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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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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.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Quote mines in Judge Jones' Dickinson College commencement speech?

The copy of Judge Jones' commencement speech on the Dickinson College website has the following quote marks and footnote:
.
. . . 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." *

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

* Quotations from The Founding Fathers and the Place of Religion in America by Frank Lambert (Princeton University Press, 2003).

Note that the speech contains two disconnected quotations from the book. Are these two disconnected quotations actually quote mines? I know for a fact that those quote marks and the book-reference footnote were not added to the online copy of Judge Jones' Dickinson College commencement speech until some time after the speech was posted online. Were these quote marks and footnote added for the purpose of giving an appearance of legitimacy to Jones' remarks connecting "true religion" and the establishment clause (i.e., "barring any alliance between church and state"), even though the book itself might not have made such a connection? If the book itself made no such connection, then quote-mining can be added to Judge Jones' numerous other offenses.
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21 Comments:

Anonymous W. Kevin Vicklund said...

Nope, not a quote mine. All of Jones's quotes come from the same paragraph and are presented in consecutive order, without skipping any sentence. They are all referring to the separation of church and state as implicit in the Constitution and made explicit in the First Amendment. The connection is clear in the book.

It is ironic that Larry is attempting to accuse Judge Jones of quote-mining, when Larry is constantly quote-mining the judge.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008 4:36:00 AM  
Anonymous Voice in the Urbanness said...

Larry, from what you have posted recently it is clear that you need to get back on your medications. If you keep up like this, pretty soon even your sock puppets will turn against you.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008 8:53:00 AM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

And I suppose that you just happened to have a copy of the book yourself or you got into a library in the wee hours of the morning. Kevin, you have no credibility.

Anyway, even if your statement is true, the book is as dumb as Judge Jones is. Such a generalization simply cannot be made. For example, when Judge Jones gave the speech, he was standing behind the Dickinson College seal, which was designed by USA Founders Benjamin Rush and John Dickinson and which has a picture of an open bible and the college motto "religion and learning, the bulwark of liberty" in Latin.

Anyway, I am really shocked that it seems that no one besides me is appalled by Jones' statement that his Dover decision was based on his notion that the Founders based the establishment clause upon a belief that organized religions are not "true" religions. Really I am. Even if that book supports such a notion, that is no excuse for Jones' failure to show neutrality towards organized religion. There are certainly a lot of critics of the Dover decision and Jones should have certainly gotten a lot more hell for that speech than he got. It looks like I am just a lone voice crying out from the wilderness.

There was some criticism of Jones' speech, but I didn't seen anyone attacking Jones' obvious extreme prejudice against organized religion. Intelligent Design proponent William Dembski said,

Who among our nation’s founding fathers believed that the essence of religion is an Enlightenment rationalism that eschews design? None of them. Even Jefferson would be on the ID side in the current debate.

Jones' speech is also discussed here and here.

Much more plausible explanations are that the establishment clause was put into the Constitution to (1) avoid the religious persecutions and wars that were caused by having official state religions and (2) prevent requiring people to financially support religions that they don't belong to or believe in.

Anyway, IMO what the Founders thought should be taken with a grain of salt.

>>>>> It is ironic that Larry is attempting to accuse Judge Jones of quote-mining,<<<<<<

Kevin, I said "If the book itself made no such connection." Do you know what the word "if" means?

ViU, you dunghill, you are just cluttering up my blog with your breathtakingly inane crap. You ridicule my opposition to arbitrary censorship while taking advantage of my no-censorship policy.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008 9:20:00 AM  
Anonymous the evilutionist said...

I'm surprised that we are falling back to your Judge Jones obsession with no mention of the final results of Florida's science standards. The speech even dates back to May, 2006. Did you have a stroke recently? Can you tell us what year is it?

Wednesday, February 20, 2008 10:59:00 AM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

>>>>> I'm surprised that we are falling back to your Judge Jones obsession with no mention of the final results of Florida's science standards. <<<<<<

This blog is not a news service. There are other sources of news on the Internet. I will discuss the Florida results later.

>>>>> The speech even dates back to May, 2006. <<<<<

Yes, but this is a new discovery or a new observation.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008 11:57:00 AM  
Anonymous W. Kevin Vicklund said...

>>>And I suppose that you just happened to have a copy of the book yourself or you got into a library in the wee hours of the morning. Kevin, you have no credibility.<<<

Or, not having the attention span of a gnat, I remembered that the initial discovery of Judge Jones's plagiarism came about as a result of a Google search, and in less than three minutes had pulled up the introduction to the book from the publisher's website.

Once again, Larry's ability to do basic research is extremely... nonexistent.

>>>Anyway, even if your statement is true, the book is as dumb as Judge Jones is. Such a generalization simply cannot be made. For example, when Judge Jones gave the speech, he was standing behind the Dickinson College seal, which was designed by USA Founders Benjamin Rush and John Dickinson and which has a picture of an open bible and the college motto "religion and learning, the bulwark of liberty" in Latin.<<<

One of my hobbies is heraldry. If someone had come to me for a consultation and wanted a seal that symbolized their belief that "true religion ... was to be found through free, rational enquiry," the Dickinson seal is very similar to what I would draw up (assuming I'm not constrained by the prohibitions against "slot machine" heraldry). An open bible signifies open enquiry into religous matters, a telescope signifies rational enquiry, and a liberty hat signifies freedom. By the way, the Latin actually translates to "piety," not "religion." The seal has nothing to do with organized religion.

>>>Anyway, I am really shocked that it seems that no one besides me is appalled by Jones' statement that his Dover decision was based on his notion that the Founders based the establishment clause upon a belief that organized religions are not "true" religions.<<<

And the answer is simple. Despite all your protestations, Jones never stated that his Dover decision was based on the Founders notion of how to determine the "true religion." You are the only one stupid enough to actually believe he said that. What he actually said is that he rationally considered all the evidence - which means that he did not have a bias against the defendants. Of course, Larry is pathologically incapable of admitting that Jones was unbiased, so he is forced to distort and quote-mine Jones's words.

>>>Much more plausible explanations are that the establishment clause was put into the Constitution to (1) avoid the religious persecutions and wars that were caused by having official state religions and (2) prevent requiring people to financially support religions that they don't belong to or believe in.<<<

Those certainly played a role. But why were religous wars fought in the first place? Because the opponents believed that theirs was the true religion. So how do you decide which religion is the true religion and which the false? Both sides have scriptures that claim to be the truth, yet are contradictory. Both sides have clergy that purport to speak for the true religion. Those Founders that advocated for religious freedom believed that the only way to determine which religion was true was to apply open, rational enquiry. Only false religions would not be able to withstand rational enquiry. But to ensure that rational enquiry would be free from coersion, they had to guarantee that the government not be allowed to interfere with religious beliefs, even if such rational enquiry led to the conclusion that there is no true religion. Thus, point 2.

I submit the following words:

Reason and free enquiry are the only effectual agents against error. Give a loose to them, they will support the true religion, by bringing every false one to their tribunal, to the test of their investigation. They are the natural enemies of error, and of error only. Had not the Roman government permitted free enquiry, Christianity could never have been introduced. Had not free enquiry been indulged, at the aera of the reformation, the corruptions of Christianity could not have been purged away. If it be restrained now, the present corruptions will be protected, and new ones encouraged.

and later

Difference of opinion is advantageous in religion. The several sects perform the office of a Censor morum over each other. Is uniformity attainable? Millions of innocent men, women, and children, since the introduction of Christianity, have been burnt, tortured, fined, imprisoned; yet we have not advanced one inch towards uniformity. What has been the effect of coercion? To make one half the world fools, and the other half hypocrites. To support roguery and error all over the earth. Let us reflect that it is inhabited by a thousand millions of people. That these profess probably a thousand different systems of religion. That ours is but one of that thousand. That if there be but one right, and ours that one, we should wish to see the 999 wandering sects gathered into the fold of truth. But against such a majority we cannot effect this by force. Reason and persuasion are the only practicable instruments. To make way for these, free enquiry must be indulged; and how can we wish others to indulge it while we refuse it ourselves.

-- Thomas Jefferson, Notes on the State of Virginia, Query 17

Wednesday, February 20, 2008 1:05:00 PM  
Anonymous W. Kevin Vicklund said...

"plagiarism" in my last comment was supposed to have scare quotes around it

Wednesday, February 20, 2008 4:33:00 PM  
Anonymous Voice in the Urbanness said...

> Kevin, you have no credibility. <

Since he has beaten you at every turn, how can you say that?

> Anyway, even if your statement is true, the book is as dumb as Judge Jones is. <

Then it must be a very smart book.

> For example, when Judge Jones gave the speech, he was standing behind the Dickinson College seal <

Another example of an illogical derivation ffrom an irrelevant observation by the irrational Larry.

> Anyway, I am really shocked that it seems that no one besides me is appalled by Jones' statement <

Perhaps that is because the others all understand Jones' statement?

> Anyway, IMO what the Founders thought should be taken with a grain of salt. <

So you are just as ignorant of constitutional law as the other aspects of law.

>>>>> It is ironic that Larry is attempting to accuse Judge Jones of quote-mining,<<<<<<

> Kevin, I said "If the book itself made no such connection." Do you know what the word "if" means? <

You look even dumber when you make such a statement without even knowing what the book says. Of course you have told us that you rarely read any book. You merely weigh it, look at the nice pictures on the cover, then write tirades about what you presume it contains.

> taking advantage of my no-censorship policy. <

You have none as has been repeatedly shown. I'll make a deal with you. I will leave if you stop banning ViW.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008 5:36:00 PM  
Anonymous !@#$ Quibbler said...

Once again, Larry's ability to do basic research is extremely... nonexistent.

Um, Kevin, nonexistence is not a property that permits proportional adjectives of degree such as "extremely".

;-)

Wednesday, February 20, 2008 6:37:00 PM  
Anonymous !@#$ Quibbler said...

^adjectives^adverbs^

Sheesh. Losing it. Sorry.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008 6:43:00 PM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

Kevin Vicklund driveled,
>>>>> Once again, Larry's ability to do basic research is extremely... nonexistent. <<<<<<

Kevin, you dunghill, just because you found something that I didn't doesn't mean that I am a bad researcher. In fact, this blog has better research than most blogs.

Anyway, why did you keep that book introduction to yourself? Why didn't you share it with us before? Since you did not give a link to the introduction, it was reasonable of me to assume that you just had a hard copy of the book (and was too lazy to copy the relevant passage into your computer).

And just look at all the space that is wasted in this comment thread by ad hominem attacks from other commenters who take unreasonable advantage of my no-censorship policy. What other blogger would put up with this crap?

Anyway, Jones' quotations of the book are still quote mines. He said,

. . . .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." * (emphasis added)

The book's introduction said,

To them, true religion was not something handed down by a church or contained in the Bible but rather was to be found through free rational inquiry. Drawing on radical Whig ideology, a body of thought whose principal concern was expanded liberties, the framers sought to secure their idea of religious freedom by barring any alliance between church and state. (emphasis added)

Jones, unlike the book, did not say anything about the influence of "radical Whig ideology, a body of thought whose principal concern was expanded liberties," and thus he gave more relative weight to the influence of the Founders' "true religion" than the book gave. Furthermore, he said, "this much is very clear," but there are other interpretations of the history of the establishment clause that are arguably as good or better. And there is no single valid interpretation.

The establishment clause says nothing about "true" or "false" religions or about "free, rational inquiry." Jones' -- and the book's -- statements can even be interpreted as suggesting that the Founders were trying to establish their "true religion" as the official state religion! After all, if only their religion is "true" and the other religions are therefore "false," then why not establish their religion as the official state religion? This stupid judge is just putting words in the Founders' mouths, giving the clause a different meaning from that which was intended.

>>>>>>>>Despite all your protestations, Jones never stated that his Dover decision was based on the Founders notion of how to determine the "true religion." You are the only one stupid enough to actually believe he said that. <<<<<<

You despicable dunghill, here are Jones' above statements in context:

Ironically, but perhaps fittingly for my purposes today, 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."*

As I hope that you can see, these precepts and beliefs, grounded in my liberal arts education, guide me each day as a federal trial judge.


So he said that he was talking about his Dover decision.

Anyway, the issue here is that Judge Jones was obligated to show neutrality towards organized religion and he failed to do so. By no stretch of the imagination can it be argued that Jones' statements showed neutrality towards organized religion. And Jones' statements are completely contradicted by establishment clause precedents of the courts.

"Churchgoing Republican," shit.

It doesn't matter that there are other interpretations of what Jones said -- all that matters is that my interpretation be reasonable, and it is. And my interpretation is the most literal one. I don't have to go through a big song and dance to explain my interpretation.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008 8:53:00 PM  
Anonymous Voice in the Urbanness said...

> Kevin, you dunghill, just because you found something that I didn't doesn't mean that I am a bad researcher. <

No it doesn't. You are though so what's your point?

> In fact, this blog has better research than most blogs. <

Citing books that you admit you haven't read is hardly a sign of research. Also you show no sign that you understand even those limited things that you have actually read.

> And just look at all the space that is wasted in this comment thread by ad hominem attacks <

Then why don't you stop making them?

> unreasonable advantage of my no-censorship policy. <

Which doesn't exist.

> Jones, unlike the book, did not say anything about the influence of "radical Whig ideology <

Because it wasn't relevant to his point. He was not making a historical treatise.

> but there are other interpretations of the history of the establishment clause that are arguably as good or better. <

You have failed to cite them.

> It doesn't matter that there are other interpretations of what Jones said -- all that matters is that my interpretation be reasonable, and it is. <

Sorry. It isn't.

> And my interpretation is the most literal one. <

Strike two.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008 10:16:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Quote mines in Judge Jones' Dickinson College commencement speech?

No, but Larry does some quote mining himself to imply that Jones does.

Thursday, February 21, 2008 1:26:00 PM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

ViU drivels,
>>>>> unreasonable advantage of my no-censorship policy. <

Which doesn't exist. <<<<<<

Dunghill, if I didn't have a no-censorship policy, most of your comments would not stay here.

>>>>>> Jones, unlike the book, did not say anything about the influence of "radical Whig ideology <

Because it wasn't relevant to his point. <<<<<<

Wrong, it was relevant to his point. As I said: by not mentioning the influence of "radical Whig ideology," Jones gave the Founders' "true religion" even more credit for the establishment clause than the book gave it, which was too much already.

Thursday, February 21, 2008 2:46:00 PM  
Anonymous Voice in the Urbanness said...

> Dunghill, if I didn't have a no-censorship policy, most of your comments would not stay here. <

Jackass, no-censorship means no censorship, not just that you resist the temptation occasionally. You have censored repeatedly. Usually you claim that a censored post contains "personal information". In one case you censored a post because it stated which way you would have to look to see the Baldwin Hills when walking out your front door. I can imagine that such information could be quite dangerous if the Martians were to get hold of it.

You have completely banned ViW.

>>>>>> Jones, unlike the book, did not say anything about the influence of "radical Whig ideology <

Because it wasn't relevant to his point. <<<<<<

> Wrong, it was relevant to his point. <

Wrong, cretin. It wasn't. Just because it might be relevant to something else does not make it relevant to everything else you can think of (and I am being quite charitable in using the word "think" in your case).

Thursday, February 21, 2008 4:08:00 PM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

One more thing, Kevin. You said,
>>>>>> One of my hobbies is heraldry. If someone had come to me for a consultation and wanted a seal that symbolized their belief that "true religion ... was to be found through free, rational enquiry," the Dickinson seal is very similar to what I would draw up (assuming I'm not constrained by the prohibitions against "slot machine" heraldry). An open bible signifies open enquiry into religous matters, a telescope signifies rational enquiry, and a liberty hat signifies freedom. By the way, the Latin actually translates to "piety," not "religion." The seal has nothing to do with organized religion. <<<<<<

Translating the Latin as "piety" instead of "religion" is even worse -- piety is adherence to religion and not just the study of it.

Friday, February 22, 2008 3:29:00 AM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

ViU driveled,
>>>>> In one case you censored a post because it stated which way you would have to look to see the Baldwin Hills when walking out your front door. <<<<<<

You lousy dunghill, you were just taunting me by seeing how close you could come to going too far in posting private information -- whether true or false -- about me. It had nothing to do with your ability to post your opinions on this blog.

Friday, February 22, 2008 5:22:00 AM  
Anonymous Voice in the Urbanness said...

> Translating the Latin as "piety" instead of "religion" is even worse <

Being accurate is worse? Where is the source of your definition?

>>>>> In one case you censored a post because it stated which way you would have to look to see the Baldwin Hills when walking out your front door. <<<<<<

> You lousy dunghill, you were just taunting me by seeing how close you could come to going too far in posting private information <

You pathetic paranoic Cretin, why would you care if anyone knew that your front door faced East? Do you believe that the Martians are after you and that information would be vital to them?

Why did you ban ViW? Was it that he was telling the color of the sky on your plante?

Friday, February 22, 2008 7:02:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

> You pathetic paranoic Cretin, why would you care if anyone knew that your front door faced East? <

ViU has a point here. Why are you so sensitive to his corrections of your personal information. Do you believe that anyone cares enough to be after you?

Friday, February 22, 2008 7:47:00 AM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

Anonymous said,
>>>>> ViU has a point here. Why are you so sensitive to his corrections of your personal information. <<<<<<

You worthless dunghill, I don't gossip here about your personal information. We don't even know your name.

Friday, February 22, 2008 8:40:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

> I don't gossip here about your personal information. <

You gossip about your own personal information. These things seem to come up when someone is correcting your misinformation.

> We don't even know your name. <

I am not sure that you even know your own.

Friday, February 22, 2008 9:20:00 AM  

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