Andrea Bottaro posted Entry 1897 on January 10, 2006 05:05 PM.
Trackback URL: http://www.pandasthumb.org/cgi-bin/mt/mt-tb.fcgi/1892

Following the Dover shipwreck, frantic salvage P.R. work is going on at the Discovery Institute, much of it at the expense of lucidity. Can the slightly different ID tactics in Kansas, Ohio and Georgia escape the precedent set by Judge Jones’s decision? In Ohio in particular, things may be reaching a critical point as we speak. Instead of reassessing their approach, in a last-ditch attempt to stave off another defeat the DI resorts to some good old-fashioned disinformation tactics.

In the wake of a judge’s ruling banning intelligent design from the Dover, Pennsylvania school district, special interest groups opposed to teaching the controversy about Darwinian evolution are trying to pressure the Ohio State Board of Education to repeal an Ohio state science standard which requires students to be able to “describe how scientists continue to investigate and critically analyze aspects of evolutionary theory.” The standards clearly state that they “do not mandate the teaching or testing of intelligent design.”

“The Dover ruling clearly has no relevance for Ohio,” said Luskin. “Ohio is not teaching intelligent design, making this a completely different issue.”

“The sad truth is that there are some Darwinists out there who want to impose dogmatism in the curriculum, and don’t want students to know all there is to know about Darwinian evolution,” Luskin added. “It is critically important that students learn about all the most current scientific evidence both for and against the theory.”

Alas for Luskin and the DI, this is not a “completely different issue”, and putting on the “controversy” tutu isn’t enough to make the ID warthog look like a ballerina.

Judge Jones already explicitly recognized and exposed this strategy in the Kitzmiller ruling:

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.
Kitzmiller v DASD, Memorandum Opinion, p 89

Quite obviously, the “teach the controversy” approach, and its close cousin the “critical analysis curriculum”, are all one and the same with Intelligent Design: same arguments, same proponents, same sources. As Jones notes, ID and “teach the controversy” also share the same ultimate goal: to introduce in science classes, as if it were a valid scientific hypothesis, the (explicit or implicit) possibility that a putative, empirically undetectable supernatural agent is a better explanation for biological diversity than known naturalistic mechanisms.

If there is one thing that the Kitzmiller case should have taught ID advocates, is that clumsy cosmetic surgery operations do not change the substance of ideas, and that it is wishful thinking that these stratagems would fool an attentive and objective observer. Just like the history and track record of ID linked it inexorably to Creation Science, so are these new school-targeted anti-evolution strategies linked to ID in both spirit and content. Jones could see right through it, and so can pretty much everyone else.

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Comment #69792

Posted by Flint on January 10, 2006 5:34 PM (e)

Jones could see right through it, and so can pretty much everyone else.

I remain convinced that the proximate goal here isn’t to fool the courts, but rather to provide as well-greased a set of plausible deniability skids as possible to a judge who knows exactly what ID is intended to do, and his faith tells him God likes it.

And so we have Judge Carnes saying things like, well, evolution IS a theory, and keeping an open mind IS a good idea, and critical thinking IS what school is all about.

Does anyone seriously think that Carnes doesn’t understand the religious agenda?

Comment #69793

Posted by Just Bob on January 10, 2006 5:42 PM (e)

Or Alito? How about Roberts? Will thomas sign on without comment?

Comment #69794

Posted by Bayesian Bouffant, FCD on January 10, 2006 5:42 PM (e)

Voltaire wrote:

Lord, please make my opponents ridiculous.

Comment #69796

Posted by jim on January 10, 2006 5:44 PM (e)

Flint,

I agree, the evidence is pretty plain and it’s available to anyone that cares to perform even a quick background check.

Of course, they’re pandering to an audience for whom questioning any aspect of the agenda is grounds for exclusion (witness Dave Scott at UC).

Comment #69800

Posted by Liz on January 10, 2006 6:09 PM (e)

After following the link to DI about their Ohio tactics, I found the January 9th posting about the American’s United response to a ID philosophy class in Frazier Mountain High School outside of Bakersfield, CA.

Does anyone know what was the actual text of the AU letter sent to the
district superintendent that DI described as follows:

Instead, the school district is issued with an ultimatum according to the Bakersfield Calfiornian which reports that the districts superintendent received a nasty letter from Americans United for Separation of Church State saying in part:

“Pull the intelligent design class at Frazier Mountain High School,” was the letter’s ominous message, “or we file an injunction.”

Comment #69806

Posted by Steviepinhead on January 10, 2006 6:25 PM (e)

Weren’t the Ohio standards drafted by the guy who tried to stack his thesis committee at OSU with creationists, in contravention of the rules of the school?

Won’t all this come out in any court discovery, just like the evidence in the Dover case about the editorial hijinks with Pandas and People in Dover, and all the religious motivation evidence on the Dover school board?

A classic case of the Rev. Dr.’s “Extend Foot - Pull Trigger” Syndrome.

Comment #69807

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on January 10, 2006 6:29 PM (e)

Here are the thoughts I have on Ohio/Kansas:

Now that the Dover Dolts are finished with, it’s time to move on to the next fight, the Kansas Kooks and the Ohio Halfwits. The IDers had already, even before the Dover Dolts introduced their “statement”, dropped the “teach our alternative scientific theory of design” in favor of “OK, *don’t* teach our alternative scientific theory of ID – teach the controversy about evolution instead”. And this is the argument they are presenting in Ohio and Kansas. The Dover decision, DI is arguing, doesn’t apply to the “teach the controversy” approach, since, they say, “teach the controversy” doesn’t mention ID and doesn’t attempt to teach it.

To beat this strategy in court, we therefore need to demonstrate that (1) teach the controversy is nothing but the same old creation “science” and “design theory” under a different name, and (2) it has the same religious motivation and effect that creation ‘science’ and ID did.

Fortunately for us, this is not difficult to demonstrate, using the IDer’s own statements.

A short history of the “teach our alternative theory/ don’t teach our alternative theory” switch: The IDers were forced into this position by their loss in Ohio, where they tried to push for the insertion of “ID theory” into the state science standards. The Ohio officials were unimpressed with the Discovery Institute arguments, and instead of including ID in the state standards, they BANNED it. Specifically. By name. “The intent of this indicator does not mandate the teaching or testing of Intelligent Design.” (Ohio Board of Education, December 10, 2002)

This forced the DI into an abrupt change, which was spelled out by DI fellow Stephen Meyer during a presentation sponsored by the Ohio Board:

“Finally, and most importantly, Meyer offered a “compromise” on the issue. This was, of course, accompanied by a slide labeled “compromise” showing cartoon people smiling, shaking hands, and slapping one another on the back. Compromises, apparently, make people very happy. The compromise was that his side was willing to drop its insistence that ID be placed in the State standards — if, of course, the standards made it clear that individual teachers should be free to teach the scientific controversy about Darwinism.” (Kenneth Miller, Ohio Citizens for Science website)

As part of the new strategy, members of the Ohio Board of Education proposed a “model lesson plan” that was largely written by Discovery Institute members and supporters, entitled “Critical Analysis of Evolution”. The model lesson pointed out the same supposed “scientific problems with evolution” that the Discovery Institute had been preaching for years. Included in the model lesson plan were “goals” such as:

“Describe one piece of evidence used to challenge evolution and explain why it is important.

Compare and contrast the supporting and challenging information regarding the aspect of evolution you studied.

Evaluate the scientific data supporting and challenging areas of evolution in light of the scientific method. In other words, is the data that is used to support or challenge evolution consistent or inconsistent with the scientific method? Are there any limitations? (NOTE: steps of scientific method: Observation, hypothesis, test, retest and conclusion)”

The model lesson plan included links to several Internet websites from the Discovery Institute and other supporters of intelligent design “theory”. These websites were later dropped after heavy criticism. Also dropped was a direct reference to the anti-evolution book “Icons of Evolution”, written by Discovery Institute member Jonathan Wells.

In March 2003, the Board passed a modified version of the lesson plan which, while erasing all of the references to intelligent design “theory”, nevertheless accepted most of the Discovery Institute’s “teach the controversy” strategy and included many of the supposed “scientific criticisms of evolution” that have been trotted out for years by the Discovery Institute and other creationists.

Meanwhile, in August 1999, a group of creationists on the Kansas State Education Board, led by veterinarian Steve Abrams, tried to cut evolution from the state standards. The action failed, but caused so much outrage that most of the board members were kicked out of office in the next election.

In 2004, however, riding on Bush’s coattails, the fundamentalists again captured a majority on the Education Board, and once again made plans to advance a creationist agenda. A routine periodic evaluation of the state’s science curriculum led to a majority report, written by 17 scientists, listing evolution as the core concept of modern biology, and a minority report, written by the 8 creationists/IDers, who rejected evolution. The Education Board, with its new fundie majority, rejected the majority report and adopted a minority report that followed the Discovery Institute’s new “teach the controversy” line. Board Chairman Steven Abrams stated; “The Minority Report does not mandate the teaching of Intelligent Design. Intelligent Design is not a code word for creationism. Teaching the arguments against evolution is not a code word for creationism. It is simply good science education. At this point, however, we do not think it’s appropriate to mandate the teaching of Intelligent Design. It’s a fairly new science, it’s a modern science of Intelligent Design, it’s a maturing science and perhaps in time it would be there, but at this point we think mandating it is inappropriate.” (Kansas Hearings transcript)

In order for DI’s “teach the controversy” policy to survive court challenges in Ohion and Kansas, it must survive two different questions. First, is “teach the controversy” different in any substantial way from either intelligent design ‘theory’ or creation ‘science’, both of which have already been ruled illegal by the courts? And second, is “teach the controversy” religiously motivated, does it imply state endorsement of religion, or does it have the effect of advancing religion?

If the answer to the first question is “no”, or if the answer to the second question is “yes”, then “teach the controversy” fails.

So, is “teach the controversy” different in any substantial way from either ID or creation “science”? No. In fact, they are all identical. In the case of Ohio, this was made obvious by the fact that all of the “scientific evidence against evolution” listed by the proposed “teach the controversy” curriculum was lifted intact, word for word, from standard ID books and websites. Indeed, the standards even attempted to list these ID resources themselves as part of the lesson plan. All of the “controversies about evolution” listed by the proposed curriculum are standard ID boilerplate, and most of them have already been presented as part of the “scientific theory of intelligent design” and/or creation ‘science’. None of these ‘arguments against evolution” has appeared in any peer-reviewed science journal with any supporting data or evidence. All of them are found in ID/creation ‘science’ texts, and ONLY in ID/creationist texts. The arguments are not substantially changed, in form or in substance, from the very same previous arguments made in support of ID and/or creationism.

In the case of Kansas, the absolute unity between ID/creationism and “the scientific arguments against evolution” were spelled out, in great detail, during the “hearings” that were held by the Board before adopting the “teach the controversy” policy. During these hearings, 23 witnesses testified in favor of “teach the controversy”. Every “scientific argument against evolution” presented by these 23 witnesses had already been made previously by creation ‘scientists’ and/or intelligent design “theorists”. In addition, several of the witnesses testified to their belief that science should not be “limited” to “naturalistic” or “materialistic” explanations, that humans and apes have a separate ancestry, that the earth is relatively young, that evolution can occur only within narrowly fixed limits, and that life made a sudden appearence through the actions of a designer. All of these are tenets of creation ‘science’ as defined in the Arkansas Act 590 bill, thus establishing that the arguments made by creation “science” and “teach the controversy” are in fact identical and have not changed at all in the intervening 25 years.

In both cases, “teach the controversy” is based upon the same false “two models” approach already used by both creation “scientists” and IDers. Under this view, any evidence against evolution must necessarily be viewed as evidence for creation/design. The intention of the “teach the controversy” approach is thus made apparent – any “evidence against evolution” is viewed by both creation “scientists” and intelligent design “theorists” as support for their “alternative model”, even if that “alternative model is un-named. The intent and aims of both “teach the controversy” and ID/creationism are therefore one and the same — to attempt to discredit evolution in favor of a religious model of origins.

Not only are the aims, intent and arguments presented in the Ohio “teach the controversy” approach identical in every way with ID and/or creation “science”, but it is the very same people presenting them as ID and/or creation science. In the case of Ohio, the “teach the controversy” policy was itself proposed by the Discovery Institute, as a “compromise” over teaching intelligent design “theory”. As a matter of public record, the Discovery Institute introduced its “compromise” only after it became apparent that the Ohio Board would not only not approve teaching intelligent design “theory”, but would actually ban it, by name. At a hearing about the “teach the controversy” policy in March 2002, leading ID “theorists” Jonathan Wells and Stephen Meyer both spoke in favor of the policy. Ohio Board member Deborah Owens-Fink, who asserted that the policy contained nothing from ID, had nevertheless herself introduced measures in 2000 and in 2002 that would have presented ID in class as a scientific theory. Board members Robert Lattimer and Michael Cochran both also spoke in favor of including ID “theory” in the standards, before supporting the “teach the controversy” policy and declaring that it did not contain any ID theory.

The fact that IDers themselves introduced and supported the “teach the controversy” policy in Ohio indicates clearly that “teach the controversy” and “intelligent design” are one and the same, with the same supporters, same financial/political backers, and same framers.

In the case of Kansas, the continuity between the supporters/framers of “teach the controversy” and Creationism/design are apparent from the witnesses who testified in support of “teach the controversy” at the hearings. Among those who spoke in favor of “teach the controversy” were Stephen Meyer, William Dembski, and Jonathan Wells, all of whom were fellows at the Discovery Institute, all of whom were recognized as leading figures in the intelligent design”theory” movement, and all of whom had written extensive ID materials that were being offered as part of the “scientific arguments against evolution”. Another witness was Charles Thaxton, who was one of the chief architects of the intelligent design movement’s Wedge Strategy. Even more clearly than in Ohio, Kansas shows us that “teach the controversy”, far from being substantially different than intelligent design ‘theory”, is in fact written, produced and directed by the very same people, and makes the very same arguments. There simply is no substantial difference between ID/creationism and the “teach the controversy” policies in Kansas and Ohio.

Quite aside from the fact that “teach the controversy” is indistinguishable in any substantive sense from creation ‘science” and ID, if it can be shown that the policy has religious motivations, has the effect of advancing religion, or implies governmental endorsement of religion, it will independently fail on church/state grounds. And this is not difficult to show.

In Kansas, the religious motives behind the “teach the controversy” policy are explicit and obvious. The Chairman of the education board, Steve Abrams, who played a pivotal role in getting the “teach the controversy” policy adopted, has made open statements to the press pointing out his religious motivations: ““At some point in time, if you compare evolution and the Bible, you have to decide which one you believe. That’s the bottom line.” (Lawrence Journal-World, Sept 24, 2005) Board member Kathy Martin, when asked if ID had a religious agenda, Martin declared, “Of course this is a Christian agenda. We are a Christian nation. Our country is made up of Christian conservatives. We don’t often speak up, but we need to stand up and let our voices be heard. (Pitch.Com, May 5, 2005) Prior to the hearings, Board member Connie Morris asked for a list of witnesses that those opposing the policy planned to call, explaining that she would be “praying over” the witness list. (Kansas Star, April 20,2005)

In Ohio, the board members were more careful not to speak openly of any religious motives. The Discovery Institute members and other IDers who introduced the “compromise”, however, have been publicly vocal about their religious motivations. One of the early IDers to show up in Ohio was John Calvert (who was also the lawyer who questioned the 23 witnesses in the Kansas hearings). The Kansas City Star reports (June 14, 2005): “Ohio began work on its standards in 2001. It was the same year that Calvert retired early from the Lathrop & Gage law firm to devote his time to the Intelligent Design Network of Shawnee Mission, which he had co-founded. On a cold January night in 2002, Calvert was in Columbus, Ohio, to address the standards committee of the Ohio Board of Education. The committee is comprised of about half of the state board’s 19 members. One of them, evolution defender Martha Wise, remembers Calvert well. “I sat through his half-hour presentation and thought, ‘What is he talking about — a higher power?’ During a break, I remember going over to some people who are recognized as our Ohio Academy of Science and I said to them: ‘It sounds like he is talking about God’ and they said: ‘You got it.’ I was flabbergasted.”

The conclusion seems clear and inescapable, in both Ohio and Kansas. The “teach the controversy” policy is identical in every substantive way with creation “science” and/or ID “theory, both of which have already been ruled illegal on church/state grounds. “Teach the controversy” and ID/creationism both depend on exactly the same “scientific arguments” – none of which have ever been published in any scientific journal, none of which are accepted as valid by the scientific community, and all of which are lifted, word for word, from creation “science” and ID texts. The identical nature of the “controversy”/ID arguments is matched by a similar identity in supporters, backers and framers. The people who have put together and are pushing for adoption of “teach the controversy” are the very same people who were earlier putting together and pushing for adoption of creation “science” and/or ID “theory”. And public statements from both board members and from the individuals who helped formulate and implement the “teach the controversy” policy make it clear that they are still motivated by the very same religious motives that fueled their earlier efforts to introduce creationism/ID into classrooms.

In short, “teach the controversy” *IS* creationism/intelligent design. There is no substantive difference between them. “Teach the controversy” is, transparently, nothing more than an attempt to respond to court rulings banning creationism/ID by dropping the words altogether, while leaving the arguments the same.

Comment #69809

Posted by Mr Christopher on January 10, 2006 6:32 PM (e)

American’s United would do well to offer a copy of the letter they supposedly sent and not let another day go by where this school district keep portraying them as bullies.

Also, I just went by there web site. No obvious mention of this riff raff in California.

Comment #69813

Posted by Bill Gascoyne on January 10, 2006 6:41 PM (e)

Only slightly off-topic:

Why isn’t there more emphasis to the other side’s potential converts about viewing the issue backwards. In other words, what are the theological implications if the ID argument is correct? I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, if ID is right and God left fingerprints in the bacterial flagellum or some such that we’re just now becoming sophisticated enough to recognize, then it signals the end of faith. If you can prove objectively that God exists, then faith becomes superfluous, and according to Christian doctorine (if I’m not mistaken; I’m no expert), that’s a heresy.

Comment #69817

Posted by Christie Johnson on January 10, 2006 6:47 PM (e)

Liz wrote:

After following the link to DI about their Ohio tactics, I found the January 9th posting about the American’s United response to a ID philosophy class in Frazier Mountain High School outside of Bakersfield, CA.

Link to Bakersfield Californian article

From the article:

>>Wight says the school’s philosophy class covers components of the intelligent design theory, introductory philosophy, Darwin’s theory of evolution and the origins of life according to Greek mythology.

What I think is odd about this is that per the article they’re teaching *science* in a philosophy class. It denigrates the credibility of Darwinian evolution as a science by treating it as philosophy (and I think Judge Jones addressed the idea of denigrating it in his decision) - the reverse of the Dover case where they treated the philosophy (or whatever) of ID as a science.

Also they’ve got one apple in a set of oranges. ID (origins of life,) introductory philosophy (lots of lofty ideas from different cultures that probably include the origins of life and human-kind’s specialness, but here I’m really guessing,) the origins of life per the ancient Greeks, and – here’s the apple – Darwinian evolution, which does not cover the origin of life, and does not belong in a philosophy class.

So the pretense >>”Yeah, big time,” Wight says. “We’re not advocating religion at all. This is an overview class where we expect students to come up with their own interpretations and own ideas and write their own convictions.” seems a bit flimsy to me.

Comment #69822

Posted by B. Spitzer on January 10, 2006 6:57 PM (e)

Lenny–

Keep a copy of your post #69807. A little editing, and you could practically submit it as an amicus curae.

Comment #69824

Posted by Jim Lippard on January 10, 2006 7:00 PM (e)

There’s nothing wrong with teaching basic evolutionary science in a philosophy class. I’d recommend using something like Elliott Sober’s _Philosophy of Biology_ for that very subject.

You can’t do philosophy of biology without knowing something about biology and evolution. I don’t see that this denigrates evolution or biology.

Comment #69828

Posted by Liz on January 10, 2006 7:08 PM (e)

Note: the “editorial” in the Bakersfield California was written by Marylee Shrider, “the conservative take on life in Kern County”. So it makes sense the piece’s spin on the issue and why the DIers would refer to it on their website. This is not an objective piece of reporting.

I agree with Mr. Christopher that the AU needs to respond.

Comment #69832

Posted by caerbannog on January 10, 2006 7:27 PM (e)

Here are links to information about the course syllabus:

http://www.mountainenterprise.com/IntelDesignSyl/IntelDesignSyllabus051209.htm

http://www.mountainenterprise.com/IntelDesignSyl/IntelDesignSyllabus051209_kjh_markup.htm

http://www.mountainenterprise.com/IntelDesignSyl/Syllabus-051229.html

As you can see, it’s all SOS (the Same Old S**t). Anything to sneak creationism into the public school curricula, by any means necessary.

Note the bit of backpedalling in the “revised” course syllabus (last link above).

Comment #69833

Posted by Christie Johnson on January 10, 2006 7:28 PM (e)

Jim Lippard wrote:

You can’t do philosophy of biology without knowing something about biology and evolution. I don’t see that this denigrates evolution or biology.

Fair enough. But can you do high school philosophy without knowing about biology? It’s the match-up of the subjects that seems suspect to me.

I imagine it depends how they’re using “Philosophy,” and whether they teach “the philosophy of biology” or (as Dictionary.com puts it - probably not great, but it’s handy) “Investigation of the nature, causes, or principles of reality, knowledge, or values, based on logical reasoning rather than empirical methods.” If the latter, then does Darwinian evolution still fit?

Thanks for the recommended reading. I’ll check it out.

Comment #69835

Posted by Larry Fafarman on January 10, 2006 7:39 PM (e)

Comment #69800 posted by Liz on January 10, 2006 06:09 PM

Instead, the school district is issued with an ultimatum according to the Bakersfield Calfiornian which reports that the districts superintendent received a nasty letter from Americans United for Separation of Church State saying in part:
“Pull the intelligent design class at Frazier Mountain High School,” was the letter’s ominous message, “or we file an injunction.”

Isn’t this Frazier Mountain HS course the kind of course that KU professor Paul Mirecki said would be a “nice slap in the big fat face of the fundies”?

Comment #69809 posted by Mr Christopher on January 10, 2006 06:32 PM
American’s United would do well to offer a copy of the letter they supposedly sent and not let another day go by where this school district keep portraying them as bullies.

Doesn’t the quote from the letter say it all ? The quote does not ask that the course be modified; the quote just asks the school district to “pull” the course – or else.

Apparently Americans United has been emboldened by its little “victory” in the Kitzmiller v. Dover case. But even the Dover opinion did not say that ID could not be taught in a philosophy class.

Comment #69839

Posted by jim on January 10, 2006 7:46 PM (e)

Lenny,

Excellent read. I agree with B. Spitzer. You should keep a copy of this for later. Perhaps forward a copy to Mr. Rotheschild, see if he’d like to carry the banner just a little further?

Comment #69840

Posted by Liz on January 10, 2006 7:49 PM (e)

A Law suit has been filed by AU against El Tejon (ie. Frazier Mountain)

See the AP article.

Comment #69843

Posted by Popper's ghost on January 10, 2006 8:00 PM (e)

Jim Lippard wrote:

There’s nothing wrong with teaching basic evolutionary science in a philosophy class. I’d recommend using something like Elliott Sober’s _Philosophy of Biology_ for that very subject.

You can’t do philosophy of biology without knowing something about biology and evolution. I don’t see that this denigrates evolution or biology.

That’s a lovely strawman, but it has no relevance to a high school philosophy class that offers “Darwin’s theory of evolution” as one of several alternative views on the origins of life.

Comment #69844

Posted by Mr Christopher on January 10, 2006 8:00 PM (e)

Liz thanks for that update. Ok, warm up chief intelligent deign creationism theologian William Dembski for the defense and bring on the Discovery Institute!

Comment #69845

Posted by Wislu Plethora on January 10, 2006 8:03 PM (e)

Lenny—

Keep a copy of your post #69807. A little editing, and you could practically submit it as an amicus curae.

Or he could market it as a cure for insomnia. ;>)

Comment #69847

Posted by Andrea Bottaro on January 10, 2006 8:09 PM (e)

Larry Fafman:
Doesn’t the quote from the letter say it all ? The quote does not ask that the course be modified; the quote just asks the school district to “pull” the course — or else.

As I read it, that quote is from Wight describing what the letter says, no the letter itself. It seems rather unlikely that AU has lawyers who say, literally:
“Pull the intelligent design class at Frazier Mountain High School, or we file an injunction.”

As far as the specifics of the case go, of course the crucial issue is whether this is a course in Creation science/ID under the guise of a philosophy course, or if it is a genuine course in the philosophical issues underlying ID/Creationism vs science controversy.

From the little I can gather from the syllabus, especially the supporting material, this looks suspiciously just like an attempt to expose students to the usual, discredited Creationist material under false pretenses (i.e. teaching philosophy). If so, it clearly goes against the spirit of the many rulings against teaching Creationism, as well as the Kitzmiller decision, if not their letter. However, I’d like to read the actual lesson plans and see what the teacher has to say before making a final judgement.

Comment #69848

Posted by KiwiInOz on January 10, 2006 8:11 PM (e)

Having evolution discussed in a philosophy class would be good IF:

It was examining different ways of “knowing” about the world, in this case the diversity of species and human origins, i.e. ID = faith driving logical reasoning, evolution = empirical evidence driving logical reasoning, greek mythology = faith driving logical reasoning. Then asking the questions such as ‘Which should carry more weight, and why?’, and ‘why is there no longer a belief in the Greek pantheon of gods?’

Or

It was discussing the philosophical implications of the reality of evolution on personal and/or religious beliefs regarding one’s place in the world.

It could be quite confronting for some.

However I have a sneaking suspicion that in this class evolution will be relegated (denigrated) to a belief system that one can choose to believe or not, rather than an empirically demonstrated reality.

Comment #69849

Posted by Liz on January 10, 2006 8:11 PM (e)

Isn’t it nice that Sharon (the teacher) is planning on presenting a balance of treatment of ID and evolution….

(As exerpted from her syllabus)

2. What is Intelligent Design? @ 5 days

3. What is Darwinism/ Evolution? @5 days

There is actually 5 days of materials to present on ID?

Ha!

Comment #69850

Posted by the pro from dover on January 10, 2006 8:20 PM (e)

And as biblical creation begat natural theolology and that begat creation science and that begat intelligent design and that begat teach the controversy so will teach the controversy inevitably beget? its own spawn and so ad infinitum wasting scarce taxpayer resources and the eager contributions of countless minions of the faithful with nothing else to do with their hard earned wages while waiting for the rapture. Meanwhile Philip Johnson is crying all the way to the bank. James Dobson should take a lesson from this boy.

Comment #69857

Posted by Mr Christopher on January 10, 2006 8:49 PM (e)

This comes from the syllabi

Students will prepare a position paper supporting their beliefs on the subject of evolution or intelligent design

This is the exact forcing students to choose one over the other that Judge Jones wrote about.

I wonder if the ACLU is going to participate in this one?

Comment #69858

Posted by Larry Fafarman on January 10, 2006 8:51 PM (e)

Comment #69822 posted by B. Spitzer on January 10, 2006 06:57 PM

Lenny—

Keep a copy of your post #69807. A little editing, and you could practically submit it as an amicus curae.

When did Lenny become a lawyer ?

Just giving him some of his own medicine. He said the same thing about me in response to a comment of mine consisting of an extensively researched legal analysis which — believe it or not – supported his position !!!!!!

By the way, you don’t have to be a lawyer to write an amicus curiae brief.

Comment #69861

Posted by KiwiInOz on January 10, 2006 9:00 PM (e)

It’s interesting that the syllabus pretty much identifies the conclusion of each component of the course. For example, under What is ID? the question is asked whether it is based on science, and under What is darwinism/evolution? the question is asked whether it is based on a religion.

The course answers will of course be Yes and Yes, based on such seminal scientific works as (imagine Troy McLure speaking here) Of Pandas and People and Icons of Evolution.

The real answers are of course No and No. But we should never let the facts get in the way of the “Truth”!

Comment #69865

Posted by Pierce R. Butler on January 10, 2006 9:39 PM (e)

From the Americans United press release about their suit against the El Tejon Unified School District:

Americans United, representing parents of Frazier High students, sent a Jan. 4 letter to Superintendent John Wight and school board members advising them that teaching a particular religious viewpoint in a public school class violates the constitutional separation of church and state….

The “Philosophy of Design” course description, which was given to students and their families in early December, stated that it would “take a close look at evolution as a theory and will discuss the scientific, biological, and Biblical aspects that suggest why Darwin’s philosophy is not rock solid…. Physical and chemical evidence will be presented suggesting the earth is thousands of years old, not billions.”

In its order seeking to block the high school from teaching the course, Americans United noted that teacher Sharon Lemburg proposed the course for overtly religious reasons. Lemburg wrote the course description and also prepared a course syllabus showing that intelligent design would be the primary topic of discussion. ID maintains that life is so complex that an intelligent entity, likely God, must have created it.

For example, Lemburg’s syllabus asks why ID is “gaining momentum” and why it is “so threatening to society, the educational system and evolutionists.” The original syllabus for the class listed 24 videos for potential use, virtually all of them produced by religious organizations and centered on attacking evolution and advancing intelligent design. One video, called “Chemicals to Living Cells: Fantasy or Science,” is produced by a Christian ministry called Answers in Genesis.

Comment #69866

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on January 10, 2006 9:42 PM (e)

Keep a copy of your post #69807. A little editing, and you could practically submit it as an amicus curae.

I think one has to be invited by someone involved in the case to submit an amicus brief … ? (nudge nudge) ;)

Really, it seems like an open and shut case to me. Both of them.

Comment #69868

Posted by Jim Lippard on January 10, 2006 9:52 PM (e)

My posting wasn’t a “straw man,” it was a response to a specific comment here.

Now that I’ve read more about this particular class in California, it sounds like it doesn’t contain much in the way of philosophy or science. It should be an easy win for AU.

Comment #69869

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on January 10, 2006 9:52 PM (e)

The “Philosophy of Design” course description, which was given to students and their families in early December, stated that it would “take a close look at evolution as a theory and will discuss the scientific, biological, and Biblical aspects that suggest why Darwin’s philosophy is not rock solid….

So it is neither a philosophy class, nor a comparative religion class. It is “teach the controversy”, pure and simple.

I hope ACLU cuts their gonads off.

Comment #69870

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on January 10, 2006 9:57 PM (e)

Sorry, that should be AU, not ACLU.

Of course, it’d be nice for ACLU to jump right on in. ;)

Comment #69882

Posted by Ed Darrell on January 10, 2006 10:24 PM (e)

Larry, is there any topic for which you think it might be useful to wait for information before jumping to an unwarranted conclusion?

Comment #69886

Posted by Mr Christopher on January 10, 2006 10:48 PM (e)

larry I think some folks in California could use a good legal strategist right about now. Are you busy?

Comment #69896

Posted by Popper's ghost on January 10, 2006 11:15 PM (e)

My posting wasn’t a “straw man,” it was a response to a specific comment here.

As you didn’t quote the comment you were responding to, I missed it – I apologize for the strawman charge. However, one clearly can “do philosophy of biology without knowing something about biology and evolution” – people like Paul Nelson do it all the time, and Sharon Lemberg apparently plans to do so.

Now that I’ve read more about this particular class in California, it sounds like it doesn’t contain much in the way of philosophy or science. It should be an easy win for AU.

In fact, the final syllabus includes quite a bit of philosophy, as well as the Nova series on evolution. If done well by an informed instructor, this could actually be a good class. It is clear from the previous syllabuses, however, that Ms. Lemberg is ignorant of science generally and is an advocate of, or has been heavily influenced by advocates of, the Intelligent Design Hoax. As such, this class is a bad idea, but we have said over and over that the SCOTUS did not ban discussion of religion or ID from the classroom, and I doubt that AU can win an injunction unless they can demonstrate actual positive assertions of religious claims (including that ID is a scientific theory) by the instructor – not just in materials that she presents for study and comparison in philolophy course – and it looks like she knows enough to avoid that.

Comment #69902

Posted by KiwiInOz on January 10, 2006 11:33 PM (e)

The Intelligent Design Hoax. Now that rolls nicely off the tongue. Thanks Popper’s ghost.

Let’s see that phrase, or its corollary The Intelligent Design Fraud, spread.

Comment #69905

Posted by Liz on January 10, 2006 11:39 PM (e)

Help me out legal eagles…doesn’t the fact that Ms. Lemberg’s class is optional weaken’s AU case? I understand that Ms. Lemberg’s class is a poor excuse for a class in secondary education and could probably further the indoctrination of the students whose parents approve their attendence. However, this class is an elective and if the local school board wants to pay a teacher to teach it, how is this a violation of the establishment clause and not an expression of free speech?

Comment #69906

Posted by Popper's ghost on January 10, 2006 11:45 PM (e)

The Intelligent Design Hoax. Now that rolls nicely off the tongue. Thanks Popper’s ghost.

Not me – I read quite recently someone at PT – sorry that I can’t remember whom – suggesting that, given Dover, we should always use that term.

Comment #69910

Posted by Popper's ghost on January 10, 2006 11:54 PM (e)

However, this class is an elective and if the local school board wants to pay a teacher to teach it, how is this a violation of the establishment clause and not an expression of free speech?

The local school board is an agent of the state government, and is barred by the 1st amendment, as extended by the 14th, from official acts “respecting an establishment of religion”; free speech is a right of the people, not of the government. (But IANAL.)

Comment #69919

Posted by k.e. on January 11, 2006 12:29 AM (e)

Ok I’m happy to give my answers in advance to Lemburg’s course:

Extracted from Comment #69865:Americans United press release about their suit against the El Tejon Unified School District:
For example, Lemburg’s syllabus asks why ID is “gaining momentum”

No idea survives unless it has a willing mind space to work in.
Demand and Supply. The suppliers(Literal readers of the bible engaged in religious obscurantism for the time honored priestly benefit; money and power) have identified a need in the population….. fear and self induced self loathing.

and why it is “so threatening to society, the educational system and evolutionists.”

First point: “evolutionists” =ad hominem =against man’s knowledge of nature. Discredit the messenger by lumping them in with counter dogma thinkers of all stripes good or bad and even call a universal method for understanding reality/nature a form of ‘religious and other magical thinking’ dogma.

While the body of scientific knowledge and the idea’s in the collectors of science knowledge the players (scientists) value honesty and can test for it by submitting evidence to high quality logical thought, it does not have the ability to determine the value of Moral ideas in scientists or any other members of society which religious/identity politics players conflate as though knowledge and morals are one and the same.

They thus extend the argument that their opinion on both morals an knowledge are of equal value while at the same time claiming martyrhood because rigorously tested knowledge which is beyond their intellectual and physical group horizon as a ‘valid concept’ has a higher value than their moral values, they are not stupid. To suceed reality MUST be changed.

The scientific method is a method that removes doubt about the way reality is reflected in thought and has the side benefit of identifying social cheaters, people who would prefer to get a free ride than do honest work that has a benefit to all of society. The curious thing is that the method has the societal benefit of identifying cheating (the reverse of altruism) in players who are unable or perhaps incapable of assigning value to altruism.

The original syllabus for the class listed 24 videos for potential use, virtually all of them produced by religious organizations and centered on attacking evolution and advancing intelligent design.

increase ‘market share’ by ONLY saying the ‘competition’s product is faulty’

One video, called “Chemicals to Living Cells: Fantasy or Science,” is produced by a Christian ministry called Answers in Genesis.

Once ‘market share’ for the ‘product’ gets to ‘critical mass’ then Fantasy will be indistinguishable from and thus will become Reality (they wish).

While some may argue that the take over of the mind in the polis by Fantasy will not happen in science because reality like gravity hurts if used incorrectly, in the wider realm cheating actually is a necessity for modern society to function as it does. However no matter how lacking in knowledge or unsophisticated someone is, trust is still the key for the all players in society regardless of worldview.

Imagine if when you went to buy a car and the salesman told you the price it cost him and now that you have that information, to play all the other sellers off against each other to get the best price.
Or if the leaders of a particle political party said they were going to introduce an unpopular policy before they were elected to power.
Or the leaders of the New Mega Churches said they could not prove beyond doubt that life after death exists and they were having a such a great time flying around the country in executive jets that as far as they were concerned ‘heaven’ might actually be a step down in the world for them.

Thus fantasy is a requirement for society to grow, prosper,and wage war.
The scientific or cheater detection method is the biggest stumbling block to worst excesses of manipulating ‘reality’ in the polis by those that think altruism is undesirable.

Shift the perception for where trust is unquestioned by reducing the value of any method for detecting cheats (law or science) and producing vast amounts of opinion that clog up the minds of the polis rather than cold hard facts and the cheaters job is easier.

The lower the mark I got for my answer the lower I would grade the marker.

Comment #69923

Posted by Mr Christopher on January 11, 2006 12:44 AM (e)

Has anyone already posted Ken Hurst’s critique of the proposed IDC course?

It is a must read. Every media outlet should be given that URL.

This is the differnce in the headline being

“Americans United for (lefty, Darwinist, atheist church group) files suit to keep intelligent design out of philosophy class”

Right after EVERYONE publicly said intelligent design is fine in philosophy or social studies class Remember? But this proposed class is utter creationist garbage but the public does not know this from the headlines.

So, if we get the media informed of stuff like this Ken Hurst examination of the proposed class the headlines would more accuratly read

Lawsuit filed by the Americans United for…to Stop Scocial Studies Teacher from Teaching Intelligent Design with Creationist Material”

Or something close to that. What I am trying to point out is all we have to do is educate and inform the public and they will respond positively. We have some quacks sure but the heart of America responds well to reason. John Q Public does not frequent this science blog. We keep all the cool facts to ourselves far too often.

I sure keep harping on this subject lately. Unless Ken Miller plans to quit his day job and dedicate his carreer to traveling all over the country working for plaintiff teams we are going to have to start proactively educating the public ouselves. Bring the evidence to them. George Bush, the most anti-scientific president in possibly American history is adding yet another member to the supreme court. It will take decades to undo what this administration has done. A Bush majority supreme court decision coming down on the basis of reason is not a given. This is an administration obsessed with spying on its citizens and maintining the freedom to torture its enemies. Reason is in a state of crisis in this country.

Call John West a loon to be sure, but bring on the informative work of the Ken Hursts to the public and the media. The recent Ken Miller talk at Case is another perfect teaching tool that the public will enhance their understanding of science if they knew only about it. This sort of info should be popping up Google News (like the Discovery Institute has found).

And at least three Governors have come out this week exclaiming support for children being taught both sides. This is after we won big time in Dover, remember? This thing is not going anway anytime soon. We may see a rash of similar stunts. Plan on non-stop Discovery Institute public distortions.

I am making CDs of the Ken Miller talk and sending them to the Board of Education members in my state this weekend along with a copy of Ken Hurst’s work on the California IDC class content. I am going to write Ken if I can find his email address and see if I can reformat a copy and make it look easier on the eyes :-)

That’s my story.

Comment #69932

Posted by Scott on January 11, 2006 1:02 AM (e)

Lenny Flank asked, “I think one has to be invited by someone involved in the case to submit an amicus brief … ?”

AFAIK, anyone can petition a court to file an amicus brief. The petitioner has to demonstrate some special interest in the case, or some special expertise, and be able to provide a unique perspective on the facts in the case. The judge can allow or deny the petition. Unlike the DI, most petitioners actually ask before filing.

Comment #69935

Posted by Popper's ghost on January 11, 2006 1:17 AM (e)

Has anyone already posted Ken Hurst’s critique of the proposed IDC course?

Yes, it’s the second syllabus given by caerbannog above. The problem is that the third syllabus shows that they have responded, or given the appearance of responding, to his criticisms. If we attack something out of date, the public response will not be positive. Keep in mind that these folks are a moving target, and in this case, unlike Pandas and People, they have changed the content. Their aim, of course, remains the same.

Comment #69947

Posted by McE on January 11, 2006 1:57 AM (e)

Re: Lenny’s post #69807

Excellent summary! Two quibbles:

'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank wrote:

In March 2003, the [Ohio] Board passed a modified version of the lesson plan which, while erasing all of the references to intelligent design “theory”, nevertheless accepted most of the Discovery Institute’s “teach the controversy” strategy and included many of the supposed “scientific criticisms of evolution” that have been trotted out for years by the Discovery Institute and other creationists.

It was March 2004.

'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank wrote:

Board members Robert Lattimer and Michael Cochran both also spoke in favor of including ID “theory” in the standards, before supporting the “teach the controversy” policy and declaring that it did not contain any ID theory.

Lattimer was not a board member, but a member of the (misnamed) ID organization Science Excellence for All Ohioans. So what was he doing hobnobbing with the Board of Education?

Comment #69956

Posted by Eugene Lai on January 11, 2006 2:31 AM (e)

Mr Christopher wrote:

larry I think some folks in California could use a good legal strategist right about now. Are you busy?

Educating bonehead PT netizens is a full time job. *grin*

Comment #69979

Posted by Larry Fafarman on January 11, 2006 4:37 AM (e)

Comment #69882 posted by Ed Darrell on January 10, 2006 10:24 PM

Larry, is there any topic for which you think it might be useful to wait for information before jumping to an unwarranted conclusion?

And what unwarranted conclusion(s) have I jumped to in this thread ? Please be specific.

Comment #69980

Posted by Stephen Elliott on January 11, 2006 4:57 AM (e)

Posted by Larry Fafarman on January 11, 2006 04:37 AM (e) (s)

Comment #69882 posted by Ed Darrell on January 10, 2006 10:24 PM

Larry, is there any topic for which you think it might be useful to wait for information before jumping to an unwarranted conclusion?

And what unwarranted conclusion(s) have I jumped to in this thread ? Please be specific.

How about this?

Posted by Larry Fafarman on January 10, 2006 07:39 PM (e) (s)

Doesn’t the quote from the letter say it all ? The quote does not ask that the course be modified; the quote just asks the school district to “pull” the course — or else…

How do you know it was a “quote” from the letter?
Have you read the actual letter?
You have come to the conclusion that a comment about a letter was a quote. Without having read the letter that would be unwarranted.

Hope that is specific enough.

Of course if you have actually read the letter, and it does state “Pull the intelligent design class at Frazier Mountain High School, or we file an injunction.” Then I am wrong in thinking that you have jumped to an unwarranted conclusion and apologise in advance.

Comment #69988

Posted by Larry Fafarman on January 11, 2006 7:40 AM (e)

Comment #69847 posted by Andrea Bottaro on January 10, 2006 08:09 PM

Larry Fafman:
*****Doesn’t the quote from the letter say it all ? The quote does not ask that the course be modified; the quote just asks the school district to “pull” the course — or else.*****

As I read it, that quote is from Wight describing what the letter says, no the letter itself. It seems rather unlikely that AU has lawyers who say, literally:
“Pull the intelligent design class at Frazier Mountain High School, or we file an injunction.”

There was nothing in the article that suggested that the statement was a direct or indirect quotation of Superintendent Wight, and there was there no indication that the letter was even written by an attorney. In fact, it is questionable that an attorney wrote it, because saying “we will file an injunction” is an improper usage of “injunction,” since the injunction is different from the complaint seeking the injunction. It would have been proper to say “we will seek an injunction” or “we will file for an injunction” – but maybe it was just a slip-up or legalese. See —
http://www.bakersfield.com/updates/story/5817917p-5834019c.html

I agree with many of the criticisms of the course that have been presented here. However, Americans United did not just ask that the course be modified and/or that a different teacher be chosen — AU just asked for the course to be canceled, period.

It is not practical to be looking over the shoulder of every school board, every school, and every teacher in America to make sure that these courses are taught in exactly the right way – and there will always be differences of opinion as to what the right way is. The fact is that opinion polls show that the majority of Americans want both evolution and ID/creationism to be taught in the public schools, so I don’t think that this issue is going to fade away.

If creationism is considered to be the only alternative to evolution, then anything that raises doubts about evolution may be considered to be a promotion of religion.

One of the biggest reasons why ID-bashers keep insisting ID is all just a religious concept (it is not) is so they can use the church-state separation principle to attack it.

I feel that one major cause of the problem is the name “intelligent design,” which implies the existence of an intelligent designer. I think that they just should have stuck with names like “irreducible complexity” and “specified complexity.” Also, there are other non-religious, non-supernatural criticisms of evolution theory that have little or nothing to do with design.

Scary Larry

Comment #69991

Posted by Larry Fafarman on January 11, 2006 8:02 AM (e)

Comment #69980 posted by Stephen Elliott on January 11, 2006 04:57 AM

How do you know it was a “quote” from the letter?

– because the article made it look like it was a quote from the letter. See –
http://www.bakersfield.com/updates/story/5817917p-5834019c.html

Anyway, the question is moot now because a complaint seeking an injunction has already been filed.

Comment #69994

Posted by ben on January 11, 2006 8:12 AM (e)

That’s obviously NOT a quote from the letter, clearly a clumsy paraphrase by the shrill columnist.

Comment #69996

Posted by Stephen Elliott on January 11, 2006 8:16 AM (e)

Larry,
It would seem to me that a lot of people in the USA would like to have their religion taught as fact in public schools. They also seem to want anything that they think challenges their religious viewpoint banned.

ID is/was a front to get religion into science classes.

The weird thing is, that if all this actually succeeded then the very people who wanted it would be among the most outraged.

What a can of worms it would open. Eventually almost anything could be taught at taxpayers expense. Whatever any individual teacher wanted to spout-off about would be OK.

A short while ago on PT we had a thread that was a mini religious war. Christians come in all shapes and sizes…to the point where describing someone as a Christian says very little.

Imagine the outcry from someone who thought evolution was a threat to their religion when they find out their children are being taught the wrong (in their point of view) religion as a scientific fact.

Comment #70012

Posted by Larry Fafarman on January 11, 2006 9:07 AM (e)

Comment #69994 posted by ben on January 11, 2006 08:12 AM

That’s obviously NOT a quote from the letter, clearly a clumsy paraphrase by the shrill columnist.

It has quote marks around it. Paraphrases are not supposed to have quote marks. Anyway, I don’t see what is so shocking about the quote. To me, it is completely credible.

Comment #70019

Posted by ben on January 11, 2006 9:24 AM (e)

The same column (hint: it’s a column, i.e. writer’s personal opinion, not an article, i.e. reportage on actual events) contains the quoted phrase:

“hey, let’s talk about this?”

Did you also assume that was a direct quote? It does have quotation marks…

Comment #70022

Posted by Stephen Elliott on January 11, 2006 9:28 AM (e)

Larry,
Thanks for this link.

http://www.bakersfield.com/updates/story/5817917…

Did you actually read it?

If so, do you think it was a neutral and unbiased report? Do you consider the writer to be a dogged journalist in search of truth?

Or maybe it is possible that it was written by someone with an agenda.

Comment #70027

Posted by qetzal on January 11, 2006 9:49 AM (e)

Am I the only one who has difficulty with the phrase “Philosophy of Biology”?

I can understand “Philosophy and Biology,” or “Philosophical Implications of Biology,” or even “Philosophy of Science.” But I confess I can’t see what the philosophy of biology (per se) would be.

Are there also distinct philosophies of chemistry, geology, astronomy, etc.?

Comment #70032

Posted by J. G. Cox on January 11, 2006 10:00 AM (e)

As for teach the controversy, the IDCers might have some success with this. Of course, there is *no* scientific controversy, so teaching the supposed criticisms of evolutionary theory that they trot out is flat out misinformation. However, I don’t think that there are many (enforced) state laws about teaching badly or delivering incorrect material. However, since this particular misinformation is organized around an unconstitutional central message/goal (even if unspoken), is it possible that it could also be found unconstitutional? Does anyone know?

Also, one thing left out of Lenny’s post. The only supposed ‘evidence’ for ID that IDCers have ever trotted out has in fact been a body of (incorrect) criticisms of evolutionary theory. Thus, it seems that taking this body of (incorrect) criticisms and simply dropping that now-troublesome label before delivering it would still amount to establishment.

Comment #70033

Posted by Moses on January 11, 2006 10:03 AM (e)

Comment #69858

Posted by Larry Fafarman on January 10, 2006 08:51 PM (e) (s)

Comment #69822 posted by B. Spitzer on January 10, 2006 06:57 PM

Lenny—

Keep a copy of your post #69807. A little editing, and you could practically submit it as an amicus curae.

When did Lenny become a lawyer ?

Just giving him some of his own medicine. He said the same thing about me in response to a comment of mine consisting of an extensively researched legal analysis which —- believe it or not — supported his position !!!!!!

By the way, you don’t have to be a lawyer to write an amicus curiae brief.

Lenny wasn’t pushing himself out as an Internet ‘legal expert’ in bashing a highly qualified judge while fumbling around and exposing himself for an incompetent armature with dubious interpretations and conclusions. And, as you pointed out, you don’t have to be a lawyer to file (or write) an amicus curiae brief. And, as I will point, you don’t have to be an attorney to hold an opinion or have a good understanding of the issues.

And nice way to treat an unsolicited compliment. If you’d ever say anything that had a solid factual/rational basis, you’d probably get a compliment or two. People really go out of their way here to give honest creationists/IDers, seeking knowledge, praise for their factual/rational posts.

It’s when they spam the board with the same opinion in 400 slightly different flavors of vanilla do people start getting snarky.

Comment #70044

Posted by Moses on January 11, 2006 10:31 AM (e)

Comment #69905

Posted by Liz on January 10, 2006 11:39 PM (e) (s)

Help me out legal eagles…doesn’t the fact that Ms. Lemberg’s class is optional weaken’s AU case? I understand that Ms. Lemberg’s class is a poor excuse for a class in secondary education and could probably further the indoctrination of the students whose parents approve their attendence. However, this class is an elective and if the local school board wants to pay a teacher to teach it, how is this a violation of the establishment clause and not an expression of free speech?

It should be seen as an obvious end-run to circumvent the Lemon test that got the board in trouble in Dover. It’s pretty clear from the context in which all ID courses have/will arise that Darwin’s Theory of Evolution is a target of a certain group of people who are offering religious explanations in lieu of scientific explanations. Just moving the specific religious criticisms of Evolution from the Biology class to the Philosophy class doesn’t change the underlying religious motivations.

Having been to Court as a plaintiff and an expert witness, I have found the Court to be less than amused at such shallow end-runs.

This is not to say that ID cannot end up in a Philosophy class, with Evolution part of the subject matter. But what you can’t do is pretend you’re teaching philosophy when you’re really teaching creationism.

Now, if we did a course on “Origin of Man & Species - Creator Myths & Science” and included a broad sampling from the Babylonian Creation Myths, the various African Creation Myths, Korean & Japanese Creation Myths, Navajo Creation Myths, Norse Creation Myths, India Creation Myths, Comanche Creation Myths, Chinese Creation Myths, Chelan Creation Myths, Pima Creation Myths, Mayan Creation Myths, Miwok Creation Myths, Scandinavian (Norse) Creation Myths, Salish Creation Myths, Australian Aboriginal Creation Myths, Hopi Creation Myths, Tahitian Creation Myths, Yokut Creation Myths, Egyptian Creation Myths, African - Mande, Yoruba Creation Myths, and blah, blah, blah, blah for at least another 20+ lines, then maybe we’re cooking with gas.

But that’s doesn’t appear to be what’s happening and the Court is not stupid or blind to end-runs.

And, regardless of red-herring “free-speech” issues the government cannot endorse a religious philosophy. And even beyond that Constitutional prohibition, “free speech” isn’t an absolute and is frequently mis-construed by the public to mean “you can say what you want, when you want.” You don’t have the right to slander or libel, disseminate classified intelligence, engage in lewd & obscene speech, and in some cases, harass or badger or engage is what is otherwise known as “fighting words.”

Comment #70045

Posted by Mr Christopher on January 11, 2006 10:34 AM (e)

larry it is too bad that you are so dedicated to being nothing but a distraction here. There are some very bright and well educated folks. There is a ton that can be learned here but you are so busy trying to push your personal agenda that you are missing out on some very good information and very good insight.

That’s a not a bright plan for enlightened living.

Comment #70054

Posted by Larry Fafarman on January 11, 2006 10:48 AM (e)

Comment #69932 posted by Scott on January 11, 2006 01:02 AM

Lenny Flank asked, “I think one has to be invited by someone involved in the case to submit an amicus brief … ?”

AFAIK, anyone can petition a court to file an amicus brief. The petitioner has to demonstrate some special interest in the case, or some special expertise, and be able to provide a unique perspective on the facts in the case. The judge can allow or deny the petition. Unlike the DI, most petitioners actually ask before filing.

Amazingly, there are no rules about amicus briefs in the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (governing federal district courts), so I guess they follow Rule 29 of the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure – see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amicus_curiae/ This rule provides that an amicus brief may be accepted only under one of the following conditions – (1) there is written consent from all parties, (2) there is permission from the court, or (3) the court requested the brief (except that some government entities do not need permission). An amicus brief may be conditionally filed along with a motion for leave to file (so DI was not required to ask before conditionally filing).

Here is the fate of two amicus briefs filed by the Discovery Institute –

“On October 3, the Discovery Institute filed an amicus curiae brief in which 85 scientists asked the judge not to rule on the question of what is and is not science. ******The Discovery Institute also filed its own amicus curiae on October 17. On October 24, Judge Jones ruled that the amicus curiae of the Discovery Institute be struck since it would allow a “backdoor” for William A. Dembski and Stephen C. Meyer, who previously withdrew from the case, to testify as expert witnesses without being subject to cross-examination. Judge Jones allowed the amicus curiae of the scientists to remain on the record though the plaintiffs had requested that it too be struck.” From –
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kitzmiller_v._Dover_Area_School_District_trial_documents

The judge’s order regarding the DI briefs is on –
http://www.aclupa.org/downloads/OrderstrikeDIamicusbriefs.pdf

Judge Jones noted that Meyer’s expert witness report was included as an appendix in DI’s own brief(the one submitted on Oct. 17). If that witness report caused this brief to exceed the normal limit for amicus briefs (5,000 words or so many pages ?), then I think that Jones was right in rejecting the brief (but I think he rejected it for the wrong reasons). I don’t know whether deleting Meyer’s expert witness report would have required re-writing the brief. In any case, this was near the end of the trial and DI was running out of time – the brief should have been submitted much earlier to allow problems to be ironed out. I think that the judge should have accepted a normal length brief from DI, for the simple reason that DI is the most prominent ID-promoting organization. The judge should have treated DI as though Dembski and Meyer (who I presume are both affiliated with DI) had never been scheduled to testify.

===========================================

Trivia time — I think that the 1978 Bakke reverse-discrimination case still holds the record for the most amicus briefs submitted in any Supreme Court case, 62 as I remember. One of these amicus briefs, from Harvard University, was pivotal in the decision.

Comment #70061

Posted by Larry Fafarman on January 11, 2006 11:05 AM (e)

Comment #70033 posted by Moses on January 11, 2006 10:03 AM

Lenny wasn’t pushing himself out as an Internet ‘legal expert’ in bashing a highly qualified judge while fumbling around and exposing himself for an incompetent armature with dubious interpretations and conclusions.

The judge deserved it.

And, as I will point, you don’t have to be an attorney to hold an opinion or have a good understanding of the issues.

I agree.

And nice way to treat an unsolicited compliment.

Lenny’s remark, “when did you become a lawyer, Larry?” was not intended as a compliment. He did not say that I misinterpreted the remark when I treated it as an insult rather than a compliment.

Comment #70065

Posted by Larry Fafarman on January 11, 2006 11:23 AM (e)

Comment #69996 posted by Stephen Elliott on January 11, 2006 08:16 AM
Larry,
It would seem to me that a lot of people in the USA would like to have their religion taught as fact in public schools. They also seem to want anything that they think challenges their religious viewpoint banned.

And the Americans United for Separation of Church and State wants all challenges to evolution banned from public schools. They are even opposed to having ID in philosophy classes.

I don’t care what the fundies’ goals are – I only care what my goals are. I am not going to cut off my nose to spite my face just to avoid supporting something that fundies support. I disagree with the fundies in many areas — for example, I am completely opposed to school prayer. I think that it is an invasion of the privacy of religious belief.

My reasons for favoring the teaching of ID in public schools are non-religious.

===================================
“I’m from Missouri. You’ll have to show me.” — Willard Duncan Vandiver

Comment #70066

Posted by Moses on January 11, 2006 11:27 AM (e)

You still don’t get it, Larry. Lenny wasn’t amateurishly criticizing a Federal Judge and offering blatantly wrong criticism of the legal process based on nothing more than ignorance and anger.

The word for the day, Larry is:

Context

Noun 1. context - discourse that surrounds a language unit and helps to determine its interpretation
2. context - the set of facts or circumstances that surround a situation or event; “the historical context”

Until you can understand contextual differences, Larry, you’ll remain hopelessly confused to reality.

If I kill someone, the act of killing doesn’t make me a murderer. It is the context of my killing another individual that matters. I could be an executioner. I could be acting in self-defense or to save the life of another under the “use of deadly force” doctrine. I could be involved in an vehicle or firearms accident. I could make an error and set up a condition that ends up with someone dying, even though my involvement was only indirect.

See. CONTEXT. Learn it. Use it. It’s a valuable tool.

Comment #70071

Posted by Flint on January 11, 2006 11:39 AM (e)

Larry:

And the Americans United for Separation of Church and State wants all challenges to evolution banned from public schools. They are even opposed to having ID in philosophy classes.

Whether or not you intend it as such, this is a serious misrepresentation.

First, *scientific* challenges to evolution are perfectly acceptable in science classes (although in 9th grade the students may not be adequately equipped to understand the objections). When you say these people wish to ban ALL challenges, this is simply not true. I can’t believe you don’t realize that. They are opposed to *religious* challenges being presented as scientific challenges.

As for teaching ID in philosophy classes, this depends entirely on the manner of presentation. Saying “here is what some people believe and why, here is something different someone else believes and why” is perfectly allowable. Saying “here is God’s Truth, and here’s why evolution is wrong” is NOT philosophy, it’s preaching. And preaching is what’s being opposed.

My reasons for favoring the teaching of ID in public schools are non-religious.

Nonetheless, ID is fundamentalist religion, pure and simple. It is nothing else. It’s not philosophy, it’s not science, it is doctrine. It’s really rather hard for us to imagine why you wish religious doctrine taught in public school for “non-religious” reasons. What OTHER reasons are there for preaching doctrine?

Comment #70072

Posted by Larry Fafarman on January 11, 2006 11:39 AM (e)

Comment #70045 posted by Mr Christopher on January 11, 2006 10:34 AM
larry it is too bad that you are so dedicated to being nothing but a distraction here. There are some very bright and well educated folks. There is a ton that can be learned here but you are so busy trying to push your personal agenda that you are missing out on some very good information and very good insight.

Please address the issues – otherwise you are just wasting space here (and I need to waste even more space just to point that out).

Comment #70076

Posted by Stephen Elliott on January 11, 2006 11:49 AM (e)

I really would hate to see you banned Larry.

Posted by Larry Fafarman on January 11, 2006 11:39 AM (e) (s)

Comment #70045 posted by Mr Christopher on January 11, 2006 10:34 AM
larry it is too bad that you are so dedicated to being nothing but a distraction here. There are some very bright and well educated folks. There is a ton that can be learned here but you are so busy trying to push your personal agenda that you are missing out on some very good information and very good insight.

Please address the issues — otherwise you are just wasting space here (and I need to waste even more space just to point that out).

LOL.

The irony is almost beyond belief.
Are you just posting as a joke? Maybe to get material for a comedy show you are writing.

Comment #70082

Posted by qetzal on January 11, 2006 12:05 PM (e)

Stephen Elliott asked Larry Fafarman:

Are you just posting as a joke?

I’m beginning to think he musts be. Over on the ‘ID offers biblical alternative…’ thread, Larry wrote (#69810):

Evolution theory is no more scientific than the irreducible complexity concept of ID. Evolution theory cannot be used to make predictions of macro-evolution, because macro-evolution in progress cannot be directly observed.

When challenged about that claim, part of his justification was that he prefers to define macro-evolution as (#69984):

[T]hose evolutionary changes that are so drastic that they have never been directly observed.

The possibility that someone might really think this way just boggles the mind.

Comment #70092

Posted by k.e. on January 11, 2006 12:37 PM (e)

hehehehehe Jim almost right.
Except it is we performing an experiment on the archetypal cretin.
Larry has Darwinian envy, he believes he is inferior and it would suit him much better if the theory was just plain wrong.

Inferiority . Complex , . and . Power.

Comment #70102

Posted by gwangung on January 11, 2006 12:55 PM (e)

LOL. The irony is almost beyond belief.
Are you just posting as a joke? Maybe to get material for a comedy show you are writing.

If so, then someone should tell Larry not to give up his day job; I DO write comedy, but I’d get booed off the stage if I used his stuff…

Comment #70103

Posted by Larry Fafarman on January 11, 2006 12:59 PM (e)

Comment #70076 posted by Stephen Elliott on January 11, 2006 11:49 AM

I really would hate to see you banned Larry.

This “ban” crap is getting old. Can’t you think of something new ?

Unlike a lot of the commenters here, I always address the issues when responding to a comment that discusses the issues. If I cannot or won’t address the issues, I just don’t respond.

Comment #70108

Posted by AC on January 11, 2006 1:09 PM (e)

Moses wrote:

It should be seen as an obvious end-run to circumvent the Lemon test that got the board in trouble in Dover. It’s pretty clear from the context in which all ID courses have/will arise that Darwin’s Theory of Evolution is a target of a certain group of people who are offering religious explanations in lieu of scientific explanations. Just moving the specific religious criticisms of Evolution from the Biology class to the Philosophy class doesn’t change the underlying religious motivations.

(emphasis mine)

Let’s hope so, because that’s all it is.

Attention creationists: Preaching in public school, regardless of the name you give it, is a constitutional no-no. Go back to your homes and churches, where that same constitution, with equal vigor, protects your right to preach. It is no concern of the government or your fellow citizens if you feel that science education threatens your religion.

Comment #70110

Posted by W. Kevin Vicklund on January 11, 2006 1:14 PM (e)

Larry wrote:

Judge Jones noted that Meyer’s expert witness report was included as an appendix in DI’s own brief(the one submitted on Oct. 17). If that witness report caused this brief to exceed the normal limit for amicus briefs (5,000 words or so many pages ?), then I think that Jones was right in rejecting the brief (but I think he rejected it for the wrong reasons). I don’t know whether deleting Meyer’s expert witness report would have required re-writing the brief. In any case, this was near the end of the trial and DI was running out of time — the brief should have been submitted much earlier to allow problems to be ironed out. I think that the judge should have accepted a normal length brief from DI, for the simple reason that DI is the most prominent ID-promoting organization. The judge should have treated DI as though Dembski and Meyer (who I presume are both affiliated with DI) had never been scheduled to testify.

Not just Meyer’s expert witness report, but Dembski’s as well. Regardless of length (do appendices qualify as part of the length restriction?), the brief was a dishonest attempt to get the two expert witness reports into the record without them being subjected to cross-examination. Another thing to note: the two parties had an agreement that if Dembski’s expert witness report made it into the record, Shallit would be allowed to testify for the plaintiffs for rebuttal. This would have made the trial even longer than it was. The judge noted that the brief was too intertwined with the expert reports to be admitted without rewrite. Had you read the full order, you would have known the judge told the DI that he would accept a rewrite if the DI removed all reference to the expert reports.

The judge should not have treated DI as though Dembski and Meyer had never been scheduled to testify. Permitting such an abuse of the system would set a dangerous precedent, as parties could protect their expert witnesses from cross-examination.

Comment #70123

Posted by Ric on January 11, 2006 1:58 PM (e)

This is a clear cut case. If in fact the teacher is espousing ID or creationism, the class should be disallowed. If the teacher is discussing ID or creationism in their social context without espousing them, the class should be allowed. It’s as simple as that. Now the trick becomes finding out and proving which tack the teacher is taking.

Comment #70125

Posted by Jimmiejazz on January 11, 2006 2:14 PM (e)

Re Post 69813

That’s an excellent observation, Bill. I’ve often wondered why more have not observed this conundrum facing the Christian apologist. If
proof could be given that a god exists then what the need of faith?
One would be up against Hebrews 11:6-

“And without faith it would be impossible to please Him.”

Archie Bunker defined faith as-

“It ain’t supposed to make sense; it’s faith. Faith is something you believe that no one in his right mind would believe.”

I know whereof I speak as I taught a branch of Christianity for 16
years in my early wasted life.

Comment #70131

Posted by Keith Douglas on January 11, 2006 2:44 PM (e)

qetzal: Yes, philosophy of biology is quite a respectable field, with journals, symposia and conferences and so on. It is probably the second oldest subfield of the philosophy of science (afer philosophy of physics). And yes, there are philosophies of X for every field of inquiry X. However, one should know about X as at least a corequisite to doing philosophy of X. This is why I oppose teaching “intelligent design” in philosophy classes. Teach about it, as a great example of pseudoscience motivated by religion, sure. But I am firmly convinced a nonscientific philosophy is at best worthless. And antiscienfic one, like one that would espouse “intelligent design” certainly has no place in schools.

Comment #70136

Posted by Tom McIver on January 11, 2006 2:52 PM (e)

Dover Teaches

The sea is calm to-night.
The news is full, the Court rules fair
On ID’s fate—-on legal fronts the light
Gleams at least for now; the cliffs of Science stand,
We hope secure, out in our natural world.
Thanks to Judge Jones’ ruling, sweet is nature’s air!
Only, from old anxieties still at large,
Where reason jolts sectarian hope,
Listen! you hear evolution tell
Of evidence consiliently displayed, and bring,
The neutral note of science in.

Plato, later Paley, long ago
Attempted to deny this natural trend
Proclaiming rather that this ebb and flow
Not earthly matter, but
Plan and Spirit do announce:
And also find therein a thought,
That science can approve and render true.

The Sea of Faith
Was once, too, at the full, round Nature’s shore
Lay like the folds of a bright girdle furl’d.
But now I only hear
Its melancholy, long, withdrawing roar,
Retreating, to the breath
Of wishful thinking, of deception bred by fear
And naked dogmas of the world.

Ah, Science, let us be true
To nature, as the world we strive to know
That seems so complex, and planned, as if for us;
So wondrously designed it looks to all,
Hath really neither morals, virtue, sin.

Nor blessed certitude, nor Final Truth;
But science classrooms can’t surrender to
Confused religious strife, sectarian struggles,
Where ignorant armies clash by night.

(Apologies to Matthew Arnold, “Dover Beach”)

Comment #70140

Posted by Tom McIver on January 11, 2006 2:58 PM (e)

Intelligent Design: Burning Bright, or Paper Tiger?

ID’s ID

ID, ID, burning bright
Rescue us from Darwin’s fright
Beastly origin of our race
Evolution’s dread embrace.

But what science or what art
Frames immortal hand, eye, heart?
Can we force religion’s claim,
Dare pronounce His very name?

Yahweh, Zeus, or Allah, then?
Yaldaboath, Urizen?
Raël’s ET DNA?
Hosts of deities at play?

Ask the Ichneumonidae
Did he who made the lamb make thee?
Who created Heav’n and Hell,
Human creativity?

ID’s ID burning bright
Through obscuring fog and night
Whether wielding Wedge or prism
ID is: Creationism.

(Apologies to William Blake, “The Tiger”)

Comment #70152

Posted by j-dog on January 11, 2006 3:20 PM (e)

Casey Is A Wack

The Outlook wasn’t brilliant for the Institute that day;
After they lost Dover, the donors wouldn’t pay.
And then Behe died in testimony, and Minich did the same,
A sickly silence fell upon the patrons of the ID game.

A straggling few got up to go in deep despair. The rest
Clung to that hope which springs eternal in their tiny brains
They thought, if only Casey could tell a lie or two
We’d put up even money, now, ‘cause Casey’s such a tool.

So Dembski whined to Casey, as did also John G West,
And the former was a lulu and the latter was a cake;
So upon that stricken Institute grim melancholy grew
For there seemed but little chance of Casey’s getting to the truth.

Then from 5,000 Christian throats and more there rose a lusty hymn;
It rumbled through the School Board, it rattled in the gymn;
It came up from the sewer and recoiled upon the plain,
For Casey, wack-job Casey, was writing something lame.

There was grease in Casey’s manner as he stepped into his place;
There were lies in Casey’s writing and drool on Casey’s face.
And when, responding to the DI cheers, he slandered a good judge,
No stranger in the crowd could doubt ’twas Casey throwing fudge.

Ten thousand eyes were on him as he tried to obfuscate
Five thousand Pandas taunted him for his large mistakes.
Then while the writhing preacher called down the wrath of God,
Chromosomes gleamed in Casey’s eye, but PZ mowed him down.

Do you see my point he begged, the chromosomes say NO!
And Casey stood a-hopin his argument could go;
Close by the flakey Discovery tool, the answer unheeded sped-
“That ain’t my style,” said Casey. “Strike one,” the Pandas said.

From the benches, black with people, there went up a muffled roar,
Like the beating of the storm-waves on a stern and distant shore.
“Kill him! Kill the Scientist” shouted someone on the Christian right;
And its likely they’d a-killed him if Casey had his way tonight.

Never one for Christian charity, slick Casey’s visage shone;
He stirred the rising tumult; he wanted science gone.
He tried to count the chromosomes, and once more the answers flew;
But Casey still ignored them, and the Pandas said, “Strike two.”

DI is “Fraud!” cried the maddened thousands, and echo answered fraud;
But at a special pleading try from Casey, the audience guffawed.
They saw his face grow stern and cold, they saw his girly muscles strain,
And they knew that Casey didn’t have the balls to go again.

The sneer is stuck on Casey’s lip, his teeth are clenched in hate;
He pounds with cruel violence upon the Buckeye State.
Once more the PT board responds, throws the answer back to him,
And now Casey is shattered by the force of Pandas’ reason.

Oh, somewhere in this favored land the sun is shining bright;
The band is playing somewhere, and somewhere hearts are light,
And somewhere men are laughing, and somewhere children shout;
Because there is no joy at Discovery - slimy Casey has struck out.

With Apologies to Ernest L. Thayer.

Comment #70192

Posted by Sir_Toejam on January 11, 2006 4:51 PM (e)

wow.
now that was some serious creativity; nice job, both! you should work on getting those published somewhere. Or at least posted for posterity somewhere linkable from PT.

made my day.

Comment #70196

Posted by Popper's ghost on January 11, 2006 4:58 PM (e)

Yes, philosophy of biology is quite a respectable field, with journals, symposia and conferences and so on. It is probably the second oldest subfield of the philosophy of science (afer philosophy of physics).

It’s notable that the top post at philbio.typepad.com is about the FMHS course. From the comments:

Most objectionable here from my point of view is that this course is being taught by someone apparently completely lacking in credentials relevant to philosophy. She’s the wife of an Assemblies of God pastor who is a special education teacher! No, I don’t think philosophy and special ed are intellectual cousins, and the probability that someone associated with the A/G has credentials in philosophy is not zero, but…

Comment #70224

Posted by uberhobo on January 11, 2006 6:05 PM (e)

Why are we having poorly qualified social studies teachers teach a meaty philosophy course when there are plenty of jobless philosophy majors out there who would jump at the opportunity to stop eating dog food, at least for the 1 month duration of the course?

I kid, but seriously, I think philosophy should have a place in secondary school education. Since it’s as useful for doing science as studying Latin is for learning European languages or developing good writing skills.

Comment #70229

Posted by Bayesian Bouffant, FCD on January 11, 2006 6:11 PM (e)

This is a clear cut case. If in fact the teacher is espousing ID or creationism, the class should be disallowed. If the teacher is discussing ID or creationism in their social context without espousing them, the class should be allowed. It’s as simple as that. Now the trick becomes finding out and proving which tack the teacher is taking.

It seem pretty clear from the course syllabus

Comment #70234

Posted by Anton Mates on January 11, 2006 6:23 PM (e)

Apparently on the first version of the syllabus the teacher claimed to have “Francis Krich” as a guest speaker, and Ken Hurst figured out that she meant Francis Crick, who was dead at the time. Ouch. I hope she’s not teaching Special Ed just because the administration figured she’d do the least damage there…

Comment #70239

Posted by Sir_Toejam on January 11, 2006 6:28 PM (e)

ah, so this IS the same person that wanted to have Crick speak. I was a bit confused about that specific issue.

so… she’s just a complete nutter then?

i doubt this would have gotten ANY press at all if it weren’t for Dover.

Comment #70246

Posted by Larry Fafarman on January 11, 2006 6:39 PM (e)

Comment #70110 posted by W. Kevin Vicklund on January 11, 2006 01:14 PM

Not just Meyer’s expert witness report, but Dembski’s as well

No, the judge’s order rejecting DI’s amicus brief said that only Meyer’s expert witness report was attached as an appendix, though the brief referenced Dembski’s ideas as well. The judge’s order is on –http://www.aclupa.org/downloads/OrderstrikeDIamicusbriefs.pdf

do appendices qualify as part of the length restriction?

I don’t see why not – otherwise appendices could be used to circumvent the length restriction. Briefs exceeding the limits may be submitted with the court’s permission.

the brief was a dishonest attempt to get the two expert witness reports into the record without them being subjected to cross-examination.

Dishonest or not, I don’t think that this is a good way to try to get expert witnesses’ opinions into the trial record. An amicus brief just does not carry the same weight as trial testimony – the court can completely ignore amicus briefs.

Another thing to note: the two parties had an agreement that if Dembski’s expert witness report made it into the record, Shallit would be allowed to testify for the plaintiffs for rebuttal. This would have made the trial even longer than it was.

I presume that Dembski’s expert witness report was stricken from the record when he withdrew from the case. The court should have just proceeded as though Dembski had never been an expert witness in the case. And If Shallit had been permitted to testify in exchange for allowing Dembski’s ideas into the record as part of a DI amicus brief, it would have prolonged the trial by maybe only a day or two.

The judge noted that the brief was too intertwined with the expert reports to be admitted without rewrite.

I don’t think that Dembski’s and Meyer’s ideas should have been excluded from the amicus brief just because they withdrew from case. As I note above, the amicus briefs do not carry the weight of trial testimony. And in any case, the judge could have allowed Shallit to testify against Dembski’s ideas if the DI brief had been accepted.
What if Dembski and Meyers had never signed up to testify in the first place? Then their ideas probably would have been accepted into the record as part of DI’s amicus brief, and Shallit would not have been there to rebut Dembski’s ideas.

Had you read the full order, you would have known the judge told the DI that he would accept a rewrite if the DI removed all reference to the expert reports.

No, the judge did invite a rewrite from DI, but did not say that he would accept a rewrite if references to the expert reports were removed. What if a rewrite had included the expert reports’ ideas without specifically referencing the reports? Anyway, I think that time had run out for DI by this time because the trial was drawing to a close.

The judge should not have treated DI as though Dembski and Meyer had never been scheduled to testify. Permitting such an abuse of the system would set a dangerous precedent, as parties could protect their expert witnesses from cross-examination.

As I noted above, this is not a good way to try to sneak expert witnesses’ unrebutted opinions into the trial record, because amicus briefs carry much less weight than trial testimony.

Anyway, it seems that amicus briefs are not all that important at the federal district court level (I don’t know why), because the federal district court rules (Federal Rules of Civil Procedure) say nothing about them (this is noted in the judge’s above order). However, the rules for the federal appeals courts (Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure) and the Supreme Court cover amicus briefs.

Comment #70251

Posted by Sir_Toejam on January 11, 2006 6:53 PM (e)

quack…quack…quack…

Comment #70257

Posted by Larry Fafarman on January 11, 2006 7:16 PM (e)

Comment #70082 posted by qetzal on January 11, 2006 12:05 PM

Over on the ‘ID offers biblical alternative…’ thread, Larry wrote (#69810):

*****Evolution theory is no more scientific than the irreducible complexity concept of ID. Evolution theory cannot be used to make predictions of macro-evolution, because macro-evolution in progress cannot be directly observed.*****

When challenged about that claim, part of his justification was that he prefers to define macro-evolution as (#69984):

******[T]hose evolutionary changes that are so drastic that they have never been directly observed.******

The possibility that someone might really think this way just boggles the mind.

I am really getting whipsawed here – my comments on one thread are being quoted and analyzed on another thread !!

OK, let me put it this way. No truly testable theory of macro-evolution is possible, because macro-evolution cannot be directly observed. Evolution theory only gives the illusion of making observable predictions about macro-evolution. The only observable predictions that evolution theory can make regarding macro-evolution are predictions of more circumstantial evidence of macro-evolution. For example, the fossil record can be used to make predictions of likely future finds of “missing link” fossils.

Evolutionists claim that macro-evolution just consists of series of micro-evolutions, but there is no evidence that this is possible, and this idea is counter-intuitive and contrary to reason.

Also, there is plenty of evidence of irreducible complexity. Some of the attempts to explain away irreducible complexity are very far-fetched. For example, there is the notion that the parts of some seemingly irreducible complex systems previously had functions as independent parts, even though those functions might have been different from the functions in the complete system (when a part changes function in evolution, it is called “exaptation”). But these parts must often have been quite a bit different in structure or operation when they had independent functions – e.g., it has been argued that the middle ear bones evolved from jawbones, an argument noted and accepted in the Dover opinion. Yet supposedly all of these different parts suddenly simultaneously appeared in their final forms to form the complete system – that seems extremely unlikely. Also, parts that had essential functions as independent parts would not have been available to form the complete system.

One can become overly obsessed with accepting evidence even when that evidence defies common sense. An example is the following joke about the trial of an alleged chicken thief –

Defendant (to witness) – “Did you see me enter the henhouse?”
Witness – “Yes.”
Defendant – “Did you see me leave the henhouse?”
Witness – “No.”
Defendant – “Aha ! I’m still in that henhouse !”

Evolution theory is counter-intuitive and contrary to reason. I would find it easier to believe that the world is no older than 60 years (my own approximate age – I have not seen with my own eyes that the world existed before that) than to believe in evolution theory.

Scary Larry

Comment #70261

Posted by Sir_Toejam on January 11, 2006 7:22 PM (e)

hey larry:

after having to scroll through mountains of your drool, the only question i have for you is:

is fafarman an alias, or is farma an alias, or are they both aliases?

Comment #70266

Posted by the pro from dover on January 11, 2006 7:29 PM (e)

I came into this a little late but I would like to register an objection to the use of the words “hoax” and “fraud” to label ID. A hoax is the deliberate production of an artifact or possibly data for someone else to discover and come to an erroneous conclusion about. The Cardiff Giant and Piltdown man are examples. Hoaxes usually aren’t driven by an underlying agenda beyond tweaking someone else nose and making them look foolish. A fraud (cold fusion or So. Korean cloning scandal) occurrs when someone deliberately falsifies data either for personal gain or to advance an agenda. Since ID has no published data or discovered anythings and has no intention of producing anything amenable to investigation it is someting else. Intelligent design is not “wrong” or “false”: what it is is useless as an investigative scientific tool. There are already 2 accurate descriptions of ID relative to science and those are “pseudoscience” and “belief”. These are the words that most accurately describe it. As M. Behe so accurately placed in the same category as astrology the gold standard of pseudoscience up to now.

Comment #70289

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on January 11, 2006 8:01 PM (e)

Two quibbles:

Quibbles, quibbles, toil and tribbles …

;)

Thanks for the heads-up. I will correct those.

Comment #70296

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on January 11, 2006 8:09 PM (e)

Lenny wasn’t pushing himself out as an Internet ‘legal expert’

Indeed, I am not a lawyer, nor do I play one on the Internet. As I clearly noted, my thoughts on the matter were, well, just my thoughts on the matter.

And if anyone is wondering why I’m not bothering to respond to Larry, well, he is nothing but a pit yorkie (yap yap yap), and his ankle-biting doesn’t annoy me enough to make me bother with the minimal effort needed to casually kick him across the room.

Larry can yap all he wants, for all I care. (shrug) He provides a convenient target so we don’t start pointlessly shooting at each other, again.

And he does a great job of demonstrating to all the lurkers just how silly and vapid ID/creationists really are.

Comment #70298

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on January 11, 2006 8:14 PM (e)

jobless philosophy majors

Dole Office Clerk:
“Occupation?”

Comicus:
“Stand up philosopher.”

Dole Office Clerk:
“What”�

Comicus:
“Stand up philosopher. I coalesce the vapors of human existence
into a viable and meaningful comprehension.”

Dole Office Clerk:
“Oh, a BULLSHIT artist!�”

Comment #70299

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on January 11, 2006 8:19 PM (e)

The only supposed ‘evidence’ for ID that IDCers have ever trotted out has in fact been a body of (incorrect) criticisms of evolutionary theory. Thus, it seems that taking this body of (incorrect) criticisms and simply dropping that now-troublesome label before delivering it would still amount to establishment.

Yes. Particularly when every one of those (incorrect) criticisms is nothing but rehashed ICR boilerplate from forty years ago, all of which has already been ruled as religious.

Comment #70305

Posted by Larry Fafarman on January 11, 2006 8:25 PM (e)

Comment #70261 posted by Sir_Toejam on January 11, 2006 07:22 PM

hey larry:
is fafarman an alias, or is farma an alias, or are they both aliases?

My real name is Larry Fafarman. LarryFarma@aol.com is the screen name that my dad gave to me when he signed me on to his AOL account, and I have used if ever since.

Comment #70306

Posted by KiwiInOz on January 11, 2006 8:29 PM (e)

C’mon Lenny. Where is your sense of fun. Surely you could buy an LLB (or the US equivalent) over the internet. You could be ‘Rev Dr’ Lenny Flank ‘LLB’ and then you COULD play an internet lawyer.

Pro - are the IDists not fraudulently misrepresenting science and scientific data to promote their beliefs? ID Fraud fits the bill in my book.

Comment #70310

Posted by Sir_Toejam on January 11, 2006 8:34 PM (e)

My real name is Larry Fafarman. LarryFarma@aol.com is the screen name that my dad gave to me when he signed me on to his AOL account, and I have used if ever since.

thanks larry I knew you could do it! congratulations!

I was beginning to think even simple questions were beyond you.

Now if only you could write with such clarity and brevity in all your posts.

*sigh*

Comment #70311

Posted by Larry Fafarman on January 11, 2006 8:35 PM (e)

Comment #70296 posted by ‘Rev Dr’ Lenny Flank on January 11, 2006 08:09 PM

****Lenny wasn’t pushing himself out as an Internet ‘legal expert’****

Indeed, I am not a lawyer, nor do I play one on the Internet. As I clearly noted, my thoughts on the matter were, well, just my thoughts on the matter.

I never played lawyer on the Internet, either. I just used the term “legal analysis” in reference to one of my comments. That is not tantamount to claiming to be a lawyer. And I also noted that you made your insulting remark in response to a comment of mine that actually supported your position. Go figure.

Scary Larry

Comment #70317

Posted by Sir_Toejam on January 11, 2006 8:43 PM (e)

Larry:

since i know you can do it, as evidenced by your post above, might i suggest shortening your rambling missives to the following:

when speaking about Kitzmiller, stick to the following:

I don’t like Judge Jones.

The trial wasn’t fair.

when speaking about ET and ID:

I only listen to talking points from the Discovery Institute, everything else is wrong.

for any other topic use the following:

“I am a revisionist, not a denier”

I think this will make your positions succinct and clear, and waste far less space on this site (and help the rest of us scroll past your posts faster).

thanks

Comment #70318

Posted by Sir_Toejam on January 11, 2006 8:45 PM (e)

oh, and i don’t claim copyright on those phrases, larry, so feel free to use them as is as many times as you like.

Just don’t bother to elaborate, as these phrases clearly need no elaboration.

Comment #70328

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on January 11, 2006 9:18 PM (e)

C’mon Lenny. Where is your sense of fun. Surely you could buy an LLB (or the US equivalent) over the internet. You could be ‘Rev Dr’ Lenny Flank ‘LLB’ and then you COULD play an internet lawyer.

Sorry, I blew all my money on my phoney doctoral degtree. :)

Comment #70331

Posted by Larry Fafarman on January 11, 2006 9:24 PM (e)

I would just like to add some more to my Comment #70246 of this thread.

In that comment, I noted that trying to sneak an expert witness’s unrebutted opinions in through the “back door” by putting them in an amicus brief is not a good idea, because amicus briefs carry much less weight than courtroom testimony. There is no better illustration of the relative insignificance of amicus briefs than the fact that briefs rebutting them (variously called “answering briefs” or “reply briefs”) are normally not permitted. Judges probably routinely ignore amicus briefs. An exception was Harvard’s amicus brief submitted in the Bakke case (one of 62 briefs submitted, I believe) – that brief played a major role in the Supreme Court’s decision.

The acceptance of an amicus brief from the Foundation for Thought and Ethics (publisher of the book Of Pandas and People) in the Dover case was really not adequate compensation for the denial of FTE’s motion to intervene.

Comment #70388

Posted by Sir_Toejam on January 11, 2006 11:19 PM (e)

see, there ya go, larry.

your last post would have been much clearer if you had simply used of of the Larry Phrases ™ i posted for you.

In this case, the one you should have used was:

The trial wasn’t fair.

see how easy that was?

Comment #70481

Posted by Larry Fafarman on January 12, 2006 3:39 AM (e)

Request —

Would those quoting or otherwise responding to other comments please give the comment number of the comment that they are responding to ? Many commenters here give just the name of the author of the original comment or nothing at all. The comment number is very useful for checking the context of the original quotes or ideas and also for responding directly to the original commenter. Thanks.

Scary Larry

Comment #70507

Posted by Larry Fafarman on January 12, 2006 6:48 AM (e)

Comment #70299 posted by ‘Rev Dr’ Lenny Flank on January 11, 2006 08:19 PM

****The only supposed ‘evidence’ for ID that IDCers have ever trotted out has in fact been a body of (incorrect) criticisms of evolutionary theory. Thus, it seems that taking this body of (incorrect) criticisms and simply dropping that now-troublesome label before delivering it would still amount to establishment.****

Yes. Particularly when every one of those (incorrect) criticisms is nothing but rehashed ICR boilerplate from forty years ago, all of which has already been ruled as religious.

What is “rehashed” about irreducible complexity ? It is a fairly old concept, but became well-known only in the last few years. None of the previous court cases dealing with the teaching of creationism in the public schools dealt with the concept of irreducible complexity. The Dover case, in dealing with the concept of irreducible complexity, was breaking new ground.

Anyway, I don’t think that the courts should be in the business of judging non-religious criticisms of evolution theory, e.g., irreducible complexity.

Comment #70524

Posted by guthrie on January 12, 2006 7:42 AM (e)

So how exactly did the court judge a non religious critiscism of evolution?

Comment #70540

Posted by Tim Hague on January 12, 2006 8:47 AM (e)

Linking back to Larrys comment:

Larry Fafarman wrote:

What is “rehashed” about irreducible complexity ? It is a fairly old concept, but became well-known only in the last few years.

You are actually correct Larry. Bravo. The old concept you refer to is called the ‘argument from ignorance’, and basically goes “Duuuh, that’s really complex. Someone far smarter than me must have done that” and was first used by William Paley (an ever-so-slightly less famous Brit than Darwin).

Comment #70541

Posted by Red Mann on January 12, 2006 8:50 AM (e)

Comment #70507

What is “rehashed” about irreducible complexity ? It is a fairly old concept, but became well-known only in the last few years. None of the previous court cases dealing with the teaching of creationism in the public schools dealt with the concept of irreducible complexity. The Dover case, in dealing with the concept of irreducible complexity, was breaking new ground.
Anyway, I don’t think that the courts should be in the business of judging non-religious criticisms of evolution theory, e.g., irreducible complexity.

Larry, IC is the most religious of ID claims. How can it be anything but? IC says this is too complex to have occurred naturally, therefore goddidit. I don’t care that they try to lie about their “designer”, space aliens and all that; you know perfectly well that they mean “God“, as in the Christian bible.

Please show me the science in IC. Just because things don’t work when you pull pieces of them off after they are made, doesn’t mean they weren’t put together one piece at a time.

Comment #70542

Posted by Tim Hague on January 12, 2006 8:52 AM (e)

Actually I will correct myself. Paley of course first used the “it looks designed to me, therefore it must be designed” argument (another favorite of Behe’s). The argument from ignorance has probably been around since time immemorial, and is still going strong today.

Comment #70546

Posted by Tim Hague on January 12, 2006 8:59 AM (e)

Let’s remember that Judge Jones was there when Behe - the ‘inventor’ of irreducible complexity - was there being cross examined. Judge Jones was also there when other scientists were being cross examined on the subject.

Some nice quotes on irreducible complexity from the Judge (emphasis mine):

“As referenced, the concept of irreducible complexity is ID’s alleged scientific centerpiece. Irreducible complexity is a negative argument against evolution, not proof of design, a point conceded by defense expert Professor Minnich.”

“Irreducible complexity additionally fails to make a positive scientific case for ID,”

“Professor Behe excludes, by definition, the possibility that a precursor to the bacterial flagellum functioned not as a rotary motor, but in some other way, for example as a secretory system.”

“As expert testimony revealed, the qualification on what is meant by “irreducible complexity” renders it meaningless as a criticism of evolution.”

“We therefore find that Professor Behe’s claim for irreducible complexity has been refuted in peer-reviewed research papers and has been rejected by the scientific community at large. Additionally, even if irreducible complexity had not been rejected, it still does not support ID as it is merely a test for evolution, not design.”

Comment #70594

Posted by Larry Fafarman on January 12, 2006 11:48 AM (e)

Comment #70541 posted by Red Mann on January 12, 2006 08:50 AM

Just because things don’t work when you pull pieces of them off after they are made, doesn’t mean they weren’t put together one piece at a time.

If an incomplete system is nonfunctional, it makes no difference whether that state of incompleteless was attained by adding parts or by subtracting them.

Comment #70546 posted by Tim Hague on January 12, 2006 08:59 AM

Some nice quotes on irreducible complexity from the Judge (emphasis mine):
“As referenced, the concept of irreducible complexity is ID’s alleged scientific centerpiece. Irreducible complexity is a negative argument against evolution, not proof of design, a point conceded by defense expert Professor Minnich.”

Where is it written that a scientific theory may not be criticized without at the same time introducing a plausible alternative scientific theory or hypothesis ?

(Judge Jones said –) “Irreducible complexity additionally fails to make a positive scientific case for ID”

The courts should not be in the business of judging the scientific merits of criticisms of evolution theory. Scientists should tell the courts, “if you’ll agree not to judge our science, we’ll agree not to peer-review your decisions.”

If creationism is considered to be the only alternative to evolution theory, then anything that raises doubts of the validity of evolution theory may be considered to be a promotion of religion.

All of this hoopla about ID – and its best-known concept, irreducible complexity – is giving the false impression that ID is the only criticism of evolution theory. There are criticisms of evolution theory that have little or nothing to do with design and which therefore do not raise issues about a “designer,” intelligent or otherwise. Some of these criticisms concern the following – (1) the mechanisms of the propagation of favorable mutations in organisms that reproduce by sexual means, (2) the mathematical probability or improbability of evolution, and (3) the co-evolution of two co-dependent organisms (this could be considered to be a sort of irreducible complexity consisting of two organisms).

Comment #70597

Posted by Stephen Elliott on January 12, 2006 12:01 PM (e)

Posted by Larry Fafarman on January 12, 2006 11:48 AM (e) (s)

The courts should not be in the business of judging the scientific merits of criticisms of evolution theory…

But you should be?

Comment #70599

Posted by jim on January 12, 2006 12:05 PM (e)

Larry F. wrote:

(performed while holding his hands over his eyes) I will not read TalkOrigins because I might learn my arguments are wrong and I prefer ignorance. Na na na

(performed while holding his hands over his ears) Na na na, I can’t hear you, na na na …

(performed while holding his hands over his mouth like a mega phone) I refuse to keep on topic in a thread because the rules just don’t apply to me and everyone has the obligation to hear what I say!

Really Larry, it’ll only take you a few minutes to check whether your claims have been raised before at the TalkOrigins Index to Creationist Claims.

Comment #70609

Posted by Andrew McClure on January 12, 2006 12:29 PM (e)

I never played lawyer on the Internet, either.

Right– you just tried to present yourself as a legal expert with litigation experience and more authoritative law knowledge than either your debate opponents or federal judges.

Big difference.

I refuse to keep on topic in a thread because the rules just don’t apply to me and everyone has the obligation to hear what I say!

Seriously. The problem with cranks like this isn’t that they’re wrong, or even that they’re annoying. The problem is that they remove the ability to use the site for legitimate purposes, by flooding out ontopic discussion with their own personal pet topics– which in nonthreaded discussion environment such as Panda’s Thumb, makes it effectively impossible to bring the original post topic back. Both this article, and that thing about Dembski and biblical alternatives that’s just reached 500 posts, and a couple other things from the last couple weeks, were things I’d have liked to have commented or heard discussion on– but the floating flamewars took over them all, usually after a mere handful of posts.

If there’s going to be an endless flamewar against one person, well, that’s amusing at times and that’s fine. But it would be nice to also have the option to discuss the articles. Maybe we could consider creating an alternate discussion area for people who would like to discuss the actual articles? Like the bathroom wall only in reverse ^_^

Comment #70636

Posted by Larry Fafarman on January 12, 2006 1:41 PM (e)

Comment #70597 posted by Stephen Elliott on January 12, 2006 12:01 PM

Posted by Larry Fafarman on January 12, 2006 11:48 AM
****The courts should not be in the business of judging the scientific merits of criticisms of evolution theory…****

But you should be?

I never said that I think I should be the sole judge of the scientific merits of ID and irreducible complexity. But Judge Jones said that he should be.

Comment #70642

Posted by Larry Fafarman on January 12, 2006 2:08 PM (e)

Comment #70609 posted by Andrew McClure on January 12, 2006 12:29 PM

****I never played lawyer on the Internet, either.*****

Right— you just tried to present yourself as a legal expert with litigation experience and more authoritative law knowledge than either your debate opponents or federal judges.

Well, I sure made fools of that Judge Jones and my debate opponents, didn’t I ? For example, my debate opponents told me that they were sure that the Dover defendants never tried to assert privilege for that attorney-client message, and then were forced to eat crow by admitting that they didn’t know.

And I do have litigation experience – I prepared two appeals to the US Supreme Court, among other things.

The problem is that they remove the ability to use the site for legitimate purposes, by flooding out ontopic discussion with their own personal pet topics—

The topic here is legal issues – “Legal eagles flutter on.” That is what I have been mostly discussing. I go off-topic only in response to others’ comments.

Comment #70668

Posted by Sir_Toejam on January 12, 2006 3:29 PM (e)

The argument from ignorance has probably been around since time immemorial, and is still going strong today

many have of course, made the argument for hundreds (if not thousands) of years that this is at the root of religious belief to begin with.

both arguments go hand-in-hand.

hard to avoid, really.

Comment #70671

Posted by Tim Hague on January 12, 2006 3:34 PM (e)

I said (quoting from the Judge):

“As referenced, the concept of irreducible complexity is ID’s alleged scientific centerpiece. Irreducible complexity is a negative argument against evolution, not proof of design, a point conceded by defense expert Professor Minnich.”

And Larry replied:

Where is it written that a scientific theory may not be criticized without at the same time introducing a plausible alternative scientific theory or hypothesis ?

Larry - all you had to do was read FOUR LINES down my post where I posted another line from the Judge:

“As expert testimony revealed, the qualification on what is meant by “irreducible complexity” renders it meaningless as a criticism of evolution.”

4 more lines, Larry!!! That’s all you had to read!!

You can criticise evolution all you like, as long as your criticism is vaguely plausible. ‘Meaningless’ does not mean plausible, OK?

Comment #70673

Posted by Sir_Toejam on January 12, 2006 3:37 PM (e)

Larry, I’m tellin’ ya, you would do much better if you would stick to the Larry Phrases™ i made for you.

here take these examples:

Comment #70594 would state your position much more succinctly thusly:

I only listen to talking points from the Discovery Institute, everything else is wrong.

The trial wasn’t fair.

I only listen to talking points from the Discovery Institute, everything else is wrong.

see how much cleaner and to the point that is? it essentially outlines your arguments correctly, without wasting space.

here’s another example (Comment #70642):

I don’t like Judge Jones.

see? taste’s great, but less filling.

try it, you’ll see it works in this forum exactly the same way as all that unnecessary typing you force yourself to do does.

Comment #70701

Posted by AC on January 12, 2006 4:44 PM (e)

Irreducible Complexity

Tim Hague wrote:

The argument from ignorance has probably been around since time immemorial, and is still going strong today.

As long as there are men, there will be ignorant men. The only treatment is education, to which pride is resistant and malice is immune.

See above.

Comment #70721

Posted by Edin Najetovic on January 12, 2006 5:21 PM (e)

Larry Fafarman:

am really getting whipsawed here — my comments on one thread are being quoted and analyzed on another thread !!

And with good reason…

OK, let me put it this way. No truly testable theory of macro-evolution is possible, because macro-evolution cannot be directly observed. *snip loads of drivel*

If you can not differentiate micro from macro evolution (I’ve never ever seen it done, but I’m not a biologist), there’s no point to arguing this, or the following:

Evolutionists claim that macro-evolution just consists of series of micro-evolutions, but there is no evidence that this is possible, and this idea is counter-intuitive and contrary to reason.

Evolutionists do not claim that macro evolution consists of loads of micro evolution, they just claim there is no distinction between the two. I’ve never seen anyone give a nice definition of macro-evolution that isn’t easily shown to be possible by evolution. THAT’s what they were asking of you, so the debate could have substance instead of having just rhetorical accusations be thrown about. You answered with a circular reasoning, which I believe is called ‘begging the question’ in proper English:

“http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Circular_reasoning”

This is also the problem you quickly run into with any form of creationism or any of its proponents.

Also, there is plenty of evidence of irreducible complexity. Some of the attempts to explain away irreducible complexity are very far-fetched. For example, there is the notion that the parts of some seemingly irreducible complex systems previously had functions as independent parts, even though those functions might have been different from the functions in the complete system (when a part changes function in evolution, it is called “exaptation”). But these parts must often have been quite a bit different in structure or operation when they had independent functions — e.g., it has been argued that the middle ear bones evolved from jawbones, an argument noted and accepted in the Dover opinion. Yet supposedly all of these different parts suddenly simultaneously appeared in their final forms to form the complete system — that seems extremely unlikely. Also, parts that had essential functions as independent parts would not have been available to form the complete system.

Extremely unlikely or not, irreducibly complex systems like blood clotting have been shown to work with less than they ought to be working with. And remember, if you can find one example of irreducible complexity not working, change it to a more workable definition or throw it out the window. It has been pointed out by those wiser than me that credibly reworking irreducible complexity to a workable tool of observation is not possible. Ergo, IC is an interesting concept but ultimately shown to be untrue: cum purgamenta deponendam est.

One can become overly obsessed with accepting evidence even when that evidence defies common sense. An example is the following joke about the trial of an alleged chicken thief —

Defendant (to witness) — “Did you see me enter the henhouse?”
Witness — “Yes.”
Defendant — “Did you see me leave the henhouse?”
Witness — “No.”
Defendant — “Aha ! I’m still in that henhouse !”

Evolution theory is counter-intuitive and contrary to reason. I would find it easier to believe that the world is no older than 60 years (my own approximate age — I have not seen with my own eyes that the world existed before that) than to believe in evolution theory.

Scary Larry

Nice rhetorics Larry, where’s the evidence? Oh right you say “One can become overly obsessed with accepting evidence even when that evidence defies common sense.”

That, my poor deluded friend, is what has given us humans our great technology this past century, unfortunately for you or whatever you may think. Common sense is fallible. Evidence is too, but at least it can be checked way better than someone saying “I’ve got a feeling”. Following the evidence has given us things that make it possible for you to live to the approximate age of 60 (sic!), nay, even to post your confused and garbled messages on this blog.

Yours sincerely,

-Edin Najetovic

Comment #70770

Posted by Larry Fafarman on January 12, 2006 6:52 PM (e)

Comment #70671 posted by Tim Hague on January 12, 2006 03:34 PM

Larry replied:
****Where is it written that a scientific theory may not be criticized without at the same time introducing a plausible alternative scientific theory or hypothesis ?*****

Larry - all you had to do was read FOUR LINES down my post where I posted another line from the Judge:

“As expert testimony revealed, the qualification on what is meant by “irreducible complexity” renders it meaningless as a criticism of evolution.”

That statement of the judge does not address my question.

Anyway, this is just the opinion of a single judge. He has his opinion and I have mine.

85 scientists submitted an amicus brief in the Dover case urging the judge not to rule on the scientific merits of ID. And he didn’t have to – the blatant religious motivations of the defendants made an airtight case against them.

Evolutionists often complain that evolution theory is singled out for criticism. But this judge singled out irreducible complexity for both criticism and censorship. What other alleged scientific concept has been singled out for such treatment by the courts?

Comment #70839

Posted by Larry Fafarman on January 12, 2006 8:42 PM (e)

Comment #70721 osted by Edin Najetovic on January 12, 2006 05:21 PM

Evolutionists do not claim that macro evolution consists of loads of micro evolution, they just claim there is no distinction between the two.

Not true – many evolutionists distinguish between micro- and macro-evolution, but there is a lot of disagreement as to what these terms actually mean. See –

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Macro-evolution

– and –

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk:Macroevolution

if you can find one example of irreducible complexity not working, change it to a more workable definition or throw it out the window.

Irreducible complexity is not a scientific law like gravity or Newton’s laws of motion, where finding one exception to the law either invalidates the law or requires it to be rewritten. If someone happens to choose an example of irreducible complexity that turns out to be invalid, so what?

It has been pointed out by those wiser than me that credibly reworking irreducible complexity to a workable tool of observation is not possible.

They have their opinions and I have mine.

=================================
“I’m from Missouri. You’ll have to show me.” — Willard Duncan Vandiver

Comment #70873

Posted by k.e. on January 12, 2006 9:48 PM (e)

Larry …woe is me ….who chose the losing “fundamentalist credibility” side… produces more insatiable self identity desires of irrelevant opinion causing him to accept nonsense as evidence said:

“They have their opinions and I have mine.”

Larry opinion is not fact. You can get it in practically all of the media these days as thought it were fact.

Turds dressed up as Caramels.

Your imagination will try to fool you, but they still taste like turds.

Comment #70882

Posted by Sir_Toejam on January 12, 2006 10:15 PM (e)

c’mon larry, say it with me now:

#70770

I don’t like Judge Jones.

#70839

I only listen to talking points from the Discovery Institute, everything else is wrong.

oh and relying on “wikipedia” as a primary source of information is a trap many of us fall into larry, when we are too lazy to do any real research.

are you that lazy larry, to assume you can understand how evolutionary theory is applied by referring to wiki definitions?

trust me, evolutionary biologist don’t use terms like “macroevolution” when they publish studies involving evolutionary theory.

the term is quite meaningless to anybody but a creationist.

you continue to astound and amaze with your unsubstantiated suppositions and illogic, super larry.

“old coot”, doesn’t even begin to describe the apparent place you exist.

Comment #70897

Posted by Larry Fafarman on January 12, 2006 11:22 PM (e)

Comment #70882 posted by Sir_Toejam on January 12, 2006 10:15 PM

I only listen to talking points from the Discovery Institute, everything else is wrong.

And you only listen to the talking points of the following – everything else is wrong –

(1) The ACLU
(2) Americans United for Separation of Church and State
(3) Judge Jones
(4) Prof. Paul “nice-slap-in-the-big-fat-face-of-the-fundies” Mirecki
(5) Prof. Barbara Forrest
(6) ‘Rev Dr’ Lenny Flank

You obviously have no ability to think for yourself.

oh and relying on “wikipedia” as a primary source of information is a trap many of us fall into larry, when we are too lazy to do any real research

I have found Wikipedia to be a darn good, usually unbiased introduction to many subjects, and I rarely find Wikipedia to be wrong. This is a bit surprising, considering that anyone can edit a lot of the Wikipedia articles.

One big mistake I did find in Wikipedia was the classification of Dover defendant William Buckingham as a “hostile witness” just because he was called to the stand by the plaintiffs’ attorneys instead of by the defense attorneys. He could be declared to be a hostile witness only by the judge at the request of a defense attorney while testifying for the defense.

Comment #70898

Posted by Sir_Toejam on January 12, 2006 11:26 PM (e)

I have found Wikipedia to be a darn good, usually unbiased introduction to many subjects, and I rarely find Wikipedia to be wrong. This is a bit surprising, considering that anyone can edit a lot of the Wikipedia articles.

lol. and do you think any of us here think your opinions on the accuracy and precision of an online encyclopedia influential in ANY way?

your artificial inflation of ego is something to wonder and remark at.

Comment #70899

Posted by Sir_Toejam on January 12, 2006 11:28 PM (e)

And you only listen to the talking points of the following — everything else is wrong —

ahh. so you agree with me then that you only rely on DI talking points in your arguments against evolutionary theory.

good.

see, i told you you could be reasonable.

now just stick to the larryphrases™ and you’ll do fine.

Comment #70908

Posted by Eugene Lai on January 13, 2006 12:03 AM (e)

lol. and do you think any of us here think your opinions on the accuracy and precision of an online encyclopedia influential in ANY way?

Yes. Every thing that he asserts from wiki deserves a double take.

Comment #70948

Posted by W. Kevin Vicklund on January 13, 2006 3:03 AM (e)

I wish to make a correction to an earlier post I made (70110), as pointed out by Larry (70246). I misread the following quote (as near as I can tell, I skipped up a line at one point, something that occasionally occurs due to trauma suffered in my left eye some years ago) and indicated that Dembski’s expert witness report was included in addition to Meyer’s in the DI brief. Instead, the brief contained details of Dembski’s report, not the report itself. I also should have said “allow a rewrite” instead of “accept a rewrite” to make my point clear. It should be clear to a reasonable observer, based on the contexts of my post and the Order, that “removed all reference to the expert reports” includes explicit and implicit references to the ideas contained within the reports. Shallit’s expert witness report cannot be stricken from the record as it was never entered into the record. It does remain as part of the case file, as does Dembski’s and Meyer’s expert reports.

Judge Jones, an Order (re: DI Amicus Briefs), wrote:

In addition, after a careful review of the Discovery Institute’s submission, we
find that the amicus brief is not only reliant upon several portions of Mr. Meyer’s
attached expert report, but also improperly addresses Mr. Dembski’s assertions in
detail, once again without affording Plaintiffs any opportunity to challenge such
views by cross-examination. Accordingly, the “Brief of Amicus Curiae, the
Discovery Institute” shall be stricken in its entirety.2 In the event that the Discovery
Institute requests to re-file an amicus curiae brief, it shall file such brief in
accordance with the confines of this Order and shall concurrently file a motion
seeking leave to file such submission.

Larry, 70897, wrote:

One big mistake I did find in Wikipedia was the classification of Dover defendant William Buckingham as a “hostile witness” just because he was called to the stand by the plaintiffs’ attorneys instead of by the defense attorneys. He could be declared to be a hostile witness only by the judge at the request of a defense attorney while testifying for the defense.

It should be noted that Mr. Buckingham was declared a hostile (or adverse, if you prefer) witness for the plaintiffs prior to the start of the trial - you will not find it in the trial transcripts. It was known to many of those following the events leading up to the trial (I was certainly aware of it). Perusal of his depositions make it abundantly clear that he is sufficiently adverse to the plaintiffs position to be so called. But even that is unnecessary. See the following excerpts (pay attention to subdivision c):

Federal Rules of Evidence wrote:

Rule 611. Mode and Order of Interrogation and Presentation

(a) Control by court.

The court shall exercise reasonable control over the mode and order of interrogating witnesses and presenting evidence so as to (1) make the interrogation and presentation effective for the ascertainment of the truth, (2) avoid needless consumption of time, and (3) protect witnesses from harassment or undue embarrassment.

(b) Scope of cross-examination.

Cross-examination should be limited to the subject matter of the direct examination and matters affecting the credibility of the witness. The court may, in the exercise of discretion, permit inquiry into additional matters as if on direct examination.

© Leading questions.

Leading questions should not be used on the direct examination of a witness except as may be necessary to develop the witness’ testimony. Ordinarily leading questions should be permitted on cross-examination. When a party calls a hostile witness, an adverse party, or a witness identified with an adverse party, interrogation may be by leading questions.

Federal Rules of Evidence - Notes to Rule 611 wrote:

Subdivision ©.

The rule continues the traditional view that the suggestive powers of the leading question are as a general proposition undesirable. Within this tradition, however, numerous exceptions have achieved recognition: The witness who is hostile, unwilling, or biased; the child witness or the adult with communication problems; the witness whose recollection is exhausted; and undisputed preliminary matters. 3 Wigmore §§ 774-778. An almost total unwillingness to reverse for infractions has been manifested by appellate courts. See cases cited in 3 Wigmore § 770. The matter clearly falls within the area of control by the judge over the mode and order of interrogation and presentation and accordingly is phrased in words of suggestion rather than command.

The rule also conforms to tradition in making the use of leading questions on cross-examination a matter of right. The purpose of the qualification “ordinarily” is to furnish a basis for denying the use of leading questions when the cross-examination is cross-examination in form only and not in fact, as for example the “cross-examination” of a party by his own counsel after being called by the opponent (savoring more of re-direct) or of an insured defendant who proves to be friendly to the plaintiff.

The final sentence deals with categories of witnesses automatically regarded and treated as hostile. Rule 43(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure has included only “an adverse party or an officer, director, or managing agent of a public or private corporation or of a partnership or association which is an adverse party.” This limitation virtually to persons whose statements would stand as admissions is believed to be an unduly narrow concept of those who may safely be regarded as hostile without further demonstration. See, for example, Maryland Casualty Co. v. Kador, 225 F.2d 120 (5th Cir. 1955), and Degelos v. Fidelity and Casualty Co., 313 F.2d 809 (5th Cir. 1963), holding despite the language of rule 43(b) that an insured fell within it, though not a party in an action under the Louisiana direct action statute. The phrase of the rule, “witness identified with” an adverse party, is designed to enlarge the category of persons thus callable.

I call particular attention to this excerpt:

The final sentence deals with categories of witnesses automatically regarded and treated as hostile. Rule 43(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure has included only “an adverse party or an officer, director, or managing agent of a public or private corporation or of a partnership or association which is an adverse party.”

Buckingham, as an officer of a public corporation (the DASD) during the period in dispute, is automatically regarded as hostile if called as a witness by the opposing party (in this case, the plaintiffs). Therefore, it is entirely appropriate for Wikipedia and the denizens of PT to refer to him as a hostile witness. Also, Larry’s assertion that only the defense is allowed to request a witness declared hostile is incorrect. Either party can request that (at least in a civil case) for a witness that they call.

I apologize for the unavoidable format error (copyright symbol) caused by the site software.

Comment #70972

Posted by Larry Fafarman on January 13, 2006 7:11 AM (e)

Comment #70948 posted by W. Kevin Vicklund on January 13, 2006 03:03 AM

It should be clear to a reasonable observer, based on the contexts of my post and the Order, that “removed all reference to the expert reports” includes explicit and implicit references to the ideas contained within the reports.

I disagree with the judge’s reasoning. Expert opinions have much less weight in an amicus brief than in trial testimony (judges can ignore amicus briefs completely), so there is no advantage to sneaking unrebutted expert opinions in through the “back door” (as the judge put it) by putting them into an amicus brief. And Shallit could have been permitted to testify against Dembski’s opinions in exchange for allowing DI’s amicus brief into the case file.

Shallit’s expert witness report cannot be stricken from the record as it was never entered into the record. It does remain as part of the case file, as does Dembski’s and Meyer’s expert reports.

I thought that the idea behind rejecting DI’s amicus brief was to keep Dembski’s and Meyer’s unrebutted expert reports and/or opinions out of the case file. Dembski’s and Meyer’s expert reports should have been removed from the case file as soon as they withdrew from the case. Shallit’s expert report should have been removed as well, since he never testified either.

It should be noted that Mr. Buckingham was declared a hostile (or adverse, if you prefer) witness for the plaintiffs prior to the start of the trial - you will not find it in the trial transcripts.

Is there any record of the judge ever declaring Buckingham to be a hostile witness? Buckingham was probably “declared” to be a hostile witness just by the plaintiffs and the newsmedia.

Perusal of his depositions make it abundantly clear that he is sufficiently adverse to the plaintiffs position to be so called.

There was no need to declare him to be hostile to the plaintiffs’ attorneys, because a party in a case is always presumed to be hostile to the attorneys of the opposing party, whether testifying in direct examination or cross examination. The only purpose of declaring a witness to be hostile is so that leading questions can be used where they are not normally allowed – but attorneys of the opposing party are always allowed to use leading questions.

“When a party calls a hostile witness, an adverse party, or a witness identified with an adverse party, interrogation may be by leading questions.” – from Rule 611 ( c ), Federal Rules of Evidence, emphasis added

The above rule appears to distinguish between “hostile witness” and “adverse party.” I think that officially Buckingham was an “adverse party” rather than a “hostile witness” when being questioned by the plaintiffs’ attorneys – the fact that the plaintiffs’ attorneys called him to the stand had nothing to do with it. According to one law dictionary’s definition, Buckingham could be declared to be a “hostile witness” only by the judge at the request of a defense attorney while testifying for the defense. See — http://dictionary.law.com/default2.asp?typed=hostile+witness&type=1&submit1.x=46&submit1.y=14

I think that leading questions should generally always be outlawed. I found the plaintiffs’ attorney’s questioning of Buckingham to be mocking and browbeating, with repeated questions like, “isn’t that true?” and “isn’t that correct?”

Buckingham, as an officer of a public corporation (the DASD) during the period in dispute, is automatically regarded as hostile if called as a witness by the opposing party (in this case, the plaintiffs). Therefore, it is entirely appropriate for Wikipedia and the denizens of PT to refer to him as a hostile witness. Also, Larry’s assertion that only the defense is allowed to request a witness declared hostile is incorrect. Either party can request that (at least in a civil case) for a witness that they call.

You yourself admit that he was automatically regarded as hostile while being questioned by the plaintiffs’ attorneys – so there was no point in “declaring” him to be hostile. And so far I have seen no evidence that he was ever officially declared to be a hostile witness.

I presume that it is quite common for a party to be called to the stand by opposing attorneys rather than by the party’s own attorneys. If every party so called to the stand were classified as a “hostile witness,” there would be quite a few hostile witnesses out there.

Comment #70994

Posted by Edin Najetovic on January 13, 2006 9:10 AM (e)

Not true — many evolutionists distinguish between micro- and macro-evolution, but there is a lot of disagreement as to what these terms actually mean.

This is the crux of the matter. Wikipedia may be right that some evolutionists maintain the micro-macro distinction (can anyone chip in on this, please?), but even it states it is hard to define. Anyway, the point that for a meaningful discussion to take place, you must not give arguments like “X is true because of Y and Y is true because of X”. Though strictly speaking valid, it is a fallacy and would work better if you would describe macroevolution as ‘the event of speciation’ and then go on to describe what you think speciation is, so discussion may take place properly.

Also, http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/comdesc/. What a quick google search can give you…

Irreducible complexity is not a scientific law like gravity or Newton’s laws of motion, where finding one exception to the law either invalidates the law or requires it to be rewritten. If someone happens to choose an example of irreducible complexity that turns out to be invalid, so what?

IC, in examining evolutionary pathways, is a tool. As a tool, its status is even less than that of a theory. If a tool is found out to be faulty, you change it or throw it out to replace it with a new and improved one. Take, for example, a magnifying glass. Its strong claim is that it magnifies everything that can be seen. What do you do when you find out there is one thing the magnifying glass can’t magnify which it should have been able to? You change what it claims to be able to magnify or you get yourself a new one. This has not happened, so the magnifying glass is a good tool.

IC has been proven not to work in a situation where it by its own tenets should have: blood clotting. So, if you want to keep it as a tool, change its applicability to account for this or throw it out. Be mindful that changing applicability will need to be done in a scientific manner so things like “IC except for blood clotting” or “IC except for those things which have been proven to have other possible pathways” are out. If you can’t, remember that IC makes strong claims about the inapplicability of a certain path, the evolutionary one, so if in one situation where IC should be applicable it does not work, it is falsified. QED.

They have their opinions and I have mine.

Their ‘opinions’ are based on evidence, yours on rhetorics. I wonder who is more scientifical?

-Edin Najetovic

Comment #71047

Posted by JohnK on January 13, 2006 10:48 AM (e)

Larry, would you share with us which two appeals you prepared for the US Supreme Court?

Comment #71061

Posted by AC on January 13, 2006 11:31 AM (e)

I can chip in, Edin.

The “micro-macro distinction”, like “God”, means whatever the particular believer wants it to mean.

That, and the utter lack of evidence for it, makes it quite meaningless regarding reality. Of course, man assigns meaning, so in the minds of the believers, it can have great meaning. Many consider the “micro-macro distinction” to be proof that evolution cannot be accurate. Many consider “God” to be the source of their morality. In their own minds, these are true statements. The world, however, does not care.

Irreducible complexity as a tool doesn’t even make it out of the box. It is flawed in principle. The ignorance of an individual has no bearing on reality, though it can certainly inspire him to search for knowledge. The trouble is that some people’s egos are more important to them than accuracy. These people tend to synthesize self-satisfying “knowledge”, often without so much as a glance at the world. Even worse, they often do so maliciously, with eyes wide open to the world, misrepresenting reality in various ways.

Though you are correct that many (all?) proposed examples of IC have, upon further, closer examination, proved to be misguided. As far as evolutionary science is concerned, there are questions about mechanisms, but virtually all scientists in relevant fields do not recognize a “micro-macro distinction”.

Comment #71081

Posted by Larry Fafarman on January 13, 2006 11:50 AM (e)

Comment #70721 posted by Edin Najetovic on January 12, 2006 05:21 PM

Wikipedia may be right that some evolutionists maintain the micro-macro distinction (can anyone chip in on this, please?), but even it states it is hard to define. —–

—– Also, http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/comdesc/. What a quick google search can give you…

The reference you gave above, a pro-evolution article written by a scientist, is titled, “29+ Evidences for Macroevolution – The Case for Common Descent” (emphasis added), and gives definitions of microevolution and macroevolution in its introduction. So here is an example of an evolutionist who maintains the micro-macro distinction.

IC has been proven not to work in a situation where it by its own tenets should have: blood clotting.

There is no reason to believe that IC is supposed to work in any particular situation – blood clotting just happens to be an example that was arbitrarily chosen by Michael Behe. Also, often a disproof of an alleged example of an irreducibly complex system is claimed when it is shown that one of the many components of the system has some function outside the system, but I do not consider that to be an adequate disproof.

Anyway, all the hoopla over irreducible complexity has obscured the fact that there are other scientific criticisms of evolution theory, and some of these other criticisms have little or nothing to do with design, intelligent or otherwise. Some of these other criticisms concern – (1) the mechanisms of the propagation of favorable mutations in organisms that reproduce sexually, (2) the mathematical probability or improbability of evolution, and (3) co-evolution of two co-dependent organisms, e.g., bees and insect-dependent flowering plants.

****They have their opinions and I have mine.****

Their ‘opinions’ are based on evidence, yours on rhetorics. I wonder who is more scientifical?

I have lots of evidence. What matters is how that evidence is interpreted.

Comment #71102

Posted by W. Kevin Vicklund on January 13, 2006 12:06 PM (e)

This post is regarding Larry’s 70972 post.

I disagree with the judge’s reasoning. Expert opinions have much less weight in an amicus brief than in trial testimony (judges can ignore amicus briefs completely), so there is no advantage to sneaking unrebutted expert opinions in through the “back door” (as the judge put it) by putting them into an amicus brief. And Shallit could have been permitted to testify against Dembski’s opinions in exchange for allowing DI’s amicus brief into the case file.

I thought that the idea behind rejecting DI’s amicus brief was to keep Dembski’s and Meyer’s unrebutted expert reports and/or opinions out of the case file. Dembski’s and Meyer’s expert reports should have been removed from the case file as soon as they withdrew from the case. Shallit’s expert report should have been removed as well, since he never testified either.

The purpose of an amicus brief is to get additional evidence added to the record, not the case file. When a judge is writing his opinion, he is only permitted to base it on evidence admitted to the record and applicable case law - documents in the case file but not in the record are not permitted to be adjudicated (I may be missing an item from what a judge is permitted to include as part of the decision making process, but the point about case file documents is certainly true when it comes to witness testimony). Once a document is made part of a case file it is not removed, barring unusual circumstances, the most likely being confidentiality violations - removal of witnesses does not count as an unusual circumstance. Also note that the brief was not filed until the day after the plaintiffs ended their arguments (barring the testimony of Buckingham). It would have been very ugly trying to get Shallit’s testimony in during or after defense testimony. Your arguments hold very little water.

Is there any record of the judge ever declaring Buckingham to be a hostile witness? Buckingham was probably “declared” to be a hostile witness just by the plaintiffs and the newsmedia.

According to the notes on Rule 611c, if Buckingham is called as a witness by the plaintiffs, he is automatically considered and treated as a hostile witness due to his position as a member of the board. No declaration by the judge is required, it is automatic. It is possible that the judge officially did so prior to the trial (perhaps during the meeting in which they scheduled the order of witnesses, since both parties agreed to have Buckingham testify out of order during the defense portion), but not a necessary condition.

There was no need to declare him to be hostile to the plaintiffs’ attorneys, because a party in a case is always presumed to be hostile to the attorneys of the opposing party, whether testifying in direct examination or cross examination. The only purpose of declaring a witness to be hostile is so that leading questions can be used where they are not normally allowed — but attorneys of the opposing party are always allowed to use leading questions.

In Buckingham’s instance, the opposing party is the defense. Repeat after me: “Buckingham was a witness for the plaintifs.” In order for the plaintiffs to ask leading questions of Buckingham, their own witness, they had to establish that he was a hostile witness. As indicated previously, due to his position, this is automatic. To restate, the defense (being the opposing party) is permitted to ask leading questions, but the plaintiffs (being the calling party) require the witness to be considered hostile in order to do so.

The above rule appears to distinguish between “hostile witness” and “adverse party.” I think that officially Buckingham was an “adverse party” rather than a “hostile witness” when being questioned by the plaintiffs’ attorneys — the fact that the plaintiffs’ attorneys called him to the stand had nothing to do with it. According to one law dictionary’s definition, Buckingham could be declared to be a “hostile witness” only by the judge at the request of a defense attorney while testifying for the defense. See —- http://dictionary.law.com/default2.asp?typed=hos…

I think that leading questions should generally always be outlawed. I found the plaintiffs’ attorney’s questioning of Buckingham to be mocking and browbeating, with repeated questions like, “isn’t that true?” and “isn’t that correct?”

Your interpretation of the rule is decidedly incorrect - it is an inclusion of the various terms, not intended to distinguish between them (besides, witness is singular, party is plural). Besides, the note for the rule clearly indicates that he is officially a hostile witness. The fact that the plintiffs called him to the stand has everything to do with him being a hostile witness. An online dictionary does not trump the Federal Rules of Evidence, and the referenced site (see full quote below) a) is addressing the more common occurence of a witness unexpectedly becoming hostile, and b) indicates that only the calling party, in this case the plaintiffs, - not the defense - can request that the witness be declared hostile. As far as whether leading questions should be permitted, there is a sound reason for it, as stated in the notes for Rule 611. Besides, counsel for both plaintiffs and defense engaged in asking leading questions on cross-examination with just those phrases. Buckingham’s recalcitrance to answer may be why they were used so frequently.

Law.com wrote:

hostile witness
n. technically an “adverse witness” in a trial who is found by the judge to be hostile (adverse) to the position of the party whose attorney is questioning the witness, even though the attorney called the witness to testify on behalf of his/her client. When the attorney calling the witness finds that the answers are contrary to the legal position of his/her client or the witness becomes openly antagonistic, the attorney may request the judge to declare the witness to be “hostile” or “adverse.” If the judge declares the witness to be hostile (i.e. adverse), the attorney may ask “leading” questions which suggest answers or are challenging to the testimony just as on cross examination of a witness who has testified for the opposition.
See also: leading witness adverse witness

You yourself admit that he was automatically regarded as hostile while being questioned by the plaintiffs’ attorneys — so there was no point in “declaring” him to be hostile. And so far I have seen no evidence that he was ever officially declared to be a hostile witness.

The point in him being “declared” hostile (again, this is automatic according to the Federal Rules of Evidence) is so that the calling party (again, the plaintiffs, not the defense) can ask him leading questions. And again, he is “automatically regarded and treated as hostile” due to his position. No official declaration required.

I presume that it is quite common for a party to be called to the stand by opposing attorneys rather than by the party’s own attorneys. If every party so called to the stand were classified as a “hostile witness,” there would be quite a few hostile witnesses out there.

It is actually quite unusual. Normally, the witness is called by the party the witness is “friendly” to. Part of the reason is so that the party can direct the line of questioning in a favorable manner, and the party can also request that leading questions in cross be limited to material brought up in direct (the judge can overrule). See the notes on Rule 611 for further explanation. I don’t know why the defense decided to not include Buckingham as a witness for the defense, but the plaintiffs obviously (and it turns out, correctly) decided that his testimony would be important in establishing certain facts of their case. I should also note that you are consistently using presume when you really mean assume. Assume iindicates a guess based upon emotions and common sense. Presume indicates an educated guess about specific gaps in knowledge based upon known facts surrounding that gap (e.g., I presume that if defense did attempt to assert client-attorney privilege on the memo from the city solicitor that played a decidedly minor role in the final decision, it occured during Jen Miller’s deposition, since the trial transcripts and post-trial statements of fact prove that the defense did not assert it after trial started, and the depostions of board members prior to Jen Miller’s depostion make no mention of the plaintiffs having the memo in question).

Comment #71133

Posted by Larry Fafarman on January 13, 2006 12:40 PM (e)

Comment #71047 posted by JohnK on January 13, 2006 10:48 AM

Larry, would you share with us which two appeals you prepared for the US Supreme Court?

OK, this is off-topic, so only if you promise not to press me for more details.

My lawsuits concerned a $300 California car tax called the “smog impact fee,” which was a tax on some out-of-state vehicles newly registered in the state. The tax was eventually declared unconstitutional by the state courts. I sued in federal court, arguing for various reasons that the federal government was a necessary party to the suit because the tax was entirely based on federal auto emissions regulations and owed its existence to those regulations. I persisted because I was very annoyed that my suits were thrown out without the judge(s) giving a reason. An attorney acquaintance of mine told me that my district court judge had a bad reputation for issuing decisions without opinions. My work was all pro se, performed without the assistance of an attorney. Anyway, it was definitely good experience, which is helping me do the legal research I have done for some of the comments I have posted here. For example, it is important to know that the federal district courts and the federal appeals courts have their own separate sets of rules (for example, there is nothing about amicus briefs in the district court rules). People should be taught in high school or college how to sue the government on their own.

Comment #71140

Posted by W. Kevin Vicklund on January 13, 2006 12:46 PM (e)

Larry wrote:

(1) the mechanisms of the propagation of favorable mutations in organisms that reproduce sexually,

Well-explained by evolution. Not a criticism.

(2) the mathematical probability or improbability of evolution,

Depending on what you mean by “(im)probability of evolution”, this is either part of evolutionary theory, or not enough data is available to construct a meaningful probability function, and is therefore not a criticism of evolution.

and (3) co-evolution of two co-dependent organisms, e.g., bees and insect-dependent flowering plants.

Well-explained by evolution. Not a criticism. Heck, ~20 years ago, as an eight-year-old, I understood intuitively how mutualism was well-explained by evolution (on a basic level, of course). I had a kick-ass science fair project to prove it (self-researched, overall first place in the school science fair (grades K-4)).

Comment #71164

Posted by jim on January 13, 2006 1:12 PM (e)

Larry F. wrote:

(2) the mathematical probability or improbability of evolution,

Michael Behe proved rather conclusively that this was not an issue in the Kitzmiller trial. This whole line of reasoning was examined in depth on PT back in September IIRC.

Essentially Behe selected a particular type of protein change (requiring 3-4 simultaneous point mutations) as the “gold” standard. He then ran a computer model designed to determine the probability that the new protein function could occur purely by random point mutations. The results were that it would take some large amount of time for that mutation to appear in the population model that he used. He claimed that this long period of time proved that evolution would require a lot longer period of time to occur than the Universe’s current age.

The problem was, his population model of ~10^10 bacteria roughly corresponds to the number of bacteria present in my mouth. This is much much smaller than the number of bacteria present on the Earth at any particular time (estimated at ~10^30).

Meaning this particular “difficult” protein mutation occurs multiple times every second somewhere on the Earth.

Comment #71229

Posted by Larry Fafarman on January 13, 2006 2:36 PM (e)

Comment #71140 posted by W. Kevin Vicklund on January 13, 2006 12:46 PM

Well-explained by evolution. Not a criticism.

– therefore not a criticism of evolution.

Well-explained by evolution. Not a criticism.

Your statements are just theories, not facts.

Heck, ~20 years ago, as an eight-year-old, I understood intuitively how mutualism was well-explained by evolution (on a basic level, of course). I had a kick-ass science fair project to prove it (self-researched, overall first place in the school science fair (grades K-4)).

Was your science fair project “peer-reviewed”? LOL

Since when do eight-year-olds do recognized scientific studies? What were you, some kind of prodigy?

Comment #71298

Posted by W. Kevin Vicklund on January 13, 2006 3:52 PM (e)

Unfortunately for Larry, he doesn’t understand that theories are explanations of facts. And my statements actually are facts, in that evolution does explain the three points quite well (per the previously noted qualifications), if you bother to follow the field. You made a bald statement, I returned it in kind. I’ve been following the literature since I was six - can you make the same claim?

By the way, by self-researched, I meant that I came up with the project by myself, and did all of the fact-checking myself, as opposed to having my parents do it for me. My parents only provided transportation and costs to obtain the materials I needed (plus review of my work before I presented it). My research was not original, and I never claimed that it was or that it was peer-reviewed. At the time, as a second-grader, I knew more science than any other student in the school (not just based on a single science fair project, by the way), which went up through 4th grade. So yes, it is possible that I might have been considered a prodigy at that age, but I wouldn’t claim the title myself.

Comment #71304

Posted by gwangung on January 13, 2006 4:01 PM (e)

Unfortunately for Larry, he doesn’t understand that theories are explanations of facts.

Of course he doesn’t. He’s an armchair BSer, cheerfully unencumbered by facts or having to fit their preconceptions to the real world. It’s the type that blithely tries to appeal to the Supreme Court and wonder why the Court denies it….

Comment #71327

Posted by Larry Fafarman on January 13, 2006 4:30 PM (e)

Comment #71102 posted by W. Kevin Vicklund on January 13, 2006 12:06 PM

The purpose of an amicus brief is to get additional evidence added to the record, not the case file.

Your definitions of “record” and “case file” are arbitrary. The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure has no definitions of terms (not any that I could find on the Internet, anyway), and I couldn’t even find these terms in my online legal dictionary (“record” was defined, but only as a verb). These terms can mean whatever people want them to mean.

The important thing is that amicus briefs carry much less weight than trial testimony. The judge(s) can completely ignore amicus briefs. There is no better illustration of the relative insignificance of amicus briefs than the fact that briefs rebutting amicus briefs are normally not permitted.

If Dembski and Meyer had never signed up as expert witnesses in the first place, then their unrebutted opinions would have been admitted to the record (or case file) if the DI amicus brief had been accepted.

Once a document is made part of a case file it is not removed, barring unusual circumstances

If judges routinely strike things from what you call the “record,” I see no reason why they cannot also routinely strike things from what you call the “case file.” This is not like a criminal trial, where a piece of evidence that is not important now may turn out to be important later.

It would have been very ugly trying to get Shallit’s testimony in during or after defense testimony.

Ugly or not, the plaintiffs and defendants agreed that if Dembski’s opinions were added to the record (or case file), then Shallit would be permitted to testify. A deal is a deal.

No declaration by the judge is required, it is automatic. It is possible that the judge officially did so prior to the trial (perhaps during the meeting in which they scheduled the order of witnesses

You said that Buckingham was “declared” to be a hostile witness, and you have presented no evidence of that. The only reason for declaring a witness to be “hostile” is so that leading questions can be used when they are normally not permitted, but such a declaration would have been pointless in Buckingham’s case because he was an “adverse party” when being questioned by the plaintiffs’ attorneys and hence – according to Rule 611 ( c ) of the Federal Rules of Evidence – those attorneys could always ask him leading questions.

In Buckingham’s instance, the opposing party is the defense.

Wrong – the opposing party was the plaintiffs. Buckingham was definitely a defendant – he not only voted for the ID rule but was a leader in pushing it through. It might have been different if he had voted against the ID rule.

An online dictionary does not trump the Federal Rules of Evidence

An online legal dictionary does trump the Federal Rules of Evidence (FRE) on definitions when the latter provides no definitions of terms. And I pointed out how the FRE’s apparent distinction between “hostile witness” and “adverse party” does appear to be consistent with the dictionary’s definition.

the referenced site (see full quote below) a) is addressing the more common occurence of a witness unexpectedly becoming hostile, and b) indicates that only the calling party, in this case the plaintiffs, - not the defense - can request that the witness be declared hostile.

The only possible interpretation of this definition is that the witness can be declared to be a “hostile witness” only by the judge at the request of an attorney during questioning of the witness by that attorney. This was not done in Buckingham’s case and was clearly not necessary because —as I noted — he was an “adverse party” when being direct-examined by the plaintiffs’ attorneys and hence could be asked leading questions without being declared to be a “hostile witness.”

Besides, counsel for both plaintiffs and defense engaged in asking leading questions on cross-examination with just those phrases [i.e., “isn’t that true?” and “isn’t that correct?”]. Buckingham’s recalcitrance to answer may be why they were used so frequently.

It was obvious that the plaintiffs’ attorney questioning Buckingham was using those phrases when they were clearly inappropriate. I don’t see the point of leading questions, anyway. When witnesses swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, it should not be necessary to “lead” them.

I don’t know why the defense decided to not include Buckingham as a witness for the defense

Maybe the defense decided that it would be better to cross-examine him rather than direct-examine him.

Anyway, one commenter on this website who was ignorant of what “hostile witness” means said with obvious relish that Buckingham was a “hostile witness” or was declared to be a “hostile witness.”

I presume that if defense did attempt to assert client-attorney privilege on the memo from the city solicitor that played a decidedly minor role in the final decision, it occured during Jen Miller’s deposition

There is absolutely no basis for that presumption – the proper words here are “I am making a wild guess.” And the memo played more than a “minor role” in the decision – it was a big piece of supporting evidence. And the judge failed to explain how the memo got into the opinion.

In summary –

(1) I disagree with the judge’s reasons for rejecting the DI brief (I suspect, though, that the normal length limit was greatly exceeded because of the inclusion of Meyer’s expert report as an appendix)

(2) I assert that Buckingham was an “adverse party” rather than a “hostile witness” when he was being direct-examined by the plaintiffs’ attorneys.

Comment #71354

Posted by Fafafooey on January 13, 2006 4:58 PM (e)

You said that Buckingham was “declared” to be a hostile witness, and you have presented no evidence of that

The Philadelphia Inquirer says here:

In four hours on the stand, Buckingham, who was called by plaintiffs’ attorneys as a hostile witness, tried to confront reams of documentary evidence and testimony from numerous witnesses by blaming the news media for misrepresenting his statements.

And your beloved wikipedia weighs in:

October 27, 2005 – William Buckingham testified and was ruled a hostile witness.

But with Larry, why bother, really.

Comment #71413

Posted by Larry Fafarman on January 13, 2006 6:26 PM (e)

Comment #71298 posted by W. Kevin Vicklund on January 13, 2006 03:52 PM

Unfortunately for Larry, he doesn’t understand that theories are explanations of facts. And my statements actually are facts, in that evolution does explain the three points quite well (per the previously noted qualifications), if you bother to follow the field.

OK, theories are based on facts, but facts cannot be based on theories.

Evolutionists accuse ID proponents of lacking inquiring minds, saying that once ID proponents have decided that something is irreducibly complex, they can just throw up their hands, say “the intelligent designer did it,” and not investigate any further. But the evolutionists are the real ones lacking inquiring minds — once they have decided that they have refuted a particular criticism of evolution, the refutation is final for all time and they need not consider that criticism ever again, even if plausible new evidence and/or plausible new arguments supporting that criticism are presented.

You made a bald statement, I returned it in kind.

What “bald” statement did I make ? My statement that irreducible complexity is not the only scientific criticism of evolution theory, and that some of the other criticisms have little or nothing to do with “design” ?

I’ve been following the literature since I was six – can you make the same claim?

Yup. I have been following the literature since I was six, too – that is, since I was six months younger (actually, probably fewer months than that – I have not kept track). But I am a fast learner.

Scary Larry

=============================================
“I’m from Missouri. You’ll have to show me.” —- Willard Duncan Vandiver

Comment #71425

Posted by Sir_Toejam on January 13, 2006 6:54 PM (e)

But I am a fast learner.

now THAT’s funny!

Comment #71432

Posted by Larry Fafarman on January 13, 2006 7:02 PM (e)

Comment #71354 posted by Fafafooey on January 13, 2006 04:58 PM

*****You said that Buckingham was “declared” to be a hostile witness, and you have presented no evidence of that****

The Philadelphia Inquirer says here:
“In four hours on the stand, Buckingham, who was called by plaintiffs’ attorneys as a hostile witness, —–“

And your beloved wikipedia weighs in:
“October 27, 2005 – William Buckingham testified and was ruled a hostile witness.”

I was looking for direct evidence – not hearsay.

Also, the Wikipedia statement is obviously false. It says that Buckingham was ruled to be a hostile witness on Oct. 27. I searched the Oct 27 trial transcripts for the words “hostile” and “adverse” and found nothing. The legal dictionary’s definition of “hostile witness” says that a witness may be declared to be hostile only during testimony. The bottom line – Buckingham was an “adverse party,” not a “hostile witness,” when he was being direct-examined by the plaintiffs’ attorneys.

This is how urban legends get started.

Comment #71434

Posted by Steviepinhead on January 13, 2006 7:02 PM (e)

Yo, you! Yeah, that’s right, ya longwinded, um, that is, tediously lengthy maroon, uh, commentator!

I’m serious, please get your ignorant self back over to the Dembski thread right now–you might be able to make your first substantive contribution to this blog!

(But it would be, like, really helpful if you could break some of your longer posts up into several smaller ones, like, y’know, one moronic “point” at a time, instead of running a whole slew of them together like you usually do. There’s a good reason for this, but it’s kind of complicated, so I’m not going to go into it all right now. Just take my word for it!)

Thanks in advance!

–Your Long-time Fan, Stevie

Comment #71438

Posted by Sir_Toejam on January 13, 2006 7:11 PM (e)

I still say if he would just stick the Larryphrases™ i carefully constructed for him, there would be no complaints from long-time fans like Stevie.

see, Larry, I told you!

Comment #71443

Posted by W. Kevin Vicklund on January 13, 2006 7:19 PM (e)

The error from which all your other errors flow in regards to Buckingham - Buckingham was not a defendant during the trial because he was no longer on the Board. Technically, Bonsell and others ceased to be defendants when they lost their positions on the Board due to the election. They were not individually named as defendants - rather, they were the agents of the defendant entity known as the Dover Area School District Board (the other defendant in the case was the Dover Area School District - i.e. the taxpayers). It’s one of those confusing things that falls under corporate law. It’s actually designed to protect individual “officers of a public or private corporation” from individual liability. This is also why they can’t take this to appeal - they are no longer defendants (or rather agents of the defendant).

Trust us, we’d love to be able to sue them directly. But in exchange for us not being able to sue them as individuals, they can’t act as individuals to advance the case to appeal.

Let’s take a look at this again. The relevant quotes:

When a party calls a hostile witness, an adverse party, or a witness identified with an adverse party, interrogation may be by leading questions.

The final sentence deals with categories of witnesses automatically regarded and treated as hostile. Rule 43(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure has included only “an adverse party or an officer, director, or managing agent of a public or private corporation or of a partnership or association which is an adverse party.”

The adverse party here is the Board. Buckingham was an officer of that board during the period in question. Therefore, he is “a witness identified with an adverse party” that is “automatically regarded and treated as hostile”. I feel fully justified in calling him an hostile witness. The common parlance for such a witness is hostile witness, and at this point you a quibbling over a meaningless distinction. Hostile witness and adverse party is a distinction without meaning.

Larry wrote:

There is absolutely no basis for that presumption — the proper words here are “I am making a wild guess.” And the memo played more than a “minor role” in the decision — it was a big piece of supporting evidence. And the judge failed to explain how the memo got into the opinion.

When, pray tell, do you propose the attempt to assert client-attorney privilege occurred? The early January and mid-March/mid-April depositions of Bonsell, Buckingham, and Nilsen show no signs of the plaintiffs having possession of the memo. We know Jen Miller gave her deposition in the spring, that she gave numerous documents to the plaintiffs, that she had been given the memo in question, and that it was presented as Exhibit 5 at her deposition. I have already shown that at no time during the trial did the defense offer any objection or attempt to assert privilege in regards to the memo. In fact, the defense brought up the memo - but did not enter it as evidence - prior to the plaintiffs during the trial. Indeed, the plaintiffs had to ask clarification on which memo was being referenced. Finally, both plaintiffs and defendants referenced the contents of the memo in their post-trial statements of fact without raising objection or invoking privilege. Based upon these facts, the most likely candidate for your alleged attempt to assert privilege would be during the Jen Miller deposition. Do you actually disagree with my assessment? In any case, any such attempt must have occurred prior to the beginning of the trial.

Since the memo was admitted as evidence during the trial without objection from the defense during the trial, since defense relied upon the memo in their post-trial Statement of the Facts, and since at no point after the beginning of the trial did they attempt to assert their privilege in regards to the memo, the judge was not required or obligated to indicate how the memo was acquired. Especially for something so minor that the judge’s discussion took up less than 1% of the Opinion. Had such an attempt arisen during or after trial, he would be obligated to address it, at least as a footnote, just as he did for a number of other issues. As a side note, had he decided to discuss the portion of the memo in which the solicitor apparently thought he was told by the TMLC that creationism was the same as ID, he would have been obligated to note that it had been objected to by the defense as hearsay. (Actually, I don’t believe he could have discussed that, as he upheld the objection - probably that’s what’s in the ellipses - and therefore was not part of the official record) The purpose of the opinion is not to explore how individual documents were introduced, it is to show how the documents tie together and contribute to the Conclusion and Order. If you are so interested in how it got in, pony up the money and pay for the relevant documents (I’d start at Jen Miller’s deposition, if I were you).

As to “the record” take a look at what the Opinion says:

Judge Jones wrote:

The trial commenced September 26, 2005 and continued through November 4, 2005. This Memorandum Opinion constitutes the Court’s findings of fact and conclusions of law which are based upon the Court’s review of the evidence presented at trial, the testimony of the witnesses at trial, the parties’ proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law with supporting briefs, other documents and evidence in the record, and applicable law.3 Further orders and judgments will be in conformity with this opinion.

Judge Jones (footnote 3) wrote:

The Court has received numerous letters, amicus briefs, and other forms of correspondence pertaining to this case. The only documents submitted by third parties the Court has considered, however, are those that have become an official part of the record. Consistent with the foregoing, the Court has taken under consideration the following: (1) Brief of Amici Curiae Biologists and Other Scientists in Support of Defendants (doc. 245); (2) Revised Brief of Amicus Curiae, the Discovery Institute (doc. 301); (3) Brief of Amicus Curiae the Foundation for Thought and Ethics (doc. 309); and (4) Brief for Amicus Curiae Scipolicy Journal of Science and Health Policy (doc. 312).

The Court accordingly grants the outstanding Motions for Leave to File Amicus Briefs, namely the Motion for Leave to File a Revised Amicus Brief by The Discovery Institute (doc. 301), the Motion for Leave to File Amicus Brief by The Foundation for Thought and Ethics (doc. 309), and the Petition for Leave to File Amicus Curiae Brief by Scipolicy Journal of Science and Health Policy (doc. 312). [return]

The most important part is “This Memorandum Opinion constitutes the Court’s findings of fact and conclusions of law which are based upon the Court’s review of the evidence presented at trial, the testimony of the witnesses at trial, the parties’ proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law with supporting briefs, other documents and evidence in the record, and applicable law.” Notice how, in the footnote, he specifies which of the various briefs are being considered? Only “those that have become an official part of the record.”

Also note how the various briefs and motions are referenced as “(doc. ###)”? As each document is received, it is entered into what I called the case file under a unique document ID. Being assigned a document number does not mean that the document will be considered. It has to first become a part of the official record.

As a side note, the DI did rewrite and resubmit, and it was accepted as part of the official record.

Comment #71446

Posted by Steviepinhead on January 13, 2006 7:25 PM (e)

Well, I have to agree that just using the phrases would be helpful, STJ, but I was a bit hesitant to suggest that on top of all my other requests–reasonable as they were!–because, well, I have to admit that my relationship with, um, our retired teenage “friend” has perhaps not gotten off to the very smoothest start.

Thinking about it though, the little feller has really been the recipient of a lot of effort here, for which he has not properly appreciative.

Returning to the Dembski thread–where his presence is really wanted, where in fact the whole thread has now been dedicated to him, and where he would feel ever so much more “at home”!–and, once there, trying to restrain the length of his comments just a teensy tiny bit–not the number, young feller, just the length!–doesn’t seem too much to ask, after all we’ve done for him.

Comment #71463

Posted by Edin Najetovic on January 13, 2006 7:41 PM (e)

The reference you gave above, a pro-evolution article written by a scientist, is titled, “29+ Evidences for Macroevolution — The Case for Common Descent” (emphasis added), and gives definitions of microevolution and macroevolution in its introduction. So here is an example of an evolutionist who maintains the micro-macro distinction.

I conceded this point to you. I offered that site as proposed look at what macroevolution is. A definition of sorts. And to be quite honest, I’m still touching in the dark on this one (though thanks for the chip AC! ;) Is macro-micro a usable distinction at all? I remain unconvinced.

OK, theories are based on facts, but facts cannot be based on theories.

No, theories EXPLAIN facts and propose mechanisms by which those facts came to be. In other words, they predict facts. If you do not like their prediction of the facts, find a fact that should follow from the predictions but does not or find a prediction that should materialise into a fact and does not. If either is achieved, theories must be changed. If change is no longer possible, it is replaced by a superior theory (Theory of Newtonian gravity –> Einstein).

ID has given us no mechanisms (heck, Behe and Dembski say we don’t even need one!) so it is no valid alternative for Evolutionary theory. It may be true, for all we know, but the fact of the matter is that it is not science. And THAT is what the ID-ists are continually obscuring. When stripped away of science it is of course not strange at all that the judge decided that it is religion, though this is the only arguable point of the ruling. The (un)scientificality of ID was never in doubt.

Evolutionists accuse ID proponents of lacking inquiring minds, saying that once ID proponents have decided that something is irreducibly complex, they can just throw up their hands, say “the intelligent designer did it,” and not investigate any further. But the evolutionists are the real ones lacking inquiring minds —- once they have decided that they have refuted a particular criticism of evolution, the refutation is final for all time and they need not consider that criticism ever again, even if plausible new evidence and/or plausible new arguments supporting that criticism are presented.

*sighs* Larry, Larry. A ‘tu quoque’ fallacy does not validate your argument:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tu_quoque (and I’m sorry for using Wikipedia again but it’s late and I’m lazy :P)

Even barring that, you are gravely misinformed. ID makes a strong claim through its mechanism IC. The nature of a strong claim is that once one fact is found that is fallacious to this claim, the strong claim itself is fallacious.

And the first thing the evolution did was combat this strong claim of ID, succesfully. Blood clotting and the immune system come to mind. So their claim is fallacious.

What you are gravely misinterpreting here is that evolutionists leave a criticism lying even if new evidence is found. That, my friend, is a very bold claim, a strong one even. I urge you to back that up with an example. And, failing that, you might want to consider the ‘plausible new evidence’ the ID movement has given us. You’ll find there is none since IC was first defined by Behe.

Remember Larry, evolution is a theory with a 100 year history, it has changed and taken a new shape in those years with lots of evidence backing its mechanisms. The burden of proof is on you, since you wish to contest it. So please, enlighten me with research. If you either bring a new definition of IC to the fore or dispute Evolution’s answer to the IC of blood clotting, we will reconsider your arguments. And quite frankly, you making claims that we would ignore it hurts my scientist’s pride.

Comment #71478

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on January 13, 2006 8:00 PM (e)

My lawsuits concerned a $300 California car tax called the “smog impact fee,” which was a tax on some out-of-state vehicles newly registered in the state. The tax was eventually declared unconstitutional by the state courts. I sued in federal court, arguing for various reasons that the federal government was a necessary party to the suit because the tax was entirely based on federal auto emissions regulations and owed its existence to those regulations. I persisted because I was very annoyed that my suits were thrown out without the judge(s) giving a reason. An attorney acquaintance of mine told me that my district court judge had a bad reputation for issuing decisions without opinions. My work was all pro se, performed without the assistance of an attorney. Anyway, it was definitely good experience, which is helping me do the legal research I have done for some of the comments I have posted here. For example, it is important to know that the federal district courts and the federal appeals courts have their own separate sets of rules (for example, there is nothing about amicus briefs in the district court rules). People should be taught in high school or college how to sue the government on their own.

OK, so you’re a crank.

Got it.

Comment #71505

Posted by Larry Fafarman on January 13, 2006 9:02 PM (e)

Comment #71478 posted by ‘Rev Dr’ Lenny Flank on January 13, 2006 08:00 PM

OK, so you’re a crank.

OK, I’m a crank – just like the plaintiffs in the Dover, Cobb County, and El Tejon, Calif. cases. The only difference was that they had big sugar daddies behind them – the ACLU, Americans United, and Pepper Hamilton. I was on my own. Anyway, as I said, it was good experience.

Comment #71513

Posted by Larry Fafarman on January 13, 2006 9:18 PM (e)

Comment #71443 posted by W. Kevin Vicklund on January 13, 2006 07:19 PM

The error from which all your other errors flow in regards to Buckingham - Buckingham was not a defendant during the trial because he was no longer on the Board. Technically, Bonsell and others ceased to be defendants when they lost their positions on the Board due to the election. They were not individually named as defendants - rather, they were the agents of the defendant entity known as the Dover Area School District Board

Whatever. The board members were popularly believed to be defendants – at least those board members who voted for the ID rule. And the incumbent board members were not voted off the board until around the end of the trial hearings.

Trust us, we’d love to be able to sue them directly.

The ones you should be suing are the plaintiffs’ legal representatives — Pepper Hamilton, the ACLU, and Americans United — for driving up the legal bill by having an excessive number of attorneys of record, 9-10.

But in exchange for us not being able to sue them as individuals, they can’t act as individuals to advance the case to appeal.

The reasons why the case could not be appealed are (1) the defendants lost and (2) the new board voted to repeal the ID rule, rendering any appeal moot. It has nothing to do with whether or not the former board members could be sued as individuals.

Let’s take a look at this again. The relevant quotes:

“When a party calls a hostile witness, an adverse party, or a witness identified with an adverse party, interrogation may be by leading questions.” (FRE Rule 611 ( c ) )

The adverse party here is the Board. Buckingham was an officer of that board during the period in question. Therefore, he is “a witness identified with an adverse party” that is “automatically regarded and treated as hostile”.

OK, so he wasn’t an “adverse witness,” he was “a witness identified with an adverse party” — but according to FRE Rule 611 ( c ), that still could be regarded as officially different from being a “hostile witness.” According to the dictionary definition of hostile witness that I gave, a hostile witness is a witness who is declared to be a hostile witness by the judge at the request of an attorney during testimony. As I said, the reason for declaring a witness to be a “hostile witness” is so that leading questions can be asked when they are normally not allowed, but that did not apply to Buckingham. I checked the trial transcripts for the day that Buckingham testified (Oct. 27), and could find no mention of the word “hostile” or even the word “adverse.” So even if he was unofficially a hostile witness, he was never officially declared to be a hostile witness. Yet the media covering the trial called Buckingham a “hostile witness,” so people could start taunting, “na-na-na-na-na, Buckingham is a hostile witness!” I wonder who told the media that Buckingham was a “hostile witness” — it wasn’t mentioned in the Oct. 27 hearings.

Hostile witness and adverse party is a distinction without meaning.

– to you. But to me, only the judge can declare a witness to be an official “hostile witness,” under the circumstances I stated. The Federal Rules of Evidence gives no definitions of terms, so we are all free to come up with our own definitions if we can justify them – and I have. You have your definitions and I have mine.

Based upon these facts, the most likely candidate for your alleged attempt to assert privilege would be during the Jen Miller deposition. Do you actually disagree with my assessment? In any case, any such attempt must have occurred prior to the beginning of the trial.

We really have no idea. For example, privilege for the memo might have been asserted by a written motion, particularly if the assertion was made before the start of oral hearings. I just thought that some explanation was in order in the Dover opinion because it is so unusual to see an attorney-client message in an opinion and because the message was used against the defendants.

Comment #71517

Posted by Sir_Toejam on January 13, 2006 9:24 PM (e)

We really have no idea

HEY! use your pronouns correctly, would ya.

I find your use of the word “we” to be more than mildly offensive in this context.

YOU are the only one here who has no idea.

let’s at least be clear on that.

Comment #71616

Posted by Larry Fafarman on January 14, 2006 5:02 AM (e)

Comment #71463 posted by Edin Najetovic on January 13, 2006 07:41 PM

No, theories EXPLAIN facts and propose mechanisms by which those facts came to be. In other words, they predict facts.

The only “facts” that evolution theory can predict in regard to macroevolution are likely future discoveries of more circumstantial evidence of macroevolution. For example, the fossil record can be used to predict likely future discoveries of “missing link” fossils.

ID has given us no mechanisms (heck, Behe and Dembski say we don’t even need one!) so it is no valid alternative for Evolutionary theory.

In my opinion, ID is not – or should not be – a proposed scientific alternative to evolution theory. I see ID as just a collection of criticisms of evolution theory (irreducible complexity is the best known). A lot of people have this strange idea that a scientific theory may not be criticized unless a plausible alternative scientific theory or hypothesis is introduced at the same time.

Larry, Larry. A ‘tu quoque’ [ad hominem] fallacy does not validate your argument

An ad hominem attack is a personal attack that has no bearing on the issue at hand. I said that evolutionists lack inquiring minds because they refuse to ever reconsider criticisms of evolution theory that they consider to have been refuted (I should have said “some evolutionists”). That statement bears upon the issue at hand.

The nature of a strong claim is that once one fact is found that is fallacious to this claim, the strong claim itself is fallacious.

As I said, that is true in the case of scientific laws like gravity – once an exception is found, the law must either be scrapped or rewritten. But in the case of irreducible complexity, if one bad example is chosen (and I am not conceding that the examples chosen have been bad), then another example can be chosen. We will never run out of potential examples.

Often a disproof of an alleged example of an irreducibly complex system is claimed when it is shown that one of the many components of the system has some function outside the system, or something like that, but I don’t buy sort of thing.

When big flaws in evolution theory are pointed out, the evolutionists claim, “we don’t have all the answers now, but we may find more answers in the future.” They’ve had only about 150 years to find the answers. Meanwhile, in the case of irreducible complexity, which has been around for only about 10 years in its current form, the evolutionists are insisting, “we want all the answers right now, this very minute, or else! Everything must be absolutely perfect ! No mistakes are allowed ! If you make a single mistake, we will reject irreducible complexity forever !”

Whether or not the irreducible complexity concept is valid, it has raised and will continue to raise questions leading to important scientific research. Just the efforts to disprove alleged examples of irreducible complexity are contributing to our scientific knowledge.

========================================

Dear National Science Foundation,

I would like a research grant of one billion dollars to conduct a scientific study to show that the concept of irreducible complexity is so absurd that even a five-year-old can see through it.

Sincerely,

Prof. Charles Darwin

Comment #71661

Posted by k.e. on January 14, 2006 7:43 AM (e)

oooooooooooooouuuuuuuu Larry now signs as the Anti-God

Larry
rhubarb
rhubarb
rhubarb
rhubarb
rhubarb
rhubarb
Sincerely,

Prof. Charles Darwin

Larry is tearing his panties off to REVEAL

Ta DAH!

Lala says statements are just theories, not facts.

Lala says OK, theories are based on facts, but facts cannot be based on theories.

Lalalalalalnahanahnaha I’m not listening says But I am a fast learner.

Larry knows That the educated cultured section of society is nibbling at the self created wet paper towel that is over his head, the ego of an idiot.

Damn those nibblers

Larry what you are 60 years old now?

You really don’t have much time left to catch up do you ?

Well get yourself a copy of “Lolita” by Nabokov and weep
because he was writing not about a dirty old man but a proto-Ayatollah who uses language to relieve his fear of death and his hatred of women.

Or if that is too tough for you get “The heart of Darkness” By Conrad (Some people may claim ….that a Women is to Blame …..but i know…)
or if that is too tough for you

read “Don Quixote” by Cervantes the second most popular book in the world after the Bible

They are all about EXACTLY the same thing
Fallen angels …woe is me…. all is suffering …..who dream up a counter reality for their own pleasure and who only want to f**k the truth.

re-read the box…. that my friend is tautological solipsism
Dembski’s, Behe’s, and Larry’s Windmill.

Comment #71914

Posted by Sir_Toejam on January 14, 2006 8:45 PM (e)

larry defines the age level of his critical thinking skills:

…even a five-year-old can see through it.

..or at least someone who’s intellect is the equivalent of a 5 year old’s can refuse to see through his own BS.

Comment #71921

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on January 14, 2006 9:26 PM (e)

Apparently now there is a last-minute effort on the part of the El Tejon district to avoid the AU’s lawsuit by reaching some sort of settlement ….

Comment #72114

Posted by Edin Najetovic on January 15, 2006 11:46 AM (e)

I see ID as just a collection of criticisms of evolution theory (irreducible complexity is the best known). A lot of people have this strange idea that a scientific theory may not be criticized unless a plausible alternative scientific theory or hypothesis is introduced at the same time.

and

But in the case of irreducible complexity, if one bad example is chosen (and I am not conceding that the examples chosen have been bad), then another example can be chosen.

You make me smile. You have just said ID is marginal and that it is NOT a scientific criticism of evolution, so scientists can ignore it. Thank you very much, QED. The rest of your post was more misunderstanding on your part and I’m getting tired of it, consider revealing this self induced demasking my final contribution to this thread.

K.E.

Larry what you are 60 years old now?

Approximately 60, mind you :P

Larry wrote:

(..)60 years (my own approximate age (…)

Comment #72259

Posted by Larry Fafarman on January 15, 2006 6:02 PM (e)

Comment #72114 posted by Edin Najetovic on January 15, 2006 11:46 AM

****I see ID as just a collection of criticisms of evolution theory (irreducible complexity is the best known). A lot of people have this strange idea that a scientific theory may not be criticized unless a plausible alternative scientific theory or hypothesis is introduced at the same time.*****

and

*****But in the case of irreducible complexity, if one bad example is chosen (and I am not conceding that the examples chosen have been bad), then another example can be chosen.*****

You make me smile. You have just said ID is marginal and that it is NOT a scientific criticism of evolution, so scientists can ignore it. Thank you very much, QED.

What is this ? NOWHERE in your quotes of my comment did I say or imply that ID is marginal or that it is not a scientific criticism of evolution. In fact, so far as it being a scientific criticism of evolution is concerned, I said the exact opposite.

I may make you smile, but you make me laugh. LOL

The rest of your post was more misunderstanding on your part and I’m getting tired of it, consider revealing this self induced demasking my final contribution to this thread.

I am not just “getting tired” of you, I am tired of you. So this is your “final contribution to this thread” ? Good riddance.

Scary Larry

======================================

“I’m from Missouri. You’ll have to show me.” — Willard Duncan Vandiver

======================================

Dear National Science Foundation,
I would like a grant of one billion dollars to conduct a scientific study to show that irreducible complexity is so absurd that even a 5-year-old can easily see through it.

Sincerely,
Prof. Charles Darwin

Comment #72265

Posted by Sir_Toejam on January 15, 2006 6:24 PM (e)

I am not just “getting tired” of you, I am tired of you. So this is your “final contribution to this thread” ? Good riddance.

NOW, Lalalarry’s starting to sound like JAD.

you’re starting to bore us lalalarry.

Comment #72273

Posted by Steviepinhead on January 15, 2006 6:41 PM (e)

LaLa (16 going on 60, apparently!), it escapes me why you are wasting your time on THIS thread–and getting people ticked off at you–when you could be accomplishing something productive on your very “own” thread.

But then, once a maroon, always a maroon.

Comment #73141

Posted by Odd Digit on January 18, 2006 8:15 AM (e)

k.e. wrote:

that my friend is tautological solipsism

k.e. you certainly have a unique posting style! You’ve lost me completely with the statement above.

tautology - the unnecessary and usually unintentional use of two words to express one meaning
solipsism - the belief that only one’s own experiences and existence can be known with certainty

Tautological solipsism? Damned if I know what you mean by that! Please explain!

Just out of interest - what is your field?

Comment #73167

Posted by Ubernatural on January 18, 2006 10:08 AM (e)

Larry (#71513) wrote:

Yet the media covering the trial called Buckingham a “hostile witness,” so people could start taunting, “na-na-na-na-na, Buckingham is a hostile witness!”

I’d like to nominate this quote as the most childish thing ever written on The Panda’s Thumb. Apparently since the media mischaracterized him, Buckingham is now wide open to wedgies, purple nerples, and wet willies.

Comment #73212

Posted by W. Kevin Vicklund on January 18, 2006 12:52 PM (e)

The fun part is that Buckingham wasn’t the only witness reported as hostile by the media during the trial. Why oh why isn’t Larry jumping to the defense of poor Robert S. Linker?

Comment #73353

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on January 18, 2006 8:27 PM (e)

Why oh why isn’t Larry jumping to the defense of poor Robert S. Linker?

Because Larry has never read any of the trial transcript, and therefore doesn’t know Robert Linker from Art Linkletter. (shrug)