Nick Matzke posted Entry 2788 on December 20, 2006 02:26 PM.
Trackback URL: http://www.pandasthumb.org/cgi-bin/mt/mt-tb.fcgi/2778

The funny thing about the Discovery Institute’s Media/Judge Jones Complaint Division is how it deals with defeat. Oftentimes we will see weeks and weeks of vigorous posting about this or that political fight – but then, if they lose, they often just completely ignore it, like nothing happened.

For example, this piece, a truly pitiful one-year-after Kitzmiller v. Dover review by John West, hilariously invents “The Growing Sense of Defeat among Darwinists”, yet barely mentions the Ohio reversal (“Darwinists were able to use the ruling to bully the Ohio State Board of Education”); doesn’t mention Kansas, the ID movement’s favorite horse where they even set up a lobbying organization and blanketed the state with advertising, at all; and also doesn’t mention the Selman v. Cobb settlement ending the generations of antievolution activism in Cobb County, Georgia (back in the 1980’s, the evolution pages were literally cut out of biology textbooks; the “theory not fact” warning label was just the latest in a long line of antievolution policies there). Heck, I don’t see any mention of the conclusion of Selman v. Cobb at all on any DI webpage, despite the fact that the story is in thousands of newspapers.

The reason we don’t see much when the ID movement loses a political fight (either an election or a board of education decision) is that these guys have always depended on the opinion polls and the man-on-the-street as their ultimate support against the elitist forces of darkness in academia and the courts. So when they lose the man on the street, they’ve really got nothing left. Except, of course, pretending like nothing happened and blaming a judge for their own political losses.

Speaking of that, and in honor of Judge Jones for the flack he has taken (and probably knew he would take) for doing his job in making the Kitzmiller ruling, I would like to look at history. Judge Jones is not the first judge who was scapegoated by the creationist movement in order to distract from their own scientific and political failures.

Recently, I came across this 1982 newspaper clipping about Judge Overton, of McLean v. Arkansas fame. You may notice certain parallels between Overton’s post-decision experiences and Jones’s. Some things never change I guess.

Judge Who Ruled Against Creation Law Speaks Out

The federal judge who declared the Arkansas creationism law unconstitutional earlier this year recently said he would not rule out the teaching of evidence pointing to the possibility the world was created.

But United States District Court Judge William R. Overton said in a press conference held last month at Bucknell University in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, that the majority of the scientific community would have to agree the evidence is valid, before he believes it could be taught in public school science classes.

Overton said he had received hundreds of negative letters since he ruled that the law violated the Constitution’s ban on establishment of religion by forcing a “literal interpretation on Genesis” into public school.

Because of several death threats he has received, Overton traveled to Lewisburg with a federal marshal who acted as a bodyguard. He came to Bucknell to give a speech on the issue.

Asked about what schools should teach if someone discovered good evidence that the world was created, as outlined in Genesis, he said, “Certainly, if there is scientific evidence of a sudden creation, the fact that it may involve God or a creator or something of that nature shouldn’t keep it from being taught as science, if the scientific community accepts it.

“But the scientific community, you’ll have to understand, excludes the concept of a creator in these matters, not because the scientific community is atheistic, but simply because the scientific community has to look for an explanation in nature. Those are sort of the rules for science.”

Overton emphasized that the Arkansas law was an attempt by creationists “to characterize what is essentially a religious statement as science, when in fact it’s not accepted by a credible portion of the scientific community. I personally believe that matters of religion should remain outside the school room.”

Overton indicated he is concerned that many people view his decision as a victory of secularism over religion. He said the words of the writer of one of the letters he has received actually sum up what most of the negative letter writers want: “Schools should be allowed to teach creation beliefs, my kind,” the letter said.

The judge said he has allowed the sociology department of the University of Arkansas to study the letters he has received. A paper is forthcoming on the study, he said.

One letter writer sent him a picture of a monkey. “You can hang it in your office and show everyone how proud you are of your relations,” the letter said.

“Communism, atheism, sex, and abortion get a lot of attention in those letters, apparently,” said Overton. “A lot of people accuse me of being an atheist in the letters I’ve received, and nothing’s further from the truth.”

He is a member of the First United Methodist Church of Little Rock. He noted that plaintiffs in the case, who testified against the creationism law, included Arkansas leaders of the United Methodist, Episcopal, Roman Catholic, Presbyterian, and African Methodist Episcopal churches. Other plaintiffs included Southern Baptists, the American Jewish Congress, and the American Jewish Committee.

“These people – they don’t want biology teachers teaching a brand of religion to their parishioners and a very particularistic brand of religion at that,” he said.

JIM MERKEL in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania

[Bolds added. Unfortunately I do not have any reference information for this clipping, but it is from late 1982 and probably from the student newspaper at Bucknell University or a nearby town newspaper.]

Obviously the professional creationists/ID guys always opposed death threats against Overton and Jones, but if you read the old creationist literature, you will see articles and books devoted to railing against Overton’s decision for decades afterwards. Heck, a fair bit of this is still found on the DI website itself. There is even a great line from Paul Nelson, who has been around to comment on both decisions: “Judge John Jones III went for the Full Overton (see below), with an added half-rotation before entry.” If I were Jones, I’d take that as a compliment.

Merry Kitzmas to all!

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 #151187

Posted by Nick (Matzke) on December 20, 2006 2:55 PM (e)

Fun from the York Dispatch:

People have been downloading copies of his decision and asking him to autograph them.

The first time it happened, at a speaking engagement in Kansas, a line of people formed, decisions in hand.

“I said, ‘You really want me to do this?’” he said. He asked if they intended to sell the document “for 10 bucks on eBay.”

“They didn’t laugh because they were serious,” he said. “They wanted that for posterity…. I wasn’t going to, but they were so sincere about it, I thought, ‘Why not?’”

Comment #151190

Posted by Coin on December 20, 2006 3:23 PM (e)

The York Dispatch wrote:

[Judge Jones] was also named one of Time magazine’s 100 most influential people of 2005, an honor that got him invited to a soiree where he and his wife met the Queen of Jordan, Jennifer Lopez, Will Smith and Stephen Colbert.

He said he’s reluctant to share stories about the party because “the Discovery Institute will say, ‘Here’s star-struck Judge Jones.’”

But he gives in.

“Stephen Colbert … was moving quickly (around the room) and he sort of arrived in front of me and he said, ‘Judge Jones,’ and I started laughing because I think he’s funny.

“And I said, ‘Stephen Colbert.’

“Then, squinting his eyes, he said, ‘Intelligent design: Seemed like a good idea at the time, didn’t it?’

“And I said, ‘I guess it did.’”

:D

Comment #151194

Posted by PhilVaz on December 20, 2006 3:54 PM (e)

Flash response to Judge Jones School of Law. It’s the least I can do….

http://www.bringyou.to/BILLY.htm

Phil P

Comment #151200

Posted by Gary Hurd on December 20, 2006 4:56 PM (e)

Flash response to Judge Jones School of Law. It’s the least I can do….

http://www.bringyou.to/BILLY.htm

Phil P

I tried not to laugh. I really did. I am so ashamed (not really).

Comment #151204

Posted by waldteufel on December 20, 2006 5:24 PM (e)

“Merry Kitzmas” I love it!

Let me add my wishes for a very merry Kitzmas to all!

Comment #151258

Posted by Mike Elzinga on December 21, 2006 1:09 AM (e)

Paul Nelson misses a very important historical process in his suggestion that science could return to its early beginnings when it had not yet learned to free itself from the bonds of religious dogma. Once that freedom was achieved, there is no going back to the censorship of an authoritarian priesthood. In fact, the very stories that are used to support religious dogma and rigid authoritarian cruelty are themselves now under the microscope of science.

This is what they really hate about science; it takes away their authority and subjects all of their self-aggrandizing claims to the investigative powers of anyone who dares to question, think, and use the tools and attitudes of science.

Comment #151285

Posted by C.W. on December 21, 2006 3:49 AM (e)

http://www.bringyou.to/BILLY.htm

Phil P

All hail the Donatello of Flash animations;-)

Can’t really hear what Demski’s saying though. Where is the quote from?

Comment #151303

Posted by PhilVaz on December 21, 2006 6:26 AM (e)

“Can’t really hear what Demski’s saying though. Where is the quote from?”

True, once sped up and slowed down they become almost inaudible. Some of the originals with echo are found here in my Pacman spoof

http://www.bringyou.to/games/UncommonDissent.htm

Five or six are taken from Dembski’s interview with Rev. Albert Mohler (3/2005), two are from my live (poor) recording of him at U.S.F. (7/2006), one is from his 2001 debate with Eugenie Scott.

I am using Flash 5 (came out in 2000) so I am really behind the times. Hee hee.

Phil P

Comment #151304

Posted by PhilVaz on December 21, 2006 6:36 AM (e)

Oh yeah, click the Dembski picture (I spell it Dembsky on purpose) and you get the “See n Say” with another ten quotations clicking on the animals. Then you click where it says “See n Say” bottom-right and you get the grand finale with pictures / transitionals I dug up. The first one is the blind Mexican cave fish (tetra I think).

The initial quote is from his debate with Eugenie Scott on “The Diane Rehm Show” (2001) where he says he is “not anti-evolution” and “doesn’t have a problem with common descent.” I converted the audio from Real Player format to MP3 / WAV using “Easy RM to MP3 converter”. Then I use Cool Edit Pro 2 to manipulate all MP3 / WAV files. That program is now called Adobe Audition.

Flash is a pain in the neck especially if you have a 15-inch monitor like I use. Hee hee. I worked about 10-15 hours on it.

Phil

Comment #151315

Posted by wamba on December 21, 2006 9:55 AM (e)

but then, if they lose, they often just completely ignore it, like nothing happened.

Like the return of Bobby Ewing.

Comment #151344

Posted by chunkdz on December 21, 2006 3:12 PM (e)

Phil - “I worked about 10-15 hours on it.”

Really? Next time hire me. I’ll sub it out to my four year old who will do a superior job in one tenth of the time. I think it’ll be funnier too.

Comment #151365

Posted by PhilVaz on December 21, 2006 8:54 PM (e)

“I’ll sub it out to my four year old who will do a superior job in one tenth of the time. I think it’ll be funnier too.”

Well you get what you get. I am not an artist, nor a comedian. The See n Say was appropriate. Hee hee.

Phil P

Comment #151502

Posted by PhilVaz on December 22, 2006 5:42 PM (e)

Flash contest from Billy Dumbsky:

(1) Portray Richard Dawkins as a cult deprogrammer.
(2) Portray a 7-year old Stephen Colbert as the theist he must convert to atheism. (See http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UuXpysYEhgA and below)
(3) Employ 10 classic Dawkins quotes.
(4) No violence.
(5) I’ll throw in an extra 100 bucks for a flatulent version of Dawkins (only for private use — maybe).

I hope he realizes these things take time. No you can’t do them in an hour, but maybe 10 or 15. I’m on the job. Got the name already: Dicky Dawkins.

Phil P

Comment #151576

Posted by KC on December 23, 2006 6:21 AM (e)

Phil - “I worked about 10-15 hours on it.”

Really? Next time hire me. I’ll sub it out to my four year old who will do a superior job in one tenth of the time. I think it’ll be funnier too

You might sub your four-year-old to make the Judge Jones cartoon funny, too.

Comment #151610

Posted by Andrew Wade on December 23, 2006 10:30 AM (e)

Opined the Judge:

Certainly, if there is scientific evidence of a sudden creation, the fact that it may involve God or a creator or something of that nature shouldn’t keep it from being taught as science, if the scientific community accepts it.

Hear, hear! And if the scientific evidence really did point to sudden creation, I really do think that scientist would accept that in time, despite whatever biases they may have going in. Sudden creation is rejected because of the evidence; the biases of scientists play at most a secondary role.

(I’m assuming that the Judge means young earth creation by “sudden creation”, as there is scientific evidence that the universe “was created” (started existing) suddenly about 14 billion years ago. Given the popularity of the big bang theory it is clear that positing a beginning to the universe is not beyond the pale. The “whodunnit” is, appropriately, mostly left to the theologians)

Comment #151635

Posted by PhilVaz on December 23, 2006 2:51 PM (e)

As suggested, another 10 hour job. This one features Dawkins. Click the window panes for audio quotes. Click the angel for a visitor.

http://www.bringyou.to/DICKY.htm

Phil P

Comment #152145

Posted by Inoculated Mind on December 29, 2006 3:00 AM (e)

Merry Kitzmas!