Desparate, pathetic, and disgusting - DI’s West on Judge Jones

| 396 Comments

John West of the Discovery Institute has been critiquing Judge Jones’ decision in the Dover ID lawsuit over at the DI Media Complaints Division blog. I haven’t, for the most part, addressed these posts, since other Pandas’ Thumb regulars have more relevant expertise and have been doing a better job at it than I could. His latest post, however, is so far from the bounds of decency and civility that I can’t leave it be. One part in particular, mentioned in passing by PvM in another PT post, hits a new low. In a relatively short passage, West manages to combine a gratuitous personal attack with a view of both what it should mean to be a conservative and on what a lawyer should be proud of that is twisted beyond all recognition.

Read More (at The Questionable Authority):

396 Comments

Mr West certainly fits my stereotype of an American Christian. His is the sort of behavior I expect from the professionally righteous. While I realize that most Christians are fine folks, the face of American Christianity is the face of Pat Robertson, or Benny Hinn, or Jerry Fawell or the IDers and creationists. The face of American Christianity is dishonest, ugly and bigoted.

To be fair, I must also say my opinion of other religious sects is no better.

Mike, you’ve raked up some genuine muck.

Mike Dunford Wrote:

If West has any remaining hint of human decency, he will apologize and retract that portion of his attack. (emphasis added)

On the other hand .…

Wow. West should really be ashamed of that ellipsis. Good job, Mike.

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There were over 70 citations of the Pandas book in Jones’ ruling. That’s one every other double spaced page. It appears to me that the book was on trial. Jones’ refusal to allow the publisher to defend it is a real flaw in the case. Too bad there won’t be an appeal so we can see what a panel of Jones’ superiors thinks about that. In any case (pun intended) the next school district to give ID a whirl will simply choose a different ID text and because the Dover case was SO focused on Pandas it’ll be a whole new ballgame. As the publisher of Pandas said in his request to defend the book - if plaintiffs prevail Pandas will become “radioactive”.

Watch now for a new ID text without the “scientific creationism” lineage to be the next case in a solidly red state. Not having a perjurer on the school board that makes the decision will help too. This was a real comedy of errors.

There’s also some noise being made in congress about eliminating award of legal fees in establishment clause cases. The ACLU is collecting for expenses it didn’t incur. Their staff is volunteer yet they ask for legal expenses like they weren’t. I heard that on Bill O’Reilly last night or night before. This business of “don’t try this again or it’ll cost ya” doesn’t serve justice it serves intimidation.

though most Christians dislike them just as much as you do

not to step on lenny’s toes (but that’s why i picked the moniker, after all), but as I’m sure lenny would point out:

why aren’t the majority of xians who dislike these folks doing more to stop them from taking over xianity in the media?

do they feel they would be cutting their own throats at the same time?

are they waiting for help?

“I heard that on Bill O’Reilly “

I thought your post was wacky .…and then I understood why!

“Jones’ refusal to allow the publisher to defend it is a real flaw in the case” has been dealt with already.

This case is tight and the only flaw I see is that he didn’t hold the defendants in contempt.….oh well I guess he did but I mean contempt of court…

Too bad there won’t be an appeal so we can see what a panel of Jones’ superiors thinks about that.

*sigh*. why don’t you try to locate similar decisions to see if there was any judicial review, even without appeal, rather than jumping to what are obvious erroneous conclusions about what “Jones’ superiors thinks about the judge not “allowing the publishers to defend the book”.

There is nothing in the ruling that any judicial panel would find inappropriate.

prove me wrong by citing case law and review on point, or go marry West and live in fundie paradise somewhere.

I’ll bet money that not only won’t you bother to try to find evidence to support your ridiculous claim, but that you simply can’t find evidence to support that claim, because there isn’t any significant evidence TO support that claim.

now you can admit to us you’re just another disgruntled creationist, mad that your side lost in the case.

don’t be mad, i say, be glad. It means your kids will get a better education. Their kids will be thanking Jones for his ruling.

This case is tight and the only flaw I see is that he didn’t hold the defendants in contempt.….oh well I guess he did but I mean contempt of court…

It’s my understanding that the reason he specifically did not charge the defendants with contempt or perjury was that it would open the case to appeal. He left that to the prosecutors office, who at last take was looking into doing just that.

in the meantime, Jones made it abundantly clear in the ruling that the defendants and witnesses for the defense OFTEN lied on the stand.

Best of all possible worlds, he documents all of their lies, without actually charging them with perjury.

he’s no dummy.

My personal feeling is this:

Intelligent design with some of its cursory explanations really does not seem that improbable at first glance.

It’s only after you dive into the issue that you discover how vacuous it is. Until they truly understand what the DI’s objectives are, I think the vast majority of Xians will continue to think it’s much adieu about nothing.

So to get them to wade into the battle we need to make a better case for why it is important. Since the science is so complex. It might be an easier political sell to concentrate on the DIs relations, sponsors, and objectives.

For example, I think the vast majority of US citizens would object to: The establishment of a theocratic state Allowing Fundamentalists to control our public education system

This whole issue reminds me of a problem I face at work. I am a highly technical person, considered an expert in many fields. We take what our customers want, interpret it, and build/configure/setup specialized engineer software to make their lives easier. The problem is, my experience is so divorced from theirs that I can not relate to the end users. What seems “obvious” to me is totally mysterious to them.

I think the science of Evolution plays out like this. The people with the greatest knowledge in these areas have the hardest time related the “obvious” to the lay public. The differences in their level of knowledge is too great to easily overcome. This is one of the reasons that scientists don’t do better in public debates.

In a way, the Dover trial really helped bridge that gap. Mr. Rotheschild’s (a lawyer) direct & cross-examinations and Judge Jones’ ruling were excellent filters of scientist’s arguments and the lay public.

Being able to point people towards that ruling has really been a boon to me in the other blog debates in which I engage.

are they waiting for help?

Do you have suggestions for what else I should be doing beyond what I already am doing?

hell no :) Wes, nobody could ask you to do any more than you are doing already!

I’m geniunely curious why folks like the ELCA don’t do more to promote their position in the media?

any thoughts on that?

Wesley,

I don’t really know what you’re doing, so I have no comment :) .

What I’m doing is Taking a pro-science stand on the blog sites of the local papers Writing pro-science letter to the editor of the local papers Attending local school board meetings Talking to friends and family about it

I was very surprise to learn that my mother was pro-ID. We discussed this heatedly for a couple of days. At one point she stated that speciation had never been observed. I sent her a list of papers that documented speciation events I saw posted here (~80 of them IIRC), as well as links to the relevant sections of TO.

She got mad at me because she said she DIDN’T want any references (she’s researching some medical issues that the family shares and didn’t have the time to actually look through them). BUT she did back down on her support of ID.

Interestingly my interpretation of her stance is that she still believes in intelligent design but not Intelligent Design. Which I think means that she thinks that God has a purpose and goal but that evolution is the mechanism.

actually, now that i think about it, you ARE the best person i can think of to answer that question round these parts.

here is the elca position on ID in schools:

http://www.thelutheran.org/news/

in which they very clearly denounce ID as being scientifically vacuous.

However, I have NEVER heard this position in the popular media.

this is a rather large christian organization.

Would it help to write them and encourage them to get this article more publicity?

For example, I think the vast majority of US citizens would object to: The establishment of a theocratic state Allowing Fundamentalists to control our public education system

the ousting of the previous Dover IDC school board being a perfect case in point.

However, i may be overgeneralizing the reasons for their ouster. for sure, the whole deceitful way the board tried to sneak ID into the schools was at least a partial reason, but it could also be that folks in Dover just wanted to oust these dorks who were calling so much unwanted attention to their little town.

STJ,

I’m certainly no expert on this…

My thoughts are: 1) It’s really not that big of a media issue in most areas 2) It’s really not that big of a religious issue for most religions

Pounding the pulpit, issue major press releases, speaking to the “flock” is a whole other level of effort above that required for producing the article you linked (or statements like that in the Clergy Letter project).

Unlike science which enjoys support from a broad range of religious beliefs, the “enemy” is composed entirely of hardcore Christians.

Whenever I wade into one of these battles on a blog site, I *ALWAYS* include both quotes and links to text like these. I also include words like “religious leaders and scholars representing every *mainstream* religion in the US support teaching evolution in science classes.”

For a particularly dense crowd, I also include words like “if you support teaching ID, it might mean that 1) You don’t understand science’s position on this issue 2) You don’t understand your religion’s position on this issue, or 3) You don’t belong to a mainstream religion.

I think the whole objective here is to get them to actually look into the issue in detail. My belief is that we’ll “win over” a very large percentage of the people that actual *do* some investigation.

Do you have suggestions for what else I should be doing beyond what I already am doing?

Well, I’d ask for a hand over in the Religious War thread, but heck, I got ‘em right where I want ‘em. ;)

For example, I think the vast majority of US citizens would object to: The establishment of a theocratic state Allowing Fundamentalists to control our public education system

Absolutely. This is the most lethal argument against IDers. While most Americans don’t give two hoots in Hades about science, nearly all of them, Christian or no, are adamantly opposed to a theocracy. The ID political program is their Achilles Heel. Which is why I talk whenever I can about it, and who funds it, and why.

thanks jim; i actually was addressing my question to Wes, my fault for not making that clear. However, i hope you don’t mind if i respond to the points you made anyway.

1) It’s really not that big of a media issue in most areas

exactly my point. it certainly should be, based on what happens when the IDCers win a board vote, like in Kansas, or Dover.

2) It’s really not that big of a religious issue for most religions

?? why not?

Jones’ refusal to allow the publisher to defend it is a real flaw in the case.

Too bad for the publisher, and for your credibility, that both the plaintiffs and defendants specifically asked Judge Jones not to allow this to occur. Perhaps you should whine about this “flaw” to the Domino’s Pizza Legal Foundation, legal counsel to the defendants.

While most Americans don’t give two hoots in Hades about science, nearly all of them, Christian or no, are adamantly opposed to a theocracy.

Except for the christian exodus movement. They want south carolina: http://christianexodus.org/

ya know, i was going to respond (on the lutheran site) to the article i linked to on the lutheran site, but good ol St. Nick (Matzke) beat me to it!

that guy sure gets around.

new theory:

Nick Matzke IS really Santa in disguise…

STJ,

My guess is that most (non-fundamentalist) churches don’t really pay much attention to things outside of their own church/congregation/religion. To them ID is a public education issue. Some may even consider it interfering with the separation of church and state.

In short, we know it’s a religious issue and we know that this could become a very major battle in our country but then we’ve been following this as an issue for a very long time.

Most people (including the religious leaders of moderate religions) don’t know ID from a flying fig. Until/unless it comes to their town, it remains “someone elses problem”. I hope a large number of the readers here know what an SEP field does.

Except for the christian exodus movement. They want south carolina

Good riddance, I say.

;)

Most people (including the religious leaders of moderate religions) don’t know ID from a flying fig. Until/unless it comes to their town, it remains “someone elses problem”. I hope a large number of the readers here know what an SEP field does.

well, then there’s another thing you can do, Jim.

point them to PT so they can learn about the issue before folks like the Dover School Board decide the issue for them.

apathy will sell them down the river just as quick as active participation in promoting ID.

It’s how the fundies end up controlling media discussion on the issue; apathy from the majority of xians who don’t see the problem until it’s already too late.

I’m no expert on the subject, but I believe the big reason the vocal minority wants to force ID on schools is money. The majority of people don’t know enough about science to make an intelligent decision about what should be taught in schools. All they hear is one confirms their beliefs and acknowledges Gods existence and the other does not. As long as DI and other major organizations can keep convincing church leaders that %80 of the population is being discriminated against by the other %20, the donations will keep rolling in. If people don’t feel threatened, they don’t feel the need to give as much. I honestly find it hard to believe the Fellows of the DI are stupid enough to fall for their own rubbish, so it has to be for the payoff. The majority of Christians just trust that the people in charge wouldn’t lie to them, and never dig any deeper.

Gary wrote:

… I believe the big reason the vocal minority wants to force ID on schools is money. …As long as DI and other major organizations can keep convincing church leaders that %80 of the population is being discriminated against by the other %20, the donations will keep rolling in. If people don’t feel threatened, they don’t feel the need to give as much. I honestly find it hard to believe the Fellows of the DI are stupid enough to fall for their own rubbish, so it has to be for the payoff. The majority of Christians just trust that the people in charge wouldn’t lie to them, and never dig any deeper.

Did you start “truly, honestly, believing” that after you read about the Abramoff-Reed Indian Gambling Scandal?

They seemed to insult the Christians in emails that they were getting money and votes from.

So… John West is publicly expressing contempt for Judge Jones personally and deliberately biasing his representation of the decisions and past career of Hizzoner to affect the opinion of some segment of the public? I suspect that John West is straying dangerously close to some sort of trouble. Hope he gets it.

Az. .

Thanks, I had not even noticed the ellipses. The omission surely raises some interesting questions

These guys are not conservatives. They are for the most part radical theocrats. The Discovery Institute is founded by, among many others, a number of Christian Reconstructionists. (Google “Howard Ahmanson”) Reconstructionism is essentially the Christian equivalent of Islamism and seeks to overthrow the U.S. constitution and replace it with old testament law (!). I believe that a few Moonies are involved as well. Reverend Moon has also stated numerous times his desire to destroy the United States and replace it with a theocracy under… guess who… Moon has made a number of strikingly anti-American statements over the years. Do a little searching, since it’s important to know about this kook.

True American conservatives tend to favor local and community level government, which is a position that I favor in at least some circumstances. As a friend of mine puts it, “the problems faced by New York City are different from the problems faced by Mobile, Alabama.” American conservatives also tend to be sympathetic to religion of the traditional variety, either due to personal belief or due to a belief that a certain amount of religion is “good for society.” Due to these two sympathies, a lot of American conservatives have been conned into supporting the Discovery Institute.

I urge any who might be reading to do a little background checking on this organization, on the people who fund it, and on the ideologues running it. I think you’ll find that they are not conservatives and are not at all interested in protecting values that could remotely be called American. They are essentially a think tank whose goal is to establish an intellectual foundation for a theocratic dictatorship.

Comment #68969 Posted by steve s on January 9, 2006 08:53 AM

What better way to start off the workweek than with some humor: “If the defendants and the defense had not made these [seven] mistakes, they still might have lost, but the loss probably would not have been as bad.”

Well, considering the obvious bias of the judge, I would say that that is a true statement.

One last post. Just can’t stop picking at the scab.

Well, considering the obvious bias of the judge, I would say that that is a true statement.

Fafarman is the only person posting to this thread to whom the judge appears biased. Thus if the judge is biased, that bias is not obvious.

I think Judge Jones was biased too! I think he was favorably biase towards ID.

That ID is such a poor excuse for … well … just about everything (religion, science, philosphy, etc.) is the reason it lost.

Larry, You are completely unreasonable. You claimed that using the e-mail breached confidentiality, so it is your job to show how this is the case.

It is a lot more difficult to show somebody never ever did something than they did.

Supposing I claimed that apples can grow on orange trees. To prove my case I would only need to provide evidence of 1 orange tree giving fruit to an apple. To disprove it would require proof that every orange tree that ever existed never gave fruit to apples.

You are arguing that apples can grow on orange trees and expecting someone else to do your job (providing the evidence) for you.

Comment #69106 posted by Stephen Elliott on January 9, 2006 01:34 PM

Larry, You are completely unreasonable. You claimed that using the e-mail breached confidentiality, so it is your job to show how this is the case.

No, what I am saying is that the opinion’s use of the email was so strange – considering that attorney-client messages are normally privileged – that some explanation was in order as to how the email got there ( I prefer the term “privilege” to “confidentiality,” because an attorney-client message can still have some privileges even after losing its confidentiality, just as copyrighted material is privileged but not confidential ).

I am also curious as to how the email lost its privileges, considering the following facts –

(1) So far, the only voluntary disclosure that I have been shown was the disclosure to those with a “need to know” — school district officials and teachers. Such disclosure does not constitute a waiver or forfeiture of privilege.

(2) The defendants/defense could have tried to assert privilege even if the email had been inadvertently exposed in the depositions or other parts of the discovery process.

(3) The email was given to the plaintiffs, and I would like to know why. The trial transcripts said that it was the only attorney-client message that the defendants gave to the plaintiffs.

(4) Attorney-client messages may contain warnings of the importance of protecting the confidentiality or the privilege of the message. I even received such a warning in an email containing a free legal opinion from an attorney who I did not know, in regard to a legal matter that did not directly affect me.

I have already done some of you guys’ work for you. In the process of trying to show that the plaintiffs’ legal representatives are not legally eligible for an award of legal expenses because they are non-profit and/or originally pro bono, I discovered that they are legally eligible for such an award (at least an award of the attorney fees, which is by far the largest part of their legal expenses), and I reported this along with proof. In the height of chutzpah, Lenny Flank responded with, “when did you become a lawyer, Larry?” You people never miss an opportunity to flame me.

Scary Larry

============================================= “I’m from Missouri. You’ll have to show me.” — Willard Duncan Vandiver

You people never miss an opportunity to flame me.

.. like fish in a barrel Larry, fish in a barrel.

Thank you for ceasing to drag your comments over to another thread.

Now are there any other legal points you’d like to make here??

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This page contains a single entry by Mike Dunford published on December 30, 2005 9:27 PM.

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