash against sleazebag judges. Let them quit -- we couldn't possibly have worse judges than we have now.



Sunday, September 23, 2007

Erroneous Brayton article pulled from multi-blogger news blog!

An article by BVD-clad yellow-journalist blogger Fatheaded Ed Brayton has been pulled from the multi-blogger news blog Michigan Messenger! The post was titled "Bad Moon Rising: Moon and Conservative Politics" -- and now all that is left is the statement, "This diary has been removed." And I have good reason to believe that the reason for its removal was that I had poked some big holes it it! Here is the comment that I added prior to the article's removal:
One of Ed Brayton's sources reported that 81 U.S. Senators and Members of Congress attended Moon's coronation:

On Mar. 23, 2004, in the Dirksen Senate Office building, in Washington, D.C. in the U.S., 81 U.S. Senators and Members of Congress...26 ambassadors to the United States...and some 450 leaders from various fields...came to participate in an Ambassadors for Peace Awards...and Crown of Peace Ceremony.

However, the Washington Post reported that only "more than a dozen" lawmakers attended:

More than a dozen lawmakers attended a congressional reception this year honoring the Rev. Sun Myung Moon in which Moon declared himself the Messiah and said his teachings have helped Hitler and Stalin be "reborn as new persons."

Also, the Washington Post article said -- as Ed did -- that several of the lawmakers felt that they had been misled:

Details of the ceremony -- first reported by Salon.com writer John Gorenfeld -- have prompted several lawmakers to say they were misled or duped by organizers. Their complaints prompted a Moon-affiliated Web site to remove a video of the "Crown of Peace" ceremony two days ago, but other Web sites have preserved details and photos.

Ed said, "The room was reserved by Sen. John Warner of Virginia." However, the Washington Post article said,

Use of the Dirksen building requires a senator's approval. [Sen.] Dayton said he gave no such permission, and Stallings [a key organizer] said the question of who did so is "shrouded in mystery."

Anyway, it looks like Ed has blown this coronation ceremony way out of proportion.

Also, Ed said,
November 22nd is a famous day in American presidential history. It is, of course, the day that John F. Kennedy was shot in Dallas, Texas. 34 years later, the 41st president of the United States, George H.W. Bush, arrived in Buenos Aires, Argentina on a private plane. The event he was arriving for was the launch of a new South American regional newspaper owned by Rev. Moon and the Unification Church.

That statement is as dumb as claiming that Abraham Lincoln and Charles Darwin are connected because they have the same official birthdates.

I was on my way to poke some more holes in Ed's article when I discovered that it had been pulled.

Of course, Ed would have censored my comment if I had tried to post it on his own blog, Dispatches from the Culture Wars. Michigan Messenger's management has been fairly tolerant of Ed's censoring (in violation of Michigan Messenger's Code of Ethics) but there is a limit to how far they are willing to go.

Ed Brayton has posted three other articles about Rev. Moon on Michigan Messenger. Those other posts have no more credibility than the one that was deleted. Here is a comment where I point out Ed's continuing failure to identify his sources.



And we think we have a church-state separation problem!

A New York Times article says,

KOLOMNA, Russia — One of the most discordant debates in Russian society is playing out in public schools like those in this city not far from Moscow, where the other day a teacher named Irina Donshina set aside her textbooks, strode before her second graders and, as if speaking from a pulpit, posed a simple question:

“Whom should we learn to do good from?”

“From God!” the children said.

“Right!” Ms. Donshina said . . .

. . . . Nearly two decades after the collapse of the Soviet Union and the return of religion to public life, localities in Russia are increasingly decreeing that to receive a proper public school education, children should be steeped in the ways of the Russian Orthodox Church, including its traditions, liturgy and historic figures.

The lessons are typically introduced at the urging of church leaders, who say the enforced atheism of Communism left Russians out of touch with a faith that was once at the core of their identity . . . .

. . . .Opponents assert that the Russian Orthodox leadership is weakening the constitutional separation of church and state by proselytizing in public schools. They say Russia is a multiethnic, pluralistic nation and risks alienating its large Muslim minority if Russian Orthodoxy takes on the trappings of a state religion.

Also, in regard to evolution education, a report of the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly said,

66. In Russia in February 2007, a young 16-year-old girl and her father brought an action against the Ministry of Education and Science because they did not accept the fact that the school biology textbooks only offer one theory, that of evolution, which, they said, was incompatible with their beliefs. The plaintiffs were supported by members of the Russian Orthodox Church. . . . . Father Vsevolod Chaplin, deputy head of the Department of External Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate, deplores the ideological character of the theory of evolution, which has been the only theory taught in Russian schools since the Soviet era.

Ironically, the addition of "under god" to the pledge of allegiance and the requirement that the motto "In God We Trust" appear on all US money (it had appeared on US coins off and on since 1864) were mid-1950's reactions to the "godlessness" of Soviet communism. Despite decades of atheistic Communism, the Russians are today much less phobic of government endorsement of religion than we are. In the USA, the courts have banned things with religious connotations even where there have been secular purposes. Federal judges in Pennsylvania (Kitzmiller v. Dover) and Georgia (Selman v. Cobb County) banned the mere mention of criticisms of Darwinism in public school science classes on the grounds that such mention is interpreted by some people as a government endorsement of religion. Los Angeles County removed a tiny cross from the county seal because of a threat of a lawsuit from the ACLU. I am not in favor of a return to school prayer -- in fact I am strongly opposed to it -- but IMO it is clear that the USA has gone off the deep end on the church-state separation thing. The Supreme Court said in Lynch v. Donnelly,

The Court has sometimes described the Religion Clauses as erecting a "wall" between church and state, see, e.g., Everson v. Board of Education, 330 U.S. 1, 18 (1947). The concept of a "wall" of separation is a useful figure of speech probably deriving from views of Thomas Jefferson. The metaphor has served as a reminder that the Establishment Clause forbids an established church or anything approaching it. But the metaphor itself is not a wholly accurate description of the practical aspects of the relationship that in fact exists between church and state.

No significant segment of our society, and no institution within it, can exist in a vacuum or in total or absolute isolation from all the other parts, much less from government. "It has never been thought either possible or desirable to enforce a regime of total separation. . . ." Committee for Public Education & Religious Liberty v. Nyquist, 413 U.S. 756, 760 (1973). Nor does the Constitution require complete separation of church and state; it affirmatively mandates accommodation, not merely tolerance, of all religions, and forbids hostility toward any. See, e.g., Zorach v. Clauson, 343 U.S. 306, 314, 315 (1952); Illinois ex rel. McCollum v. Board of Education, 333 U.S. 203, 211 (1948). Anything less would require the "callous indifference" we have said was never intended by the Establishment Clause. Zorach, supra, at 314. Indeed, we have observed, such hostility would bring us into "war with our national tradition as embodied in the First Amendment's guaranty of the free exercise of religion." McCollum, supra, at 211-212.

For more info on the evolution controversy abroad, click on the post label below (this post label is also in the sidebar).



Saturday, September 22, 2007

Holocaust revisionist Zundel's sentence upheld

I previously reported that Ernst Zundel was sentenced to five years imprisonment on charges of denying the holocaust. A Jewish Telegraphic Agency article reported,

The German Federal High Court confirmed Monday that it has upheld the 68-year-old Zundel's five-year prison sentence. On Sept. 12, the court rejected a 600-page proposed revision in the sentence, according to German news reports.

After a yearlong trial Zundel, one of the world's most active Holocaust deniers, was sentenced Feb. 15 by the Mannheim district court on charges of denying the Holocaust on his Canada and U.S.-based Internet site.

In justifying the sentence, the presiding judge, Ulrich Meinerzhagen, had described Zundel as an "extreme anti-Semite" and "committed National Socialist" who sought to glamorize Hitler and make him seem harmless.

Zundel, a German native, was arrested in Canada in February 2003 and deported to Germany two years later. Reportedly he is one of the first right-wing extremists to use the Internet to spread hate material worldwide.

This is a freedom of speech issue, not a holocaust issue. Again, here is a contact form for sending protests to the German Embassy.

The cartoon is courtesy of the Institute for Historical Review.



Friday, September 21, 2007

"Creationist" Cheri Yecke is one of three finalists for Florida Education Commissioner!

A news article reported,

Three finalists are now vying for the job of Florida Education Commissioner. The State Board of Education interviewed seven candidates yesterday in Tampa and then narrowed the pool to three this morning.

The three candidates are Joseph Marinelli, Eric Smith and Cheri Yecke. The board plans to select one of the three next month to be Florida's next education commissioner, a job that includes overseeing the Florida Department of Education and helping to set state education policy. On a preliminary tally the seven-member board used to narrow the pool to three, Smith had seven votes, Yecke had four votes and Marinelli had three.

Originally 32 people applied for the job and 24 of them met the necessary criteria.

An editorial in the Palm Beach Post said,
Two of the seven finalists have recent experience in statewide education. Jim Warford has the kind of track record the board should be looking for. Cheri Pierson Yecke is the kind of candidate to avoid. .

. . . Dr. Yecke followed Mr. Warford as K-12 chancellor. Mr. Winn appointed her after she lost her job as education commissioner in Minnesota, in part because of her willingness to let schools teach creationism as an alternative to evolution. That typifies the ideological bent of Gov. Bush's education department, which warped intended reforms. Jeb acolytes were so unwilling to question FCAT procedures and school grades that unqualified graders were hired and flawed tests approved.

The Florida Board of Education did not follow the editorial's advice and chose Cheri Yecke as one of the three finalists. BTW, the charge that she was willing to let schools teach creationism as an alternative to evolution is false.

The Darwinists' sleazy campaign to smear Yecke as a "creationist" has fallen flat on its face. Darwinist Wikipedia administrators censored rebuttals of the criticisms of Cheri Yecke on her bio and locked up the bio to prevent more rebuttal attempts (there is no "edit this page" tab on her bio) -- see especially the "Discussion" page. Wikipedia co-founder "King Jimbo" Wales himself participated in the attacks on her. The sleazy Panda's Thumb blog also censored attempts to defend Yecke. Wikipedia and Panda's Thumb have no credibility.

To see more articles about Yecke, click on her post labels in the sidebar. I dropped my complaint to the IRS when I discovered that she is not now a candidate in an upcoming public election.



Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Arbitrary censorship blocks potential benefits of blogging

An article in Law.com, "Is the Future of Legal Scholarship in the Blogosphere?", extols the potential benefits of blogging but ignores the arbitrary censorship of visitors' comments that blocks those potential benefits. This article says,
Does blogging contribute to the scholarship, teaching and service asked of legal academics? It's easy to see how blogging could contribute to the dissemination of knowledge. Can blogging also be a part of the process of discovering knowledge? If knowledge is discovered by the assertion and exploration of ideas, issues and opinions, through an iterative process of dialogue, critique and reformulation, blogging is making that contribution.

. . . .Instead of scholars focusing inward, writing for and expecting to be read only by other academics, legal academics blog with the desire and the expectation that they will be read by the public. Law-related blogs such as the University of Chicago Faculty Blog bring the perspective of the academy to the attention of anyone interested in the issue under discussion, educating both sides of the dialogue. The Internet functions as a public square, where Main Street, Wall Street and the ivory tower meet.

. . . .Blogging contributes to the shortened life cycle of a theory or idea, reflected in what is called the open access movement. Law review articles no longer meet their readers first in published and printed form.

. . . . .Even if blogging will never replace traditional legal scholarship, blogs are where the scholarly dialogue increasingly takes place.

It is usually the best comments and commenters that are arbitrarily censored. There is no good reason to arbitrarily censor bad comments and commenters.

Also, I can't understand how arbitrarily censoring bloggers expect to have any credibility at all.



Monday, September 17, 2007

Email campaign against Baylor Univ. censorship

Baylor University censored the Evolutionary Informatics Lab by removing the EIL website from the Baylor website. Background information is here.

An Uncommon Descent email campaign to protest this censorship is announced here. The comments that I emailed in are the same as the comments that I posted here. The email addresses are posted below in a form ready to be copied and pasted into your outgoing email form. I removed three bad addresses.
Board of Regents

sallcorn@pdbc.org, stansel_allcorn@baylor.edu, jallison@comstockresources.com, jarmes@swsportsgroup.com, wes@baileyinsurance.com, howieb@fbc-amarillo.org, donnat@fbc-amarillo.org, howard_batson@baylor.edu, carlbell@ebellgroup.com, carl_bell@baylor.edu, ablack@otsl.com, albert_black@baylor.edu, katurpen@wbjclinic.com, DBrooks@tallowood.org, duane_brooks@baylor.edu, carmack@legacybank.com, robert_carmack@baylor.edu, Hrc516@aol.com, bobby@fbclubbock.org, bobby_dagnel@baylor.edu, gary_elliston@baylor.edu, Rferguson@austin.RR.com, randy_ferguson@baylor.edu, buddy@hillcopartners.com, buddy_jones@baylor.edu, pline@wtbc.org, agl@angelministries.org, anne_g_lotz@baylor.edu, office@ChristTheKingwaco.org, ramiro_pena@baylor.edu, mdrumwright@juno.com, john_reimers@baylor.edu, darystone@cousinsproperties.com, r_stone@baylor.edu, dpteaff@afca.com

Baylor Administration

John_Lilley@baylor.edu, research@baylor.edu, truell_hyde@baylor.edu, jan_nimmo@baylor.edu


Friday, September 14, 2007

Unscholarly SMU course should be canceled

Below is a copy of an email that I sent to Southern Methodist University:

Dear SMU administrators:

Physics 3333 / CFB 3333 should be canceled. It should not carry university credit, be taught on university-paid time, or be associated with SMU in any way. This course's gratuitous disparagement of particular people and their views is a violation of SMU's Code of Ethics, including the following rule --

Pursuit of truth. We seek knowledge and understanding through open, energetic inquiry and creative freedom. We support one another with hard questions and sincere encouragement. Because we seek truth, we encourage free expression of ideas, accept challenges to our assumptions, and treat those whom we question as colleagues sharing a common purpose.

The course description is full of intolerance and prejudice. A webpage on course material labels ID "(Un)Intelligent Design" and states, "Bill Maher on Intelligent Design -- 'You don't have to teach both sides of a debate if one side is a load of crap.' " The webpage calls ID proponents "IDiots." A list of anti-ID books is labeled, "Read these and learn some science," and a list of pro-ID books is labeled, "or read these and get stoopider."

A disclaimer for the course says,
The opinions expressed on these pages are those of the instuctors, Professor John L. Cotton and Professor Randall J. Scalise, (and other rational people) and do not necessarily reflect those of Southern Methodist University (SMU) or its Physics Department... but they ought to.

At Kansas University, Prof. Paul Mirecki created a for-credit course that labeled creationism and intelligent design as "mythologies" and was forced to cancel the course when it was revealed that he had written on a semi-private Internet forum that the course was "a nice slap in the big fat face of the fundies." He was censured by the university and resigned his chairmanship of the religious studies department. Evidently KU has more concern for its reputation than you do for yours.

Also, the course is in the physics department despite the fact that the course content is mostly biology.

Also, the course is fixated on ID and ignores the fact that there are non-ID scientific criticisms of evolution, e.g., criticisms concerning the co-evolution of co-dependent organisms such as bees and flowering plants.


Larry Fafarman

An article in Evolution News & Views incorrectly states that this course "provides only anti-ID reading sources." As noted above, pro-ID reading sources are also listed but in a very disparaging fashion.



Wednesday, September 12, 2007

London Times article about Wikipedia rival Citizendium

A London Times article titled "Web rivals plot the answer to Wikipedia" says,

A project has been set up with the aim of usurping Wikipedia as the web’s leading reference work.

Like its rival, the Citizendium site will solicit input from the public. But in a departure from the standard “wiki” model, it will be directed by expert editors, and contributors will be expected to use their real names.

The changes are designed to stamp out the inaccuracies and mischief-making that have blighted Wikipedia, the online encyclopaedia that “anybody can edit”.

The venture reflects a general revolt against unchecked user-generated online content, amid fears that efforts to tap the wisdom of crowds have unleashed a tyranny of the masses.

Almost all of my problems with Wikipedia have not been with the "tyranny of the masses," but with the tyranny of the Wikipedia administrators.

The London Times article continues,

If it succeeds Citizendium may owe a large debt to Wikipedia, which was founded in 2001 and now has more than eight million articles in 253 languages – from Afrikaans to Zazaki.

It was proposed that the new project will begin life by “mirroring” – or reproducing – Wikipedia’s content, a process allowed under the site’s copyright conditions. “Contributors [to Citizendium] will then be able to edit articles,” a spokesman said. “The eventual goal will be to either improve or replace all Wikipedia-sourced content.”

Citizendium’s expert editors will then “bless” versions of articles as “approved” or trustworthy.

The aim is to stamp out the anonymous and sometimes malicious edits that have undermined Wikipedia’s reputation. In 2005 John Seigenthaler, the founding editorial director of USA Today, discovered that he had been linked to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy by a Wikipedia article.

. . . .Last month it emerged that computers linked to politicians and large companies had made sweeping edits of Wikipedia to rewrite or erase embarrassing entries.

For the following reasons, I think that Wikipedia's day has come and gone --

People will not want to waste time researching, writing, and editing Wikipedia articles when: (1) their work is likely to be censored, (2) many students are not allowed to cite Wikipedia as an authoritative reference, and (3) Wikipedia has such a bad reputation in general. I have been tempted to make some non-controversial edits of Wikipedia articles but then decided that I shouldn't bother because Wikipedia is such a bad encyclopedia.

IMO, Wikipedia made the following big mistakes:

(1) -- trying to look like a printed encyclopedia. Online encyclopedias can contain much larger numbers of controversial items than printed encyclopedias because online encyclopedias can instantly link to external sites where controversial items are discussed or debated.

(2) -- Wikipedia has too many rules. Most of these rules are subject to distortion and discriminatory application by the Wikipedia administrators. Examples of such rules are (1) no original research, (2) no self-promotion, and (3) no citations of "non-notable" people. The fundamental rule for all "wiki" (open editing) encyclopedias should be that there should be efforts to resolve disputes by adding a brief statement of the disputed item along with a note that the item is disputed and links to external websites where the item is discussed or debated.

(3) -- appointing nameless, unaccountable administrators who tyrannize Wikipedia by locking up articles and blocking the IP addresses of contributors. I have no idea how the central Wikipedia staff ever decided that these administrators were trustworthy.

Wikipedia's efforts to reform itself have been too little and too late. Wikipedia has reached the point of no return where good, honest people are not willing to do any volunteer work for it.

Citizendium is repeating many of the same mistakes as Wikipedia.

My thanks to Denyse O'Leary of Post-Darwinist and Uncommon Descent for bringing this London Times article to my attention.

Other alternatives to Wikipedia are discussed here.



Ed Brayton violates code of ethics of blogging news group

BVD-clad blogger Fatheaded Ed Brayton announced,

I have been picked to be a fellow with the Center for Independent Media (which is not the same group as the Independent Media Center, or IndyMedia) and their New Journalist project. What that means is that, in addition to my regular blogging (which will not change), I will be writing for the Michigan Messenger, a new independent online site focusing on Michigan news.

The goal of the New Journalist project is to expand the voices heard in the media. They are taking groups of bloggers in each state and giving us serious training in investigative journalism, among other things. Our goal is to cover stories not typically covered and get those stories pushed in to the mainstream media.

I'll be covering many of the same issues I cover here, but those stories will be focused on Michigan. One of my first projects is going to be a long series of articles about the Rev. Moon and his activities in this state. I'll also be working on church/state issues, scientific and legal issues and whatever else catches my fancy.

By arbitrarily censoring comments and commenters on his own blog "Dispatches from the Culture Wars," Ed has been violating the following rules of the Michigan Messenger's New Journalist Code of Ethics:
Support the open exchange of views, even views they find repugnant.

Give all the public the chance to respond to news stories, particularly those who might be accused of wrongdoing. Keep an open dialogue with the public.

Use both official and unofficial sources to acknowledge and give voice to those without traditional power.

Ensure the accuracy of all information, regardless of where it comes from. Review facts and stories. Never knowingly publish false information (Ed will often censor comments that correct falsehoods).

Keep an open dialogue with the public in an effort to maintain and improve standards.

Encourage the public to use the information they have to question and analyze news stories on their own, and voice grievances when they feel stories are wrong.


The New Journalist Code of Ethics was inspired by the Society of Professional Journalists' Code of Ethics.The SPJ Code of Ethics is voluntarily embraced by thousands of writers, editors and other news professionals.

The present version of the code was adopted by the 1996 SPJ National Convention, after months of study and debate among the Society's members.Sigma Delta Chi's first Code of Ethics was borrowed from the American Society of Newspaper Editors in 1926. In 1973, Sigma Delta Chi wrote its own code, which was revised in 1984, 1987 and 1996.

As I have frequently pointed out, Ed kicked me off his blog permanently because my literal interpretation of a federal court rule was inconsistent with his preconceived interpretation of the rule. Even if Ed adheres to the New Journalist Code of Ethics while blogging on Michigan Messenger (which I doubt he'll do), he should not be allowed to blog on Michigan Messenger so long as he violates the code when on his own blog. And if Michigan Messenger is not going to enforce its Code of Ethics, then it is hypocritical to post it. I intend to complain to Michigan Messenger.

Ed continues,

The other states that already are up and running are Colorado, Minnesota and Iowa. The Colorado group was the first one to get an interview with the gay prostitute that Haggard was cavorting with. Hopefully we can beat the mainstream media to a bunch of stories in Michigan as well.

Without the "reporter's privilege" (the right to hide the identities of confidential sources), BVD-clad bloggers are going to find it hard to scoop the regular news media on news items involving confidential sources.



Sunday, September 09, 2007

Attorney sanctioned for plagiarism where he showed more originality than Judge Jones showed in ID-as-science section of Kitzmiller v. Dover

The story is on the Volokh Conspiracy blog.



Saturday, September 08, 2007

Alternatives to Wikipedia

This post discusses two articles that evaluate alternatives to Wikipedia.

One article compares Wikipedia to five other free online encyclopedias -- Columbia Encyclopedia (6th Edition), Encyclopedia Britannica Concise, World Book Encyclopedia, MSN Encarta, and Concise Hutchinson Encyclopedia -- and concludes,
As far as we can see, the Wikipedia has no serious competitor on the net as regards free encyclopedia. MSN’s Encarta is worth a try, also in its free version, but all the other online encyclopedias we have tested are not useful for serious analytical work.

If one of the major encyclopedias decides to give free access to all its information, the picture may change. This is obviously a matter of economy.

In October 1999 Britannica opened up the whole encyclopedia for free online search, only to close it again in 2001.

We believe the reason was that Britannica feared that free online access would undermine printed and CD-ROM versions of the encyclopedia. They were probably right at the time. Now that the Wikipedia has become a major competitor to Britannica, however, the Brits should definitely take another look on the free online access model. Much has happened since 2001, including the growth of efficient pay-per-click advertising.

So it appears that Wikipedia's dominance is quite vulnerable.

Another article -- titled "Top 7 Alternatives to Wikipedia" -- evaluates the following alternatives: Scholarpedia, Citizendium, Encyclopedia Britannica Online, MSN Encarta, Infoplease, Conservapedia, and Uncyclopedia. This article says,

Touting itself as "the free encyclopedia that anyone can edit", it's no wonder that Wikipedia has garnered so much bad press lately. After all, it is hard to imagine that millions of anonymous users could accurately maintain a factual and unbiased living encyclopedia. Wikipedia is a non-profit site that is policed by hundreds of volunteers, yet very few of these volunteers have the experience and knowledge of a professional writer/editor. A cultural bias has seemed to have washed over many entries on the site, as general consensus replaces cold, hard facts. There is also a matter of vandalism, which the site is susceptible to. These problems, coupled with the almost obsessive behavior of many of the volunteers (try placing an external link on the site without having it removed), have led people to other sources for information. If you are looking for a different kind of online encyclopedia, try the seven alternatives to Wikipedia listed below.

Take special note of the statement, "the almost obsessive behavior of many of the volunteers (try placing an external link on the site without having it removed)." This censorship by Wikipedia administrators is often overlooked as a major cause of the unreliability of Wikipedia. Also, this censorship discourages people from researching, writing and editing Wikipedia articles -- what is the point of doing this work if it is just going to be censored?

I consider Wikipedia to be a good reference on non-controversial subjects, but I would never consider Wikipedia to be a reliable, authoritative reference on a controversial subject.

I have taken a close look at Citizendium, a "wiki" (open editing) encyclopedia which was started by one of Wikipedia's founders. IMO Citizendium repeats a major mistake of Wikipedia -- there are too many rules that can be abused by the administrators, and Citizendium is even worse than Wikipedia in this regard.

This second article says of Encyclopedia Britannica Online,

To have full access to Encyclopedia Britannica Online, one must pay a subscription fee of $69.95 a year. This is a sound investment for students, however, as the yearly fee is substantially cheaper than buying the encyclopedic set in book form. Also, major universities will accept the site as a reliable source when citing information in a research paper, something Wikipedia can't claim.

However, the Encyclopedia Britannica Concise, discussed in the other article, is free. Also, though Wikipedia is often not accepted as a reliable source for student papers, Wikipedia does cite sources that can be used as references in student papers.

The widespread ban on Wikipedia's use as a reference in student papers is another factor -- in addition to censorship -- that discourages people from researching, writing, and editing Wikipedia articles.

IMO one of the biggest mistakes made by online encyclopedias -- particularly "wiki" (open editing) encyclopedias -- is the assumption that they should look like printed encyclopedias. Online encyclopedias can include many more controversial items than can printed encyclopedias because online encyclopedias can have instant links to external sites where the controversial items are discussed or debated in detail.

IMO, often the best way to handle disputes over the content of wiki encyclopedias is simply to add the disputed item along with a note that it is disputed and links to external websites where the item is discussed or debated.

For this blog's other articles about Wikipedia, click on the Wikipedia post labels in the sidebar.



Friday, September 07, 2007

Desperate effort to salvage reputation of judiciary

JAIL4Judges pointed out a Daily Business Review article titled, "Fla. Legal Elite Hope to Get Judges a Little Respect -- Group wants to bring judges back in public's good graces after embarrassing blunders and judicial abuse and misconduct." The article says,
Prompted in part by Florida Supreme Court justices and the potential loss of a new courthouse, a group of high-powered lawyers is launching its own effort to restore public confidence in Broward County's fractured judiciary.

The project is spearheaded by former Democratic state Sen. Walter "Skip" Campbell, prominent Republican lawyer Edward Pozzuoli and Eugene Pettis, a member of The Florida Bar Board of Governors.

The group began organizing in the past few weeks and is attempting to set up an initial meeting.

The objective: Help bring respect back to a bench beset by criminal investigation, insensitive comments and inappropriate actions.

"We have a great judiciary. We just have to prove it to the public," Campbell said. "The group is starting because there is a call for help."

The group plans to discuss ways to bring the judges back into the public's good graces and wants to meet with incoming Chief Judge Victor Tobin . . .

. . . "Everyone involved in Broward's criminal justice system -- the public defender, myself, the clerk of courts, all the judges, private counsel, court administration, BSO -- everyone is lumped together as 'the courthouse' in the eyes of the public," Satz wrote in an e-mail when asked about his involvement. . . .

. . . The lawyers also fear that political efforts to jump-start plans to build a new courthouse may become a casualty of months of questionable judicial conduct. With property taxes a top concern, county voters defeated a proposed $450 million courthouse bond last November.

These fatheaded attorneys don't seem to realize that a lot of public distrust of judges and attorneys is due to bad personal experiences. Judges and attorneys think that they can get away with shafting people because few people will notice, but the effects of these bad personal experiences are cumulative.

And he said, Woe unto you also, ye lawyers! for ye lade men with burdens grievous to be borne, and ye yourselves touch not the burdens with one of your fingers. Luke 11:46



UC questions holocaust!

The "Plaintiffs' Statement of Uncontroverted Facts and Conclusions of Law in Support of Motion for Summary Judgment" in ACSI v. Stearns says,

UC rejected courses on the holocaust for having only a Jewish viewpoint: "[n]eed to include a different perspective and a broader viewpoint" and "[n]eed to expand the perspectives for this course," and "too slanted towards Holocaust with no other perspective." (pages 18-19 of document, pages 21-22 of pdf file)



Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Dover Ain't Over IV: Fundy Schools v. UC

This is a follow-up to -- you guessed it -- Dover Ain't Over III.

After a long dormancy, ACSI v. Stearns is now active again. An oral hearing on both sides' motions for summary judgment (interestingly, UC's motion is just for a "partial" summary judgment) is scheduled for Sept. 24.

I am now participating in a debate on the subject at the Questionable Authority blog.



Monday, September 03, 2007

Supreme Court ruling contrary to ABA rule of judicial conduct

In a previous post, I noted the following rule of the 2004 edition of the American Bar Association's Model Code of Judicial Conduct, Canon 3B(7) Commentary:

A judge may request a party to submit proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law, so long as the other parties are apprised of the request and are given an opportunity to respond to the proposed findings and conclusions.

The following ruling of the Supreme Court in United States v. El Paso Gas Co., 376 U.S. 651, 656 (1964), a direct appeal from a federal district court, is contrary to the above rule of judicial conduct:

There was a trial, and after oral argument the judge announced from the bench that judgment would be for appellees and that he would not write an opinion. He told counsel for appellees "Prepare the findings and conclusions and judgment." They obeyed, submitting 130 findings of fact and one conclusion of law, all of which, we are advised, the District Court adopted verbatim. Those findings, though not the product of the workings of the district judge's mind, are formally his; they are not to be rejected out-of-hand, and they will stand if supported by evidence . . . .[citation omitted]

So it is evident that the appellants were not -- as currently required by the above ABA rule -- given an opportunity to respond to the opposing side's proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law. I don't know if the above ABA rule was in existence at the time of the above Supreme Court ruling. The preface of the 2004 edition of the ABA Model Code of Judicial Conduct says,
The Code of Judicial Conduct was adopted by the House of Delegates of the American Bar Association on August 16, 1972. The Code replaced the Canons of Judicial Ethics, which had been formulated almost 50 years earlier. Although two amendments to the Code have been adopted since 1972, the Code has not been reviewed comprehensively until now.

I was unable to find a copy of the Canons of Judicial Ethics that were replaced in 1972, but in any case the above Supreme Court ruling is contrary to the above ABA rule.

BTW, the above outdated ruling of the Supreme Court was favorably cited in a Panda's Thumb article, "Weekend at Behe's" by Timothy Sandefur. Furthermore, that article was favorably cited by the Wikipedia article about the Discovery Institute (Ref. #84). Sandefur said of the Discovery Institute's charge that the Dover opinion's ID-as-science section was ghostwritten by the ACLU,

The press release suggests that Judge Jones did something improper in adopting the plaintiffs’ proposed findings as his own — but that is just what a judge does when he finds that the party has proven its case.

United States v. El Paso Gas Co. continued,

Those drawn with the insight of a disinterested mind are, however, more helpful to the appellate court. [4] See 2B Barron and Holtzoff, Federal Practice and Procedure (Wright ed. 1961), 1124.

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

[Footnote 4 ] Judge J. Skelly Wright of the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia recently said: "Who shall prepare the findings? Rule 52 says the court shall prepare the findings. "The court shall find the facts specially and state separately its conclusions of law.' We all know what has happened. Many courts simply decide the case in favor of the plaintiff or the defendant, have him prepare the findings of fact and conclusions of law and sign them. This has been denounced by every court of appeals save one. This is an abandonment of the duty and the trust that has been placed in the judge by these rules. It is a non-compliance with Rule 52 specifically and it betrays the primary purpose of Rule 52 - the primary purpose being that the preparation of these findings by the judge shall assist in the adjudication of the lawsuit. "I suggest to you strongly that you avoid as far as you possibly can simply signing what some lawyer puts under your nose. These lawyers, and properly so, in their zeal and advocacy and their enthusiasm are going to state the case for their side in these findings as strongly as they possibly can. When these findings get to the courts of appeals they won't be worth the paper they are written on as far as assisting the court of appeals in determining why the judge decided the case." Seminars for Newly Appointed United States District Judges (1963), p. 166.

Footnote 4 above was completely ignored by Timothy Sandefur, who claimed in his "Weekend at Behe's" article that the kind of one-sided copying that Jones did is perfectly normal and acceptable. Talk about quote mining.

In regard to the above ABA rule prohibiting the judge from asking for proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law from only one side, a judge could -- as Judge Jones did -- defeat the spirit of this rule by asking for proposals from both sides but completely ignoring the proposals of one side. A judge should show evidence that he considered both sides' proposals -- and the only way to do that is to address both sides' proposals in the opinion.

The Dover defense attorneys from the Thomas More Law Center probably immediately noticed the ghostwriting but said nothing. The website of the TMLC has said nothing about the case since the day after the decision was released.

If Judge Jones had expected his decision to be appealed (an appeal was very unlikely because the newly elected school board members had promised to repeal the ID policy), he probably would have addressed the defendants' arguments on the ID-as-science question.



Sunday, September 02, 2007

"Censorship for Dummies"

Actually, this book does not really exist -- but it is nice to speculate on what such a book might contain. There would of course be big sections on Wickedpedia and various blogs that I have discussed here. There would be big sections on IP address blocking and how to evade Internet censorship.


Anonymous posting on the Internet

In our sick Internet culture, arbitrary censorship of comments and commenters and blocking of IP addresses are considered perfectly acceptable but anonymous posting -- also called "sockpuppetry," using "multiple names," etc. -- is frowned upon. And many of those who condemn others for anonymous posting post anonymously themselves! For example, cybervandal "FeloniousMonk," a Wikipedia administrator, censored comments on the discussion page of the Wikipedia article on the Discovery Institute and left the message, "Comments from sock puppet of indef banned user avoiding ban removed." In fact, there are lots of Wikipedia administrators that use pseudonyms. BTW, these deletions violate the Wikipedia rule against "discussion page vandalism."

And it is more than a little stupid to expect someone who has been banned from a website to continue commenting there under his original name. And there are often attempts to guess the identity of anonymous commenters; in some cases, such guessing can amount to libel because of false attribution of statements to particular people.

Charges of "sockpuppetry," using multiple names, etc. are ad hominem attacks. Ad hominem attacks are made by people who can't rebut the message so they attack the messenger.

Two New York Times articles condemning "sockpuppets" are here and here. The website of the Scientific American magazine also has an article attacking anonymous posting on the Internet.

However, the Electronic Frontier Foundation says that there is nothing wrong with anonymous posting on the Internet:

Anonymous communications have an important place in our political and social discourse. The Supreme Court has ruled repeatedly that the right to anonymous free speech is protected by the First Amendment. A much-cited 1995 Supreme Court ruling in McIntyre v. Ohio Elections Commission reads:

Protections for anonymous speech are vital to democratic discourse. Allowing dissenters to shield their identities frees them to express critical, minority views . . . Anonymity is a shield from the tyranny of the majority. . . . It thus exemplifies the purpose behind the Bill of Rights, and of the First Amendment in particular: to protect unpopular individuals from retaliation . . . at the hand of an intolerant society.

The tradition of anonymous speech is older than the United States. Founders Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay wrote the Federalist Papers under the pseudonym "Publius," and "the Federal Farmer" spoke up in rebuttal. The US Supreme Court has repeatedly recognized rights to speak anonymously derived from the First Amendment.

The right to anonymous speech is also protected well beyond the printed page. Thus, in 2002, the Supreme Court struck down a law requiring proselytizers to register their true names with the Mayor's office before going door-to-door.

BTW, the correct term for sockpuppetry is "Charlie McCarthyism." Edgar Bergen and his puppet Charlie McCarthy conversed with each other on a long-running radio program.


Saturday, September 01, 2007

ABA rules for ghostwritten judicial opinions

Some people have the idea that it is a common practice for judges to just make up their minds as to which side won a case and then simply ask the winning side to write the opinion. For example, the blogger on www.lawhaha.com says,

After my first trial as a young lawyer a million years ago, the judge called, said we had won and asked me to draft an opinion to send to him. Ghostwriting for judges is as old as ... well, ghostwriting.

Such a practice is contrary to the American Bar Association's Model Code of Judicial Conduct, Canon 3B(7) Commentary:

A judge may request a party to submit proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law, so long as the other parties are apprised of the request and are given an opportunity to respond to the proposed findings and conclusions.

Actually, that's no good either, because (1) only one side would get a chance to answer the other side's "proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law" (PFFCL) brief and (2) asking one side to submit a PFFCL brief and the other side to submit a rebuttal to that brief would suggest that the judge has already made up his mind even before seeing these briefs. The Supreme Court said in Anderson v. Bessemer City, 470 U.S. 564, 572 (1985):

We are also aware of the potential for overreaching and exaggeration on the part of attorneys preparing findings of fact when they have already been informed that the judge has decided in their favor. See J. Wright, The Nonjury Trial -- Preparing Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law, and Opinions, Seminars for Newly Appointed United States District Judges 159, 166 (1962).

The proper way to do it is to first have both sides submit a PFFCL brief and then have both sides submit answers to the opposing side's PFFCL brief. This is the way it was done in the Kitzmiller v. Dover case (Judge Jones did at least one thing right).

BTW, there are different local federal district court rules about these PFFCL briefs.

The ABA rules do not say that it is wrong for a judge to simply adopt the winning side's PFFCL verbatim -- or nearly verbatim -- as the opinion. That is where an article by the Discovery Institute's Casey Luskin comes in -- this article and his associated articles show that one-sided copying is frowned upon in the courts. In the ID-as-science section of the Kitrzmiller v. Dover opinion, there is no evidence that Judge Jones read any of the post-trial briefs other than the one that he copied from, the ACLU's initial PFFCL. Judge Jones showed extreme prejudice against the Dover defendants by saying in his Dickinson College commencement speech that his Kitzmiller decision was influenced by his notion that the Founders' believed that Christianity (and, by extension, organized religions in general) is not a "true" religion, and so I strongly suspect that he did not even bother to read any post-trial brief other than the plaintiffs' PFFCL. Here is an excerpt from Judge Jones' commencement speech:

. . . we see the Founders' ideals quite clearly, among many places, in the Establishment Clause within the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. This of course was the clause that I determined the school board had violated in the Kitzmiller v. Dover case. While legal scholars will continue to debate the appropriate application of that clause to particular facts in individual cases, 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."

Incredibly, a lot of jerks have claimed that I was wrong in interpreting Jones' above statement as showing hostility towards organized religions. I assert that my interpretation is at least a reasonable one, and judges are supposed to avoid giving even a mere appearance of bias.

Also, Jones showed prejudice in a statement that was made in the Dover opinion itself (page 63):

We have now found that both an objective student and an objective adult member of the Dover community would perceive Defendants' conduct to be a strong endorsement of religion pursuant to the endorsement test. Having so concluded, we find it incumbent upon the Court to further address an additional issue raised by Plaintiffs, which is whether ID is science. To be sure, our answer to this question can likely be predicted based upon the foregoing analysis.

The analysis of the ID-as-science question was supposed to be independent of the analysis of the community's perceptions of whether ID is religion, but here Jones is saying that the answer to the ID-as-science question "can likely be predicted" by his analysis of those perceptions.

The argument that the defendants' arguments were so bad that there was no need for Judge Jones to address them does not hold water. If the defendants' arguments were that bad, all the more reason to address them in order to refute them. The Darwinists are chagrined that the DI report of Jones' copying has succeeded in putting a big dent in the credibility of the Dover decision and so they have come up with all sorts of phony arguments in a futile effort to counter the report.

As I have said many times, my big objection is to one-sided judicial copying -- not just judicial copying per se.

Also, as for the objections to my use of the term "ghostwritten" to describe opinions that are essentially written by the attorneys, this term was used in Bright v. Westmoreland County (page 2):

Therefore, Bright asserts that he is appealing an order supported by an opinion that were ghostwritten by appellees' counsel.

As usual, no reason was given for objecting to my use of the term. Those who object but can't state a reason have no credibility.