Remarkable Kitzmiller reactions


The purpose of this thread is collecting the many remarkable/amazing/unbelievable quotes and reactions to Judge Jones’s decision yesterday in Kitzmiller v. Dover.

I’ll start with a tidbit indicating that there might even be some trouble brewing at the Discovery Institute, from nothing less than a Discovery Institute board member, Mike Vaska:

Discovery Institute Lashes Out At Intelligent Design Ruling

(December 20, 2005, KOMO Staff & News Services)

“Judge Jones got on his soapbox to offer his own views of science, religion and evolution,” John West, a senior fellow at the Discovery Institute, said in a news release. “He makes it clear that he wants his place in history as the judge who issued a definitive decision about intelligent design. This is an activist judge who has delusions of grandeur.”


The Discovery Institute describes itself as a general policy think tank that embraces “God-given reason and the permanency of human nature” as well as democratic, free-market and other ideals. Its fellows publish articles and conduct research on a variety of topics, ranging from international relations to defense.

In 2003, the institute received a 10-year, $9.5 million grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to explore solutions to regional transportation problems.

The institute’s board of directors includes several prominent business and political leaders, including former Republican U.S. Sen. Slade Gorton, retired Microsoft Corp. Chief Operating Officer Robert Herbold, Madrona Venture Group cofounder Tom Alberg, and former state attorney general candidate Mike Vaska.

Vaska and Gorton joined to help with the institute’s transportation initiative. Gorton declined to comment about the intelligent design issue Tuesday, but Vaska said he was dismayed by the institute’s response to the ruling.

“It’s very troubling to me when people, every time they lose in court, blame it on an ‘activist judge,”’ Vaska said. He added in an e-mail: “I also read the judge’s opinion (most of it at least). He’s not a ‘judicial activist.”’

Vaska, a Lutheran and a moderate Republican, said he supports the Discovery Institute because it supports those who wish to challenge orthodoxy. Board members don’t necessarily agree with every position the institute takes, he said.

(bolds added; hat-tip to Red State Rabble)

I bet Vaska realizes that Judge Jones is a more conservative Lutheran Republican than he is, and perhaps is having second – or third or fourth – thoughts about ID. (Judge Jones is also a Lutheran, and this “activist judge” was appointed by George W. Bush appointed in 2002 (see also

Post your favorites in the comments section.


From the York Daily Record

In brief phone conversations, Bonsell said he wanted more time to review Jones’ decision before commenting, and Buckingham said he would not comment.

But during an interview with The Associated Press from his home in Mt. Airy, N.C., Buckingham said he still felt the board did the right thing.

“I’m still waiting for a judge or anyone to show me anywhere in the Constitution where there’s a separation of church and state,” he said. “We didn’t lose; we were robbed.”

Buckingham also criticized Jones in a story in The New York Times.

He called the decision “ludicrous” and said, “I think Judge Jones ought to be ashamed of himself.”

“If the judge called me a liar, then he’s a liar,” Buckingham said.

From another York Daily Record article

Despite the judge’s ruling, Bonsell maintained his opinion about intelligent design.

“Intelligent design is science, most definitely,” he said after reading the summary of the judge’s ruling. “It should be appealed to the next level.” … Bonsell said he disagreed with the judge that the board provided a disservice to the public and that members lied to cover their tracks.

This is the same Alan Bonsell who delivered a check for purchasing copies of Of Pandas and People from Buckingham to Bonsell’s father, then denied under oath knowing anything about the source of funding for the books.

May Bonsell and Buckingham both be tried for perjury.

“If the judge called me a liar, then he’s a liar,” Buckingham said.

Buckingham would prefer “board members whose mental faculties and judgment appear so deteriorated from drug abuse that they should not be allowed a pedestrian license?”

“Liar” is the polite, legall-correct term.

If Buckingham can’t own up to his own “failings” of memory, he needs serious help.

“If the judge called me a liar, then he’s a liar,” Buckingham said.

Buckingham would prefer “board members whose mental faculties and judgment appear so deteriorated from drug abuse that they should not be allowed a pedestrian license?”

“Liar” is the polite, legally-correct term.

If Buckingham can’t own up to his own “failings” of memory, he needs serious help.

Remarkable Kitzmiller reactions

An aside for pedants: remarkable is a self-fulfilling word. In calling something remarkable, you have indeed remarked upon it.

I’m not sure this belongs in the remarkable or predictable category, but I dound Dembski’s comments in today’s Seattle PI amusing:

Pennsylvania case leaves a weakened, but not defeated intelligent design movement

…”This galvanizes the Christian community,” said William Dembski, a leading proponent of the theory and a senior fellow at the Discovery Institute, a Seattle think-tank that promotes intelligent design research. “People I’m talking to say we’re going to be raising a whole lot more funds now.”

So, to the $200 an hour Dembski and the DI this just means the cash cow formerly known as the intelligent design creationism theory will now make them even richer. I suppose the DI’s bankers will be sending a thank you not eto Judge Jones?

And to say ID is not religious yet this ruling is going to “galvanize the Christian community is amusing.

I think the director of the Bullit Foundation said it best, “The Discovery Institute is the institutional love child of Ayan Rand and Jerry Falwell”

Here’s a link to that Seattle P-I article which quotes Dembski. Wouldn’t it be hilarious if that comment of his showed up the next time IDCers tried to claim in court that IDC is not religion?

Less discussion, more quotes!

The Legal Intelligencer - The Oldest Law Journal in the United States

Federal Judge Rules Intelligent Design Unconstitutional

The Legal Intelligencer By Melissa Nann Burke December 21, 2005


If it is appealed, “I can’t think of any panel on the moderate 3rd Circuit (U.S. Court of Appeals) who would think about overturning this thing,” said Gregory P. Magarian, who teaches constitutional law at Villanova University School of Law.


He told the Associated Press yesterday that he would like to appeal the ruling, but the decision is up to the school board. “What this really looks like is an ad hominem attack on scientists who happen to believe in God,” Thompson said of Jones’ ruling.

[Like Ken Miller, I guess – Nick]


Legal experts said Jones’ constitutional analysis was thorough; sensitive to the context of the case; and largely followed standard, textbook logic.

And the commentary piece that accompanied the news piece:

Now ID Advocates Face Uphill Fight

The Legal Intelligencer By Hank Grezlak December 21, 2005

Like many evolutionary mistakes, intelligent design may be on the road to extinction, put there yesterday by U.S. District Judge John E. Jones III.

When Jones ruled that the Dover Area School District’s intelligent design policy violates the First Amendment and barred the district from mentioning intelligent design in biology classes or “from requiring teachers to denigrate or disparage the scientific theory of evolution,” he wasn’t just applying a pinprick to the trial balloon intelligent design supporters had chosen to float in this case.

He aimed a cannon at it. And fired. Several times. Odds are, other courts will find it hard to argue that he missed his target.


The impact of his ruling can’t be over-stated. Not only did Jones find the policy unconstitutional, but he also ruled that intelligent design is not science.


Not surprisingly, several groups that endorse the teaching of intelligent design, or “ID” as Jones referred to it throughout his opinion, lashed out and accused him, as he anticipated, of being an “activist federal judge.”

Who knew that Republican judges appointed by Republican presidents could be such hacks for the left?

Well, if activism is changing the norm and imposing one’s will from behind the safe confines of the bench onto the helpless masses, then Jones’ decision in Kitzmiller hardly fits the bill, since the opinion follows closely the reasoning of other federal courts on the issue, including the U.S. Supreme Court. If anything, Jones was critical of the changes the Dover Area School Board made for an entire community and potentially a whole generation of school children.


The real impact of the opinion is what Jones lays out with regard to intelligent design’s roots, its proponents, its agenda and the tactics (and there’s really no other way to describe them) being used to advance it. It reads like a cautionary tale, one that we should all be reading.

And while it’s unlikely that the country has seen the last of this issue, one can hope that Jones’ decision might save future judges a little bit of time, if not discourage groups with a religious ax to grind from using residents of small communities as pawns in the name of a dishonest, fruitless agenda.

I’ve said it before and I will say it again: Lying Creationist Weasels.

This galvanizes the Christian community,” said William Dembski,

But ID isn’t Christian religion. No sirree Bob. And that liberal judge was just lying when he said it was.

(sigh) These morons STILL don’t even understand why they lost, do they …


Paul Nelson deserves some sort of creativity award for this one:

The oucome was as predictable as the sun rising, with the only question of interest being the possible breadth of the ruling. On that score, Judge John Jones III went for the Full Overton (see below), with an added half-rotation before entry.

I think he’s right about this. Of course the rest of the post is a defiant screed, reminding me of his zombies-are-like-creationists post from October 6, the day after Barbara Forrest’s devastating testimony about the creationist origins of ID was heard in court, despite defense attempts to shut her up.

Check out some of the junk on Fox:,2933[…]9279,00.html

Reality is water off the Idiot Duck’s back.

“It should be appealed to the next level.”

Oh, please do! Please do!

Nelson ends up saying that if science found evidence outside naturalism, then Judge Jones’ statement that “This rigorous attachment to ‘natural’ explanations is an essential attribute to science by definition and by convention.” could be wrong. Duh. What else is supposed to happen, in the face of evidence?

The whole of his concluding paragraph bears reading: “By definition and by convention. Let the words settle into your field of conscious attention. Did the convention of naturalism come first, as an historically contingent shift in practice…and then the definition followed? So science wasn’t always defined as applied naturalism? If so, could practice shift again, in the light of new evidence, bringing a new convention, and hence a new definition? Then how can science be “rigorously attached” to any definition, given its history?”

This ignores the way that science developed from the early days when astrology was a brother to astronomy and alchemy to chemistry. Science comes from scire, to know: it became thus when knowledge grew apart from belief. Of course, it could all be wrong. Rigorous attachment is not an uncleavable bond. Science proves nothing. But its development into a system of effective thought happened anyway, precisely because it used evidence, repeatability and logic to determine probable explanations better than any other way.

What if we try plugging in ‘empiricism’ instead of ‘naturalism’ into Nelson’s final paragraph? Science treats the two words as synonyms: it’s up to others to show why this isn’t so - not that it might not be so. Nobody’s denying that ID _might_ be true – as Judge Jones said, that’s outside the remit of the court – but it lacks any empirical impetus.

Nothing Paul Nelson wrote is in any way wrong. In the absence of evidence, though, it is at best wishful thinking. As he said himself, “[M]aybe courtrooms are less-than-optimal settings for philosophical, scientific, and theological debates” - maybe indeed they are tuned to deal with the facts and the matters as best known at the time of asking. At this time, given no empirical, testable evidence to the contrary that anyone can find, science is indeed rigorously attached to natural explanations by definition and convention - and rightly so.

Even Nelson can’t deny that.


I was thumbing through some saved Web pages, and came across a review written by Bill Dembski of a piece by Eugenie Scott and Glenn Branch, back in July 2002. Here’s the end of Dembski’s rebuttal:

Scott and Branch add, “… the sectarian orientation of ID renders it unsuitable for constitutional reasons.”

Comment: They are herewith throwing down the gauntlet. I’ll wager a bottle of single-malt scotch, should it ever go to trial whether ID may legitimately be taught in public school science curricula, that ID will pass all constitutional hurdles. To see why, check out the fine Utah Law Review article by David DeWolf et al. at

Scott and Branch conclude: “School board members should be aware that introducing ID into the curriculum is likely to lead to strong opposition–up to and including lawsuits–from those, including parents, teachers, scientists, and clergy, who do not want science education to be compromised.”

Comment: In other words, if you don’t want to face social and legal intimidation from the ACLU, NCSE, and other groups and individuals in that small ten percent of the population that are hostile to ID (Gallup poll after Gallup poll confirms that about 90 percent of the U.S. population are behind some form of intelligent design), stay clear of intelligent design. All it will take is a few school boards and individuals to stand up against this pressure, and in short order we’ll see a stock market-style collapse of the Darwinian stranglehold over public education.

Eugenie and Glenn might want to see if they can collect on that wager. As for the rest of us, we can make sure that Dembski isn’t allowed to conveniently “forget” this prediction.

(e) (s),

here’s a couple I like from FoxNews…

“If one is to be taught, then so should the other.” — Jim

OK, wutever genious. Have you ever even taken a science class? It’s not a forum for debates.

“Seems to me like this ruling violates freedom of speech. Why can’t students hear both sides of the issue?” — Steve

Fine, then I can become a teacher and tell your child that AIDS is a good disease and that cocaine makes people smarter? Free speech, right?

My post should have been directed to Red Mann, not the mythical (e) (s) ;)

Thanks Chris. (e)(s) = extra special. And I am a legend (myth?) in my own mind.

Miller testified that Bonsell was specifically concerned that the teachers conveyed information to students in opposition to what parents presented at home leaving students with the impression that “somebody is lying.”

Gee, I wonder who?

As we will discuss in more detail below, the inescapable truth is that both Bonsell and Buckingham lied at their January 3, 2005 depositions about their knowledge of the source of the donation for Pandas, which likely contributed to Plaintiffs’ election not to seek a temporary restraining order at that time based upon a conflicting and incomplete factual record. This mendacity was a clear and deliberate attempt to hide the source of the donations by the Board President and the Chair of the Curriculum Committee to further ensure that Dover students received a creationist alternative to Darwin’s theory of evolution.

Pat Robertson’s comments on the Jones decision have been discovered. Here is a transcription originally posted here:

700 Club Wrote:

Lee: Yeah, Pat, it certainly doesn’t seem that this is the end of the line on this debate.

Pat: Well, how could it be the end of the line when the science that is being used is so flawed? Evolution is a flawed theory, and it is only a theory. But we have begun in the scientific community to worship it as a doctrine. No scientist was there 15 billion years ago. So how can they say with great certainty that this is what happened? And there are many distinguished scientists who say that the complexity of the universe is such that there is no other explanation but that there was an intelligent design putting it together.

You know, the Declaration of Independence says that men are endowed by their Creator with certain alienable (sic) rights. That is one of the foundations of our American democracy, is that human beings were made by a Creator. They didn’t come out of the slime. Now, the ACLU feels that they are descendant from slime. And they don’t like the thought that anybody else would teach a child that that child is a creature of God. So that makes that child superior to the ACLU member. So, they’re going to fight as hard as they can, wherever they can, to keep any child from learning that he has been made by a Creator.

But the truth is he is made by a Creator, there is a Creator, the Creator did create the universe, and there are too many complexities in this universe to be decided by some 18th century botanist who wandered around the Galapagos Islands and found some turtles and other plants and said, “On the basis of this, I’m going to come up with this thought of the descent of man and evolution.” It has become a doctrine of faith. Why? Because most of the scientists are atheists and they do not want to believe in God or a Creator.

But I think sooner or later there’s got to be an assault – I’m talking right now to people at the American Center for Law and Justice about challenging – finding a case where evolution is put in as the only theory of the origin of life and challenging it, because this is a establishment of religion much – clearly in violation of the first amendment of the United States Constitution. But, this is an appalling ruling by a man who is showing unbelievable arrogance. He said, “I’m better positioned than anybody in the world to decide this case. This is going to be the case that I hope I put to rest all of these nonsensical claims that are being made all over the country.” One federal district court judge. Yes, your Honor. Lee?

Well, at least he didn’t call down divine retribution on Judge Jones. (I have a feeling that the Almighty might have given Jones a bit of a nudge after Pat Robertson’s statement about Dover, though.)

PS: 18th century? Whatever, man.

I heard this quote on NPR’s Wednesday Morning Edition. From Richard Thompson of TMLC.

Richard Thompson said:

A thousand court opinions cannot make a valid scientific theory invalid, or an invalid scientific theory valid;

It’s painfully obvious why he doesn’t commit to saying what DOES constitute validation or invalidation of a Scientific theory, and has been said before on PT, neither can public opinion polls, popular votes, school board decisions, or proclamations from elected appointed presidents. Only rigorous testing in the lab and field, and tough scrutiny from peer review can do that. So, Mr Thompson, when will ID cough up some testing and review for itself? For completeness here is the rest of the quote:

Richard Thompson further said:

and so this case is gonna continue on and certainly public school system students should be made aware of the controversy that surrounds Darwin’s theory of evolution.

Maybe in currents events or a social studies class but not in a science class. Science class if for learning science, not debating the merits of quack anti-science. Here is the NPR link:[…]ryId=5064018 Sincerely, Paul

Another legal analysis, this time from CBS News:

Monkey See, Monkey Do by Andrew Cohen

It is never a good sign when the judge in your case rules that your testimony was “marked by selective memories and outright lies under oath,” calls your arguments a “sham,” or says that he is writing a particularly comprehensive ruling “in the hope that it may prevent the obvious waste of judicial and other resources which would be occasioned by a subsequent trial involving the precise question” he faced as a result of your position in your case.

These are things a federal trial judge writes while he is ruling against you in virtually every conceivable way – while mocking your evidence. These are things that even a Bush appointee to the bench writes in a case about religion when he believes you have tried to pull a fast one on the Constitution.

And these are just a few of the pointed things that U.S. District Judge John E. Jones III included in his pointed, thorough 139-page order that stopped cold an attempt by supporters of the notion of Intelligent Design to try to wedge it into the bloodstream of a small public school system.

let’s see…

I don’t think Robertson left out any creationist buzzwords in his rant, did he?

-Evolution is a flawed theory (check) -it is only a theory (check) -scientific community to worship it as a doctrine (science is religion, check) -many distinguished scientists who say that the complexity of the universe (irreducible complexity, check) - foundations of our American democracy, is that human beings were made by a Creator(claiming our nation is based on relgious zealotry, check) -ACLU feels that they are descendant from slime (oppenents are slime, check) -It (ET) has become a doctrine of faith (check) -because this is a establishment of religion (check)

I keep wondering if during one of these rants, he’ll pop a blood vessel and have a stroke.

It never ceases to amaze me how many folks send money to this cretin.

From the American Family Association:[…]5-4108.shtml

“Pennsylvania students have been hamstrung by a federal judge, and the effort by the outgoing Dover Area school board to expand the students’ knowledge has been destroyed,” Gramley added. “The ACLU and other proponents of Darwin’s theory of evolution have a stranglehold on our nation’s public school system and will make every effort to deny students even a hint that there is not universal acceptance of the theory.

“For the academic freedom of not just students in Pennsylvania, but those around the nation, this assault on our students’ intelligence and ability to reason must stop. A theory is a theory, nothing more, and it’s time our students heard it,” Gramley said.


Wow, check this out:

Advocates of ‘Intelligent Design’ Vow to Continue Despite Ruling, by Michael Powell. Washington Post, Thursday, December 22, 2005; Page A03.

Some politically influential backers of intelligent design warned that U.S. District Judge John E. Jones III, who was appointed by President Bush, so overreached that his ruling will outrage and inflame millions of conservative and religiously observant Americans.

“This decision is a poster child for a half-century secularist reign of terror that’s coming to a rapid end with Justice Roberts and soon-to-be Justice Alito,” said Richard Land, who is president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission and is a political ally of White House adviser Karl Rove. “This was an extremely injudicious judge who went way, way beyond his boundaries – if he had any eyes on advancing up the judicial ladder, he just sawed off the bottom rung.”

If you can’t win with a politically friendly judge – threaten the judge! Good plan.

Some high praise for Judge Jones from

“This guy’s cold enough to be a t.o. regular.”

Nick’s exerpt is interesting in an alarming sort of way - it shows why Alito’s appointment should be fought, assuming that his supporters are accurate in their views. Maybe some other good will come out of this decision …

USA Today is running an opinion piece by John G. West of the Discovery Institute. Idea not based on religion

… Contrary to Judge John Jones’ assertions, intelligent design is not a religious-based idea, but instead an evidence-based scientific theory…

Except for the bit about it lacking any evidence.

Research on intelligent design will continue to go forward

Huh? It was going forward before this?

Just came across the AP wires - Sen. Santorum is cutting ties with the DI!

Senator cuts ties to law center after ‘intelligent design’ defeat

To ‘balance’ West’s rant, USA Today is also running this unsigned editorial: Ruling on ‘intelligent design’ is one for the history books

… Here’s a suggested lesson plan for social studies teachers: Make Judge Jones’ decision required reading. Discuss.

Sorry, make that the TMLC, not the DI.

FYI, Tony Snow is promising to discuss ‘definitive proof’ of ID shortly (10:20 am EST now) on his radio show. You can stream from He does take calls, and if I wasn’t at work, I’d probably ask him how I could falsify this new discovery.

A U. of Chicago law professor thinks Jone’s Dover decision sucks! Check it out.[…]r_intel.html

What’s up? You deleted my post?

More commentary from a law professor (you know, one of those people that really knows something about properly applying the law) on Jone’s decision.[…]iscoMainPage

From the dignified editor of First Things, Richard John Neuhaus:

While the ACLU and Americans United for a Naked Public Square were holding a press conference that was described as a “victory party,” others were more carefully reading the court decision in the Dover, Pennsylvania, case about Intelligent Design.

According to Bruce Chapman, president of the Discovery [sic] Institute, in Human Events:

He must have missed the bit where Jones said this:

To be sure, Darwin’s theory of evolution is imperfect. However, the fact that a scientific theory cannot yet render an explanation on every point should not be used as a pretext to thrust an untestable alternative hypothesis grounded in religion into the science classroom or to misrepresent well-established scientific propositions. (pp. 136-137)

Neuhaus’ quote “…Americans United for a Naked Public Square” concerned me. Such thoughts! Such fantasies! Clearly, if he continues down that path of sin and degradation - hand in hoof with he who goes by many names - he will find himself dancing among the flames of Hell, dining forever on the putrid flesh of like minded sinners for all eternity! Brothers and sisters, let us all take a break from our ‘victory party’ and pray for his besotted soul. Amen.

The Detroit News gives a brief history of the Thomas More Law Center’s head attorney, Richard Thompson, in “Intelligent design ruling doesn’t deter a fierce crusader”:

[Richard] Thompson’s expensive losing battles with Fieger and assisted suicide advocate Jack Kevorkian ended his Oakland County political career but failed to sate his drive to do ideological battle.

This week, the former prosecutor’s latest crusade wound up in another spectacular defeat – a scorching decision by a church-going, Bush-appointed federal judge who ruled against the Dover, Pa., school board that had sought to teach “intelligent design” as an alternative to evolutionary theory.

It appears that they have some interesting shrubberies in Australia:

“It would be a leap of faith to think the Australian constitution would stand in the way of a curriculum that included such things as intelligent design,” Dr Williams said.

“The wall between state and church in Australia is more of a bush or a low hedge. “The Commonwealth can fund religious schools, and does, and, by inference, allows religious teachings in all schools, private or public.”

This post says if they really could just get Darwin on trial, then this evolution stuff would fall apart:

The Darwin Fraud Triumphs Again

One of the five letters written to the New York Times:

To the Editor:

The recent judicial ruling on intelligent design is rife with false assertions and mischaracterizations of the theory of intelligent design.

It mischaracterizes intelligent design as a supernatural explanation, even though it isn’t and even though expert scientists testified that this isn’t the case.

It asserts the factually false claim that intelligent design proponents haven’t published peer-reviewed papers. A number of peer-reviewed papers and books are listed on the Discovery Institute’s Web site.

A judge’s ruling doesn’t change the fact that there is digital code in DNA and that there are miniature machines in cells. Intelligent design research will go on, and the scientific evidence will win out in the end.

Robert L. Crowther II Seattle, Dec. 22, 2005

The writer is director of communications at the Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture.

Tell it to the judge…

Tell it to the judge…

They already did.

The judge thought they were full of crap. (shrug)

This post says if they really could just get Darwin on trial, then this evolution stuff would fall apart:

? I don’t think he’d make much of a witness, as he’s been dead since 1882.

To RupertG Comment 63991

I note that you note this of Nelson’s piece:

Nothing Paul Nelson wrote is in any way wrong.

The most incredible thing about Nelson’s work is that I believe it’s the first time in my life that I’ve ever read a piece by an ID proponent of more than a few sentences that did not contain a demonstrably false statement. In fact, I’m bookmarking it for that very reason. The fact that Nelson is empty of content is unremarkable.

The answer to the final, silly challenge by Nelson is simple: If scientific naturalism someday produces natural evidence for supernatural phemonena, then the supernatural phenomenon will be absorbed and integrated into our understanding of nature by virtue of whatever evidence will have been produced.

Great God A’mighty, I explain this five or six times a year when one of my freshman Rhetoric students tries to inject supernatural evidence into an essay or class discussion. How can a Ph. D. be so silly?

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Nick Matzke published on December 21, 2005 3:33 PM.

So, is it over? was the previous entry in this blog.

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