Re: Judge Jones discusses his opinion in Kitzmiller v. Dover

From: David Opderbeck <>
Date: Mon Feb 27 2006 - 20:51:00 EST

I'm sorry Ted -- though I think you're right that this wasn't an "activist"
ruling, I think you're dead wrong about it being "conservative." It was not
an "activist" ruling because the ultimate conclusion was in accordance with
settled law. However, as we've discussed here on the list ad nauseum, it was
entirely unnecessary to rule on what constitutes "science" under the
governing law, and that part of the ruling was neither "conservative"
nor paticularly adept in light of the larger debate about the history and
philosophy of science.

On 2/27/06, Ted Davis <> wrote:
> I entirely agree with Judge Jones' defense of the nature and scope of his
> ruling, and I said so in my article in "Religion in the News." He ruled
> *conservatively*, that is, according to existing precedents that are very
> clear and not recent; he followed the case precisely as it was presented
> in
> the courtroom, not based on what he brought to the case from the outside;
> and he ruled on the very points he was asked to rule on by both sides, as
> he
> stresses here. TDI makes noise about an "activist" judge, but they are
> crying in their beer. They could have shaped this case far more than they
> did, frankly, and they chose not to, all but pulling out 3 key
> witnesses--Dembski, Meyer, and John Angus Campbell. I can tell you from
> the
> horse's mouth, that the plaintiffs feared Campbell more than anyone else.
> They regard him as a master rhetorician who could teach any lawyer a thing
> or two, and they thought that his argument about free speech -- which is
> precisely the right argument to make in defense of the school board
> policy,
> mirroring the argument that the *defense* (ie, Darrow) made at Scopes in
> 1925 -- was potentially very damaging to their case. That argument was
> not
> made, at least not that I can recall from the testimony actually given.
> Rather, both sides stuck with the "ID is science/is not science" piece,
> rather than going into highly important arguments about education in a
> democracy, religion, free speech, and neutrality that might potentially
> have
> influenced the judge's opinion.
> For nearly a decade, I've cautioned my friends in the IDM about their
> loose
> association with YECs; I've told them that the arguments they should be
> making are about religous neutrality (as vs aggressive secularism) and the
> first amendment, not about the truth or lack thereof of evolution; and
> that
> they need to be a lot more generous and more accommodating to the "mushy
> accommodationists" like me who do not believe (as Hodge did and Johnson
> does) that "evolution" equates to "Darwinism," that is, to Darwin's own
> metaphysics which denies divine providence. They have not taken any of my
> advice. The trial verdict relates esp to points one and two. I have the
> right in this case to say, quite loudly, "I told you so."
> Ted
Received on Mon Feb 27 20:51:26 2006

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