PZ Myers posted Entry 1789 on December 20, 2005 12:54 PM.
Trackback URL: http://www.pandasthumb.org/cgi-bin/mt/mt-tb.fcgi/1784

The Discovery Institute has responded to the Kitzmiller decision, hurling out a thunderbolt of a press release. What else would they do?

"The Dover decision 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 it won't work," said Dr. John West, Associate Director of the Center for Science and Culture at Discovery Institute, the nation's leading think tank researching the scientific theory known as intelligent design.

Their criticism has two predictable prongs: it was an activist judge, and this is censorship. Both objections have already been preempted by Judge Jones.

He was not an "activist judge", but was responding to reckless activism by "ill-informed" creationist activists. Judge Jones, by the way, was appointed by GW Bush.

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.

It was also not censorship. The judge goes out of his way to say that the creationists should be free to continue to study their ideas…they are just so poorly formed and without foundation that they do not meet the standards required to justify teaching it in a public school.

With that said, we do not question that many of the leading advocates of ID have bona fide and deeply held beliefs which drive their scholarly endeavors. Nor do we controvert that ID should continue to be studied, debated, and discussed. As stated, our conclusion today is that it is unconstitutional to teach ID as an alternative to evolution in a public school science classroom.

The DI is going to have to go shopping for a new schtick. "Intelligent Design" has just been rubbished in the courts. Can we expect "Sudden Appearance Theory" to suddenly become fashionable?

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Comment #63537

Posted by PvM on December 20, 2005 1:10 PM (e)

It must hurt how the Judge showed that Intelligent Design is scientifically vacuous and that Panda’s relies on misrepresentations and distortions to make its case.

Dr. Padian’s demonstrative slides, prepared on the basis of peer-reviewing scientific literature, illustrate how Pandas systematically distorts and misrepresents established, important evolutionary principles.

The judge also dismantles the ‘positive evidence for design’ identifying it correctly as nothing more than a reworking of the flawed Paley arguments.

Expert testimony revealed that this inductive argument is not scientific and as admitted by Professor Behe, can never be ruled out. (2:40 (Miller); 22:101 (Behe); 3:99 (Miller)).

Indeed, the assertion that design of biological systems can be inferred from the “purposeful arrangement of parts” is based upon an analogy to human design. Because we are able to recognize design of artifacts and objects, according to Professor Behe, that same reasoning can be employed to determine biological design. (18:116-17, 23:50 (Behe)). Professor Behe testified that the strength of the analogy depends upon the degree of similarity entailed in the two propositions; however, if this is the test, ID completely fails.

The worst nightmare for DI has come true: The vacuity of ID has been ‘hung out to dry’ for all to see

Comment #63538

Posted by Julie on December 20, 2005 1:12 PM (e)

The part where West accuses Jones of “delusions of grandeur” is especially priceless. (Projection, anyone?)

BTW, I’ve got an idea for a fashionable Sudden Appearance Theory. Life suddenly appeared not once, but twice. Once in the window, and once from the grassy knoll.

Comment #63539

Posted by Jim H on December 20, 2005 1:13 PM (e)

“Sudden Appearance Theory” - I like it. You should seek a Federal Grant to research it, or at least see if you can make some money writing press releases about it.

Comment #63541

Posted by PaulC on December 20, 2005 1:21 PM (e)

My favorite part was the headline: a classic case of “passive voice used to make opinion of institute lackey sound objective.”

Comment #63543

Posted by PvM on December 20, 2005 1:28 PM (e)

Judge Jones

“It is ironic that several of these individuals, who so staunchly and proudly touted their religious convictions in public, would time and again lie to cover their tracks and disguise the real purpose behind the ID Policy.”

Hmmm

Comment #63556

Posted by Coyote on December 20, 2005 2:05 PM (e)

If you read the ruling, you’ll notice how carefully Jones relies on evidence and precedent for every judgement he makes, in paragraph after paragraph. Does anyone find it out of character that the DI can’t appreciate that approach?

Comment #63569

Posted by Tyrannosaurus on December 20, 2005 2:35 PM (e)

Judge Jones, certainly not a liberal by any stretch of the imagination, showed the dishonesty and vacuity of the ID movement proponents and followers. Judge Jones also showed the flaws of the “ID theory” starting with the fact that they have no theory at all, from that point on everything related to ID is downhill.
Regardless of how careful Judge Jones is in crafting his arguments and judgment the IDiots will never appreciate his approach since they are completely dishonest and morally bankrupt.

Comment #63575

Posted by FastEddie on December 20, 2005 3:05 PM (e)

Only Nixon could go to China. So it is that only a Bush appointee, and Christian, could squish intelligent design.

Comment #63586

Posted by raj on December 20, 2005 3:26 PM (e)

Given the length of the opinion (with which I agree), I wonder whether the judge had written the vast majority of it prior to trial and updated it as the trial went on. He would have known the issues prior to trial. The trial was a waste of time and money. And now the school board will apparently have to pay the plaintiff’s costs and attorneys’ fees.

Comment #63593

Posted by David Wilford on December 20, 2005 3:41 PM (e)

“Sudden Appliance Theory”? Is that like a Bass-O-Matic in reverse?

Comment #63595

Posted by Miguelito on December 20, 2005 3:48 PM (e)

The DI is going to have to go shopping for a new schtick. “Intelligent Design” has just been rubbished in the courts. Can we expect “Sudden Appearance Theory” to suddenly become fashionable?

How about “Sudden Human Introduction Theory”.

Perhaps there should be a contest for the best acronym?

Comment #63600

Posted by sir_toejam on December 20, 2005 3:57 PM (e)

Sudden Emergence Theory of Intelligence”

…oh wait, I think that acronym is already taken…

Comment #63607

Posted by Steviepinhead on December 20, 2005 4:04 PM (e)

Dubious Origins Of Fully Upright Sapients?

Comment #63609

Posted by Russell on December 20, 2005 4:09 PM (e)

Re: “Sudden Appearance Theory”.

Creationists already tried that about 15 years ago. (Unless there’s some significant difference between “abrupt” and “sudden” that I’m not aware of.)

It didn’t get nearly as far as the “Intelligent Design” scam, so they’re going to have to get more creative next time around.

Comment #63615

Posted by Russell on December 20, 2005 4:31 PM (e)

Julie wrote:

The part where West accuses Jones of “delusions of grandeur” is especially priceless. (Projection, anyone?)

Especially when you couple it with this, in the very same article:

…said Dr. John West, Associate Director of the Center for Science and Culture at Discovery Institute, the nation’s leading think tank researching the scientific theory known as intelligent design.

Note that the byline for this press release is “Staff, Discovery Institute”.

So that’s how they see themselves.

Comment #63660

Posted by snaxalotl on December 20, 2005 7:58 PM (e)

nice example of the complete ID divorce from reality.

if you tried to follow the case through the (not very comprehensive)descriptions by ID supporters, one of the few things you noticed was that the case was going very well for them. This included, for example, the unassailable competence of Behe’s awesome testimony, and the contempt Jones had for Forrest’s irrational, biased, unsholarly testimony. I think Evopeach was ready to bet the family farm on a ruling in favor of ID.

suddenly, an ID supporter is expected to believe that the court was hostile to the ID case all along. it must be tiring and depressing to maintain a head full of facts which don’t properly fit together, and excuses for why every unanticipated observation really does fit into your belief system.

Comment #63701

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on December 20, 2005 10:17 PM (e)

Discovery Institute, the nation’s leading think tank researching the scientific theory known as intelligent design.

My guess is that Howie will stop sending checks pretty soon. I doubt he’s very happy with the performance of DI’s, uh, “scientific theory known as intelligent design”. (snicker) (giggle)

Most con artists know when to skip town just BEFORE the scam is uncovered.

DI apparently doesn’t.

Comment #63771

Posted by EmmePeel on December 21, 2005 4:53 AM (e)

steviepinhead wrote:

Dubious Origins Of Fully Upright Sapients?

LOL, not bad! Maybe

Directed Origins Of Fully Upright Sapiens

Comment #63777

Posted by k keating on December 21, 2005 6:14 AM (e)

Demsiki is quoted in the NYT as follows:

“I think the big lesson is, let’s go to work and really develop this theory and not try to win this in the court of public opinion,” Dr. Dembski said. “The burden is on us to produce.”

So maybe there is some hope. When he produces nothing will be be embarrassed enough to walk away?

I found Judge Jones comment – that ID didn’t belong in a “science” class interesting. Because this is the point fundamentalists always chose to ignore. They could teach ID in a philosophy class, just as the could present the Bible, the Koran etc. in a philosophy or comparative religions class or even as literature. But their objection is not that it can’t be taught but that it can’t be integrated into the curriculum where ever they wish to place it as a counterpoint to the corrupting influence of materialism and secular humanism (which of course is corrupting the nation and youth of today).

It won’t matter that the Judge was appointed by George W. Bush just like it didn’t matter that the Judge in Schiavo case was a Republican and all the Bush and Reagan appointees at the appeals levels upheld his decision. You get excluded from the club once you rule the wrong way because you were either “brainwashed” or really a stealth liberal.

Comment #63784

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on December 21, 2005 7:49 AM (e)

“I think the big lesson is, let’s go to work and really develop this theory and not try to win this in the court of public opinion,” Dr. Dembski said. “The burden is on us to produce.”

No shit.

Hey Bill, maybe you should have had that brilliant insight BEFORE you and your pals started your political campaign to force your religious opinions into science whether science liked it or not …. ?

These guys are losers, in every sense of the word. (sigh)

Comment #63791

Posted by steve s on December 21, 2005 8:44 AM (e)

“The burden is on us to produce.” Dembski said, then gulped.

Good luck Bill! If you need us, we’ll be in the cocktail lounge celebrating Kitzmas!

Comment #63797

Posted by One Brow on December 21, 2005 9:53 AM (e)

Purposeful Organizaiton Of Parts

Comment #63800

Posted by rdog29 on December 21, 2005 9:58 AM (e)

“The burden is on us to produce.” Wow! A statement from Dembski that makes some sense? What are the chances?!

His pet monkey must have randomly typed the sentence on Bill’s keyboard.

Comment #63810

Posted by KL on December 21, 2005 11:11 AM (e)

“The burden is on us to produce.” Wow! A statement from Dembski that makes some sense? What are the chances?!

Yeah, but if you read the comments on his blog by his disciples, they still don’t get it.

Now, if they would just shut up and “do science” (or do enough to see that there is no science), they would be too preoccupied to rant.

Comment #63811

Posted by Russell on December 21, 2005 11:11 AM (e)

Now here’s a serious question.

It seems to me the “repackaging” of ID had already begun when the Disco Inst. started its “teach the controversy” campaign. The party line is that they don’t demand the teaching of “intelligent design”, but on promoting bogus criticism of evolution. (Or, as Ohio creationist educator and tragic DI martyr, St. Bryan of Leonard, phrases it: “teach scientific evidence both favoring and challenging evolution.”)

So my serious question, to those better able than I to interpret legal tea leaves: Does the Dover decision have anything to say to that approach?

Comment #63822

Posted by KL on December 21, 2005 12:37 PM (e)

I’ve seen it! It’s already begun (on arn.org)

It’s now called “directed evolution”

Comment #63831

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

David Wilford wrote:

“Sudden Appliance Theory”? Is that like a Bass-O-Matic in reverse?

Yes, except it runs on magic and needs no ingredients to produce a whole bass. Quite a deus ex machina!

Litigated Inference: Evolution Sucks?

Comment #63836

Posted by Russell on December 21, 2005 1:26 PM (e)

I wrote:

So my serious question, to those better able than I to interpret legal tea leaves: Does the Dover decision have anything to say to that approach [relabeling the anti-evolution package as “teaching the controversy”]?

Never mind. The answer is on page 89 of Jones’s decision:


Moreover, ID’s backers have sought to avoid the scientific scrutiny which we have
now determined that it cannot withstand by advocating that the controversy, but
not ID itself, should be taught in science class. This tactic is at best disingenuous, and at worst a canard. The goal of the IDM is not to encourage critical thought,
but to foment a revolution which would supplant evolutionary theory with ID.

Comment #63838

Posted by Russell on December 21, 2005 1:32 PM (e)

It is a testimony to the linguistic legerdemain of the DI that all of the misdirection in the slogan “Teach the Controversy” is contained in that innocent little “the” in the middle.

Comment #63869

Posted by Jason on December 21, 2005 2:53 PM (e)

I was reading this article at the DI website:
http://www.evolutionnews.org/2005/12/judge_jones_hopeless_monster.html

and the first two items on the list contradict each other!
Jeezum Petes people.

10) It mischaracterizes ID as a supernatural explanation even though it isn’t and even though both pro-ID expert scientists testified it wasn’t. In short, it lets the critics define ID rather than the proponents.

9) It overreaches the judicial arm by ruling that the nature of science is characterized by methodological naturalism and that intelligent design is not science.

So if ID doesn’t follow naturalism, what does it follow? Is the only other choice supernaturalism?

If ID doesn’t isn’t part of science as methodological naturalism, doesn’t this mean that the only alternative is that it uses supernaturalism?

Comment #63959

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on December 21, 2005 7:39 PM (e)

It’s now called “directed evolution”

Ha. The fundies hate the WORD “evolution” even more than they hate the concept.

Remember what I said before about the fundie fascination with the power of words?