Re: [asa] thinking was prosecutors and not that of the judge

From: David Opderbeck <>
Date: Fri May 04 2007 - 11:07:48 EDT

James is mostly right about this. It's very difficult to tell from a
written opinion how much the judge really "got it." This is particularly so
when the judge has largely adopted the findings of fact and conclusions of
law offered by one of the parties -- again, not improper, not "plagiarism,"
but nevertheless, not necessarily demonstrating great original thinking by
the court. Trial judges are mostly pragmatists who need to resolve cases,
not philosopher-kings, and that's as it should be.

I don't really understand why people think this opinion was brilliant or
even moderately good in substance. I agree that, on the facts of the Dover
case, it was the right result. I understand why it caused many moderates in
the scientific community to breathe a sigh of relief.

Aside from that pragmatic conclusion, though, I think the Judge made a very
unnecessary foray into the philosophy of science, which was not well done
either jurisprudentially or philosophically. Note that I'm not suggesting
the judge was necessarily wrong about where he drew the line of demarcating
"science" -- like Ted, I think ID ultimately largely loses the demarcation
game. However, an opinion on the demarcation of science that makes no
reference at all to developments in the history and philosophy of science
since Popper, IMHO, is hopelessly shallow and basically useless.

On 5/4/07, Rich Blinne <> wrote:
> On 5/4/07, James Mahaffy <> wrote:
> >
> >
> > >>> Rich Blinne <> 5/4/2007 7:51 AM >>>
> > One thing I want to note *inter alia* is that Judge Jones would make a
> > great scientist. His thinking is lucid and clear and his ability to absorb
> > and analyze the expert testimony in this case is nothing short of
> > phenomenal. Again from the Kitzmiller decision:
> >
> > Actually, although the law allows him to do it, these opinions were
> > written mainly by the prosecutors. While he obviously agreed with them to
> > extensively use their brief's in the sciences we would acknowledge where
> > they came from. At least it is saying that the lucid thinking was provided
> > by the prosecutors and agreed to by the judge.
> >
> > I have no problem in your liking the logic, but lets give credit to the
> > folks that wrote it and it was mainly NOT the judge.
> >
> I disagree. As good as the lawyers and expert witnesses were the judge's
> ability to get to the point was what I noticed.

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Received on Fri May 4 11:08:24 2007

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