Wesley R. Elsberry posted Entry 2167 on April 4, 2006 12:03 PM.
Trackback URL: http://www.pandasthumb.org/cgi-bin/mt/mt-tb.fcgi/2162

Pim van Meurs alerted me to another just plain false broadside from the Discovery Institute*. Joe Manzari (American Enterprise Institute) and Seth Cooper (formerly of the Discovery Institute) say that Brian Rehm, one of the plaintiffs in the Kitzmiller v. Dover case, had a “clear” conflict of interest in being part of the new school board that specifically turned down a proposal to rescind the “intelligent design” policy.

One might assume the new board’s first item of business would be to rescind the old board’s evolution policy. Not so. During their first meeting on December 5th, former Dover Board member David Napierski proposed a resolution to rescind the old board’s evolution policy (prior to any court ruling). Acting as a private citizen, Napierski procured the opinion of an attorney, who said that a vote to rescind the evolution policy could stave off a courtroom defeat and significantly reduce or eliminate legal costs and fees. Yet the new board rejected Napierski’s proposal to rescind the old policy.

What’s more, one of the new board members who rejected any attempt to rescind the old evolution policy was also a plaintiff in the lawsuit whose outcome was pending. Dover C.A.R.E.S candidate turned new Dover Board member Bryan Rehm was represented by the ACLU and AUSCS. Yet, in a clear conflict of interest, he participated in the new Dover Board’s consideration of the resolution to rescind the evolution policy.

Wow. That’s pretty bad, isn’t it? So what’s the evidence that bears upon this serious allegation of misconduct on the part of an elected government official? It turns out that the major claim is contradicted by information easily obtained online. I guess easily for people other than AEI “research assistants” and former DI “policy analysts”.

(* Correction added: Cooper is noted at the bottom of the article as a former policy analyst for the DI. We had to wait a few hours for the Discovery Institute’s official false broadside to appear. Now Ed Brayton has a great takedown of the official DI post.)

Well, first, it should be noted that Manzari and Cooper are right that Mr. David Napierskie did encourage the new Dover school board to immediately rescind the policy. We can tell this because the Dover school board puts minutes for meetings online. The meeting in question was held on December 5th, 2005.

Here’s the notation for the interaction with Mr. Napierskie:

2. David Napierskie. 6495 Cabot Road. Dover voiced his concerns of the legal ramifications of the Intelligent Design case and the dropping of the case now. Mr. Napierskie also presented legal briefs to the school board for their review.

3. Board president Reinking noted that legal counsel advised the board that the trial is over and can not change the outcome of any vote. Mrs. Reinking promised to include the community and staff in any decisions made on Intelligent design. Intelligent design will be on the agenda for the January 3rd of meeting. There will be discussion at that time on the issue.

It is interesting that while Manzari and Cooper stress that Napierskie had consulted with an actual attorney, they fail to mention that the minutes immediately note that the new board also had its own legal advice on the issue, even if the minutes aren’t entirely coherent about what that legal advice actually was. The last time the board ignored their own counsel, they lost any coverage under insurance for the very case in question.

An interesting thing about minutes is that they document who participated in the proceedings. So, by Manzari and Cooper’s accusation, we should expect to see Brian Rehm’s name in the list of paneled board members. Here’s the list from the official minutes:

Roll Call

The Dover Area School Board met Monday, December 5, 2005, 7:01p.m. at the North Salem Elementary School. The Board Secretary opened the meeting with a pledge of allegiance the the flag and silent reflection. The following director was present: Mrs. Gessey. The following newly elected and certified board members were present: Mrs. Dapp, Mr. Emig, Mr. Gurreri, Mr. Herman, Mr. McIlvaine, Mrs. McIlvaine and Mrs. Reinking. Student representatives: Meghan Hilbert and Joshua Rowand.

Hmmm. Brian Rehm’s name doesn’t appear in the roll call for the board. In fact, his name doesn’t appear in the minutes for this meeting at all. The roll call goes to list 27 other names of people attending the meeting. But no Rehm. So we have a conundrum for Manzari and Cooper: how was Rehm “clearly” in conflict of interest at a meeting that there is no record that he even attended?

Here’s where it might have been a good thing for Manzari and Cooper to have done a little research. Note the “newly elected and certified board members” phrasing in the roll call. Rehm did not participate in the December 5th decision that would have been a “clear conflict of interest” because his election results were not yet certified. There was a problem with a voting machine that made the result ambiguous between the highest vote-getter of the old board, James Cashman, and the lowest vote-getter of the challengers, Brian Rehm. It would, in fact, require a runoff election between Rehm and Cashman to determine who the final board member would be. That runoff election took place January 3rd, 2006, and Brian Rehm only took his place on the board after his runoff election victory.

The revote was limited to about 800 voters who voted at the church on Nov. 8, when the voting machines registered 100 votes for Rehm and between 0 and 1 vote for Cashman.

A Court of Common Pleas judge ordered the revote between Rehm and Cashman – an incumbent who supported the intelligent design policy – because of a faulty voting machine at the church.

The machine didn’t properly count votes for Cashman, who has contended that he could have defeated Rehm, the winning four-year candidate with the fewest votes.

Yesterday, 621 people voted at the church and 32 sent in absentee ballots.

Joins CARES winners: Rehm will now join fellow Dover CARES (Citizens Actively Reviewing Educational Strategies) members elected to the school board on Nov. 8.

(Source: York Daily Record, http://www.yorkdispatch.com/local/ci_3371232, last accessed 2006/01/04. See also Penn Live; ACLU PA)

Oops.

Various ID advocates obviously care nothing for whether their accusations of misconduct on the part of people opposing them have the slightest grounding in reality at all. The bizarre campaign of Forrest Mims to destroy the career of Eric Pianka over Mims’s inability to grasp the simplest concepts of ecology is followed only three days later by this completely fabricated slam on Brian Rehm. Whenever an ID advocate claims that they have any regard for facts, be sure to remind them of these two cases.

Are there any ID advocates out there with an ounce of moral fiber? We’ll be able to tell because they’ll be the ones who loudly and publicly register their disagreement with Mims, Manzari, and Cooper. I suspect the list will never grow so large as to require me to take off my shoes to count that high, though I’d be pleasantly surprised if I were proved wrong on that point.

Update: As another data point on the sloppy and careless way the Manzari and Cooper article is put together ([mr.rogers]Can you say, “reckless disregard”? Good.[/mr.rogers]), consider what blogger Ed Brayton pointed out to me in their article:

According to the ACLU’s Eric Rothschild, “We think it’s important that the public record will reflect how much it costs to stop an unconstitutional action.”

Eric Rothschild is not an ACLU employee. He is a partner in the Pepper Hamilton law firm.

Commenters are responsible for the content of comments. The opinions expressed in articles, linked materials, and comments are not necessarily those of PandasThumb.org. See our full disclaimer.

Comment #94217

Posted by Randy on April 4, 2006 12:18 PM (e)

Also, one more obvious point. This meeting took place on Dec. 5, after the trial stage was over and the judge was making his decision, how would the board voting to recind the policy at that date reduce their court cost? If anything it would have been a public admission of guilt (not that this would have been allowed to influence Judge Jones’ decision, as I believe the Judge pointed out himself.)

Comment #94218

Posted by jhallum on April 4, 2006 12:18 PM (e)

Wow. Let be the first to say:

Pwned!

Well done, Wesley, that’s one fine piece of research.

Comment #94219

Posted by wamba on April 4, 2006 12:20 PM (e)

between 0 and 1 vote for Cashman

Wow. If I were designing a voting machine, I probably would have used integer math.

Are there any ID advocates out there with an ounce of moral fiber?

Nope. Next question?

Comment #94222

Posted by stevaroni on April 4, 2006 12:21 PM (e)

It makes for a great conspiracy theory, it’d be a shame if anything as trivial as mere facts were to get in the way.

Comment #94234

Posted by Randy on April 4, 2006 12:43 PM (e)

Time to submit letters to the editor at the enterprise institute, be bold and forceful, swamp them with enough letters to the editor indicating the stupidity of the Manzari and Cooper article and lets see what happens.

Comment #94235

Posted by Randy on April 4, 2006 12:45 PM (e)

Time to submit letters to the editor at the enterprise institute, be bold and forceful, swamp them with enough letters to the editor indicating the stupidity of the Manzari and Cooper article and lets see what happens. Here is the address for letters:

E-mail letters to TAE@aei.org
or
Fax them to (202) 862-5867
or
Write “The Mail”
The American Enterprise
1150 17th Street N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20036

Comment #94243

Posted by Alann on April 4, 2006 1:01 PM (e)

From a legal standpoint could removing the need for a redress have actually affected the outcome?
I’m not a lawyer, but isn’t it too late once the trial is over?
Am I wrong or would the judge would still have to reach a decision, this would still set a precedent, and the board would still have to pay the opposing legal fees?

Comment #94246

Posted by AD on April 4, 2006 1:03 PM (e)

It does seem like there is a concerted effort to simply libel the snot out of anyone who the IDiots decide they don’t like, at this point. It is telling that, when their movement is under greater and greater pressure to produce results (none yet!), their behavior grows more and more bizarre.

Though I would love to see the wedge document for this new strategy. “Our goal is, having failed to replace natural methodology with faith-based reasoning, to shamelessly lie about everyone who is not Christian enough for our liking.”

I almost think it would be worth going back and doing a formal “performance review” of the wedge document…

Comment #94248

Posted by AD on April 4, 2006 1:07 PM (e)

Am I wrong or would the judge would still have to reach a decision, this would still set a precedent, and the board would still have to pay the opposing legal fees?

Changing the decision after the trial had concluded would have had no bearing on the result.

If the board had voted to rescind the policy, they still would have been liable for attorney fees, a precedent still would have been established, and judge Jones still would have reached a decision. At best, it would have accomplished nothing with regard to the trial. At worst, it would have served as a potentially influential public admission of guilt and opened the door to other suits, which is why any legal advisor probably would have told them not to do it once the point was moot.

Comment #94249

Posted by Nick (Matzke) on April 4, 2006 1:09 PM (e)

I’m pretty sure the legal situation is that even if the school board had rescinded the policy, it wouldn’t moot the court case. There is probably some legal doctrine with a latin name for this, but basically once a case is before a court, defendants can’t just make it go away by unilaterally reversing their action. This is because the following game could be play: 1. Do something bad; 2. Get sued; 3. Plaintiffs spend months of time and thousands of dollars preparing suit; 4. Defendants drop the policy and the lawsuit goes away; 5. Defendants start the policy again, and the plaintiffs have to start the lawsuit all over. This game could be played indefinitely.

So I think both parties have to agree to resolve a lawsuit by signing a consent decree. This option was given to the Dover school board when the lawsuit was filed in December 2004, if they dropped the policy immediately, which they didn’t. The chance of the plaintiffs agreeing to a consent decree *after* they’ve gone through the expense and hassle of a trial is pretty low.

Of course, it must be added that I Am Not A Lawyer.

Comment #94251

Posted by Glen Davidson on April 4, 2006 1:12 PM (e)

It’s obvious, but someone has to say it: Since when is making bizarre stuff up a new strategy for antievolutionists?

Glen D
http://tinyurl.com/b8ykm

Comment #94257

Posted by k.e. on April 4, 2006 1:23 PM (e)

If ‘you know who’ doesn’t show up ‘with you know what’ now, then ‘who knows when’ we will be able to rub his nose in it all over again.

Comment #94261

Posted by W. Kevin Vicklund on April 4, 2006 1:40 PM (e)

I’m pretty sure the legal situation is that even if the school board had rescinded the policy, it wouldn’t moot the court case. There is probably some legal doctrine with a latin name for this, but basically once a case is before a court, defendants can’t just make it go away by unilaterally reversing their action. This is because the following game could be play: 1. Do something bad; 2. Get sued; 3. Plaintiffs spend months of time and thousands of dollars preparing suit; 4. Defendants drop the policy and the lawsuit goes away; 5. Defendants start the policy again, and the plaintiffs have to start the lawsuit all over. This game could be played indefinitely.

“Voluntary cessation” can not moot a civil rights case once it has gone to trial (for the very reasons given by Nick). There is no existing precedent that would have allowed a non-activist judge to moot this case (and an activist judge ruling the case moot would have been slapped down hard by the appellate courts). Once it reached trial, the plaintiffs would have had to drop the charges for a decision not to have been rendered.

Comment #94262

Posted by steve s on April 4, 2006 1:42 PM (e)

let me be the second to say LOL PWN3D!!!!!!!!!!!!111111111111

Comment #94279

Posted by C.J.Colucci on April 4, 2006 2:12 PM (e)

Rescinding the policy does save fees that would otherwise have been paid on the appeal that the new Board would not pursue.

Comment #94297

Posted by Rich on April 4, 2006 2:52 PM (e)

If anyone gets a response / retraction / apology from the American Enterprise Institute, could they please post it?

Comment #94300

Posted by BWE on April 4, 2006 2:56 PM (e)

Um… Pardon my ignorance, but are you sure this is a new strategy?

Comment #94305

Posted by Wesley R. Elsberry on April 4, 2006 3:03 PM (e)

Actually, by the lack of activity, the question is probably whether I would have to take off one of a pair of mittens to count that high.

Comment #94308

Posted by Joe Manzari on April 4, 2006 3:07 PM (e)

Dear Panda’s Thumb Readers:

Seth and I made a good hearted effort to get the facts straight in this article. We acknowledge that we did make a small factual error in the paragraph about Bryan Rehm and we have moved quickly to fix it.

An editors note has now been included in the piece which reads: “Editor’s note: Correction - The Dover Board considered rescinding the evolution policy at the December 5th meeting; Board member Bryan Rehm did not participate in the consideration.”

Let the fun natured debate move forward!

Best,
Joe Manzari

Comment #94312

Posted by Laser on April 4, 2006 3:14 PM (e)

This is par for the course for the AEI. The day after the Dover decision, I remember listening to a segment on NPR that had one person who supported the decision and one person who opposed it. The person who opposed it was from the AEI (I can’t remember who.) and just made stuff up in his statement.

Comment #94313

Posted by Ed Brayton on April 4, 2006 3:15 PM (e)

Mr. Manzari, I don’t think that works. The whole thesis of the article is based upon that one incident. Without that being true, you have no collusion between the ACLU and the board and the entire thesis of the article is gone. The entire article should thus be retracted.

Comment #94314

Posted by Sir_Toejam on April 4, 2006 3:15 PM (e)

Seth and I made a good hearted effort to get the facts straight in this article.

LOL.

remind not to hire you guys to do any in depth reporting.

I highly suggest NOT putting this on your resume.

Comment #94318

Posted by gwangung on April 4, 2006 3:24 PM (e)

Dear Panda’s Thumb Readers:

Seth and I made a good hearted effort to get the facts straight in this article.

In school, that would get you a “D” (maybe a “C” in this era of grade inflation). In the real world, that effort would get you fired (good and half are not synonyms).

All in all, not very impressive.

Comment #94319

Posted by Tim Fuller on April 4, 2006 3:24 PM (e)

Come on guys. These are, by and large, soul-less conservatives we’re dealing with here. They are the worst hypocrites on the planet. This attempt to slander and libel is the DEFACTO fallback position for everything they do.

related: Bush lies on WMD, Katrina nonresponse, ad nauseum.

Enjoy.

Comment #94320

Posted by Sir_Toejam on April 4, 2006 3:27 PM (e)

… you know, if they actually admit their intention was a constructed falsehood, at least that would imply they had some level of competence.

coming here to say they “tried to get it right” only promotes the idea of their complete incompetence.

so, Joe, which do you think you and Seth prefer to be applied to your efforts here:

intentional deceit

~or~

gross incompetence

?

Comment #94321

Posted by David Margolies on April 4, 2006 3:27 PM (e)

“Seth and I made a good hearted effort to get the facts straight in this article. We acknowledge that we did make a small factual error in the paragraph about Bryan Rehm and we have moved quickly to fix it.”

And you still have problems with the truth.

1. You did not correct the *article*, instead there is a note at the end. So your problems with the truth are still there in the body of the article. (The proper thing to do is remove all references to Rehm in the article and append a note saying ‘in an earlier version of this article, we stated that Brian Rehm etc. etc. We acknowledge that we were incorrect. We apologize to Mr. Rehm for our error.”)

2. The editors note also has problems with the truth: it refers to *board member* Rehm not attending the meeting, but Rehm was not a board member when the meeting took place. (You can do Clintonesque/Bushesque word parsing and say that the editors note is not therefore a lie, but why not be crystal clear: Editor’s note: Brian Rehm was not a board member at the time of the decision and therefore had no part in it.)

3. You still do not acknowledge that the board’s counsel advised against rescinding (as noted in the minutes).

4. You still do not acknowledge that rescinding would not have removed the liability for costs on the part of the board.

In fact, your story is a non story. All relevant facts are in this sentence:

The Dover Board considered rescinding the policy at the Dec. 5 meeting even though doing so would not remove liability for costs, but decided not to do so on advice of counsel.

Comment #94323

Posted by Flint on April 4, 2006 3:29 PM (e)

It’s true that the article now includes a correction about Rehm. Nonetheless, this is a profoundly dishonest article. It somehow fails to mention that the school board broke the law, or that the board ignored their own counsel, or that the board had the option of not going ahead with the trial and turned it down, they refer to ID as “the emerging scientific theory of intelligent design” and somehow fail to mention that Jones found it to be 100% pure religion devoid of any science.

They say “the policy itself wasn’t favored by such leading proponents of intelligent design as the Discovery Institute, which opposes mandating the topic in public schools and repeatedly urged the Dover board to repeal its policy” but somehow forget to mention that the ID instigated the entire affair, and only backed out later after the school board starting making religious statements. Instead, they refer to the requirement that science be taught in science class as “a comprehensive attack against scientists, philosophers, academics, and institutions throughout the nation.”

Well, that should teach Manzari and Cooper a lesson: Never SAY falsehoods when you can IMPLY them in sentence after sentence, in the process creating a totally false misrepresentation of the actual situation, in every respect. What is needed is a statement at the end of the article saying Correction: None of the implications in this article are in fact true.

Comment #94326

Posted by Wesley R. Elsberry on April 4, 2006 3:35 PM (e)

There’s more squink in the water on this one. Though there’s no basis for the claims anymore, the DI now has fully endorsed the Manzari and Cooper position.

BTW, Francisco, Manzari and Cooper are the ones who made the initial rounds of claims concerning the morality of actions in this incident. It turns out that they were moral defectives, willing to bear false witness to a world audience, and it looks like Francisco is yet another ID advocate with a degaussed moral compass.

Comment #94329

Posted by zcowboy on April 4, 2006 3:36 PM (e)

The article is still wrong. The body of the article implies Rehm was a “new board member” at the time of the meeting when in fact he was not. This is pathetic, shoddy research.

Comment #94335

Posted by AR on April 4, 2006 3:50 PM (e)

In fact the new version of Manzari-Cooper’s article does not anymore contain the prase about Rehm’s “clear conflict of interests.” For me it looks like a cover-up. It is good that Wesley quoted the original text, otherwise readers would be puzzled: what he complains about? In view of that deletion, the half-hearted comment at the article’s end sounds immaterial for readers not familiar with Wesley’s post to PT. Given the authors’ obvious sympathy for ID (which they refer to as “an emerging scientific theory”) there is little surprise they did not really care about facts. Manzari’s clarification sounds a bit forced by the unearthing of the real story. Good-hearted effort? Come on, guys, the record of ID advocates is too well known - they usually are prepared to lie for the “Glory of God” (Dembski’s expresion)

Comment #94337

Posted by Wesley R. Elsberry on April 4, 2006 3:51 PM (e)

Science is aimed at improving understanding. That is not the case for “intelligent design”. And so I offer this visual aid for the ID movement’s effect on learning.

Comment #94343

Posted by Kevin on April 4, 2006 3:55 PM (e)

Aren’t these basically the same people who reviled Eugenie Scott for the heinous crime of saying that Larry Caldwell submitted creationist materials to a school board when it was actually someone else?

But accusing a school board member of gross malfeasance is just a “small factual error”?

Comment #94345

Posted by Laser on April 4, 2006 4:00 PM (e)

But accusing a school board member of gross malfeasance is just a “small factual error”?

Do you mean falsely accusing?

Comment #94346

Posted by k.e. on April 4, 2006 4:01 PM (e)

What they need now is Dembski’s “Clarion Call” …..get on the clarion to the big G himself, ask ….no beg for divine assistance from “the designer”…if no reply..then take it as a sign that “the designer” is in bed(literally) with Darwin they’re turning into fossils together.(giggle)

Comment #94352

Posted by Kevin on April 4, 2006 4:08 PM (e)

Laser wrote:

Do you mean falsely accusing?

Yes, of course that’s what I meant. I regret the omission.

Comment #94362

Posted by Steviepinhead on April 4, 2006 4:19 PM (e)

Actually–if I’m tracking here, always a somewhat dubious proposition–this “good hearted” pair of small-minded maroons have falsely accused the gentleman of being a school board member, in order to then falsely accuse him of a conflict of interest.

Maroonitis. Spreads much more quickly than ebola. Damages brains, but leaves the bodies walking around and the lips flapping, spreading further maroonitis.

Comment #94363

Posted by Laser on April 4, 2006 4:19 PM (e)

Kevin, I was just checking. No big deal.

Comment #94364

Posted by Sir_Toejam on April 4, 2006 4:20 PM (e)

yeah, but your omission was implied by your use of the phrase “small factual error”, at the end of your statement.

;P

Comment #94370

Posted by W. Kevin Vicklund on April 4, 2006 4:29 PM (e)

Aw, just saw the update. Ed beat me to it on the Rothschild error.

But that’s not the only place they made that particular error. Last sentence:

In the words of ACLU’s Eric Rothschild following their victory in Dover: “Are we a little bit famous now? Yes, and it’s amazing.”

Comment #94380

Posted by Wesley R. Elsberry on April 4, 2006 4:39 PM (e)

Please, everyone, feel free to pick out further inaccuracies in both the ID articles on the subject and put them here in comments.

Comment #94385

Posted by gwangung on April 4, 2006 4:42 PM (e)

Please, everyone, feel free to pick out further inaccuracies in both the ID articles on the subject and put them here in comments.

God, talk about throwing red meat into the water….

Comment #94390

Posted by Henry J on April 4, 2006 4:48 PM (e)

Re “Please, everyone, feel free to pick out further inaccuracies in both the ID articles on the subject and put them here in comments.”

Careful - somebody might decide to copy/paste the entire article. ;)

Henry

Comment #94392

Posted by Sir_Toejam on April 4, 2006 4:49 PM (e)

one wonders if dembski will now retract his statements here:

http://www.uncommondescent.com/index.php/archives/990

based on the fact that the factual innacuracies leading to his post have now been admitted to by the authors themselves.

doubtful.

god, i hate these folks.

Comment #94400

Posted by B. Spitzer on April 4, 2006 4:55 PM (e)

Dr. Elsberry:

Please, everyone, feel free to pick out further inaccuracies in both the ID articles on the subject and put them here in comments.

Here’s one:

The election of Dover C.A.R.E.S. endangered the plans of the ACLU and AUSCS. Both groups used the calamitous situation in the Dover Area School District to launch a comprehensive attack against scientists, philosophers, academics, and institutions throughout the nation that advocate the emerging scientific theory of intelligent design. They hoped for an authoritative court decision banning discussion of intelligent design in public schools and government, perhaps via a U.S. Supreme Court decision to ban the theory of intelligent design by subsuming it under creationism and its decision of Edwards v. Aguillard (1987).

Dover was never the primary target of the lawsuit, but rather served as a springboard for striking a blow nationwide against the theory of intelligent design.

I like how, in the through-the-looking-glass world inhabited by Manzari and Cooper, the scientific community somehow forced Buckingham, Bonsell, and Co. to adopt an ID-friendly policy, as part of our sinister plot to “attack” ID advocates and “strike a blow” against ID.

Fortunately for the sinister leftist plan of the ACLU– that is, to paint ID as a religious/political movement that wants to smuggle ideology into the public school in the guise of science– that’s exactly what ID turns out to be.

Curse those fiendish liberals! They made us act like creationists!

As many times as Orwell gets invoked in these discussions, it’s never enough.

Comment #94402

Posted by bjm on April 4, 2006 4:58 PM (e)

The IDots talked about the ‘big tent’ but it seems they meant to say the ‘big top’ - bring on the clowns. Talking of which, has anyone noticed this ‘news’ has disappeared from UD - poof (their blogging software must be intelligently designed!!)

Comment #94411

Posted by Nick (Matzke) on April 4, 2006 5:15 PM (e)

The wikipedia page on mootness is useful context, particularly how voluntary cessation is a major exception to mootness.

Comment #94446

Posted by Ed Brayton on April 4, 2006 5:48 PM (e)

By the way, guys, Seth Cooper is listed as a former policy analyst for the DI but they don’t list his current job - he’s a clerk for Justice Jim Johnson of the Washington State Supreme Court. I wonder if his boss knows that in his spare time he’s writing such clearly irrational and defamatory articles.

Comment #94453

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on April 4, 2006 5:55 PM (e)

As I recall, the plaintiffs specifically asked for a PERMANENT injunction, so if the school board lost and rescin ded the ID policy, the trial and decision would go ahead anyway tp rpevent any FUTURE school boards from re-imposing it.

So the IDers are whining about nothing.

They shot their load. They lost. It’s time they got over it. (shrug)

Comment #94458

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on April 4, 2006 5:59 PM (e)

Dear IDers:

Sorry that you don’t like the judge’s ruling. Please feel free to whine, weep, moan, groan, jump up and down, and throw as many hissy fits as you want to over it. After all, it simply DOES NOT MATTER whether you like the decision or not. All that matters is that you FOLLOW it. If you don’t, then we’ll sue the crap out of you. (shrug)

Comment #94459

Posted by Colin on April 4, 2006 6:03 PM (e)

Timothy’s followup post is exactly right - the factual merits of the article aside, its legal analysis is dubious at best. The authors’ only attempt to salvage their pseudo-mootness claim is to assert, without any support that I can see, that the parties might have entered into a consent decree. But they do not provide any basis to believe that a vote to rescind the policy would be a necessary or sufficient condition precedent to a consent decree. Nor do they suggest that either the plaintiff parents or the district court were amenable to such a decree. (I suspect that the court would not–and perhaps could not–accept such a proposal at such a late date, but consent decrees are outside of my practice area and experience, so I’ll withhold criticism on that narrow count.)

I offered caselaw addressing the mootness point in a comment at Uncommon Descent, but it was, of course, blocked in moderation. It is genuinely sad to see Dembski and DaveScot actively preventing their readers from learning more about the topics they present. It says a great deal about Intelligent Design that its most visible supporters feel that objective, factual information is a threat to their message.

Comment #94465

Posted by Sir_Toejam on April 4, 2006 6:13 PM (e)

It says a great deal about Intelligent Design that its most visible supporters feel that objective, factual information is a threat to their message.

that’s a gross understatement. It says EVERYTHING about “Intelligent” design, and its representatives.

Comment #94479

Posted by BWE on April 4, 2006 6:28 PM (e)

#

The PT post misses the point. As I explain over at Evolution News & Views, the appearance of collusion does not depend on the single board member.

The newly elected DASB board was elected to repeal the policy, they met December 5, before the decision came down, and a citizen urged them to repeal the policy to avoid fees. The informed citizen brought legal briefs. The openly anti-ID Board then kept the old ID policy in place. The DASB thus knew they were risking expensive legal fees, and could have avoided that by simply doing what they campaigned to do: repeal the old policy.

I still think it looks like the anti-ID board spent taxpayer money to secure a legal judgment in their favor, even if the original article mistook when one of the board member’s started. That totally misses the point.

Michael

Comment by mfrancisco — April 4, 2006 @ 3:45 pm

From Uncommon scent

Comment #94504

Posted by Corbs on April 4, 2006 7:15 PM (e)

Has anyone contacted Mr Rehm about this article?

He may be very interested to take action to protect his reputation and recover compensation for the damage already done.

Comment #94505

Posted by Ed Brayton on April 4, 2006 7:15 PM (e)

Francisco could not possibly be any more full of shit on this one. He is seriously claiming, without a shred of evidence, that the new board committed financial fraud by making sure that money from themselves and the community they lived in and were elected to represent got paid to a group they had no responsibility to whatsoever. That is completely irrational. Add to that the fact that the “informed citizen” he invokes was completely wrong and the board knew that nothing they could do would actually moot the case. I don’t care what “legal briefs” the “informed citizen” brought to the school board meeting, everyone agreed that no matter what the new board did, the ruling was still going to be issued in the case - the plaintiffs’ attorneys agreed, the Thomas More Law Center agreed, the Judge himself agreed, every single legal scholar that was quoted in every article that addressed the subject agreed that the voluntary cessation doctrine meant the case could not be mooted no matter what the new board did. So the facts are that A) there was no incentive for the school board to do what he claims they did; B) the claim that the case could be mooted is 100% false; and C) there is not one shred of actual evidence that anyone on the new board was in collusion with the ACLU. All they have is innuendo based on false claims and lies. And they know it.

Comment #94508

Posted by Andrea Bottaro on April 4, 2006 7:17 PM (e)

Well, the most obvious interpretation is that the DI and Seth Cooper are just desperately trying to do some damage control and redirection.

As discussed by Pim and Red State Rabble, just last week came the revelation, by Bill Buckingham himself, that the DI actively encouraged the tools at the Dover BoE to pursue their pro-ID policy (before dropping them like hot potatoes when the going got tough), thereby helping initiate the chain of events that costed the district a cool mil. And who did the active encouragement and initial legal assessment of the Dover BoE strategy for the DI? Why, Seth Cooper, JD.

Talk about “conflict of interest”…

Comment #94509

Posted by Ed Brayton on April 4, 2006 7:17 PM (e)

And let me add that, in contrast to the ridiculous speculation of these idiots about the new school board, we know that the old school board risked the financial well being of the district against the direct advice of their legal counsel. In doing so, they also voided the district’s liability policy, which is why the cost isn’t paid by their insurance company. The only ones who can be shown to have actually engaged in financial mismanagement here is the old board, not the new board.

Comment #94545

Posted by steve s on April 4, 2006 8:29 PM (e)

everyone agreed that no matter what the new board did, the ruling was still going to be issued in the case - the plaintiffs’ attorneys agreed, the Thomas More Law Center agreed, the Judge himself agreed, every single legal scholar that was quoted in every article that addressed the subject agreed that the voluntary cessation doctrine meant the case could not be mooted no matter what the new board did.

Even the new lawyer contributor at Uncommon Descent, Barry, agrees:

http://www.uncommondescent.com/index.php/archives/990#comment-30181

He’s very new, so he doesn’t know that there will be consequences down the line for cutting Dembski off at the knees, which is basically never tolerated at Uncommonly Dense.

Comment #94546

Posted by Sir_Toejam on April 4, 2006 8:29 PM (e)

BTW, I’ve spoken several times with the head of the new school board in Dover, Bernadette Reinking, and she’s quite ammenable to questions.

Her email can be found on the Dover school board’s website, should anybody have direct questions remaining.

Comment #94549

Posted by _Arthur on April 4, 2006 8:35 PM (e)

Not only the article attempt to shift the blame that resides solely on the old board,
bit an eventual settlement or consent decree (assuming one would be both contemplated and reached) would have certainly included the full payment of legal fees, since almost all the legal costs had already been incurred at that point.

So, in that dream world, the school would have agreed to pay $1 million or $2 millions to the plaintiffs, and the judge would have (putatively, again) been persuaded to drop the case.

Who would have benefited, in that unlikely scenario ? Not the schoolboard, who would have been out of pocket for essentially the same sum.

The only one to have benefited with such a (losing) settlement would have been the Discovery Institute, who would have been free to entice other gullible schoolboards into unconstitutional policies, exposing themselves to $1M+ lawsuits.

Fortunately, the Dover ruling now makes it crystal-clear that ID is a canard, science-wise.

Comment #94558

Posted by randy on April 4, 2006 8:51 PM (e)

Another obvious error in logic is the claim of collusion between the “new” school board and the ACLU. If the new school board wanted to “give” taxpayers money to the ACLU and if they wanted a more permanently declaration of the unconstitutionality of teaching ID in the High School Science Classroom, then surely recinding the policy was the wrong move. They should have voted to reaffirm the policy and kept the Thomas More lawyers on board (or fired them and gotten better lawyers) and appealled all the way to the supreme court. THen the ACLU would have made lots of money and we could have had a Supreme Court decision affirming the ID movement as a dressed up modern creationism. But NOOOOOOOO! (think John Belushi as you read the No)they wimped out and saved the tax payers at least 1M dollars and likely more.

If you ask me it was the OLD school board that was in collusion with the ACLU. I mean come on. Can any group be so much like the Keystone Cops? Write a policy, make sure there is a strong paper trail, and then lie about it (or have moments of interesting memory lapses I guess). The old school board just GAVE the case away. And then maybe the DI was in with the ACLU. I mean, pull out all the the big guns (Dembski, Meyer et al.) Leave Behe in, but make sure he talks about astrology. Leave Minnich in and make sure he says ID isn’t really testable, etc. If there is a case for conspiracy it is the DI and the old school board. Maybe there was a back room deal ACLU makes money, the DI contributitions go up, everybody wins. Except of course the STUDENTS!

Comment #94619

Posted by Raging Bee on April 4, 2006 11:33 PM (e)

By the way, guys, Seth Cooper is listed as a former policy analyst for the DI but they don’t list his current job - he’s a clerk for Justice Jim Johnson of the Washington State Supreme Court. I wonder if his boss knows that in his spare time he’s writing such clearly irrational and defamatory articles.

I dunno, Ed. Why don’t you send the judge an email and see what happens?

Comment #94684

Posted by Wesley R. Elsberry on April 5, 2006 2:33 AM (e)

More stuff for your information.

There was a news report of an earlier attempt to save the Dover school district a bunch of money. One wonders why Manzari and Cooper failed to mention it.

Attorney Seth Cooper advised the Dover school board not to adopt its policy and even offered guidelines for change. “We do believe a lawsuit is certain in your situation,” Cooper told Alan Bonsell, the school board curriculum chairman, in a Dec. 10, 2004, e-mail. “We strongly recommend some corrective action be taken.”

(USA Today)

This is amusing…

Seth Cooper, an attorney and legal analyst with Discovery Institute, faulted school district lead counsel Linwood Gunn for putting on “an incompetent defense.”
(DI MCD)

Comment #94851

Posted by Wesley R. Elsberry on April 5, 2006 10:12 AM (e)

I moved a series of sidetracking and meta-talk comments to the Bathroom Wall.

Comment #94865

Posted by wamba on April 5, 2006 10:50 AM (e)

As discussed by Pim and Red State Rabble, just last week came the revelation, by Bill Buckingham himself, that the DI actively encouraged the tools at the Dover BoE to pursue their pro-ID policy (before dropping them like hot potatoes when the going got tough), thereby helping initiate the chain of events that costed the district a cool mil.

I don’t think it would be wise to consider Buckingham a reliable source.

Comment #94903

Posted by Wesley R. Elsberry on April 5, 2006 12:34 PM (e)

Are there any ID advocates out there with an ounce of moral fiber? We’ll be able to tell because they’ll be the ones who loudly and publicly register their disagreement with Mims, Manzari, and Cooper. I suspect the list will never grow so large as to require me to take off my shoes to count that high, though I’d be pleasantly surprised if I were proved wrong on that point.

Should I have expected that I could be a quadruple amputee and still have the zero digits needed to count up the ID advocates willing to take issue with Manzari, Cooper, and Francisco’s shameful treatment of Brian Rehm?

Comment #94915

Posted by Andrea Bottaro on April 5, 2006 1:09 PM (e)

As discussed by Pim and Red State Rabble, just last week came the revelation, by Bill Buckingham himself, that the DI actively encouraged the tools at the Dover BoE to pursue their pro-ID policy (before dropping them like hot potatoes when the going got tough), thereby helping initiate the chain of events that costed the district a cool mil.

I don’t think it would be wise to consider Buckingham a reliable source.

By all means, but in this case it’s up to the DI to argue that, and provide contrary evidence. And that’s where the can of worms is, because, in fact, we know that the DI provided initial consultation and material to the Dover bozos, that it also sent them literature suggesting teaching ID was constitutional, and started suggesting prudence only when a suit became clearly unavoidable. Indeed, even after the case was well underway, the DI provided external support to the BoE by allowing all its big shots to testify for the defense at the trial, until most of them ran for the hills at the eve of their depositions (thus further contributing to the trial outcome and resulting damages).

By all accounts, evidence for the DI’s direct responsibility in the financial loss incurred by the Dover school district as a result of the hare-brained pro-ID policy is far more compelling than that from any action by the newly elected BoE. It’s really not surprising that the DI and Cooper may be trying to cover their behinds now - I wonder whether they fear any further legal action against them in this respect.

Comment #94992

Posted by W. Kevin Vicklund on April 5, 2006 4:16 PM (e)

Why was I not surprised to find this in Kevin Lewis’s CV (Lewis was the legal expert Napierskie consulted), under the heading Teaching and Professional Experience.

Research Clerk, Christian Research Institute
Irvine, CA (Volunteer 1987-1989)

And what is the only law class he teaches?

Legal Evidence & Christian Apologetics (Graduate)

Comment #94995

Posted by Wesley R. Elsberry on April 5, 2006 4:27 PM (e)

6.

Posting under multiple identities or falsely posting as someone else may lead to removal of affected comments and blocking of the IP address from which those comments were posted, at the discretion of the management.

Simply put, don’t make a jerk out of yourself.

Larry Fafarman, you are not welcome to post comments at this web site. There are many fora available that will accommodate your comments. This is not one of them. Posting here is not a right. It is a privilege. You abused that privilege, and now you do not have that privilege. This is not a game. Go create a Blogger account or haunt someone else’s forum until they, too, decide to rescind your posting privileges.

So far, it has been more troublesome to track down and remove your illegally entered unauthorized messages than it seemed worth. Threatening the PT system is a sure-fire way to make us re-evaluate that cost/benefit analysis.

Comment #95006

Posted by Red Mann on April 5, 2006 5:44 PM (e)

AWW, I’m gonna miss “As the Wingnut Turns” and “All My Aliases” - not. Don’t woory, there’ll always be some other nut to show lurkers what we’re up against.