Posted by PvM on December 24, 2005 03:03 PM

On Seattle based Discovery Institute’s EvolutionNews (sic) Blog, Jonathan Witt continues the confusion by not only apparantly distancing himself from the Discovery Instute’s Amicus Brief filed in the Kitzmiller case but also by showing his unfamiliarity with the actual ruling by Judge Jones:

Witt wrote:

To get around the substantive differences between intelligent design and biblical creationism, Judge Jones had to fixate on motive (both real and imagined); he had to assume that if he can identify one motive, he has magically ruled out the possibility of another motive playing a crucial role (in this case, the desire of ID scientists to follow the evidence wherever leads, even if it means upsetting a few Darwinists); and he had to mischaracterize ID as a religion-based theory when instead it’s a theory based on scientific evidence that, like Darwinism, has larger metaphysical implications.

In other words, Witt is arguing that Judge Jones should have looked more carefully at whether Intelligent Design is science. And although this goes against what the Discovery Institute’s Amicus Brief argued, Judge Jones seems to have agreed with Witt and, rather than magically ruling out [an]other motive[s], Judge Jones looked in depth at the scientific nature of ID and found it sufficiently wanting to rule it not to be science.

Witt has had enough time by now to have read the Judge’s ruling. It’s good however to hear that Witt disagrees with the Discovery Institute’s Amicus brief…

In the ill-fated Discovery Institute’s Amicus brief

DeWolf wrote:

Amicus disputes the second, more general claim, because it ignores the many secular purposes under which the theory of intelligent design could be taught, as well as the likely primary effect of teaching about intelligent design—to advance science education.

The Judge, rather than taking this assertion for granted, based his ruling on the presented evidence which included Barbara Forrest’s in-depth and thorough description of the history of the ID movement, and the Discovery Institute’s Wedge Strategy. But the Judge did not stop here and continued to explore the well documented motives of the school board.
Since addressing whether intelligent design is science was essential to the ruling, the Judge continued to explore this issue and based on evidence presented by both the plaintiffs’ witnesses as well as the defense’s withnesses, he ruled that it was clear that intelligent design was not science. In fact, he also addressed the ‘teach the controversy’ variation of ID. Thus when DeWolf argued in the Discovery Institute’s Amicus brief that

Secular purposes for teaching about the theory of intelligent design include informing students about competing scientific theories of biological origins, helping students to better understand the contrasting theory of neo-Darwinism (the standard textbook theory of evolution), and enhancing critical thinking skills.

the Judge rather than ignoring these claims, addressed them in depth in his ruling.

Judge Jones wrote:

Accepting for the sake of argument its proponents’, as well as Defendants’ argument that to introduce ID to students will encourage critical thinking, it still has utterly no place in a science curriculum. 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.

Witt may not like Judge Jones’ ruling but his claim that the Judge had to fixate on both real and imagined motive and had to assume that he could magically rule out the possibility of other motive(s) playing a crucial role, is clearly contradicted by the Judge’s own ruling.

On Reasons to Believe, Ross and Rana similarly argue that intelligent design fails as a science and that the true nature of ID is religious. Seems that it is not just a Judge who can see through the motivations of ID proponents.

And Witt still (ab)uses Anthony Flew’s mythical conversion:

As is reported here

Flew wrote:

I now realize that I have made a fool of myself by believing that there were no presentable theories of the development of inanimate matter up to the first living creature capable of reproduction.

Furthermore Witt seems to fail to understand the Edwards v. Aguillard ruling