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

From: Pim van Meurs <>
Date: Mon Feb 27 2006 - 22:27:02 EST

Judge Jones' comments help us understand why contrary to David's opinion, the ruling about ID being science was in fact essential to the ruling.


David Opderbeck <> wrote: 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."


Received on Mon Feb 27 22:27:11 2006

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