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.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Another "missing link"


This one is a "missing link" for modern crocodiles.

Darwinist paleontologists have wild imaginations -- it almost seems as if they think that almost every fossil they find is a "missing link." Where a lot of people see the above creature as just another lizard or dinosaur, the Darwinist paleontologist sees it as a "missing link" for modern crocodiles. At least that is not as ridiculous as the suggestion that the "deer-like" animal shown here is an ancestor of whales.


Fatheaded Ed Brayton in Wickedpedia edit war

Unscrupulous BVD-clad blogger Fatheaded Ed Brayton is now involved in an edit war in Wickedpedia. The edit war is over entries of references to Michigan Messenger, a multi-blogger blog where Fatheaded Ed is a co-blogger.

Ed, the Wickedpedia rules say no personal blogs may be used as references. Meshuga Messenger is a personal blog, no matter how you look at it. The bloggers on Meshuga Messenger are amateurs. There is no editorial oversight. There are no consequences -- other than through court action -- for knowingly publishing false or unverified information. Personally, I think that Wikipedia should allow references to personal blogs so long as there are disclaimers stating that there is no Wikipedia endorsement. But if there is a rule banning personal blogs, that rule should be followed to the letter.



Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Evolution of freshwater fish

I recently posted an article about the mystery of the natural occurrences of many isolated populations of the same freshwater species living in different lakes, rivers and streams that were apparently never connected to each other. I got several explanations, e.g., tornadoes that carry the wildlife from one body of water to another and sticky fish eggs that stick to migratory waterfowl. There is the interesting case of the golden trout, a subspecies of rainbow trout, that managed to remain isolated for a long time. Now I have run across a NY Times article about the evolution of freshwater fish. The article says,
. . . take three-spine sticklebacks (Gasterosteus aculeatus). These little fish usually live in the ocean, but like salmon, they come into rivers to spawn. As the glaciers retreated at the end of the last ice age — a process that went on between ten and twenty thousand years ago — a series of lakes began to form in the northern hemisphere, and the sticklebacks moved into them. Initially, the lakes would have been linked to the oceans by streams and rivers, but as the glaciers retreated, the land rose up (ice is heavy), and the exits to the lakes closed, leaving the sticklebacks in each lake marooned and isolated. And so the animals stuck there began evolving to live exclusively in freshwater.

Which is a real-life version of the evolutionist’s dream: each lake is an evolutionary experiment, a natural laboratory. Because there are so many lakes, the experiment has been repeated many times; and because we know the ages of the lakes, we know roughly how long each experiment has been going on. And sure enough, fish in different lakes have evolved a variety of similar features, repeatedly and independently.

Marine sticklebacks, for example, boast body armor: from head to tail, they are covered in rows of bony plates. Many freshwater sticklebacks have lost these. In marine sticklebacks, the pelvis is a complicated affair that comes complete with a pair of long spines. In some freshwater populations, individuals have a much reduced, lopsided pelvic structure. In others, they have just a remnant, a small, lopsided bone: the ghost of pelvis past.

Mutations to a gene called Ectodysplasin have been implicated as the major culprit in loss of armor; another gene, Pitx1, has been fingered as the main agent of pelvis reduction. Yet the means by which the two genes have effected their changes are different.

Though of course I found the article to be very interesting, it of course doesn't answer all of my questions.


Another victory in Florida

I recently reported that the Nassau County school board in Florida was going to vote on a resolution opposing the dogmatic teaching of Darwinism. Florida Citizens for Science now reports that the resolution passed unanimously and that a total of ten Florida school boards have now passed such resolutions. I previously reported that two other county school boards in Florida passed similar resolutions unanimously.

Judge Jones, whose Dover opinion said, inter alia, "we will enter an order permanently enjoining Defendants . . . from requiring teachers to denigrate or disparage the scientific theory of evolution," must be having conniption fits.

I predict that what is going to happen is that the Florida state board of education will just drop the most controversial language from the proposed new standards for science education.

Dire warnings that universities and businesses are going to discriminate against Florida and Floridians are unfounded. Universities compete very hard for the best students and are not going to discriminate against top students from Florida just because the Florida state science standards are not sufficiently pro-Darwinist. And businesses have many other far more important factors to consider in deciding where they are going to locate.



Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Wickedpedia calls its top administrators "bureacrats"

Wikipedia's home page says,

Editors in good standing in the community can run for one of many of levels of volunteer stewardship, that begins with "administrator" and goes up with "steward" and "bureaucrat."

Either the Wickedpedians are too dumb to know that the term "bureaucrat" is pejorative or they really perceive the top administrators to be "bureaucrats" in the pejorative sense.



Saturday, January 26, 2008

Casey Luskin slams Wickedpedia in magazine article


The clowns who run Wickedpedia. Picture is courtesy of the Wikitruth website. "NPOV" stands for "Neutral Point of View," the name of one of the Wickedpedia content policies and a policy that Wickedpedia frequently ignores.


Discovery Institute attorney Casey Luskin slammed Wickedpedia in an article in Salvo magazine:

There’s one last tale to be told regarding the Kitzmiller lawsuit and the banning of ID. Wikipedia has developed a reputation for being a biased and inaccurate source, especially when it comes to controversial issues such as ID. After the ACLU banned Of Pandas and People from Dover science classrooms, one Wikipedia user dared to take seriously Wikipedia’s encouragement to be “bold when updating articles”: He added the Pandas textbook to a page listing banned books.

Anticipating the intellectual lure of banned ideas, Wikipedia’s editors then removed the Pandas textbook from the banned-books page and locked the page from further edits, alleging it had been “vandalized.” Pointing out that ID has been banned is called a Wiki-crime, and banned pro-ID textbooks apparently must be banned from pages listing banned books.

Actually, not one but several people tried to add Of Pandas and People to the Wikipedia list of banned books. I was one of them and I was the most persistent. The parts of the discussion page where this proposed addition was debated are here, here, and here. This is a good example of the "lawyering to death" that was described by radio talk show host Bill Greene --

If you come in with an alternative point of view, a cabal of politically correct, brown-shirted fascists immediately descends upon you and reverts your entry. . .they say that your entry just gives undue weight to a point of view, a fringe theory, pseudoscience, blah blah blah blah blah . . . . They have set up these rules . . . and they lawyer you to death with the rules. They hound you out. You either change over to their point of view, or you just leave. Or they ban you . . . Don't think it doesn't happen, because it does happen all the time.

The arbitrariness and capriciousness of the Wikipedians are incredible. One of the Wikipedians on the discussion page sounds like this:

Original research is not allowed here . . . you must have a reliable non-partisan source . . . original research is not allowed here . . . you must have a reliable non-partisan source . . . . click . . . click . . this is a recording.

Also, a blog had a debate over whether Pandas should be added Wickedpedia's banned books list and I participated in that debate. These debates make Alice's efforts to reason with the other characters in Alice in Wonderland look like child's play in comparison.

Eventually the Wickedpedians completely rewrote the whole banned books article in order to avoid adding Pandas to the list. I also made futile attempts to edit the Wickedpedia articles on the Discovery Institute and Cheri Yecke's biography. I now have no desire to try to add to or help Wickedpedia in any way whatsoever. Though Wickedpedia has a lot of good articles on non-controversial subjects, I would be much happier if Wickedpedia did not exist. For at least one school district, Wickedpedia does not exist -- Wickedpedia is blocked on all of that school district's computers. I hope that more school districts follow suit.

Here is an example of an exchange I had with the Wickedpedians on the discussion page for the banned books article:

The Wikipedia list of banned books features books from the American Library Association's "100 Most Frequently Challenged Books," not the 100 most frequently "banned" books. The ALA website says, "Each year, the American Library Association (ALA) is asked why the week is called 'Banned Books Week' instead of 'Challenged Books Week,' since the majority of the books featured during the week are not banned, but 'merely' challenged." [5] (emphasis added). Also, the ALA website clearly indicates that the designation "banned book" includes books that have been banned from school curricula but not banned from school libraries or other libraries -- e.g., the ALA website says, "Challenges . . . are an attempt to remove material from the curriculum or library." (emphasis added) An oral statement suggesting that students read Pandas was an official part of the curriculum in the Dover Area school district. In Kitzmiller v. Dover[6], a federal judge banned this oral statement. The judge's written opinion refers to this oral statement as a "curriculum change" 48 times. Also, "Curriculum Committee" appears 24 times in the opinion and "curriculum controversy" appears 9 times. There is no question that the judge banned the book from the curriculum -- even the mere mention of the book was banned from the curriculum. In contrast, most of the books that the ALA featured during Banned Books Week were not even banned but were only challenged, as was noted above. So ALA-listed books that were only challenged are accepted for the Wikipedia list of banned books while Pandas -- a truly banned book -- is excluded.

Also, Wikipedia's list contains the following entry: "Rage" from The Bachman Books by Richard Bachman, pseudonym for Stephen King self-imposed ban after the Columbine Shooting." That is hardly a "banned book" for purposes of this list.

Also, the list is only supposed to include books that have actually been banned or challenged and not books that have the potential to be banned or challenged. Comparing Pandas to books that have the potential to be banned or challenged is specious. If any school district is dumb enough to use a bible as a text in a science class and the bible gets banned as a result, then the bible should be listed as a banned book. Those are the rules.

The Wikipedia list of banned books has lots of books that look like they shouldn't be there -- but that does not change the fact that they were challenged or banned. For example, I saw the Merriam Webster Collegiate Dictionary in the list, and I found that the ALA does list this as a challenged book.

Also, the ALA said that its records showed that the Pandas book was challenged in 1993 [7], qualifying the book for the ALA list (though not the top 100) even without considering the Kitzmiller decision.

My last Pandas entry (which was censored) to the Wikipedia list contained the disclaimer "some claim that this is not really a "'banned book,'" followed by a link to a debate on the issue. That is an NPOV (neutral point of view) statement. It is not -- as has been falsely claimed -- an OR (original research) statement because it does not contain my personal views or a link to my personal views, except for my personal view that a significant controversy exists. Those who are not satisfied with the link I gave are free to add other links, including links to their own personal views (because I gave only one link, I felt obligated to give a link to an open debate on the issue). Larry Fafarman 10:39, 2 October 2006 (UTC)

Nice piece of original research, which we do not allow here. Do you have some relibale non-partisan sources that state that the book is banned? -- Kim van der Linde at venus 18:45, 29 September 2006 (UTC)

An entry that is accompanied by a disclaimer stating that the entry is disputed or controversial should not count as "original research." Only entries that are presented as absolute truth and undisputed should count as original research. The No Original Research article says: "The prohibition against original research limits the possibility of an editor presenting his or her own point of view in an article." It is of course desirable to avoid cluttering up Wikipedia articles with long discussions and debates of controversial issues, but this can be avoided by links to external websites -- these links take up very little space in Wikipedia. The No Original Research article says that the three content-governing policies of Wikipedia -- NPOV(neutral point of view), Verifiability, and No Original Research -- are complementary and should not be viewed in isolation from one another. The above statement views the latter two policies in isolation at the expense of the NPOV policy. Furthermore, it is unreasonable to require verification that a book is banned because the Wikipedia list includes ALA-listed books which have only been challenged. Larry Fafarman 12:26, 2 October 2006 (UTC)

Larry, your whole reasoning still is original research, how you want to twist it. Come up with that reliable non-partisan source that conforms that the book is banned and we talk further. And yes, maybe we have to delete many entries that are just challenged books, I would be in favour of that-- Kim van der Linde at venus 12:30, 2 October 2006 (UTC)

Here is a fair and sensible proposal I made that was rejected:

There is a very simple solution to the controversies here. Anyone who thinks that a book on the list does not belong there can simply add the comment "this entry is disputed," or something like that, and add a very brief statement why and/or add a link or links to external websites containing personal views or debates about the issue. Since the websites are external, there is no suggestion that Wikipedia endorses the viewpoints that are presented in them. Other readers can add their own links. Using external links avoids cluttering up Wikipedia with long discussions and debates on controversial issues. I assert that any personal views that are clearly identified as such and that do not take up a significant amount of Wikipedia space do not violate the No Original Research and Verifiability policies of Wikipedia.

Of course, entries that clearly do not belong should not be added in any case. For example, if the Wikipedia list were just a copy of a list of the American Library Association, an extraneous entry should not be added with the note that the ALA should have included the book in the list. But that is clearly not the situation here.

That is the Neutral Point of View (NPOV) way of doing it.

As for my call for edit-war tag team members, the Wickedpedians engage in tag team edit warring themselves.


"I'm always kicking their butts -- that's why they don't like me."

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger



Friday, January 25, 2008

"Talk Radio's Last Stand"

"Talk Radio's Last Stand" -- that's the cover title of the cover story of an article in Newmax magazine. An advertisement for the article says,

If the Democrats win the White House, expect an all-out attack on talk radio. Political talk, as we know it, could end . . .

If they win, Rush, Imus, Savage, Beck, and dozens of other major hosts will be muzzled by using federal regulations to control political talk.. . .

. . . . As Newsmax magazine reveals in its just-released special report, "The Battle for Talk Radio," leading liberals in Congress, the Democratic presidential candidates, and even some Republicans speak openly of their plans to end conservative talk radio using federal regulations.

. . . Their weapon: a revived Fairness Doctrine, which would once again require stations to air divergent points of view — a clever ruse that makes station owners leery of airing controversial talk-radio hosts fearing law suits and federal sanctions.

This blog's articles about the Fairness Doctrine are listed here. I am against a broad fairness doctrine for broadcasters but I am strongly in favor of a blogging fairness doctrine that would prohibit the arbitrary censorship of visitors' comments on blogs, with an exception for bloggers who post a prominent notice stating that they practice arbitrary censorship of comments.

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Tuesday, January 22, 2008

EU regulators say IP addresses are privacy concern

A news article says,

(AP) IP addresses, string of numbers that identify computers on the Internet, should generally be regarded as personal information, the head of the European Union's group of data privacy regulators said Monday.

Germany's data protection commissioner, Peter Scharr, leads the EU group preparing a report on how well the privacy policies of Internet search engines operated by Google Inc., Yahoo Inc., Microsoft Corp. and others comply with EU privacy law.
He told a European Parliament hearing on online data protection that when someone is identified by an IP, or Internet protocol, address "then it has to be regarded as personal data."

His view differs from that of Google, which insists an IP address merely identifies the location of a computer, not who the individual user is - something strictly true but which does not recognize that many people regularly use the same computer terminal and IP address.

Scharr acknowledged that IP addresses for a computer may not always be personal or linked to an individual. For example, some computers in Internet cafes or offices are used by several people.

But these exceptions have not stopped the emergence of a host of "whois" Internet sites that apply the general rule that typing in an IP address will generate a name for the person or company linked to it.

Treating IP addresses as personal information would have implications for how search engines record data.

Actually, often a specific IP address cannot even be linked to a specific Internet-access computer, let alone an individual. For example, some Internet service providers (ISP's) use proxy servers to link many individual users to the Internet, and the proxy server may have a fixed IP address or one that changes only occasionally. Also, some Internet-access computers use dynamic IP addressing to directly connect to the Internet -- i.e., the IP address directly connecting to the Internet changes each time the computer connects to the Internet (though the IP address falls within a limited range).

Using IP addresses to block access is a widespread nefarious practice -- Wickedpedia, for example, does it. IP address blocking is often ineffective and can block large numbers of people other than the intended target.

The article says,
Google led the pack by being the first last year to cut the time it stored search information to 18 months. It also reduced the time limit on the cookies that collect information on how people use the Internet from a default of 30 years to an automatic expiration in two years.

Actually, Internet users can block or restrict the placement of cookies, block or restrict access to cookies, and erase cookies.

But a privacy advocate at the nonprofit Electronic Privacy Information Center, or EPIC, said it was "absurd" for Google to claim that stripping out the last two figures from the stored IP address made the address impossible to identify by making it one of 256 possible configurations.

Actually, stripping out only the last two figures narrows it down even further than that -- there are only 100 possibilities if the third figure is a 0 or a 1 and only 56 possibilities if the third figure is a 2.

Hopefully the new IP address format, Version 6, will be implemented in a way that will help prevent IP address blocking and other abuses of IP addresses.

Related articles are here, here, here, and here.



Sunday, January 20, 2008

News articles about evolution controversy in Florida

The articles are here, here, here, and here.



Saturday, January 19, 2008

Florida school board hearing on Darwinian dogmatism

The agenda for the Jan. 24 meeting of the Nassau County school board in Florida has an action item on a proposed resolution opposing a proposal to include Darwinian dogmatism in the new Florida state science standards:

Action Items

C. Request adoption of Resolution #1238 asking the State Board of Education to revise the new Sunshine State Standards for Science such that evolution is not presented at the exclusion of other theories of the origin of life.

The following opening paragraph in the proposed Grades 9-12 standards is particularly controversial, though the proposed standards may contain other controversial statements about evolution:

Evolution and Diversity: A. Evolution is the fundamental concept underlying all of biology and is supported by multiple forms of scientific evidence. B. Organisms are classified based on their evolutionary history. C. Natural selection is the primary mechanism leading to evolutionary change.

Comments may be sent to the Nassau County school board members and the superintendent at --

Time may be running out for Florida school boards to pass resolutions concerning the proposed new state science standards -- the Florida state board of education may consider and even vote on the proposed new standards at the next board meeting on Feb. 19. According to reports, as many as 12 county school boards in Florida have passed resolutions against Darwinian dogmatism and only one has passed a resolution in favor of it -- IMO that is enough to make the state board of education think twice before adopting Darwinian dogmatism as part of the new state science standards. Comments to the state board of education may be sent to the following address:


Phone, fax, and postal address information for Florida BOE members is at --

Someone also posted the following email addresses for the individual board members, but I have been unable to verify these addresses:



Friday, January 18, 2008

Two Florida county school boards unanimously oppose Darwinian dogmatism

This article in Panda's Thumb reports that two county school boards in Florida -- in Clay and St. Johns Counties -- have unanimously passed resolutions opposing proposed language for the state science standards that calls for the dogmatic teaching of Darwinism (unfortunately, the St. Johns county school board did not put the resolution on the agenda in advance -- that would be illegal under California's Brown Act). It has been estimated that up to 12 Florida county school boards have passed such resolutions. Judge Jones must be having a conniption fit.



Darwinists' obsession with religion

Darwinists have this crazy idea that the main or even the sole cause of Darwin-doubting is that Darwinism conflicts with religious beliefs. This crazy idea is advocated by an op-ed in the Austin American-Statesman.

The main cause of Darwin-doubting is that people do not find Darwinism to be credible. Geocentrism -- like creationism -- is in the bible, but geocentrism is unacceptable to most religious people because the evidence against it is strong.

The op-ed says,
The age-old, simmering conflict between science and religion is threatening to boil over in Texas with the usual battle lines being drawn around evolutionary biology and public education science standards. Here's a thought: Instead of a long and potentially bitter stand-off between science advocates and creationist proponents, why doesn't Texas skip that mess and go straight to a reasonable compromise? Instead of arguing about fossils, radiometric dating methods or constitutional law, I'd ask those skeptical of evolution what better natural evidence for the brilliance of a Creator could there be than myriad complex processes unfolding over billions of years through countless steps in exquisite order spanning the entire cosmos?

That is not a "reasonable compromise" -- that is not even a compromise at all. That is a completely one-sided endorsement of Darwinism.

The article then describes the Kitzmiller v. Dover decision as a "blistering rebuke against Intelligent Design Creationism." For crying out loud, this was just a decision of a single judge, and a stupid, biased judge at that. The Dover opinion's ID-as-science section was ghostwritten by the ACLU and Judge Jones showed extreme prejudice against the defendants by saying in a commencement speech that his decision was based on his notion that the Founders based the establishment clause on a belief that organized religions are not "true" religions.

The op-ed then says,

We could discuss the Constitution, most especially our cherished Bill of Rights, which wisely forbids government from taking sides in a purely religious debate.

No, it is not a "purely religious debate." There is nothing in the bible about irreducible complexity, random mutation, bacterial flagella, co-evolution, etc..

The Roman Catholic Church accepts the age of the universe and the validity of evolution. Similar statements have been made by the United Methodist Church, the American Jewish Congress, the United Presbyterian Church, and many others.

So far as I know, the Catholic church does not accept the idea of unguided evolution. Cardinal Christophe Schoenborn, chief editor of the Catholic catechism, is an especially vocal critic of Darwinism. Orthodox Jews tend to be especially hostile towards Darwinism. The op-ed does not mention Islam, which also opposes Darwinism.

And for the faithful who carefully and honestly study the fascinating bounty of scientific evidence, there can be only one liberating conclusion: God is one hell of a scientist, and He's not exactly a bad engineer either.

Anyone who knows anything about anatomy and physiology knows that god is one hell of a bad engineer.

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Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Wickedpedians try to hide proof of arbitrary censorship

Within about 35 hours of the posting of my blog article about the Wikipedia discussion page where the Wickedpedian control freaks "lawyered to death" my attempted addition to the Discovery Institute article, that entire discussion page was "archived." A coincidence? The text of the current discussion page does not even mention the archiving (there are actually two archived sections). Links to the archived sections are on the right side of the discussion page, just under the headings that have the orange background. Archiving is supposed to be done only on old discussions, but some of the archived material was posted as recently as this month and December. My links to the earlier versions of the discussion page still work. The history of the archived material, shown here, is not shown on the archive page.



Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Secret recording of school board meetings

In a comment on Panda's Thumb, Wesley "Ding" Elsberry wrote,
One thing that isn’t in the NCSE tips list and should be is that if recording devices are permitted, make sure that someone on the pro-science side is making an audio or audio-plus-video record of such events. Much court wrangling could have been avoided in the Kitzmiller case if there had been a recording of various school board meetings. The board there had a policy of tape-recording meetings and then destroying the recordings after the minutes were accepted, which means that you cannot rely upon the government officials to adequately document and preserve statements made, even if they are making an official recording at the time of the meeting.

I recommend the Olympus voice recorders. I prefer the units that have a jack for an external microphone. They fit in a pocket, the small external microphone I use is unobtrusive, they do well for meetings when set to “conference” sensitivity, and they will record for several hours straight if you put in a fresh battery, meaning that you don’t have to fidget with equipment during a meeting. Another must is the ability to transfer files of recordings directly to a computer via USB, rather than re-recording an output sound. The WS-311M recorder is currently selling for $75 at Newegg. If you can afford a bit more, Olympus has similar units with more memory.

Well, Ding, will these audio recorders pass through metal detectors undetected? Are people going to be frisked or strip-searched at school board meetings to make sure that they are not carrying any hidden audio recorders?

The Darwinists are really going off the deep end.


Monday, January 14, 2008

More censored comments from Wikipedia's Discovery Institute discussion page

My previous post has some of my censored comments that were posted on Wikipedia's Discovery Institute discussion page. Below are some more -- these comments are about Ding Elsberry's phony text comparison program that was used in a silly attempt to determine the extent to which the Dover opinion ID-as-science section had the same ideas as the ACLU's opening post-trial brief. The contexts of these comments are shown in this archived copy of the "text comparison" section of the discussion page. The arbitrariness, capriciousness, and irrelevancies of the Wikipedian control freaks' arguments are again apparent. Again, I get strong support from another commenter, Veritasjohn. The corresponding archived Discovery Institute article is here. The words in question are: "approved for use and considered authoritative in Federal court," from the following sentence in the "'Study' criticizing Judge Jones" section of the article:

A subsequent study performed by Wesley Elsberry, author of a text comparison program approved for use and considered authoritative in Federal court, on the section of the plaintiffs proposed findings of fact regarding whether ID is science with the section of the ruling on the same subject indicated that Judge Jones actually only incorporated 35% of the complete findings of fact and conclusions of law that the plaintiffs proposed that he incorporate, and only 66% of the section the DI criticized in particular, not the 90.9% the Discovery Institute claimed was copied in that section. (emphasis added)

The current version of the preceding section says,

A subsequent study was performed by Wesley Elsberry, author of the text comparison program that was partly responsible for the decision in the case and thus accepted in Federal court, on the section of the plaintiffs proposed findings of fact regarding whether ID is science compared to the section of the ruling on the same subject. This study indicated that only 38% of the complete ruling by Judge Jones actually incorporated the findings of fact and conclusions of law that the plaintiffs proposed that he incorporate, and only 66% of the section (on whether ID was science) incorporated the proposals, not the 90.9% the Discovery Institute claimed was copied in that section. Significantly, Judge Jones adopted only 48% of the plaintiffs’s proposed findings of fact for that section, and rejected 52%, clearly showing that he did not accept the section verbatim. (emphasis added)

Of course, there is no practical difference here between "approved for use and considered authoritative in Federal court" and "accepted in Federal court."

Here are the censored comments:

The text comparison cited in the court opinion required only a simple word-finding function, which even the simplest word-processing programs possess (i.e., the program counted the number of times "creation" or "creationism" appeared and the number of times that "intelligent design" was substituted). A simple word-finding function is trivial in comparison to your program's attempt to compare ideas of the opinion's ID-as-science section and the ACLU's "proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law " brief (a discussion of Elsberry's computerized comparison of the opinion and the ACLU brief is here). Using a computer program to compare ideas in two different texts is unreliable -- particularly when the program shows a low correlation -- because ideas can remain unchanged while substituting synonyms, inserting or deleting superfluous or non-essential words, paraphrasing text, and scrambling sentences and paragraphs. The only reliable way to compare the ideas in two different texts is by a side-by-side visual comparison of the two texts, and the Discovery Institute's report showed the two texts side by side for a visual comparison. The similarity of ideas in the opinion and the ACLU brief is readily apparent in this side-by-side comparison. BTW, I don't accept the DI's 90.9% text correlation figure either.

Your statement here that your program is "approved for use and considered authoritative in Federal court" is a gross misrepresentation. You failed to show that even a single judge ever accepted the results of your program for the purpose that you claimed here: a comparison of the ideas in two different texts as opposed to mere word-finding, which virtually any word-processing program can do. Furthermore, your statement "approved for use and considered authoritative in Federal court" implies approval by the entire federal court system whereas you have not shown approval by even a single federal judge. Also, your claims about federal Court approval of your own computer program represent a conflict of interest and self-promotion (WP:COI). No reliable neutral authority has verified your claims. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:03, August 29, 2007 (UTC)


The present wording in the Wikipedia article, "author of the text comparison program that was partly responsible for the decision in the case and thus accepted in Federal court," is unacceptable. In the Kitzmiller case, Elsberry's program was used only for simple word finding and counting and was not used for the highly questionable purpose of comparing the ideas in two different texts as Elsberry did in comparing the opinion and the ACLU brief. Even the bare-bones Notepad program can find words (but can't count them). And there is no evidence that Judge Jones was even aware that Elsberry's program was used instead of a standard commercial word-processing program. There is no evidence that Jones formally "accepted" Elsberry's program for any purpose, let alone the purpose of comparing ideas in two different texts. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:40, August 29, 2007 (UTC)


It does not matter what the alleged capabilities of Elsberry's program are -- what matters is how the results of the program were used in the Kitzmiller decision, and even that does not matter if Jones assumed that some standard commercial word-processing program was used. The only results that were used were the word finding/counting results -- "cognates of the word creation (creationism and creationist), which appeared approximately 150 times were deliberately and systematically replaced with the phrase ID" (see above quote by Elsberry). Identical results could be obtained with the bare-bones Notepad program, except that the word counting would have to be done by hand. The exact word counts are not important -- the important thing is that words like "creationism" were completely replaced by "intelligent design." There is no evidence that Jones even implicitly accepted or approved Elsberry's program for any purpose whatsoever. It is ridiculous that these points even need to be argued -- they are self-evident. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:04, August 29, 2007 (UTC)


Elsberry said,
Since I never described my own work with the words in question, I fail to see how this discussion violates WP:COI. [Wikipedia's "Conflict of Interest" rule]

You never denied the program's description that was given in the Wikipedia article -- that you are the author and that the program "is approved for use and considered authoritative in Federal Court."
"author of the text comparison program used to determine the content and extent of copying between drafts of the 'intelligent design' textbook Of Pandas and People for the Kitzmiller v. DASD case" would be acceptable to most.

This new wording is not completely acceptable to me because the statement "determine . . . the extent of copying" is overhype -- all the program did in the case was just find words and count them. Even the bare-bones Notepad program has a word-finding function (though Notepad doesn't count words, a simple matter). There is no indication here that Judge Jones was even aware that Elsberry's program was used instead of a standard commercial word-processing program. However, I will drop the matter.

BTW, it is noteworthy that many of the DI study's critics who were cited in this Wikipedia article do not dispute the DI's claim of copying but only argue that the copying was not improper.—Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk • contribs) 16:08, 29 August 2007


Veritasjohn said,
Perhaps Elsberry can provide some source that could be used to verify how the program was used?

It is already clear how the program was used in the Kitzmiller case -- it was used for the purpose of word finding and counting. As Elsberry quoted above, the Dover opinion said, "cognates of the word creation (creationism and creationist), which appeared approximately 150 times were deliberately and systematically replaced with the phrase ID."

Word finding and counting are such common features of word-processing programs that there is a very good chance that Judge Jones was unaware that the plaintiffs were using Elsberry's program instead of a standard commercial word-processing program (I am taking Elsberry's word for it that the plaintiffs used his program). One thing is certain -- Jones did not accept or approve Elsberry's program for the purpose of comparing ideas in two different texts as Elsberry did in comparing the Kitzmiller opinion and the ACLU's "proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law" brief. So we can forget about that idea right now. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:13, August 30, 2007 (UTC)




Sunday, January 13, 2008

"Lawyering to death" by Wickedpedian control freaks

Radio talk show host Bill Greene said something like the following about Wikipedia:

If you come in with an alternative point of view, a cabal of politically correct, brown-shirted fascists immediately descends upon you and reverts your entry. . .they say that your entry just gives undue weight to a point of view, a fringe theory, pseudoscience, blah blah blah . . . . They have set up these rules . . . and they lawyer you to death with the rules. They hound you out. You either change over to their point of view, or you just leave. Or they ban you . . . Don't think it doesn't happen, because it does happen all the time.

The Wikipedia article about the Discovery Institute has a section on the DI's report that charges that the Dover opinion's ID-as-science section was nearly entirely ghostwritten by the ACLU. On Aug. 27, 2007, I made the following innocent addition to this section, which is shown here as it appeared immediately after I made the addition:

Casey Luskin of the Discovery Institute wrote a rebuttal of the preceding criticisms of this DI study. [86]

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

86. Analogical Legal Reasoning and Legal Policy Argumentation: A Response to Darwinist Defenders of Judge Jones' Copying from the ACLU Casey Luskin, Discovery Institute, January 22, 2007

Believe it or not, this innocent, NPOV (Neutral Point of View) addition sparked a colossal argument under the title "Casey Luskin" on Wikipedia's Discovery Institute discussion page (the page is shown as it appeared just before a Wickedpedian thug named "Felonious Monk" started deleting my comments). The arbitrariness and capriciousness of the Wickedpedian control freaks' comments in this discussion are readily apparent.

Another commenter besides myself, Veritasjohn, strongly advocated mentioning Casey Luskin's rebuttal and providing a link to it, but in the end, the mention and the link were censored. The Wickedpedian control freaks refused here to give a single crumb to the opposition. These "discussions" on Wikipedia are just charades -- the Wickedpedian control freaks have no intention of ever being persuaded by others' arguments.

Below are my comments in this discussion section that were censored (the comments are not shown in order). For the contexts of the comments, go to the preceding link to an archived discussion page.

Filll said,

"The section as it now stands is a reasonable summary of the situation."

No, it is not a reasonable summary of the situation -- it is a completely one-sided summary of the situation.

One of the biggest problems -- if not the biggest problem -- with Wikipedia has been the utterly false assumption that online encyclopedias should attempt to have the NPOV and verifiability of printed encyclopedias. Because online encyclopedias can link instantly to external sites where controversial items are discussed and debated in detail, online encyclopedias can handle a much larger number of controversial items than can printed encyclopedias.

"It is not about the DI particularly."

This one is about the DI particularly because it was the DI that blew the whistle on Jones. Had it not been for the DI, this Jones' copying probably would have gone unnoticed.

You folks are really making a mountain out of a molehill by making such a big stink about adding a rebuttal from the Discovery Institute. You are contributing to Wikipedia's already bad reputation as an unreliable source. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:12, August 29, 2007 (UTC)


The bottom line is that the Discovery Institute has a right to defend its report here. It does not matter whether or not Casey Luskin is an attorney, whether or not he graduated from law school, whether or not he graduated from grade school, or whether or not he is "notable." It does not matter whether or not his rebuttals are valid, reasonable, or "scholarly." It does not matter whether or not Luskin and the rest of the DI practice what they preach (re: Peter Irons' accusation concerning the Montana Law Review article). It is ridiculous that the right of the DI to defend its report here should even be questioned here at all.

A summary would be unnecessary and superfluous. Luskin's rebuttal is only six pages long. It has its own summary. The Wikipedia text that is rebutted is identified -- this text itself summarizes the issues addressed by Luskin's article. There is no Wikipedia rule requiring that references be summarized, and such a rule would result in cluttering up Wikipedia with unnecessary summaries. Also, it may be impossible to reach any kind of consensus here on a summary of Luskin's article. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:28, August 28, 2007 (UTC)


Does it matter where this section is placed? Wikipedia articles can be cross-linked. Both the Discovery Institute article and the Kitzmiller v. Dover article would be appropriate locations. The DI article is an appropriate location because probably no one would have raised this copying issue if the DI had not raised it. Judge Jones' copying went unreported for nearly a year. People outside the DI probably noticed it -- e.g., the Dover defendants' attorneys from the Thomas More Law Center (the TMLC website has posted nothing about the case since the day after the decision) -- but said nothing. IMO since the section is here already, it might as well stay here. IMO Veritasjohn's summary of Luskin's article is good: "The Discovery Institute issued a rebuttal to criticism of the study, arguing that case law supports the policy that 'the verbatim or near verbatim adoption of a party's findings of facts is disapproved by courts' even if it is not prohibited." —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:30, August 29, 2007 (UTC)


Veritasjohn said,
As I indicated above, other editors agreed that DI's rebuttal should be linked, and one asked for a summary. I'm willing to drop the summary and just end the sentence at "issued a rebuttal."

I was the one who proposed having no summary of the DI rebuttal, but I have changed my mind. I think your proposed summaries are good. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 07:02, August 29, 2007 (UTC)


"I don't know if he has sought admission to the bar in other states"? How is that relevant? The Wikipedia article on the State Bar of California says, "California administers what is widely considered the nation's most difficult bar examination twice each year" [2], and Casey Luskin passed.

This section of the article cites the legal opinions of you and Ed Brayton, who are not even attorneys. Ed Brayton by his own admission is not even a college graduate (though I don't hold that against him). So if we are going to talk about credentials, then let's talk about them.

There is just no satisfying you people. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:55, August 29, 2007 (UTC)


No, Filll and Odd Nature, you are the ones who have crossed the line. Veritasjohn's comments here were civil and reasonable. Filll initiated the personal attacks here with his statement, "veritasjohn, you are giving yourself away by your edits. Don't think I don't know who you are." —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:15, August 28, 2007 (UTC)




Saturday, January 12, 2008

Radio talk show host slams Wikipedia censorship!

It runs from about 6:50 to about 13:00 on an audio on this post on the Uncommon Descent blog. Just click on the words "The Bill Greene Show." This guy really tells it like it is!



Friday, January 11, 2008

Backlash against dogmatization of Florida evolution education

The Darwinists thought that the "creationists" and "fundies" -- as they call those opposed to dogmatic teaching of evolution in the public schools -- were going to roll over and play dead after a stupid, biased judge in Pennsylvania ruled that criticism of evolution is unscientific. Well, events around the country since that ruling have shown otherwise. Opposition to the dogmatization of evolution education is especially strong in Florida. it has been reported that 12 Florida school boards have passed resolutions opposed to the dogmatic teaching of Darwinism.

Though the Darwinists have long had the upper hand in science education, they are not satisfied with the status quo but are trying to make evolution education more dogmatic. I don't even remember studying Darwinism in high school biology class in California in the early 1960's. We certainly didn't get any of this "grand central supreme overarching underlying fundamental unifying principle of biology" crap. Darwinism was just not seen as being all that important. What's the big problem with teaching the weaknesses of Darwinism? It seems that it is mainly the Darwinists who are demanding that their side be taught dogmatically.



Thursday, January 10, 2008

U.VA. and Judge Jones' "true religion" speech

I have many times noted that Judge Jones showed extreme prejudice against the Dover defendants by saying in a Dickinson College commencement speech that his Kitzmiller v. Dover decision was based on his notion that the Founders based the establishment clause upon a belief that organized religions -- and any religious beliefs not based on "free, rational inquiry" -- are not "true" religions. 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.

Judge Jones' above statement implies that he is inclined to go out of his way to attack anything that he could possibly conceive of as representing "false" religion -- e.g., intelligent design.

The phrases "free, rational inquiry" and "constantly engaged and questioned things" bring Thomas Jefferson to the minds of a lot of people. The early history of the University of Virginia, founded by Thomas Jefferson, gives insight into how Jefferson's thinking compared to the thinking of his contemporaries. A webpage of the University of Virginia's website says,

The University of Virginia was founded as a secular university, with no religious affiliation or denominational identity. In contrast, Georgia, UNC, South Carolina, Vermont, Blount College (which became the University of Tennessee), and others chartered as state universities had denominational sponsorship.

Chapel attendance was not required of students at the University of Virginia. Other universities, public and private, required their students to attend church services. In fact, Harvard did not do away with the chapel requirement until late in the 19th century.

Another webpage of the U.VA. website says,
For Jefferson, the college experience should take place within an "academical village," a place where shared learning infused daily life. Plans were developed for ten Pavilions—stately faculty homes with living quarters upstairs and classrooms downstairs—attached to two rows of student rooms and connected by an inward-facing colonnade.

At the head of the shared lawn would stand the library (not, as in most other colleges and universities of the time, a chapel), . . . .

Also, when Jones gave his "true" religion 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.

So even if Judge Jones' statement about "true" religion represents the views of Thomas Jefferson, it is doubtful that this statement represents the views of the Founders in general.

Anyway, IMO judges' establishment-clause decisions should be based on the plain meaning of that clause and not on the judges' notions of what the Founders thought.



Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Another dilemma for evolution: isolated groups of freshwater species

I have been thinking about another non-ID dilemma for evolution: isolated groups of the same species of freshwater organisms -- e.g., species of freshwater fish and freshwater aquatic plants -- naturally occurring in different lakes, rivers, and streams that were never connected to each other. Is this an extreme example of convergent evolution?

Other non-ID criticisms of evolution may be found by clicking on the post label.



Sunday, January 06, 2008

Update on ACSI v. Stearns (Fundy Schools v. UC)

I posted several articles about Association of Christian Schools International v. Stearns. A hearing on motions for summary judgment was scheduled for last September 24 but then the case appeared to drop off the radar screen.

I asked ACSI what happened to the case and got this response on Jan. 4:

Within the last few days ACSI has learned that the judge has rescheduled the hearing for summary judgment for February 14th, Valentine’s Day. If a jury trial follows, it will probably take place sometime during the summer of 2008.

I thought that in civil trials, a right to a jury trial is guaranteed only when the relief sought is something of monetary value (Amendment VII of Constitution). I asked ACSI about that and I am awaiting a reply.

The slow progress of the case is noteworthy -- the case was initiated way back in August 2005. It seems that the courts are stalling on high-profile controversial cases -- for example, 16 months after the Selman v. Cobb County evolution-disclaimer textbook-sticker decision, the appeals court finally decided to vacate and remand it because of missing evidence. As the saying goes, the courts are as slow as molasses in a midwinter cold snap at the South Pole. The slow progress of these cases makes it especially important to have more school boards step up to the monkey-trial plate. The last active monkey-trial case involving the public schools was Selman v. Cobb County and the Cobb County school board took a dive and settled out of court.



Friday, January 04, 2008

One-sided radio show about evolution controversy in Texas

The interviewer and both interviewees are all dyed-in-the-wool dogmatic Darwinists.

Click on words "Archive Section" on this Panda's Thumb webpage.


Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Justiciability of Scientific Questions II: Mass. v. EPA

This post is a follow-up to -- you guessed it -- to Justiciability of Scientific Questions.

Until now, the courts have largely managed to duck the scientific issues in monkey trials (Judge Jones could have easily ducked the scientific issues but chose not to) but the day may come when the courts may have to squarely face those scientific issues.

The justiciability of scientific questions was raised in the recent case of Mass. et al. v EPA, which was about whether the EPA should regulate "greenhouses gases" -- including CO-2 -- as pollutants that contribute to global warming. The majority opinion in Mass. v. EPA said,
To ensure the proper adversarial presentation, Lujan holds that a litigant must demonstrate that it has suffered a concrete and particularized injury that is either actual or imminent, that the injury is fairly traceable to the defendant, and that it is likely that a favorable decision will redress that injury. . . .

. . . . . Nor can EPA avoid its statutory obligation by noting the uncertainty surrounding various features of climate change and concluding that it would therefore be better not to regulate at this time. See 68 Fed. Reg. 52930–52931. If the scientific uncertainty is so profound that it precludes EPA from making a reasoned judgment as to whether greenhouse gases contribute to global warming, EPA must say so.

So the majority opinion in Mass. v. EPA said that "a litigant must demonstrate that it has suffered a concrete and particularized injury that is either actual or imminent," and it is questionable that "mental displeasure" (Justice Scalia's words in another decision) at the teaching of "pseudoscientific" criticism of Darwinism in the public schools would qualify as a "concrete and particularized injury." And even if the court holds that mental displeasure is sufficiently "concrete and particularized," the court is likely to hold that such injury is not sufficiently severe to justify the extreme and undesirable action of ruling definitively on a contentious scientific issue. Global warming potentially could have disastrous physical consequences whereas issues of evolution education only concern a non-existent "right" to not be offended. Despite (1) those potentially disastrous physical consequences of global warming and (2) the central importance of global warming theory in Mass. v. EPA, the Supreme Court declined to make a definitive ruling on the merits of that theory but instead conceded that there is "uncertainty surrounding various features of climate change." Presumably the Supreme Court would be even more reluctant to decide contentious scientific issues in an evolution education case where there is no more at stake than a non-existent "right" to not be offended.

Wikipedia says of Mass. v. EPA,

This case has become notable because of a widespread perception that the truth or falsehood of theories of global warming will be decided by the courts, not unlike the Scopes Monkey Trial on evolution [actually, the Scopes trial did not actually decide the truth or falsehood of evolution]. While this could eventually occur in later proceedings, the questions before the U.S. Supreme Court here were much more narrow, and legal in nature.

One of several reasons that the EPA Administrator declined to regulate carbon dioxide is uncertainty about whether man-made carbon dioxide emissions causes global warming. This has attracted great attention to the case (See "Update" link below.) However, the Supreme Court only decided whether the Administrator's reason is a valid reason within the CAA [Clean Air Act]. The Supreme Court did not explicitly decide if it is true or untrue that man-made carbon dioxide emission causes global warming, although high-profile comments by Justices during oral argument are likely to affect the public debate.

The Petitioners argued that scientific uncertainty is not a valid basis for the EPA Administrator to decline to regulate. The question before the High Court was not whether the causation is true or untrue, but whether it is a valid reason for the Administrator to not regulate a pollutant.

Also, I have found that the term "nonjusticiable question" is often associated with the term "political question." One legal dictionary gives the following definition of "political question":

political question:

n. the determination by a court (particularly the Supreme Court) that an issue raised about the conduct of public business is a "political" issue to be determined by the legislature (including Congress) or the executive branch and not by the courts. Since 1960 the U.S. Supreme Court has been willing to look at some questions previously considered "political," such as "one-man-one-vote," as constitutional issues.

However, IMO the two terms have different meanings and should not be confused. IMO a political question is a kind of nonjusticiable question.



Tuesday, January 01, 2008

An establishment clause lawsuit against dogmatic teaching of Darwinism?

It's possible. As has often been said, often the best defense is an offense. Instead of just waiting like sitting ducks to be attacked by the Darwinists, the Darwin Doubters should do the attacking. I know of two cases where suit was initiated by Darwin Doubters instead of Darwinists -- Webster v. New Lenox School District #122, 917 F. 2d 1004 (1990) and Peloza v. Capistrano Unified School District, 37 F. 3rd 517 (1994).

In a letter addressed to the Florida Board of Science Education (should be "Florida Board of Education" -- there is no separate board of education for science), attorney David C. Gibbs III wrote (pages 4-5 of letter, pages 5-6 of pdf file),

The final category of the Proposed Science Standards that we suggest should be reconsidered is the opening paragraph in the Grades 9-12 Standards entitled

Evolution and Diversity: A. Evolution is the fundamental concept underlying all of biology and is supported by multiple forms of scientific evidence. B. Organisms are classified based on their evolutionary history. C. Natural selection is the primary mechanism leading to evolutionary change.

. . . . . Making evolution the fundamental concept by which all life-science is interpreted or understood limits the scope of scientific inquiry and demands that all biological inquiry be predicated on the evolutionary hypothesis. Making this gigantic jump moves the evolutionary hypothesis from the realm of science into a philosophical faith-based belief system. It has fallen into the same trap of which science has accused religion. It posits its entire interpretive rationale on something which is unobservable and untested. In fact, it could easily be argued that the science curriculum has now moved away from objective and neutral inquiry and has moved into the realm of promoting one particular religious (or more specifically, non religious) viewpoint or belief system. Since the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution does not permit public schools to inculcate students with any particular belief system or religion (or non religion), if this standard is employed in Florida schools, as is now being proposed, it could face legal challenges for violating the separation of church and state . . .

. . . we want to emphasize that we are not objecting to the study of evolution in these grade levels. We are merely pointing out that the study of science in public schools must be a study of hypotheses, theories and evidence, and possible limitations and alternatives. We cannot morph science education into a form of unconstitutional religious (or non religious) indoctrination.

Darwinists are fond of likening criticisms of Darwinism to the flat-earth theory and denial of gravity. But gravity and the sphericity of the earth are not in question because they have actually been observed. Darwinism, on the other hand, is based on events the likes of which have never been observed. So Darwinism is just a "faith-based belief system" -- as attorney Gibbs called it -- and as such should not be taught dogmatically in the public schools.

The Darwinists are not satisfied with the status quo on state evolution education science standards but are trying to make those standards more pro-Darwinist. For example, the Fordham Institute (no connection to Fordham U.) report on state science standards gives F grades to the evolution education standards of states that do not teach Darwinism dogmatically -- and in the case of Ohio, threatened to drop that state's overall science grade from a B to an F just because the Ohio evolution lesson plan included the weaknesses of Darwinism. Paul R. Gross, the lead author of the Fordham Institute report, is also a co-author -- with Barbara Forrest -- of "Inside Creationism's Trojan Horse: The Wedge of Intelligent Design."