Andrea Bottaro posted Entry 1790 on December 20, 2005 01:31 PM.
Trackback URL: http://www.pandasthumb.org/cgi-bin/mt/mt-tb.fcgi/1785

The Discovery Institute has answered the Dover ruling. Predictably, they ignore the facts and findings by the Court, and stick to the politics.

According to the DI’s John West, the ruling is:

… an attempt by an activist federal judge to stop the spread of a scientific idea and even to prevent criticism of Darwinian evolution through government-imposed censorship rather than open debate…

and Judge John E. Jones is

an activist judge who has delusions of grandeur.

Judge Jones anticipated this reply in his ruling, pointing out that his is “manifestly not an activist Court”. West’s characterization is not only belied by Judge Jones’s ruling record, but by his entire career history. Just a few months ago staunch ID advocate Davescot [*] summed up his view of Judge Jones on Dembski’s blog this way:

Judge John E. Jones on the other hand is a good old boy brought up through the conservative ranks. He was state attorney for D.A.R.E, an Assistant Scout Master with extensively involved with local and national Boy Scouts of America, political buddy of Governor Tom Ridge (who in turn is deep in George W. Bush’s circle of power), and finally was appointed by GW hisself. Senator Rick Santorum is a Pennsylvanian in the same circles (author of the “Santorum Language” that encourages schools to teach the controversy) and last but far from least, George W. Bush hisself drove a stake in the ground saying teach the controversy. Unless Judge Jones wants to cut his career off at the knees he isn’t going to rule against the wishes of his political allies. Of course the ACLU will appeal. This won’t be over until it gets to the Supreme Court. But now we own that too.

Leaving aside the crass arrogance and the astounding presumption that judges should rule according to political patronage and ideological committments, rather than on the basis of facts and Law, this is a good summary of Judge Jones’s career. Certainly not a liberal, hardly one to harbor “delusions of grandeur”, and above all, someone who looks more interested in civil service rather than judicial activism.

A disconnection from basically verifiable facts has not hampered the Discovery Institute and ID advocates in general for the past decade or so, and it certainly won’t now, so unfortunately we can expect more ad hominem attacks on Jones.

From our side, I think we should be grateful to Judge Jones for his service, his significant effort in following highly complex scientific and philosophical arguments, his thoughtfulness on the matter, and his courage to make a certainly highly controversial decision.

Let’s face it, DaveScot was right in that the current Administration is not friendly to those who don’t toe the party line and openly disagree with the President, and the vociferous religious right is unlikely to let this one pass - certainly the possibility of career damage and personal abuse must have been present in Judge Jones’s mind. A narrow ruling would have satisfied basic legal decency and protected his own personal interests. It took real guts to do what he did, and all those who care about science and public education are indebted to him.

[*] I originally misattributed the quote to physicist and ID advocate David Heddle. I apologize to Dr. Heddle for the mistake.

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Comment #63544

Posted by PaulC on December 20, 2005 1:29 PM (e)

Predictably, they ignore the facts and findings by the Court

I’m betting they had the press release (*) mostly written ahead of time, so it would be difficult for them to include much about the actual findings. If anything that would distract them from their message.

(*) Or two different press releases if they are incurable optimists.

Comment #63546

Posted by Mr Christopher on December 20, 2005 1:29 PM (e)

Let’s hope Jones is appointed to the Supreme Court one day!

Comment #63548

Posted by Tom on December 20, 2005 1:34 PM (e)

“Let’s hope Jones is appointed to the Supreme Court one day!”

By a Democrat! Wouldn’t that be a good one.

Comment #63554

Posted by Mark Paris on December 20, 2005 1:53 PM (e)

Jones’ decision is a telling argument for an independent judiciary, as if we needed more.

Comment #63560

Posted by Steviepinhead on December 20, 2005 2:17 PM (e)

The IDiots and fundies can dream on about “cutting off [Judge Jones’s] career at the knees.”

Federal disrict court judges are appointed for life, which is one reason why the nomination and confirmation processes are so critical.

While, in theory, there’s an impeachment process, it’s virtually never invoked and hardly ever successful. It certainly wouldn’t succeed here, and is highly unlikely to be invoked, particularly where the “inane” school board members provided the judge with so much fodder to rule against them.

Comment #63570

Posted by blipey on December 20, 2005 2:38 PM (e)

I like this particular nugget from the end of the DI’s (pre?)prepared release. Casey Luskin is quoted as saying

The plans of the lawyers on both sides of this case to turn this into a landmark ruling have been preempted by the voters.

Those darn activist voters! Why don’t the people just get out of the way and let politicians and special interest groups run roughshod over their rights!?!

Comment #63572

Posted by Michael Hopkins on December 20, 2005 2:43 PM (e)

I knew it…

Judge Jones is George W. Bush nominee, Republican who who worked to get Bush elected, whose mentor is Tom Ridge, who is Lutheran, and with members of his family owns a business. And now evolution deniers want to declare him to be a liberal activist judge.

I guess it never occurred to those people that the decision was about the law. We are fortunate that in this country, most judges whether liberal or conservative really do take their jobs seriously. And that is why judges so often disappoint politicians who appoint them.

Comment #63585

Posted by Mr Christopher on December 20, 2005 3:19 PM (e)

It’s 2:21 pm central standard time and still no word from Mr Dembski himself? What gives? The rock star of intelligent design creationism has misplaced his keyboard?

Why so quiet, Brother Bill? Not a peep from www.uncommondescent.com all day?

Perhaps he slept in late today? Or maybe he is busy doing math problems…

Comment #63587

Posted by Mike on December 20, 2005 3:30 PM (e)

> “Discovery Institute continues to oppose efforts to mandate teaching
> about
> the theory of intelligent design in public schools,” emphasized West. “But
> the
> Institute strongly supports the freedom of teachers to discuss intelligent
> design in an objective manner on a voluntary basis. We also think students
> should learn about both the scientific strengths and weaknesses of Darwin’s
> theory of evolution.”

They didn’t succeed at confusing Judge Jones, but they’ve succeeded at
confusing me. They never fail to get the above message in any statement.
Its been part of their strategy for a number of years now. Its a direct
continuation of the 80’s “equal time” strategy shut down by the Supreme
Court by Lemon tested violation of the establishment clause. So what’s
their plan? They don’t want school boards to use ID, but what they want
taught is easily identifiable, even in a US court it seems, as
creationism. So they want creationism hauled into court instead of ID so
they can continue to call ID science while the cases make their way to
the new, properly prepared, Supreme Court. Alito et al. succeed at
redefining the establishment clause to the liking of
the far right, and decide that a little bit of religion in public school
science is harmless, and probably good for the kiddies anyway, so long as
the school also has good evolution education, as the DI wants them to
have. They then trot ID back out to the school boards. Does any of this
make sense?

Comment #63602

Posted by Hyperion on December 20, 2005 3:59 PM (e)

[quote]and all those who care about science and public education are indebted to him.[/quote]

As well as those of us who care deeply about the importance of judicial review and the necessity of a robust court system that places law, constitution, and precedent above petty personal or religious opinion.

This was a victory for America, to be reassured that our judiciary still respects the rule of law, even when others do not.

Comment #63627

Posted by Mr Christopher on December 20, 2005 5:30 PM (e)

Dembski (www.uncommondescent.com) is still silent today. Not a peep from the madman with a calculator. I suspect he is madly typing away a Kitzmiller response that only Pat Robertson (and the discovery institute) could love.

Who will he blame? Well the evil and atheist ACLU for starters, he will of course claim Jones is a dupe of those who would persecute Christ…I wonder if he will lay any blame on the TMLC? I think TMLC finally paid him for his “expert testimony” work so there should be no lingering bad feelings…But hey when you need to blame someone I suppose anything goes…

I simply cannot wait to read what Dembski has to say and I’m almost out of popcorn so he better chime in soon!

Comment #63642

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on December 20, 2005 6:44 PM (e)

From the DI crybabies:

an attempt by an activist federal judge to stop the spread of a scientific idea and even to prevent criticism of Darwinian evolution through government-imposed censorship rather than open debate…

From Judge Jones’ opinion:

Those who disagree with our holding will likely mark it as the product of an activist judge. If so, they will have erred as this is manifestly not an activist Court. Rather, this case came to us as the result of the activism of an ill-informed faction on a school board, aided by a national public interest law firm eager to find a constitutional test case on ID, who in combination drove the Board to adopt an imprudent and ultimately unconstitutional policy. The breathtaking inanity of the Board’s decision is evident when considered against the factual backdrop which has now been fully revealed through this trial. The students, parents, and teachers of the Dover Area School District deserved better than to be dragged into this legal maelstrom, with its resulting utter waste of monetary and personal resources.

Yep, the judge understood perfectly what IDers are all about.

Comment #63645

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on December 20, 2005 6:51 PM (e)

> “Discovery Institute continues to oppose efforts to mandate teaching
> about
> the theory of intelligent design in public schools,” emphasized West. “But
> the
> Institute strongly supports the freedom of teachers to discuss intelligent
> design in an objective manner on a voluntary basis. We also think students
> should learn about both the scientific strengths and weaknesses of Darwin’s
> theory of evolution.”

They didn’t succeed at confusing Judge Jones, but they’ve succeeded at
confusing me. They never fail to get the above message in any statement.
Its been part of their strategy for a number of years now. Its a direct
continuation of the 80’s “equal time” strategy shut down by the Supreme
Court by Lemon tested violation of the establishment clause. So what’s
their plan? They don’t want school boards to use ID, but what they want
taught is easily identifiable, even in a US court it seems, as
creationism. So they want creationism hauled into court instead of ID so
they can continue to call ID science while the cases make their way to
the new, properly prepared, Supreme Court. Alito et al. succeed at
redefining the establishment clause to the liking of
the far right, and decide that a little bit of religion in public school
science is harmless, and probably good for the kiddies anyway, so long as
the school also has good evolution education, as the DI wants them to
have. They then trot ID back out to the school boards. Does any of this
make sense?

Yes, it does, if you know the history of DI and ID. Back a few years ago, DI went barging into Ohio, yammering and blithering how they wanted their “alternative scientific theory of ID” to be made a part of the state standards. They lost, so crushingly and devestatingly that “intelligent design theory” was actually BANNED, BY NAME from the state standards.

Ever since then, the DI has made a (dishonest and deceptive) virtue out of necessity, by declaring piously that they really DON’T want to have ID taught after all — they just want to “teach the controversy about evolution”. It was, of course, the only position they COULD take after their loss in Ohio.

The next fight will be in Kansas, where their chances of winning are about as good as they were in Dover, because (1) the people behind the “teach the controversy, not ID” crapm in Kansas are the very same people who were behind the ID scam that has now been so thoroughly discredited, and (2) the Kansas Kooks were kind enough to tell the newspapers all about the religious motives they have for their “teach the controversy” BS.

ID is dead.

DI will shortly follow. Now that they have proven themsevles to be losers in court, Howie will stop writing them checks and they will fade into obscurity just like ICR did after the Mclean/Aguillard decisions. Like ICR, DI will morph into a group of ignored has-beens who make their living by selling religious tracts to the gullible.

Comment #63656

Posted by shiva on December 20, 2005 7:36 PM (e)

ID will now be indistinguishible from C to all but the most deluded kooks. This judgement is a very harsh one against IDC. The Court has traced IDC meticulously and trashed every single pretence that has been trotted out for over a decade now. Patricia Princehouse may not have to organise that debate at Case in Jan ‘06 that she offered to IDCists in Kansas some weeks ago. Because all that the scientists will have to do is to read out paragraphs from the judgement. As for the assorted ‘clubs’ on IDC in universities many are going to find it impossible to maintain the facade of respectability with a straight face. Behe for all his analogising with mousetraps and the Big Bang found no purchase with the Court. For BillD this is the end of his days of swagger and panache - not that it fooled any scientist ever. But then this is a never ending tussle. Maybe we will see the theory of ‘sudden appearance’ after all. But then with these guys having left a papertrail a mile wide and few leagues long; it will become more difficult to convince people.

Comment #63671

Posted by MrDarwin on December 20, 2005 8:39 PM (e)

I wonder, has the Discovery Institute screwed up its courage yet to tell the visitors to its website or the readers of its “Evolution News” blog that the pro-ID Dover school board was voted entirely out of office by the good people of Dover last month? Even Pat Robertson weighed in on it. I finally gave up looking for their comments about it 2 or 3 weeks after the election.

Comment #63717

Posted by David Harmon on December 20, 2005 11:19 PM (e)

Even without knowing his record, I would guess that Judge Jones is a true conservative, rather than a “neocon”.

Law is not itself a scientific enterprise, but it has a similar goal – to construct a consistent structure of principles and understandings, larger and more durable than individual humans or even politicial parties. That’s part of why federal judges get lifetime appointments, and it’s certainly where Judge Jones was coming from.

Of course, this idea, of the Rule Of Law standing above any individual official(s), is just one of the pillars of American society that ShrubCo wants to tear down. But they didn’t get to do it here….

Comment #63738

Posted by AR on December 21, 2005 12:51 AM (e)

The comment on Dembski’s blog was from DaveScot, not David Heddle.

Comment #63747

Posted by AC on December 21, 2005 1:13 AM (e)

Michael Hopkins wrote:

Judge Jones is George W. Bush nominee, Republican who who worked to get Bush elected, whose mentor is Tom Ridge, who is Lutheran, and with members of his family owns a business. And now evolution deniers want to declare him to be a liberal activist judge.

And yet, even if genuinely ignorant of these facts, when confronted with them, such a person will at best merely back down for the moment. But he will be mumbling “dern libruls” all the way.

David Harmon wrote:

Even without knowing his record, I would guess that Judge Jones is a true conservative, rather than a “neocon”.

I got the same impression as soon as I hit the “affirmative action for ID” part of the judgment.

Comment #63783

Posted by Andrea Bottaro on December 21, 2005 7:42 AM (e)

The comment on Dembski’s blog was from DaveScot, not David Heddle.

You are absolutely right, I misread. I’ll correct that.

Comment #63925

Posted by Harrison on December 21, 2005 5:33 PM (e)

I believe the real definition of “activist judge” is: any jurist who doesn’t rule the way that the conservatives want him/her to in any given case.