More Kitzmiller documents available

| 3 Comments

Since I don’t think I posted this before, all of the PDFs of the Kitzmiller v. Dover trial are now available on NCSE’s website – in searchable, error-free form, which was not previously the case. See also the TalkOrigins HTML version of the transcripts, complete with graphics, links, and HTML anchors for each question (just click on the “Q”).

In case you were wondering, variations on the word “flagellum” appeared 385 times during the trial. I was about to suggest that this count beats the total of all previous usages of the word “flagellum” in all trials, anywhere in history, but then I remembered the original meaning of “flagellum”, which is the latin term for “whip.”

(Rumor has it that immune system fans were disappointed that their favorite “irreducible complex” system only got 145 mentions. Then again, only the plaintiffs seemed to enjoy talking about the immune system…)

Also, the United States District Court, Middle District of Pennsylvania has just posted all of the Proposed Findings of Fact from the Defense and Plaintiffs on their website.

3 Comments

Can someone please explain to the law-ignorant what these “Proposed Findings of Fact” documents are? I guess that both sides submit the exact findings of fact they wish they could get, and then the judge decides which findings of fact they actually get?

Is the judge required to consult the proposed findings? Are the proposed findings drawn up before, or after, testimony? Does the judge have to approve proposed findings? Are the proposed findings allowed to just include anything, like can they randomly haul off and include a big block of excluded Dembski testimony, or are the findings required to stick to the stuff actually said in court? What happens if a proposed findings document includes nonallowable material anyway?

Pretty close, Andrew. After all the testimony and exhibits (admitted documents, slides, papers, etc.) are in and the cases being put on by the parties are closed, the legal teams for the two sides comb back over the evidence and each submit proposed findings of fact.

The judge can pick and choose from either or both documents, or ignore some or all of either or both, and the judge can also come up with his or her own findings, but at least the initial burden of working up and organizing the “facts” is placed on the parties who dragged the mess into the courthouse in the first place, and not on the poor overworked judge.

A factual finding must be one for which there is a minimal quantum of evidentiary support (more than a “scintilla” is the usual legal phraseology). In other words, if given item of “proposed” testimony or documentary evidence was never admitted in the first place at all, it can’t be more than a scintilla, and thus can’t support or furnish a finding, so–long story short!–Dembski’s excluded “testimony” is irrelevant.

Facts found by the court may include things like motivations and intentions that are not directly in evidence, but are supported by a commonsense interpretation of the facts that are in evidence–i.e., what people said and did before and during their actions that are in issue (like the board members’ religious statements, use of the term “creationism,” and so forth, when it comes to determining their motivation for adopting the new standards…).

Concerning the count of instances of “flagellum” – someone should also count instances of “Big Bang,” which sometimes seemed as if it came out of Behe’s mouth every other sentence.

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This page contains a single entry by Nick Matzke published on November 28, 2005 7:12 PM.

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