Re: Fwd: [asa] The Swift-Boating of Judge Jones

From: Ted Davis <tdavis@messiah.edu>
Date: Thu Dec 14 2006 - 14:11:29 EST

I add my "local observer" comments to David's legal expertise.

I am starting to get tired of all this rehashing of what took place
in the
Kitzmiller v Dover trial, with ad hominem attacks on the judge. I was
there, when most people commenting on this were not; and, my academic
discipline is the one most relevant to much of the testimony. That
obviously doesn't give me a "god's eye" view of the trial, and surely
I lack
God's knowledge of the truth. But I do think the following point is
highly
relevant to the issues discussed on this list, and is being
overlooked in
much of what is being said by the "Christian" side of the culture
wars. Let
me make this as clear as I can. I invite responses and conversation.

The judge was influenced heavily by the testimony of Barbara Forrest,
which
was IMO devastating to the future of ID insofar as ID wants to have a
presence in public school science classes. The "evolution" of the
book now
known as "Of Pandas and People," the book directly referenced in the
4-paragraph statement read in Dover biology classes, shows quite clearly
that (a) the book began life as a creationist text; (b) after a
crucial 1987
Supreme Court decision it morphed quietly but effectively into a generic
"design" book; and (c) that prominent advocates of ID were closely
involved
in producing the present version. If I have missated this information I
invite specific, detailed correction. If not, then I make my next
point.

Courts have ruled specifically that "creationism" (ie, garden variety
YECism) cannot be taught in public school science classes: it is
religion,
not science. Now one might dissent from this opinion (I do not), but
the
opinion itself is pretty darn clear. It is also pretty darn clear
that ID
linked itself knowingly with "creationism" (of the type described) when
prominent ID advocates helped to produce the current version of "Pandas"
without rewriting entirely those portions of the book that were
originally
"Creationist" in their orientation. If this had not taken place, I
dare say
that the judge would not have had much evidence to support his claim
that ID
is "the progeny of creationism." In this case, frankly, he did--and you
can't blame this on the Dover school board, they didn't write
"Pandas," they
simply referenced it. You can't blame the judge, either.

As for larger rulings, let's be clear about that also. Both sides asked
the judge to rule broadly rather than narrowly. He wasn't
grandstanding to
accede to that request. The cases were structured to encourage a larger
ruling. I understand why DI did not want a larger ruling, and I
understand
why they did not want to get within 100 miles of the situation in
Dover. It
is also clear from talking with lead defense attorney Richard
Thompson (we
had some conversations both before and during the trial) that certain
publications by DI people had positively encouraged Thompson to bring ID
itself to trial in this case. One might fairly criticize Mr Thompson
for
his strategy (I did so myself, prior to the trial), but IMO it is
unfair to
criticize the judge for allowing the two adversaries to influence the
type
of ruling he gave.

In the politics of science, as I've often said, the politics drives the
science. This is not limited to the secular scientific establishment,
though it certainly applies to them.

Ted

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Received on Fri Dec 15 01:52:41 2006

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