TMLC: You Better Shop Around

| 54 Comments

An interesting story by Laurie Goodstein ran in the New York Times on the multi-year search of the Thomas More Law Center to find an “intelligent design” case. Having formed in 1999, they approached their first case candidate in 2000. And, of course, that search went on in the following years, until TMLC hooked up with the Dover Area School District in 2004.

54 Comments

This is what happens when you get activist lawyers and activist politicians who actually believe the DI propaganda and have no idea about the realities of ID.

The IDfather?

Rustopher.

-seems like that they were operating a selection of the ‘dumbest’ policy going by the number of boards they approached that turned them down. Perhaps strengthens the Dover Board’s case against them when they lose.

Mr. Muise told the board in Charleston that it would undoubtedly be sued if the district taught intelligent design, but that the center would mount a defense at no cost.

“We’ll be your shields against such attacks,” he told them at a school board meeting, a riff on the center’s slogan, “The Sword and Shield for People of Faith.” He said they could defend teaching intelligent design as a matter of academic freedom.

From this it makes me wonder if the TMLC fails to mention prior to such case that they will not cover court costs of the other side if they lose the case and the other side wins such costs as a settlement. Maybe if plaintiffs win (which they most likely will) and if they are granted court costs (which I suspect that the dishonesty of the board members under oath probably makes likely), Dover should sue the TMLC demanding that the TMLC actually, well, shield them.

Very interesting: it seems now that the TMLC are in fact the bad guys in this, and the Dover rubes are merely their sacrificial pawns…

Curioser and curiouser.

DrFrank -

Don’t let the Dover “rubes” off the hook - they knew what they were doing when they took up this fight. The fact that they were stupid to do it doesn’t let them off the hook over it.

Yeah, the stupidity defense never worked for me. I don’t know how many times my lawyer has stood up in court and said, “Your honor, my client is really stupid. I mean, this guy is a class A moron. He hasn’t a brain in his head. You just don’t know how stupid this guy reall is.”

It hasn’t worked once.

Sincerely, Skip Cell Block A, Stupid Ward Montana State Prison

This bit is really funny:

John Luoni, the former president of the Charleston school board, said he remembered listening to Mr. Muise and concluding: “It’s not really a scientific theory. It’s more of a religious theory. It should be taught if a church or a denomination believes in it, but I didn’t think that religious viewpoint should be taught as part of a science class.”

Lobbying by the TMLC actually convinced a school board president that ID was religion, not science, and should not be taught in public school science class!

These guys are beyond ineffective, they are actually counter-productive. In so many ways.

5 years to prepare for the case and they gave us: + Multiple witnesses perjuring themselves + Astrology is science + creation = intelligent design = sudden appearance + God is dead

(Did I miss other important highlights?)

Thank you Thomas More Law Center and Dover Area School Board! ;)

I really don’t think Dover should given any leeway because of their stupidity, but I do find it intriguing that the TMLC was basically going around promoting ID and ‘Pandas’ to schoolboards and then offering to defend whoever agreed to put it in science class. It has that certain ‘large evil plot’ feel to it ;)

On the other hand, I’d have to argue Skip’s point: if someone with severe mental deficiencies was strongly persuaded to kill someone (for example) by an evil genius, then the guilt would more lie with the evil genius than with the mentally incompetent brainwashed guy.

Mongo, kill! *twirls moustache*

The problem that the TMLC are running into is simply that this isn’t their arena. They thrive best in areas in which what is important is rhetoric, passion, and flash. And to their credit, they have some people who can speak well, do so passionately, and perform with flash and flair.

Unfortunately, the debate over origins takes place primarily in academic publications. And the debate over what should ultimately be taught in schools often finds itself in the courtroom. And what matters in these areas is facts, evidence and reason.

And this just isn’t the TMLC’s strongest suit.

Comment #55326

Posted by Bayesian Bouffant, FCD on November 5, 2005 09:52 AM (e) (s)

These guys are beyond ineffective, they are actually counter-productive. In so many ways.

That’s what makes this so funny.

“ain’t nobody going to stand up fer Jesus?”

“ID is certainly a scientific theory, so long as you change the definition of ‘scientific’ and ‘theory’”

“ID needs affirmative action because the scientific community hates it so much”

“I don’t know where the money came from fer them books. Oh. You’ve…uh…got the check, huh.…Um…”

“I never studied it before I voted for it. If Billy Buckingham says it’s science, it must be!”

“Of course ID is science. It sure sounds scientific, don’t it?”

This stuff is just great. Like Voltaire said, “I have never made but one prayer to God, a very short one: “O Lord make my enemies ridiculous.” And God granted it.”

The verdict is expected sometime in January. I hereby announce the Waterloo Party, to be held the Friday or Saturday after the verdict is issued. I have an apartment in RTP in North Carolina, a short drive from Chapel Hill, Durham, or Raleigh. We’ll all drink, cook out, read the verdict aloud, Intelligently Design some White Russians, use the Puff of Smoke method to grill some burgers, etc etc. The password is “Help help! I’m being repressed”

No matter how the Dover case turns out, the center is considering defending several teachers who are defying their school districts by teaching intelligent design.

“We’re developing all this expertise in intelligent design,” Mr. Thompson said. “We hope to use it.”

Heh. heh heh. Hahahahahahahaha.

Ahh yes … Voltaire his request provided us with the very snappily dressed and vain Mr Thompson who doesn’t believe he is an ape (after all they are smelly, get fleas and remind him of his mother) and who likes to show off to reporterd in court.

Argento did an article on him in YDR …very amusing.

He is about as flash as a rat with a gold tooth.

use the Puff of Smoke method to grill some burgers

That reminds me of George Gobel, who won an IgNobel prize for lighting a charcoal grill in a record 3 seconds - by using liquid oxygen

My apologies for misspelling George Goble’s name.

To find its first intelligent design case, the lawyers went around the country looking for a school board willing to withstand a lawsuit. In May 2000, Robert Muise, one of the lawyers, traveled to Charleston, W.Va., to persuade the school board there to buy the intelligent design textbook “Of Pandas and People” and teach it in science class.

And on the advice of their attorneys, the School Board witnesses tried to hide the source of the books…

The locals are double suckers, suckered by the DI and by TMLC. It will make the court a laughing stock if there is no charge of perjury, but if the TMLC gets off while their clients are punished it will still be a travesty.

steve Wrote:

The verdict is expected sometime in January. I hereby announce the Waterloo Party, to be held the Friday or Saturday after the verdict is issued. I have an apartment in RTP in North Carolina, a short drive from Chapel Hill, Durham, or Raleigh. We’ll all drink, cook out, read the verdict aloud, Intelligently Design some White Russians, use the Puff of Smoke method to grill some burgers, etc etc. The password is “Help help! I’m being repressed”

And we can all play the Bill Dembski Drinking Game - Down a shot of Jager every time he deletes a post from his blog.

We’ll all be unconcious in about 10 minutes.

Or worse, you have to do a Jaeger shot every time the Discovery Institute puts out a press release saying that Dover’s Intelligent Design is not Real Intelligent Design

I understand what the Discovery Institute is doing. They’re losing their 20-year-old offspring, and so they’re going through the first stage of coping, Denial.

btw, I hereby invite Professor Steve Steve to the Waterloo Party.

And for you teetotalers, we have non-drinking games, like Pin the Grenade on Cordova.

I really don’t think Dover should given any leeway because of their stupidity, but I do find it intriguing that the TMLC was basically going around promoting ID and ‘Pandas’ to schoolboards and then offering to defend whoever agreed to put it in science class. It has that certain ‘large evil plot’ feel to it ;)

At least now we see why DI has been so whiney and mopey. Here they were, with their carefully-crafted and intelligently-designed multi-year deception plan finally beginning to bear fruit, and these moronic crusaders from Thomas More decided to team up with a bunch of uneducated religious nuts from rural Pennsylvania to destroy everything that DI has conspired towards for almost 20 years.

BWA HA HA HA HA HA !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

In truth, despite all their whining, I don’t see anything that DI could have done differently. Sure, they might have picked a board that wasn’t so stupidly up-front about its religious motives. But even without all that, they’d STILL have to get around all the things that TMLC had to — the crushingly clear statements in the Wedge Document, the search-and-replace paper trail that suddenly transformed “Pandas” from a book about creationism to a book about intelligent design (which would have become MORE damning if Dembski were forced, on the stand, to explain his own relationship with FTE and “Pandas”); all of the openly religious declarations given by Dembski, Behe, Meyer, and all the others; the complete total utter inability of Dembski, Behe, Meyer or anyone else to produce anything resembling a scientific theory of ID; the total rejection of ID by the scientific community and its utter irrelevance to science education; the huge paper trail by ID writers setting out their religious objections to “materialism” and “naturalism”; the complete one-to-one correspondence between every argument made by IDers and the standard ICR boilerplate from 25 years ago.

Heck, in the Kansas Kangaroo Kourt, the IDers didn’t even HAVE ANY OPPOSITION WITNESSES and they STILL made idiots of themselves.

ID is dead. Utterly dead.

And even if they put some makeup on the stiffened corpse and try to walk it around, a la “Weekend at Bernie’s”, they STILL can’t escape the fact that all the testimony at Dover is now part of the legal record. If, at any future trial, they try to contradict or deny ANY PART OF IT, they’ll find themselves in the same boat as Buckingham and Bonsell (who, if there is *any* justice in the world, will shortly find themselves facing perjury charges).

I think the judge’s decision is going to make for some, uh, interesting reading.

The verdict is expected sometime in January.

Why so long? It seems for all intents & purposes, the verdict is already in. Let’s hope Judge Jones is going to use the time to construct an eloquent and rigorous decision that will hound the creos and neo-creos for years to come.

Weekend at Bernie’s LOL

I don’t know how many times my lawyer has stood up in court and said, “Your honor, my client is really stupid. I mean, this guy is a class A moron. He hasn’t a brain in his head. You just don’t know how stupid this guy reall is.”

Well, have you been following the Dover case? The defense REPEATEDLY and in all seriousness leaned on the defense of “your honor, our client is a drug addict”.

Well, most people are seeing through the defence that as long as Valerie Plame’s name wasn’t divulged, it was OK to refer to “Joe Wilson’s wife” and stay legal. I hope they see through the parallel piece of deception here - that as long as you don’t actually mention the word God, you haven’t said anything religious. The fact that, as Jon Stewart said, the designer as defined would have to have the skill set to create an entire universe, doesn’t apparently make your endeavour religious unless you utter the three-letter word.

I mean, it appears that the judge is seeing through it. But the ID people are going after public opinion, and it remains to be seen if the public has swallowed their spin.

Have any of you watched these CSPAN debates? In the second one, Thompson gets testy with Mark Ryland of the Discovery Institute. Ryland claimed that the DI has never advocated teaching ID in schools. Thompson produces a DI booklet that is about nothing BUT how to get ID into the public schools. Watch Ryland’s mannerisms after that. He’s extra fidgety for the rest of the debate. Its good watching if you like to see people pretend that they weren’t just busted in a major lie.

Thompson’s professionalism slips during this exchange. Its obvious he feels betrayed by the DI. Thompson, misguided as he is, has a legitimate gripe with the Discovery Institute. Laurie Goodstein’s article points to the depth of the betrayal.

I’d like to see this split in the creationist community explored more deeply in the media. It’s high time the Discovery Institute was publically exposed for the hypocritical, manipulative reconstructivist liars they are.

The TMLC should change its name to TBLC – “True Believers Law Center.”

Like many efforts to initiate a constitutional challenge, this one started with a hunt for a willing sacrificial lamb. (I understand that was also the case with Scopes.) True to their (new) name, the TBLC could not see beyond what they want to believe and were unable to recognize the critical flaws in their case.

My wishful fantasy is that some day soon the true believers like TBLC’s Thompson and the “praise the lord” letter-to-the-editor writers around the country will come to understand that those of us who are trying to keep ID out of science classes are also protecting their constitutional right to oversee their children’s religious education without government interference.

Well, have you been following the Dover case? The defense REPEATEDLY and in all seriousness leaned on the defense of “your honor, our client is a drug addict”.

As Obi-Wan Kenobi once said, “Who’s the bigger fool – the fool, or the fool that folllows him?”

If Bigmouth Buckingham was such a drug-addled nincompoop, what does that say for all the other board members who willingly went along with him? Not to mention the TMLC dolts who enthusiastically encouraged and helped him?

My wishful fantasy is that some day soon the true believers like TBLC’s Thompson and the “praise the lord” letter-to-the-editor writers around the country will come to understand that those of us who are trying to keep ID out of science classes are also protecting their constitutional right to oversee their children’s religious education without government interference.

But then, fundies aren’t upset by government interference — as long as *they* get to be the interfering government. They’re not fighting against religious intolerance – they are fighting for the right to *practice* it.

After all, a police state is wonderful — if you get to be the police.

The Right “Rev Dr” Lenny said: “But then, fundies aren’t upset by government interference —- as long as *they* get to be the interfering government. They’re not fighting against religious intolerance — they are fighting for the right to *practice* it.”

Granted, but there are a lot of other people out there who aren’t “fundies” and who could suddenly wake up to the fact that someone is going to be indoctrinating their kids in the “right religion.” Maybe someday these folks will realize who is practicing the religious intolerance that the IDers are accusing science of. Like I said, this is a “wishful fantasy.”

Dear Swoosh,

thanks for pointing out the C-Span debates - I’ve sacrificed a Saturday night out (in Hastings, England) to watch these, and see characters like Forrest, Millar and Nelson I’ve only otherwise read about. I’m enjoying the debate, and especially the one where Millar tears Nelson apart. I found it very amusing that Nelson was bringing up the ‘Cambrian explosion’ chestnut, even though he is a Young Earth Creationist. It seems to me that all the ID proponents look uncomfortable - not a wasted Saturday night at all - and I’ve saved the Thomson/Ryland one till last… thanks again and I can heartily support Swooshes recommendation.

Actually the exchanges Swoosh refers to are on ‘Part 3’ from about 2:13 in .. including the bit at 2:19 where the chair invites a comment from Ken Millar and he says something along the lines of “do I have to I’m really enjoying this”. I think Ken ‘Rocks’, and clearly enjoys the whole thing (look at the smile on his face compared to the looks of Thomson and Ryland). He even manages to get in the last word on the whole affair; which although seemingly fair, strikes me as more like ‘we’ve got them on the run, bring’em on; by agreeing with DI’s Paul Nelson’s original statement: “It doesn’t matter what happens in Kitzmillar vs. Dover this battle will go on”. A relief perhaps to those who have post-partum depression after the trial. As an English schoolboy, at the age of fourteen I borrowed a ‘high school’ American-written Biology textbook for the summer holidays. I found it to be compulsive reading, and it changed my way of looking at ‘Life,the Universe, and everything; (to quote another Englishman). I am very grateful to that textbook,- as a result of reading it I became far advanced in Biology and all the sciences; and was the first person in my extensive family to attend university (I read Ecology at Edinburgh). I feel sad that in America you still have to waste time on this kind of thing, although I find the spectacle utterly compelling.

Most interesting to me is that the TMLC spent all this time seeking a test case to get religion into the public schools, having explicitly stated that that’s their purpose here, as part of the larger purpose of making the US into a more theocratic nation. Yet the nominal defense is that the very religion they’re trying to have the government teach is not religion at all! Clearly, they’d have no interest in the case if what they’re pushing weren’t the exact opposite of what they’re pretending it is to make the case in the first place.

This kind of duplicity is nearly stupefying. The IDEAL way to get the commandment against false witness taught as science, is to bear false witness to do it!

So OK, does religion cause dishonesty, or is dishonesty a prerequisite?

Ach, right you are. Its the third one, but at least in my browser here, the third video is second in line. Thanks for the correction.

Regarding Buckingham, the simpler explanation is that he wasn’t a “drug addled fool”, rather that was an excuse brought up later. It’s an excuse, pure and simple.

Buckingham and Bonsell both knew what they were doing and that it was against the law. All they demonstrated is that they’re a pair of amateur dumb shits.

Memo on check: For Pandas Books.

Smooth move, Exlax Buckingham.

What is frightening, though, is that school boards across the country are staffed by dumb shits like Buckingham and Bonsell. Who else would want to do that thankless job? But, on the other hand, where are the checks and balances?

..just finished watching the Lawrence Krauss presentation, which I found to be absolutely inspiational, and which has best addressed for me the ‘teach the controversy’ fallacy. I like the point that he makes at the end that (to paraphrase), ‘it’s not, for him, about the American Constitution: it’s about blurring the truth’.

.. of course this should have been (still to paraphrase) ‘it’s not, for me, about the American Constitution: it’s about blurring the truth’. [Moveable Type does’nt seem to recognise me any more so I can’t edit - any advice?]

Does anyone know how to save these streaming .rm debates to hard drive? Or, failing that, just get the audio?

“Buckingham and Bonsell both knew what they were doing and that it was against the law. All they demonstrated is that they’re a pair of amateur dumb shits.”

Oh… I don’t know Bill.

I think as “dumb shits” go.. they’re professionals..

There used to be a Windows utility called “Total Recorder” which wedged itself into the audio path and allowed a .WAV file to be captured from streams.

There’s a program called Stream Down from (I believe) CoCSoft that works pretty good. It’s shareware.

There’s a shareware program called Stream Down from (I believe) CoCSoft. It works pretty good.

Sorry ‘bout the dupe’s…

The article linked from the one at the top of this thread has an interesting observation about the TMLC:

But Richard Thompson, the former prosecutor who is president and chief counsel of the Thomas More Center, says its role is to use the courts “to change the culture” - and it well could depending on the outcome of the test case it finally found.

Hey, baby, what’s that sound? JUDICIAL ACTIVISM?!

Dave Cerutti Wrote:

“Hey, baby, what’s that sound? JUDICIAL ACTIVISM?!”

It’s not judicial activism if it’s for the right.

Red Right Hand wrote

There’s a shareware program called Stream Down from (I believe) CoCSoft. It works pretty good.

Stream Down works, but be aware that the American Enterprise Institute video is about 160M total, a looooong download even with a broadband connection.

RBH

Thank you. It seems to be working.

It’s not judicial activism if it’s for the right.

Yes it is.

And some of us see *some* of what is designated as leftist judicial activism as every bit as repugnant as enthusiasm for ID.

Keep in mind, the Dover judge, Judge Jones, is a Bush ‘43 appointee. He sure seems to get the inanity of ID. A lot of us who are not left of center, do.

Mona, no hard feelings. I know, Democrats have used judicial activism to change the culture for the past half century in a number of good ways as well as, well bad or questionable ways. My intention was merely to point out the utter hypocrisy of some conservatives in this respect. Bush served up a heaping helping of “she will not legislate from the bench” in his encomium of Harriet Myers–“yes, John Doe is extremely qualified; so qualified that, I assure you, he won’t do anything that is unquestionably out of line.”

It’s not judicial activism if it’s for the right.

Yes it is.

Duh. The point is that the right dishonestly and hypocritically equates judicial activism with liberal positions (with massive help from the media).

Quote by Dean Morrison:

I feel sad that in America you still have to waste time on this kind of thing, although I find the spectacle utterly compelling.

Thanks for the condolences. It feels like my country is dying, and I’m going through the “angry” stage. My “denial” stage would have been the Clinton adminstration. Depending on how bad our next president is, I’ll either slip into “depression” or “acceptance”. Hopefully it’ll be someone so fantastic that I might step up in “bargaining”.

One thing I’ve learnt about you country from all this is that it has some great people, and great minds in it. Your founding fathers also had great foresight in framing the constitution in such a way that you can actually discuss this and defend your freedoms. Without it the bigots would have taken over long ago, (shame they didn’t spell out what they meant by a militia in the second ammendment in big capital letters though). I’d like to think that science and all forms of rational thinking are a sleeping giant only now awaking from it’s slumbers. “The price of freedom is eternal vigilance” - don’t despair we’ll be cheering you on from this side of the big pond - and we do have a few matters of our own to attend to. We’re lucky to be part of a fellowship of free minds that doesn’t rely on someone orchestrating our thinking for us - ‘Intelligent Designers’ bless America! (the real Intelligent Designers being the guys who framed the constitution).

One thing I’ve learnt about you country from all this is that it has some great people, and great minds in it.

Well, thanks.

No hard feelings about that 1776 thingie, huh?

;>

Someone once asked me if they had a Fourth of July in Britain.

Of *course* they do, I said. It comes right after the Third.

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This page contains a single entry by Wesley R. Elsberry published on November 5, 2005 2:27 AM.

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