The DI’s Dishonest Attacks on Barbara Forrest

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As a measure of the desperation felt by the Discovery Institute over the case in Dover, one could hardly find a better metric than this dishonest attack piece by John West on Barbara Forrest, an expert witness for the plaintiffs in the case and the author of Creationism’s Trojan Horse. West makes it appear as though Judge Jones has declared that she is an unreliable witness. In fact, the opposite is true, but some background is necessary to understand what happened.

The TMLC attorneys made what is known as a Daubert motion to prevent Dr. Forrest from being able to testify at the trial. It’s called a Daubert motion because the controlling precedent for what type of expert scientific testimony is admissable in court is Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals. In cases where experts are called as witnesses, one side may object to the witnesses of the other side based upon the standards in this case, essentially arguing that they are not qualified or bring no specialized knowledge to the case. The TMLC attempted such a tactic regarding Barbara Forrest and the DI cites a portion of the courtroom discussion concerning a portion of her expert report:

THE COURT: …Within Ms. Forrest’s testimony, I see repeated references to quotes that were apparently derived from magazine articles and third persons that look to me to be inadmissible hearsay…

…if… we’re going to have Ms. Forrest take the stand, or Professor Forrest, I should say, I guess, take the stand and if she is going to rely on hearsay, extracted hearsay statements from articles or narratives, I think we have a problem.

That’s not to say that she can’t testify as to – if, in fact, we get to this point and if I find it relevant, and that’s another issue altogether, and I don’t think we have to address it here – that’s not to say that she couldn’t testify if it’s otherwise relevant to what the scope of the report appears to be, which is a – sort of panoply of what intelligent design has been over the course that she’s looked at it or the course that she examined it. But these extracted statements by individuals I think are problematic. Tell me why they’re not if you view it otherwise.

MR. ROTHSCHILD: I do, Your Honor. First of all, what she is basically doing is a history of a –and I say this reluctantly – an intellectual movement.

THE COURT: Well, and it read like a magazine article to me. I might find it interesting and others might find it even entertaining, but for the purpose of an expert report, I’ll bet she hasn’t probably testified many times, if at all, as an expert witness.

And the fact it has these quotes, that it is rife with these quotes, which not only present hearsay issues but also could be taken out of context and could otherwise be objectionable, I’m simply putting you on notice that either you’ve got to contour the report to – contour her testimony, not the report, to address that, or I think you’re going to get repeated objections.

And I think, unless you come up with something that is pretty remarkable, those objections could be sustained to the extent, again, not as to the general scope of her report, but as to these extracted quotes by individuals from unverified sources.

They’re not from treatises. A lot of them were taken out of news articles, it appears to me, magazines, other things. Why isn’t that hearsay?

So what is this conversation really about? Contrary to the implication being made by John West, the discussion is not about Forrest passing on unsubstantiated rumors or anything like that. The issue is over the difference between what may be perfectly admissable in a scholarly examination of an issue but not admissable in a court of law. In particular, Forrest’s book on the subject and a portion of her expert report detailing the origins and development of the intelligent design movement relied upon the writings and speeches of the leaders of that movement, which she quoted at length. In a scholarly book or article, that is of course entirely appropriate.

But in a court of law, objections are inevitably raised to such quotations because the quote might be out of context or might be interpreted differently, but the person who said it is not available to take the stand and be cross examined. Hence, it might be called “hearsay” and be inadmissable in court. And that is the argument that the TMLC was making against her testimony and saying that the testimony should be excluded. And one would think, by reading the DI’s spin, that the Judge agreed with them. In fact, Judge Jones denied this motion. And here are the relevant portions of the judge’s order denying that motion:

In the Motion, Defendants move the Court to exclude the testimony and expert reports, including the data upon which they are based, of Barbara Forrest, Ph.D., a witness who intends to testify as an expert on behalf of Plaintiffs, pursuant to Federal Rules of Evidence 401, 403, 702, and 703. Defendants argue that Dr. Forrest brings no scientific, technical, or other specialized knowledge to this case and accuses Plaintiffs of using her as a “Trojan Horse” to bring into the courtroom impertinent matters to prejudice the Dover Area School Board (“DASB”). (Defs.’ Br. Supp. Mot. Limine at 12). In response, Plaintiffs assert that Dr. Forrest’s proffered expert testimony goes directly to the issue of the origins of intelligent design creationism, that she is qualified to testify as an expert pursuant to Fed.R.Evid. 702, that her methodology is reliable, and that her testimony “fits” the issues in this case. An initial issue to address is Defendants’ contention that Dr. Forrest is not qualified to give an expert opinion in the case sub judice. As Defendants submit, Fed.R.Evid. 702 provides, as follows:

If scientific, technical, or other specialized knowledge will assist the trier of fact to understand the evidence or to determine a fact in issue, a witness qualified as an expert by knowledge, skill, experience, training, or education, may testify thereto in the form of an opinion or otherwise, if (1) the testimony is based upon sufficient facts or data, (2) the testimony is the product of reliable principles and methods, and (3) the witness has applied the principles and methods reliably to the facts of the case. Fed.R.Evid. 702.

We first recognize that there may be few experts with the particular area of expertise held by Dr. Forrest concerning the “nature and strategy of the intelligent design creationist movement.” In fact, Dr. Forrest may be the only such expert. Accordingly, there is no particular touchstone in existence regarding an individual with Dr. Forrest’s qualifications and the concept of “specialized knowledge,” as there would be for example with an expert who is an accident reconstructionist specialist or one who is versed in the medical field. However, we find nothing in the submissions to indicate at least at this preliminary stage that Dr. Forrest is not an appropriate expert witness in this case. We are in agreement with Plaintiffs that Dr. Forrest’s report makes clear that she has “specialized knowledge” on the nature and strategy of the intelligent design creationist movement, and possesses the ability to assimilate information and research topics intimately involved with the concept of intelligent design pursuant to Fed.R.Evid. 702. Therefore, at this juncture, given Dr. Forrest’s credentials, extensive research, and writings on the subject of intelligent design and the intelligent design creationist movement, we will permit her to testify at the time of trial, subject to the opportunity by defense counsel to conduct a voir dire examination on her qualifications. We reserve as we must ultimate judgment concerning her ability and the extent to which she can testify until the trial in this case.

The second pertinent rule to consider for purposes of this inquiry is Fed.R.Evid. 703. Federal Rule of Evidence 703 provides, in relevant part, as follows: The facts or data in the particular case upon which an expert bases an opinion or inference may be those perceived by or made known to the expert at or before the hearing. If of a type reasonably relied upon by experts in the particular field in forming opinions or inferences upon the subject, the facts or data need not be admissible in evidence in order for the opinion or inference to be admitted. Fed.R.Evid. 703.

We recognize that Fed.R.Evid. 703 permits experts to rely on hearsay in expert reports; however, the hearsay statements present in Dr. Forrest’s report may be problematic because without more, we are unable to verify the accuracy of the statements at issue, nor can we determine whether the individual statements have been taken out of context. Accordingly, in an effort to be equitable, to balance competing concerns, and after a careful review of the submissions, we hold that to the extent that Dr. Forrest testifies and such testimony references hearsay statements found in her report, we direct Plaintiffs’ counsel to stand ready to provide the Court and defense counsel with any pertinent material cited by Dr. Forrest. In particular, we are concerned with quotations within her report attributed to certain individuals, which purport to have been taken from books and publications. Counsel can either provide the Court and defense counsel with the entire article or section, for example, or a verifiable portion thereof with the quotation at issue clearly marked for inspection. This process will allow for any statement(s) taken from publications to be verified for accuracy purposes and to ascertain whether such statement was taken out of context. Finally, we are in agreement with Plaintiffs inasmuch as they assert that Dr. Forrest’s testimony should be allowed in these areas as Defendants are free to cross-examine her concerning any and all inaccuracies present in her characterization of intelligent-design writings.

There is a good deal of irony to be found here. The text that West cites do not concern Dr. Forrest’s veracity or reliability as a witness, they concern the issue of whether a witness can quote from others without having the full context of their statements available or having the person being quoted available for cross examination. And the judge dealt with that question quite reasonably and fairly, ruling that it was not enough for the defendant’s attorney to argue that quotes might be out of context and therefore quotes are not allowed, that they must make specific arguments about the accuracy or contextuality of specific quotes as they may arise. And to that end, he ordered the plaintiff’s attorney to make all of the original documents available for examination. The irony, of course, is that by selectively quoting out of context, the Discovery Institute has tried to turn legitimate concern about out of context quotes into the wholesale bashing of a witness by a judge who in fact ruled precisely the opposite of what they are implying. Just another example of deceitful propaganda from the DI.

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Hit and Run from Brandon Withrow on September 29, 2005 3:07 PM

If you want to follow the Dover case from two completely different perspectives, try the Panda's Thumb blog and the Discovery Institute Blog. Also, John Armstrong has a nice short posting ("The Soul of True Science") on the Christian approach to scie... Read More

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That’s quite a Catch 22 West and the TMLC have put up there - the IDists aren’t able to publish their nonsense in scientific journals, so you’re not allowed to use their words to argue that their “theory” is unscientific. But if they were able to publish in scientific journals, their theory would be scientific, almost by definition.

The Judge Wrote:

Therefore, at this juncture, given Dr. Forrest’s credentials, extensive research, and writings on the subject of intelligent design and the intelligent design creationist movement, we will permit her to testify at the time of trial…

Does this mean the judge is aware that it’s a “creationist movement”?

I think the defendants will have a problem with Barbara Forrest no matter the outcome of any objections to hearsay on which they may prevail. First, because even if she is not allowed to repeat any of the hearsay statements in court, she is nevertheless entitled to rely upon those statements in formulating her expert opinion. Second, she is fully capable on her own without reference to the out-of-court statements of others to establish the unscientific nature and lack of secular purpose aspects of Intelligent Design Creationism.

It may be significant that the judge uses the term “creationism” in his references to Intelligent Design, calling it “intelligent design creationism.” The DI, of course, does not want creationism, which has already been ruled unconstitutional, to be associated with ID.

“It may be significant that the judge uses the term “creationism” in his references to Intelligent Design, calling it “intelligent design creationism.” The DI, of course, does not want creationism, which has already been ruled unconstitutional, to be associated with ID.”

I wonder if that can be used as appeal material..

Prelude to Witness Testimony An Interview with Barbara Forrest

By: Hosted by Marvin Waldburger Radio Station WNBLAT September 28, 2005

MW (Applause) Thank you, thank you. Our guest today is Barbara Forrest of the department of philosophy at Louisiana State University and co-author with Paul Gross of Creationism’s Trojan Horse. Professor Forrest is a prominent critic of creationism and intelligent design. (Applause). Barbara, let me begin —

BF It’s Dr. Forrest, Marv.

MW Oh, I do apologize, can I call you Dr. Barb or do you prefer Dr. Forrest?

BF Well, Marv, actually, I prefer Dr. Barbara Forrest, Ph.D. but Dr. Barb is fine.

MW Terrific Barb — I mean Dr. Barb — let me ask you, what’s the problem with intelligent design?

BF Well, Marv, the people advocating intelligent design think of intelligent design as a wedge. Nobody really minds a wedge, but Intelligent Design is just the tip of the iceberg. The wedge is really a stake about to be plunged into the heart of the scientific process.

MW Wow, that’s heavy. It’s a wedge and a tip and a stake. I mean, which is it?

BF Well, Marv, it’s all three really. The wedge is the tip of a stake, if you see what I mean.

MW Actually, I don’t, but we’ll get back to that right after the break. (Fade to: Commercial for E-Z Credit Relief, theme).

MW Where talking with Dr. Bark Forrest about intelligent design …

BF That’s Dr. BARBARA Forrest, Marv …

MW Oh, I do apologize. In our studios today is Dr. Barb Forrest —

BF Ph.D.

MW Right, Dr. Barking Forrest Ph.D, and we’re talking about intelligent design. Now let me ask you, Doc, just what’s wrong with intelligent design?

BF It’s simple Marv. The people claiming that intelligent design is science aren’t real scientists.

MW I see, that’s heavy. But look, some of these people have real degrees. I mean Mike Behe has a Ph.D. in biochemistry, right? And William Dembski has two degrees, one in mathematics and the other in philosophy. And also there is Jonathan Wells. I mean he has a degree in biology, too. What do you say to that?

BF Those aren’t real Ph.D.s Marv. They only look like real Ph.D’s. One of the things we’ve learned from Darwin is that a lot of Ph.D’s look real that aren’t real at all.

MW Amazing. Isn’t that sort of like things in biology that look like they were designed but really aren’t?

BF Exactly.

MW Wow. But let me ask you this. Suppose you look at Mt. Rushmore. A lot of people are going to say that it looks designed because it was designed.

BF People on the Christian right will say anything at all.

MW You don’t think Mt. Rushmore looks designed?

BF Not at all. It only looks as if looks designed. And if did look designed, that would only be because it was designed to look that way by the Christian right. That’s the first thing I teach in my introduction to philosophy.

MW Fascinating. But let me ask you this. You’re a philosopher, then? I mean your degree is in philosophy?

BF My Ph.D. Yes, that’s right.

MW But in your book Creationism’s Trojan Elephant …

BF That’s horse, Marv …

MW Sorry. But that reminds me, just what is a Trojan horse?

BF It’s a horse from Troy.

MW Right. Something I should have known. But my point is, in your book The Trojan Horse, you say that a lot of these people arguing intelligent design — actually you call then snake peddlers — BF That’s snake-oil peddlers …

MW Peddlers, salesmen, whatever, you say that these people really don’t have any credentials, and yet your own degree …

BF Ph.D. WM Right, your own degree is in philosophy. I mean, isn’t that the case of the pot calling the kettle black.

BF Actually, it’s not.

MW Interesting, interesting. We’ll be right back with Dr. Forrest Barb, right after the break. (Fade to: Commercial for Hog Heaven Donuts, theme).

MW Welcome back. Our guest today is Dr. Barbara Forrest, Ph.D. and we’re talking about intelligent design. Barb —

BF That’s Dr. Barb

MW Right. Bark —

BF Barb.

MW My fault, I do apologize. But in any case, one of the things we hear about from the Intelligent Design movement —

BF That’s snake-oil peddlers, Marv —

MW Well, whatever, but in any case, one of the things we hear from the snake side is that there is a controversy about Darwin’s theory of evolution. What about that, Barb?

BF There’s no controversy, and it’s Dr. Forrest.

MW Right, right. But how do you know there’s no controversy? I mean why are we here then?

BF It’s a controversy that only looks like a controversy, Marv. One of the things we’ve learned from Darwin is that a lot of controversies look like controversies but really aren’t.

MW I see. Fascinating, just fascinating. We’ll be right back after this break. (Fade to: Commercial for Scratch and Sniff Kitty Litter, theme).

MW Welcome back. My guest today is Dr. Barbara Forrest Ph.D. and we’re talking about snake oil. So let me ask you this, Barb.

BF Dr. Barb.

MW … So you’re saying is that when the Discovery Institute publishes a list of four hundred prominent scientists claiming that Darwin’s theory of evolution is seriously defective, it only looks like they’re saying that Darwin’s theory of evolution is seriously defective?

BF That’s exactly right.

MW But let me ask you this, Barb. Why does it look that way?

BF That’s Dr. Barb, Marv. And it looks that way because it’s designed to look that way by the Christian right.

MW Just incredible. We’ll be right back with your calls right after the break. (Fade to: Commercial for Allerbust Nose drops, theme).

MW Welcome back, welcome back, my guest today is Dr. Forrest Barker and you are on the air: Caller Thanks Marv, long time listener, first time caller. I’d like to ask your guest how come if Darwin’s theory gets so many things wrong, I mean like the fossil record and stuff, it’s really right?

MW Good question, caller, Bark?

BF Barb. One thing we’ve learned from Darwin is that when scientific theories seem wrong, they’re really right.

MW Wow, that is incredible. So you’re saying that the worse a theory is, the better?

BF I’m not just saying it. It’s the consensus of the scientific community.

MW Incredible. Let’s go to our lines for another caller. You’re on the air, caller … Caller Marv, I’ve got to tell you that that is the most incredible line of horse — (line goes dead)

MW Caller? Caller? We seem to have lost our caller. Let’s go to another line. Caller Hi, my name is Carol and I’m calling from Berkeley, California, and I’d just like to ask your guest which she thinks is worse, the Christian part of the Right, or the Right part of the Christians? I need to know because there’s this like protest we’re having about free speech and we need to know what to suppress?

MW Tough question, Barb. Your response?

BF Well, I’d have to say that you can take the right out of the Christian but you can’t take the Christian out of the right.

MW Amazing, just amazing. We have time for one last caller. You’re on the air. Caller Is this Marv?

MW Yes, it is. You’re on the air? Your question, please. Called I’m on the air?

MW Yes you are. Called With the doctor?

MW That’s right. Your speaking with Dr. Barbara Forrest, Ph.D. Called I’m on the air, right? Well here’s my question. I’ve got these bunions that are just acting up fearfully, and I was wondering .…

evopeach, Wow! What a posting. My hat’s off to you. You’ve achieved quite an achievement. That is the lamest post I think I’ve ever read. It is beyond stupid, to be embarrasing. I feel like I need to wash my eyes, it was so crappy.

Jim Wynne

The Judge wrote:

Therefore, at this juncture, given Dr. Forrest’s credentials, extensive research, and writings on the subject of intelligent design and the intelligent design creationist movement, we will permit her to testify at the time of trial…

Does this mean the judge is aware that it’s a “creationist movement”?

The judge was just using Forrest’s own phrase, found in her expert witness report. She defines herself as an expert on the “nature and strategy of the Intelligent design (ID) creationist movement”. Since she has the right to define her expertise any way she wants, I wouldn’t read much into it.

The fact that Forrest was the only witness the defense tried to daubert (or is it daubert-ize?) is a good sign that they think she is likely going to be quite damaging to their claims. Which also explains the DI’s slimy attack on her credibility today.

It’s actually quite simple. It would have been very easy for the DI and the defense to show at trial that Forrest’s quotes are false or inaccurate - in fact, that would have been a major coup for the defense on cross-examination. Alas, they can’t do that, because those are the real words of real ID honchos, so they tried to take away her chance to introduce any damaging quotes by getting rid of her testimony en bloc. And they failed.

I had the notion that I might follow the link to the DI’s new blogsite and comment on John West’s article. Surprise, surprise: no ability to leave comments. How very concerned they must be indeed with public opinion…

Certainly it’s not surprising that the DI is extremely sensitive to both the general notion of quotes being taken out of context, and the importance of those misquoted having utmost difficulty defending themselves – these being the DI’s basic stock in trade.

And the beat goes on: one cannot be honest and be a creationist at the same time.

Bill Snedden:

Ah, you have noticed why the DI is very sensitive about people not being able to defend themselves against misrepresentation. Creationist blogs treat honest comments in two ways: prohibit them, or delete them.

Oh, the irony meters literally spin!

Does anyone think that any ID advocate could qualify against a challenge under the Daubert Rule?

Re: #50121 – no.

I don’t see a trackback in West’s article. Ed, did you forget to set one or did the Discovery Institute delete it?

I think it is important to make sure that the DI always having to choose between allowing their readers the chance to discover the truth or having our side point out that they are unwilling to do so.

It might especially be inportant now since we during the trial we have more members of the press and more members of the general public looking on. Thus we have an opportunity to show just how dishonest the Discovery Institute is.

The MT software automatically sends a trackback. I notice that none of the recent posts on the DI blog that I have linked to and critiqued have a trackback, while at least one of them does have a trackback to a post that agrees with them. This is not the least bit surprising, nor is it anything new.

So the TMLC is whining about out of context quotes. How very ironic indeed, as this is one of the favorite tactics of ID “luminaries”.

Mike Argento of the York Daily Review wrote a column (see link on the PT home page) where he referred to Rob Pennock as a “Brainiac.”

Wait until he sees Barbara Forrest in action. Brainiac Deux. She wrote the book on “intelligent design”, literally.

darwinfinch, prepare to become “cookedgoose”.

Rats, darwinfinch, wrong handle! But, evopeach becoming “cookedgoose”…well, it works for me!

Andrea Bottaro Wrote:

The fact that Forrest was the only witness the defense tried to daubert (or is it daubert-ize?) is a good sign that they think she is likely going to be quite damaging to their claims.

“Exclude” or “strike” would be correct. A “Daubert motion” is shorthand for a “motion to exclude (or strike) expert witness.”

Ed Brayton’s analysis is spot-on. I write separately to expand on his point, which brings out even more fully the dishonesty of John West’s article. In the testimony he cites, the judge questions the admissibility of the quoted material in Dr. Forrest’s report. He says:

[The quotes are] not from treatises. A lot of them were taken out of news articles, it appears to me, magazines, other things. Why isn’t that hearsay?

Why is the judge talking about “treatises” here? The DI article implies that he’s denigrating Dr. Forrest’s report here, and that Dr. Forrest’s scholarship is somehow shoddy. The reason the judge brings up treatises is that learned treatises are admissible hearsay under Rule 803(18) of the Federal Rules of Evidence:

FRE 803(18) Learned Treatises. To the extent called to the attention of an expert witness upon cross-examination or relied upon by the expert witness in direct examination, statements contained in published treatises, periodicals, or pamphlets on a subject of history, medicine, or other science or art, established as a reliable authority by the testimony or admission of the witness or by other expert testimony or judicial notice. If admitted, the statements may be read into evidence but may not be received as exhibits.

Statements in other periodicals, such as newspapers or magazines, are not admissible hearsay. In essence, the judge is saying that because the quotes in Dr. Forrest’s report come from magazines and newspapers and not treatises, she will not be able to testify directly as to what various ID proponents have said. None of this affects, however, her ability to testify about the history and goals of the ID movement generally, and under Rule 703, she is entitled as an expert witness to rely upon inadmissible hearsay in forming her opinions.

Comment #50152

Posted by Ed Brayton on September 29, 2005 02:43 PM (e) (s)

The MT software automatically sends a trackback. I notice that none of the recent posts on the DI blog that I have linked to and critiqued have a trackback, while at least one of them does have a trackback to a post that agrees with them. This is not the least bit surprising, nor is it anything new.

I started predicting trackback editing after the Jay Richards fiasco. For those who don’t know, a DI dingbat named Jay Richards, who cowrote this Privileged Planet crap, wrote a piece for their website in which he explained that Special Relativity was wrong, and Einstein had been confused. Richards had a Charlie-Wagner-level thought experiment which he imagined proved his case. His education in Special Relativity consisted of some magazine articles or something. Shortly afterward, the bottom of the page filled with trackbacks from physicists calling Richards every name in the book.

If this is the first we’ve seen of trackback deletion, I’m amazed it took so long. They’ll do anything to preserve those Potemkin Websites.

The Trackback is there right now. I took a screeen capture. I wonder how long before it disappears?

Hey! Everybody! I got my first unsolicited personal attack!! And from Bill hisself!!! And it was a really LAME pun!!!!

Ah, shucks! It wasn’t “Big” Bill D. at all! It seems it was just “friendly fire!” [sob] Nobubby cares about us non-lifescientists.… [kicks rock]

Thank you for your site. I came here from a link on www.arn.org, the main ID site. It is interesting that there do not seem to be links here to ID sites, where comments from the other side of this debate may balance some posts. There seems to be a significant degree of vitriolic in many posts here.

Does anyone think that any ID advocate could qualify against a challenge under the Daubert Rule?

How could they? Since there IS no “scientific theory of intelligent design” (despite Luskin’s BS attem pt to claim there is), there is, quite literally, nothing for the IDers to be “expert “ *IN*.

It is interesting that there do not seem to be links here to ID sites, where comments from the other side of this debate may balance some posts.

Umm, is there some reason why “commetns from the other side of this debate” can’t be posted HERE ?

Oh, and would you mind explaining why Big Bill Dembski censors unfavorable comments on his blog?

Well, if they’re worried about being quoted out of context, I assume some of the ID luminaries will be showing up at the trial, so there’ll be an opportunity for someone to ask them if they really did say (and mean) what she said they said. The responses might be quite interesting.

Automatic trackbacks? Sounds great. I see a PT trackback and one other trackback now. And we will see what we see.

Mark Fitzmaurice Wrote:

Thank you for your site. I came here from a link on www.arn.org, the main ID site. It is interesting that there do not seem to be links here to ID sites, where comments from the other side of this debate may balance some posts. There seems to be a significant degree of vitriolic in many posts here.

Mark, the Panda’s Thumb as a rule links to what it is explicately criticizing. That is something the ID sites cannot say. Refusal of ID advocates to link to the Panda’s Thumb and other pro-science sites comes up fairly often.

And the PT also does list a variety of ID sites from the homepage including ARN.

Welcome, Mark F.!

I’m sorry, but I must already say I suspect you of disingenuous posting here. I do hope your posts in the future will show your actual open-mindedness, but, far more important, honesty. It has been several years since any creationist (or “ToE doubter” or “logical thinker” or “fairminded rationalist,” etc.)over the age of 18 has exhibited even a passing acquintance with what I had long considered the most basic courtesy - not representing yourself falsely - until I read more deeply into this “debate.”

I look forward to you helping disprove my assumption that anyone willing to support ID/creationism is nothing but a liar, a fraud, a kook, or a fool. “Vitriolic”? Sure (you must be VERY new to these forums if you can’t see why, after five years, manners have been a bit frayed), but I am amazingly open-minded should I detect the least bit of honesty AND a reasonable nature: not one of the ID/creation crowd now active on any of several forums possess both, and very, very rarely even one, of these indispensible qualities.

It is interesting that there do not seem to be links here to ID sites, where comments from the other side of this debate may balance some posts. There seems to be a significant degree of vitriolic in many posts here.

Did you read the top post? do you see how the words “dishonest attack piece” look a little different from the other words? This means it’s a link. The link is to an ID site.

But in a court of law, objections are inevitably raised to such quotations because the quote might be out of context or might be interpreted differently, but the person who said it is not available to take the stand and be cross examined.

So they are concerned about quote mining, admirable. I’m glad to see that the DI is now concerned with proper scholarship. I hope this attitude is reflected in other work produced by the institute.

Delta Pi Gamma (Scientia et Fermentum)

Counsel can either provide the Court and defense counsel with the entire article or section, for example, or a verifiable portion thereof with the quotation at issue clearly marked for inspection.

Yikes. So Prof. Forrest (or anyone else operating under the same rules) basically has to bring to the courtroom nearly her entire collection of research materials on anybody whom she quotes? How big is the truck she drove to Dover from Louisiana?

Mark Fitzmaurice Wrote:

Thank you for your site. I came here from a link on www.arn.org, the main ID site. It is interesting that there do not seem to be links here to ID sites, where comments from the other side of this debate may balance some posts.

Our main page has links to lots of ID sites. More, in fact, than we have links to evolution sites. I’m not sure how you missed that.

BTW, I don’t see any links to us on the ARN main page. Nor do I see any links to any sites that are critical of ID. You must have found the link to us on a forum thread.

There seems to be a significant degree of vitriolic in many posts here.

We have no control over people’s comments, beyond filtering out clearly abusive comments and banning persistenly problematic commentators.

Having read lots of material on the ARN forum, I can asure you that the vitriol flows both ways. Though perhaps you’ve managed to miss that just as you did our link to ARN.

It certainly will look more vitriolic here, as opposed to ID sites, where they strongly censor the opposing comments.

Hey, darwinfinch, yeah I’m sorry about the friendly fire. Willy D usually goes by WmAD, which I interpret as “William’s Mad” but since I gave up personal attacks and am working through a 12-step program with Andrea, I refrain from such activities.

However, darwinfinch -> cookedgoose was such a pun-coup that I overreacted.

My impression is that Barb would take evopeach’s dialogue in stride but I can tell you, when she gets on the stand you’re gonna hear a SCHWING! She’s that sharp.

So, fly, fly, my little darwinfinch, and grow a strong beak so you can bite those nuts!

As for evopeach, I pit thee and bake thee into a pie that I feed to my dear, little darwinfinch!

Crant Ganyon Wrote:

evopeach, Wow! What a posting. My hat’s off to you. You’ve achieved quite an achievement…

You can put that hat back on, Crant. If a comment goes for more than 3 or 4 words without spelling and grammar errors, you can be sure it wasn’t written by “Evopeach”. This bit of inanity was clearly cut and pasted.

The DI really has the evolutionism/humanism movement backpedaling. Really, censorship went out a long time ago. I think its funny when organizations such as this one and hte NCSE take issue with parodies and calling others to the table for their methods. Shoot, NCSE does this stuff every day, even to high school students that dare question evolutionary dogma.

Bow to Charles Darwin or suffer the fate of Danny Phillips!

Evolutionists need to back off of the speculative claims and focus on real science, and take some time to present their theories more honestly, especially in the case of textbooks used in public schools.

And, I’m not a creationist!

I missed some early posts on the Dover trial. Why are we so sure we’re going to win, besides that the DI is dissociating themselves from the whole thing?

Bob, Yes you are.

It is interesting that there do not seem to be links here to ID sites, where comments from the other side of this debate may balance some posts.

In fact you’ll find vastly more commentary by ID advocates on this site than you’ll find in the scientific literature. Most of us who post here are quite familiar with ID.

Bob:

You trot out the “NCSE abused a high school student” story, yet provide no references. Would you care to enlighten us?

Bob writes “And, I’m not a creationist!”

Yeah, and I’m Atilla the Hun.

Bob Wrote:

And, I’m not a creationist!

Good. Then you shouldn’t mind detailing exactly what you think a “creationist” promotes, and why it is a scientific failure.

Whatever is this “evolutionism/humanism movement” you have in mind, the DI has mainstream science doing anything but backpedaling. In fact the DI keeps backpedaling from anything remotely resembling a theory, and even from an intelligible “what happened and when.”

You are right about censorship. The point is especially moot since any student can google “Darwinism” and find all of the DI’s pseudoscience in seconds. All we “evolutionists” want is for students to learn the whole story. Evolution without misrepresentation may be impossible these days. So students need to have those misrepresentations answered by mainstream science. While technically not censorship, anti-evolution activists do what they can to prevent students from learning the whole story.

Harq al-Ada: “I missed some early posts on the Dover trial. Why are we so sure we’re going to win, besides that the DI is dissociating themselves from the whole thing?”

I would recommend reading the original complaint and TMLC’s response. http://www2.ncseweb.org/wp/?page_id=13 Judge for yourself the strengths of each position.

Ginger Yellow Wrote:

But if they were able to publish in scientific journals, their theory would be scientific, almost by definition.

Unless, that is, the editor of the scientific journal has his career assassinated by zealots. Then, I suppose, it’s not “scientific” after all.

But if they were able to publish in scientific journals, their theory would be scientific, almost by definition.

Unless, that is, the editor of the scientific journal has his career assassinated by zealots. Then, I suppose, it’s not “scientific” after all.

Once we learn that their theory exists, then we can worry about whether it’s “scientific”.

I’ve been busy; did someone publish what the ID theory actually is, and I missed it?

Dang.

An article concluding intelligent design has been published in a peer-reviewed journal. I’m sure you didn’t miss that.

One Dembski’s harshest critic’s claims that his “design inference” is nevertheless a “scientific argument.”

http://www.csicop.org/creationwatch[…]ity-two.html

Perhaps Mr. Rosenhouse would be so kind as to explain what he means by “scientific.”

Mythos Wrote:

An article concluding intelligent design has been published in a peer-reviewed journal. I’m sure you didn’t miss that.

If you mean “Meyer’s Hopeless Monster,” Meyer may personally “conclude” design, but his paper supports neither design nor an alternative to evolution.

Mythos Wrote:

Perhaps Mr. Rosenhouse would be so kind as to explain what he means by “scientific.”

I hope that Jason clarifies that, but my interpretation from the context is that he meant “scientific” only in the sense that some scientific techniques were used, and not that the entire process was scientific.

Jason Rosenhouse Wrote:

This argument figures prominently in the writings of ID proponents. Indeed, it is effectively their only scientific argument in favor of design (as opposed to against evolution).

So even if the ID argument were scientific, it would not provide an alternative to evolution.

An article concluding intelligent design has been published in a peer-reviewed journal. I’m sure you didn’t miss that.

For some odd reason, it didn’t contain any scientific theory of ID. I’m sure no one missed that, either.

One Dembski’s harshest critic’s claims that his “design inference” is nevertheless a “scientific argument.”

When did Mr Rosenhouse become infallible?

Oh, and would you mind telling me what this “scientific theory of ID” is? I seem to have missed it.

If you mean “Meyer’s Hopeless Monster,” Meyer may personally “conclude” design, but his paper supports neither design nor an alternative to evolution.

It should also be pointed out that Meyer’s BS about the Cambrian Explosion was cirbbed, almost word for word, from standard ICR boilerplate from thirty years ago.

Remember that, the next time some IDer yammers to you that “ID isn’t creationism”. ID has not presented a single argument – not a one – that wasn’t being made by YECs decades ago.

York Daily Record article

Defense aims to undermine professor By MICHELLE STARR Daily Record/Sunday News Thursday, October 6, 2005

HARRISBURG — Defense attorneys in the case over intelligent design didn’t want Barbara Forrest to testify. … He also attacked the research methodology for her writings, claiming she was selective. As an example, he said she failed to include a document by the Discovery Institute explaining the “wedge strategy.” … The institute, in a document called “The Wedge Document: So What?” says it does not support theocracy, is not attacking science and does not have a secret plan to influence science and culture.

In court, she said that document was written after her book was published. Though she has written other materials about intelligent design, she said the Discovery Institute generates volumes of material and every piece isn’t cited. … Quote of the day

“Creation means that various forms of life began abruptly through the agency of an intelligent creator, with their distinctive features already intact — fish with fins and scales, birds with feathers, beaks, and wings, etc.” — Version of textbook “Of Pandas and People,” before 1987 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Edwards v. Aguillard striking down the concept of creation science as legitimate science.

“Intelligent design means that various forms of life began abruptly through an intelligent agency, with their distinctive features already intact — fish with fins and scales, birds with feathers, beaks, and wings, etc.” — “Of Pandas and People,” after 1987 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Edwards v. Aguillard.

Similar substitutions were made throughout the textbook, according to Wednesday’s testimony.

So the Discovery Institute puts out a document claiming ‘when we said we wanted to overthrow science, we didn’t really mean it’, and now says they don’t have a secret plan, because after all the document leaked so it isn’t really secret anymore, is it? and this is supposed to be accepted at face value?

Another quote from that YDR article:

“We didn’t think (the history of intelligent design) was relevant to the case,” Thompson said after court. “The school board didn’t know any of this history.

Dover trial, horns (or lack thereof) and all

MIKEARGENTO Thursday, October 6, 2005

HARRISBURG — Along about the 658th hour of Dr. Barbara Forrest’s stay on the witness stand, during Day Six of the Dover Panda Trial, I started looking for her horns.

Never did see them.

It was right about the time that defense lawyer Richard Thompson was repeatedly asking about her various memberships in such seditious, treasonous and just plain evil organizations as the New Orleans Secular Humanist Association and the ACLU that it occurred to me to look for her horns.

They weren’t there. … Near as I can tell, she used the words of the people who came up with the idea of intelligent design to show that it’s a religious idea — one based on a narrow view of Christianity — and not a scientific one.

She used their own words against them.

Evil, evil woman. …

The Discovery Institute attempts to ‘spin’ Forrest’s testimony

“I hope that the media will critically analyze Forrest’s testimony and get our response to her allegations,” said John West. “I would warn them to take what she says not with just a grain of salt, but with a shaker-full.” … “Scientists engaged in design research include biochemist Michael Behe of Lehigh University and microbiologist Scott Minnich at the University of Idaho, both of whom will testify for the defense, and astronomer Guillermo Gonzalez at Iowa State University.”

Are those people actually researching Intelligent Design, and do their published research findings support it?

Re “the 658th hour of Dr. Barbara Forrest’s stay on the witness stand, during Day Six “ 658th hour, during day six? I didn’t think 6 days had that many hours… ;)

Henry

To my personal queries over the past six years Dr. Behe has said he “might” have some research on ID coming, then “probably” would have something, and now just isn’t sure. Minnich has had a couple of publications touted in the past year by ID advocates, but I don’t see any ID in them.

No, neither one has proposed a hypothesis of intelligent design, nor does either have any data to support any hypothesis.

“I hope that the media will critically analyze Forrest’s testimony and get our response to her allegations,” said John West.

Why can’t DI just tell it to the judge? (snicker) (giggle)

A question for all the DI bigwigs who are lurking here:

In his latest whining about the Dover Debacle, West sniffles:

According to West, creationism is focused on defending a literal reading of the Genesis account, usually including the creation of the earth by the Biblical God a few thousand years ago. Unlike creationism, the scientific theory of intelligent design is agnostic regarding the source of design and has no commitment to defending Genesis, the Bible or any other sacred text.

Yet, in the Wedge Document, under the heading “Five Year Objectives”, the Discovery Institute lists:

* Mainline renewal movements begin to appropriate insights from design theory, and to repudiate theologies influenced by materialism

* Major Christian denomination(s) defend(s) traditional doctrine of creation

A simple question for you, gentlemen:

What exactly is the “traditional doctrine of creation” that you want “major Christian denominations” to “defend”. Does “traditional doctrine of creation” mean . . well … “the Genesis account, usually including the creation of the earth by the Biblical God a few thousand years ago”? Does this entail “defending Genesis, the Bible, or some sacred text”?

Which is it, gentlemen. Is West lying to us when he says that DI isn’t interested in defending creationism, or is the Discovery Institute lying to us in the Wedge Document when it says that one of its goals is “defending traditional doctrine of creation”.

Of course, gentlemen, I realize that *none* of you has the ping-pongs to answer this simple question. That’s OK — the question makes its point all by itself. I don’t need your cooperation.

“Scientists engaged in design research include biochemist Michael Behe of Lehigh University and microbiologist Scott Minnich at the University of Idaho, both of whom will testify for the defense, and astronomer Guillermo Gonzalez at Iowa State University.”

Will any of them offer a scientific theory of design and tell us how to test it using the scientific method?

Why not?

Of course, gentlemen, I realize that *none* of you has the ping-pongs to answer this simple question.

And I was right, wasn’t I.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Ed Brayton published on September 29, 2005 12:15 PM.

“Intro to ID” by Gonzalez at U of Northern Iowa was the previous entry in this blog.

Steve Steve and the Fossil-Fossils of De-Na-Zin is the next entry in this blog.

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