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

From: Don Nield <d.nield@auckland.ac.nz>
Date: Mon Feb 27 2006 - 22:54:00 EST

I strongly agree with Ted and not with David on this one. I am not an
expert on the US legal system (indeed I live outside the US), but it
seems clear to me that once the Discovery Institute got involved by
introducing the Panda textbook to some Dover Board members, the status
of Intelligent Design was inevitably involved in the situation, and
hence in the subsequent court case. Further, once the expert witnesses
on both sides started talking about Intelligent Design, Judge Jones was
obliged to listen to what they had to say. And having listened at length
he was left with no sensible option other than to rule on the status of ID.
Don

David Opderbeck wrote:

> /I'll grant however that if we operate with a different implicit or
> explicit
> definition of "conservative," then we may well reach different
> conclusions about how that term applies to this case./
>
> Fair enough. I view judicial conservatism as doing only that which is
> necessary to decide a given case or controversy. That, Judge Jones
> did not do. Whether a party "requests" something is
> irrelevant. Parties regularly "request" all sorts of things that
> "conservative" judges, as I use the term, regularly ignore. Courts
> don't exist to adjudicate political, cultural or social issues even if
> the parties request that they do so.
>
> /You've written at length about this, and I don't want to follow your
> precedent in that regard/
>
> Is that kind of dig really necessary? You brought it up again, not me.
>
> On 2/27/06, Ted Davis < tdavis@messiah.edu
> <mailto:tdavis@messiah.edu>> wrote:
> > We do disagree on this, David.
> >
> > When existing precedents, esp Judge Overton's decision in McLean vs
> > Arkansas Board of Education, spell out that "creationism" cannot be
> taught
> > b/c it is religion and not science; when both the plaintiffs and the
> defense
> > in Kitzmiller vs. Dover both insist that a similar issue (whether or
> not ID
> > is science) is the key issue in the whole case; and when the judge
> does not
> > go beyond the testimony presented to him and the established precedents
> > about science education; then I think it is entirely reasonable to
> call this
> > a "conservative" decision.
> >
> > Perhaps it was "unnecessary" for him to rule on that issue, David, but
> > surely it was both expected and requested--my emphasis on the latter
> as much
> > as the former.
> >
> > I'll grant however that if we operate with a different implicit or
> explicit
> > definition of "conservative," then we may well reach different
> conclusions
> > about how that term applies to this case. You've written at length
> about
> > this, and I don't want to follow your precedent in that regard,
> >
> > My best wishes,
> >
> > Ted
> >
> >
> > >>> "David Opderbeck" <dopderbeck@gmail.com
> <mailto:dopderbeck@gmail.com>> 02/27/06 8:51 PM >>>
> > 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.
> >
Received on Mon Feb 27 22:54:52 2006

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