I'm from Missouri

This site is named for the famous statement of US Congressman Willard Duncan Vandiver from Missouri : "I`m from Missouri -- you'll have to show me." This site is dedicated to skepticism of official dogma in all subjects. Just-so stories are not accepted here. This is a site where controversial subjects such as evolution theory and the Holocaust may be freely debated.

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Sunday, September 27, 2009

The breathtaking inanity of Kitzmiller v. Dover

The Kitzmiller v. Dover case is in the news again. Southern Methodist University recently held a series of events concerning the case. The first lectures and a panel discussion are apparently very one-sided, with only supporters of the decision:

The programs begin Sept. 24 with a 10 a.m. reception and 10:30 a.m. lecture at DeGolyer Library, featuring Paula Apsell (right), senior executive producer, and Melanie Wallace, senior series producer of NOVA's documentary, "Judgment Day: Intelligent Design on Trial" . . . . .

A panel discussion on legal, ethical and journalistic issues surrounding the making of the film will follow from 7 p.m.-8:30 p.m. in Caruth Auditorium, Owen Arts Center. Panelists will include Judge Jones, documentary producers Apsell and Wallace, plaintiff's council Eric Rothschild and Lauri Lebo, author of The Devil in Dover.

BTW, Judge Jones, who was scheduled to appear in the above panel, only recently was a featured speaker at Bridgewater College (Sept. 17).

Another SMU panel discussion appears to be more even-handed -- it includes an attorney from Liberty Legal Institute, which looks like it would disagree with the decision:

On Sept. 25, from 10-11:30 a.m., First Amendment issues will get closer scrutiny in a panel discussion at SMU's Dedman School of Law. Jones, Rothschild (now in private practice), Liberty Legal Institute attorney Hiram Sasser and Dedman School of Law Professor Lackland Bloom will trade ideas and opinions in Karcher Auditorium, Storey Hall.

Also, the 3quarksdaily blog has an article that is highly critical of the Kitzmiller opinion.
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The Kitzmiller decision has received far more attention -- and certainly far more praise -- than it deserves. It is, after all, just a decision of a single judge and is binding only upon a small school district. And much worse, it is a decision of a crackpot judge who is the poster child of activist judges. The Kitzmiller opinion is a piece of junk, not the masterpiece that the Darwinists claim it is. Kitzmiller was decided over three years ago and we really need to get the opinions of other judges, but no such opinions are on the horizon. And I have seen cases stalled in the lower courts for three years or more -- examples are Caldwell v. Caldwell and Association of Christian Schools Intl. v. Stearns. The best chance to get other opinions was lost when the Cobb County school district took a dive by settling out of court in Selman v. Cobb County -- the school district was actually in a very strong position because the appeals court panel indicated that it was leaning towards reversal before the panel remanded the case because of missing evidence. New court cases would also give us an opportunity to apply what we have learned from the mistakes that the plaintiffs made in the Kitzmiller case.

Judge Jones showed extreme prejudice against intelligent design and the Dover defendants -- regardless of whether or not ID is a religious concept -- by saying in a Dickinson College commencement speech that his Kitzmiller decision was based on his cockamamie notion that the Founders based the Constitution's establishment clause upon a belief that organized religions 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.

He ruled that evolution is compatible with religion, a question that is completely inappropriate for judges to answer -- the opinion said,

Both Defendants and many of the leading proponents of ID make a bedrock assumption which is utterly false. Their presupposition is that evolutionary theory is antithetical to a belief in the existence of a supreme being and to religion in general. Repeatedly in this trial, Plaintiffs' scientific experts testified that the theory of evolution represents good science, is overwhelmingly accepted by the scientific community, and that it in no way conflicts with, nor does it deny, the existence of a divine creator.

The question of the compatibility of evolution and religion is non-justiciable. Questions are non-justiciable when there is “a lack of judicially discoverable and manageable standards for resolving the question.” Vieth v. Jubelirer, 541 U.S. 267 (2004).

He arrogantly assumed that he knows the answers to questions that have perplexed generations of scientists and philosophers. He dodged the crucial question of whether ID serves the genuine secular purpose of encouraging critical thinking:

Accepting for the sake of argument its proponents', as well as Defendants' argument that to introduce ID to students will encourage critical thinking, it still has utterly no place in a science curriculum. . . . .The goal of the IDM is not to encourage critical thought, but to foment a revolution which would supplant evolutionary theory with ID.

Judge Jones contradicts himself here -- why would the IDM (intelligent design movement) not have a goal to encourage critical thought if, as Jones accepted for the sake of argument, introducing ID to students will encourage critical thinking? And Jones nowhere states an opinion on whether ID encourages critical thiniking.

Without stating exceptions, he said that critics of the Kitzmiller decision had no respect for "judicial independence" and "the rule of law" (some of the opinion's biggest critics are hardcore Darwinists Jay Wexler and Larry Moran). And the whole Kitzmiller decision is badly tainted because Judge Jones likely showed a lack of restraint because an appeal of the decision was not expected because of the changeover in the school board membership. For example, the opinion's ID-as-science section was copied virtually verbatim from the plaintiffs' opening post-trial brief while ignoring the defendants' opening post-trial brief and both sides' answering post-trial briefs -- it is doubtful that Jones would have done this had he anticipated an appeal, for then the opinion would have gone to the appeals court with no answers to the defendants' points about ID-as-science. The opinion is best described by the words it used to describe the defendants -- "breathtaking inanity."
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