Luskin Once Again Gets The Law Wrong

| 48 Comments

The Discovery Institute’s Casey Luskin contends in this post that librarians in public schools are “censoring” Intelligent Design by refusing to put copies of Michael Behe and Philip Johnson books on their shelves. Of course, Luskin cites the famous Supreme Court decision Board of Education v. Pico, 457 U.S. 853 (1982), claiming that it holds that the First Amendment is violated when school districts refuse to stock certain books on their library shelves.

Of course, Pico did no such thing. First of all, Pico was a plurality decision, meaning that it did not garner a majority of the Supreme Court. There has never actually been a binding Supreme Court decision explaining the First Amendment’s limitations on government schools’ discretion with regard to the books in their libraries. Second, Pico did not involve a school district’s refusal to stock certain books. It involved a school that was removing books that were already stocked in the library. The plurality held that this was an important distinction: “nothing in our decision today affects in any way the discretion of a local school board to choose books to add to the libraries of their schools,” they wrote. “Because we are concerned in this case with the suppression of ideas, our holding today affects only the discretion to remove books.” Id. at 871-72.

In a concurring opinion, Justice Blackmun also emphasized that the rule against removing books is

a narrow principle. School officials must be able to choose one book over another, without outside interference, when the first book is deemed more relevant to the curriculum, or better written, or when one of a host of other politically neutral reasons is present. These decisions obviously will not implicate First Amendment values. And even absent space or financial limitations, First Amendment principles would allow a school board to refuse to make a book available to students because it contains offensive language…or because it is psychologically or intellectually inappropriate for the age group, or even, perhaps, because the ideas it advances are “manifestly inimical to the public welfare.…” And, of course, school officials may choose one book over another because they believe that one subject is more important, or is more deserving of emphasis.

Id. at 880 (Blackmun, J., dissenting). Of course, the dissenting justices found no First Amendment violation for the removal of books from a school library, because they did not believe that the Amendment guarantees “a ‘right’ to have the government provide continuing access to certain books.” Id. at 889 (Burger, C.J., Powell, Rehnquist, O’Connor, JJ., dissenting).

Luskin’s notion that Pico prohibits libraries from rejecting donated books that librarians consider bad scholarship is, unsurprisingly, not warranted by the text of that decision, and in fact, provably false. Moreover, if Luskin’s understanding were the law, it would be unworkable. Schools are obviously not required to stock whatever trash people choose to donate to them. If a prankster donates a copy of Penthouse Letters, the school obviously could not be required to shelve it. And schools have much broader discretion than that—to choose the best possible science, the best possible educational materials, and even, as both the plurality and the dissenters in Pico said, to choose books based on moral or even aesthetic grounds, so as to tailor the educational experience in the way the school board thinks best. Pico simply does not stand for the idea that a librarian rejecting certain donated books is somehow “censorship.” On the contrary, it stands for the idea that “local school boards have a substantial legitimate role to play in the determination of school library content,” id. at 869, so long as they do not use their discretion “in a narrowly partisan or political manner.” Id. at 870.

Stephen A. Newman, whose law review article* Luskin uses as a springboard for his inept discussion of Pico, makes another important point that Luskin, of course, leaves out. Newman contends that librarians—who are obviously not lawyers—are often intimidated by blustery and incompetent ID supporters like Luskin, who insist that somehow rejecting a bad work of pseudoscience is unconstitutional. Newman points out this article by two librarians in Minnesota who rejected such book donations. As Sullivan explains,

The donor complained to the School Board, which appointed a committee to investigate the matter. The committee recommended that one book be accepted by the library. It deadlocked on the other book. The Board of Education then heard from a variety of people, including scientists, parents, teachers, and ministers, who explained the difference between censorship and legitimate selection processes. Ultimately, after a three month battle, the Board supported the librarians and voted to reject both books. The librarians wrote about their experience in order to warn others in the field about the conflicts they might face from this sort of book donation tactic by anti-evolutionists. One wonders how often local librarians elsewhere yield to such pressure and quietly add these volumes to their school collections.

Stephen A. Newman, Evolution And The Holy Ghost of Scopes: Can Science Lose The Next Round? 8 Rutgers J. L. & Religion 11, 22 (2007) (emphasis added).

With people like Luskin around misreading Supreme Court decisions, one does indeed wonder.

*-Unlike Luskin, I will actually provide a link so you can read the article yourself.…

48 Comments

Brilliant choice of image there, Timothy: it works on so many levels!

Well, okay, two levels at least.

If only Lyin’ Luskin had taken the advice on that poster…

Luskin seems not only to not know that much about biology, but not that much about the law either.

He really is laughable.

What makes it all the more amazing that Luskin got this so wrong is that Pico came up during Kitzmiller in a way that should have set him right.

Before the trial in Kitzmiller, a group of parents tried to intervene on the side of the old ID/creationist school board, arguing that if plaintiffs won, their children would be denied a “right to receive information” supposedly protected by the First Amendment (in this case, the right to receive information about ID).

Judge Jones denied their petition, correctly citing Pico for the point that the Supreme Court has not recognized any such positive right to receive specific information in or from the schools (only 3 of the 9 Justices argued for recognition of any affirmative right to receive information).

Luskin must have read this decision when Jones delivered it (it’s in the NCSE archive). Luskin must have already decided that whatever Judge Jones explains to be the law, the real law must be the opposite of that.

Luskin is only doing what lawyers do - building a case in support of the desired outcome, without any compelling need to consult reality if it doesn’t contribute what he needs. Let me pick the jury, and Luskin will win every time.

Years ago when I worked in a library, it was amazing the number and amount of donations we received and this was at a small liberal arts college. A buddy who was a bookjobber explained it to me one day as when someone dies or someone moves, usually the person over the years has accumulated a whole lot of books, most of them junk. The first thing done is to pick over the collection for any favorites to keep. Then, get a book appraiser or jobber to come in and appraise the remainder. He said he often ended up buying collections by the yard because so much of what in print is worthless dreck. The final stop is your alma mater’s library where you donate what you don’t want, what your family doesn’t want or neighbors or friends don’t want, and what you can’t sell either to a book dealer or at a garage sale, to the library. Then you request a receipt from the library acknowledging that you have just donated thousands of dollars worth of valuable books to their collection. We used to fill up dumpsters with the proceeds of such donations and the librarian usually valued the books at a nominal sum of 10 cents. Libraries could not be built fast enough if they were required to place every donation on the shelf.

Having watched Casey these last few years, I suspect he joined the Discovery Institute after being fired from Lionel Hutz Associates for incompetence.

Luskin can’t even spell “res ipsa loquitur.”

Having watched Casey these last few years, I suspect he joined the Discovery Institute after being fired from Lionel Hutz Associates for incompetence.

LOL.

Great stuff. Luskin is the worst kind of sophist - the inept kind.

No deterred by his batting average, Luskin is moving on to yet another flawed argument about ID and junk DNA.

They have Luskin, we have Nick Matzke…

Life ain’t fair… Of course even with Nick leaving for a PhD, we can still rest assured that in his absence Luskin will fail to outperform.

Luskin is only doing what lawyers do

Even if that group slander were true, it would be irrelevant here, since the point is not about whether what Luskin did is or isn’t typical of lawyers, but whether his legal argument is correct.

As a librarian (albeit a public rather than a school librarian), I have to applaud this post.

While we strive to make our collections as inclusive as possible, and not allow personal feelings on a subject to influence collection development, we are under no obligation to add any donated materials to the collection. We obviously consider all materials, but that doesn’t mean we do or we should give in to pressure from outside groups.

Ah yes, the old, donate a book or 3, cry censorship when the librarian declines it, and then try to fire the librarian.

Saw that one a long time ago. A group of wingnuts that included a county commissioner tried that one in a school district near where I lived.

The middle aged lady librarian declined the “gift”. Then uproar ensued and they actually tried to and almost succeeded in getting her fired.

I was so shocked, I actually sent her defense fund a check out of my nonexistent-at-the-time student budget.

She went to court and it ended happily. The judge actually went ballistic and awarded her her job back, all expenses paid including her court costs, and excoriated the county. She sent my check back with a nice note.

Picking on kindly aging lady librarians is not a good PR strategy. The wingnut county commissioner lost the next election.

So if one donates Venus in Furs by Count Leopold von Sacher-Masoch, Justine by de Sade, Tropic of Cancer by Henry Miller, Story of the Eye by Georges Bataille, etc., etc. to an elementary school and sees them refused by the librarians, one can sue them and the school district?

Does Luskin ever bother to let a single synapse fire in his frontal lobes?

Nullifidian Wrote:

Does Luskin ever bother to let a single synapse fire in his frontal lobes?

ID creationists doesn’t need to - their brains are designed with preloaded information and no natural mechanisms. NIGO - Nothing In, Garbage Out.

Even if that group slander were true, it would be irrelevant here

As usual, your lust to attack has short-circuited your thinking. But try again. Luskin is presenting a brief for an advocacy position, which is what lawyers are PAID TO DO. It’s not slandering lawyers, to recognize what they do for a living, which isn’t science but nonetheless isn’t necessarily horrible.

Luskin’s goal isn’t scientific accuracy, it is to persuade (or provide ammunition for) a target audience. He does this for a living, and he’s good at it. We might consider Luskin to be a sort of litmus test of how well scientists and those of like mind are educating Luskin’s public. I personally don’t think Luskin has misunderstood anything. Luskin gets the law wrong because getting it right would undermine his political goals. I’m sure you understand this completely. Luskin isn’t dumb, he is evil.

I applaud all efforts to get corrections to Luskin’s distortions as much into the public eye as possible. I just reject implications that he’s stupid or ignorant. He is neither.

Flint - Thank you. Luskin = Weasel works for me.

Comment #183298 posted by Tony Whitson said,

What makes it all the more amazing that Luskin got this so wrong is that Pico came up during Kitzmiller in a way that should have set him right.

Before the trial in Kitzmiller, a group of parents tried to intervene on the side of the old ID/creationist school board, arguing that if plaintiffs won, their children would be denied a “right to receive information” supposedly protected by the First Amendment (in this case, the right to receive information about ID).

Judge Jones denied their petition, correctly citing Pico for the point that the Supreme Court has not recognized any such positive right to receive specific information in or from the schools (only 3 of the 9 Justices argued for recognition of any affirmative right to receive information).

Your statement “Judge Jones denied their petition, correctly citing Pico for the point that the Supreme Court has not recognized any such positive right to receive specific information in or from the schools” completely mischaracterizes his citation of Pico.

The Kitzmiller plaintiffs did not even attempt to have the book “Of Pandas and People” banned from the school library. In fact, in arguing against the Rutherford Institute’s application to intervene, the Kitzmiller plaintiffs actually bent over backwards by arguing against banning the book from the school library:

Finally, Applicants can allege a colorable constitutional claim only by mischaracterizing plaintiffs’ complaint. Applicants claim that plaintiffs “seek to remove supplemental textbooks from the school library.” See Proposed Answer in Intervention ¶ 48. This misreads the complaint, which seeks only to remove the book Of Pandas and People from the High School’s ninth grade biology class. See Compl. at 22-23. (Prayer for Relief). The mischaracterization is not surprising because the Third Circuit distinguishes removing books from a library and removing books from a classroom: “‘special characteristics of the school library make that environment especially appropriate for the recognition of the First Amendment rights of students,’ for the library, unlike the school classroom, is a place for voluntary inquiry and study.” See Kreimer v. Bureau of Police for Town of Morristown, 958 F.2d 1242, 1254 (3d Cir. 1992) (emphasis added). Therefore, under Third Circuit law Applicants would have a colorable claim only if plaintiffs sought to remove books from the library. Since Plaintiffs have not sought to remove any books from the library, Applicants are forced to mischaracterize the complaint.

(Plaintiffs’ Response to Rutherford Institute Motion to Intervene, pp. 10-11. Filed February 4, 2005)

– from http://www.pandasthumb.org/archives[…]th.html#more

– and here is Jones’ real citation of Pico:

The basic holding in Pico [a case on school libraries] is that a school board does not have absolute discretion to remove books from a school library. Furthermore, the Supreme Court emphasized the limited scope of the case: “the only action challenged in this case is the removal from school libraries of books originally placed there by the school authorities, or without objection from them.” Id. at 862. Accordingly, as Plaintiffs submit, this case would only be relevant if Plaintiffs were seeking to remove books from Dover Area School District’s public school libraries, which they have not asserted. (emphasis added)

(Judge’s Memorandum and Order on Rutherford Institute Motion to Intervene, filed March 10, 2005, pp. 9-10)

– this is also from http://www.pandasthumb.org/archives[…]th.html#more

Timothy Sandefur said in the opening post,

Pico was a plurality decision, meaning that it did not garner a majority of the Supreme Court. There has never actually been a binding Supreme Court decision explaining the First Amendment’s limitations on government schools’ discretion with regard to the books in their libraries.

Well, the decision of the three-justice plurality was supported by one justice who concurred in part of the plurality opinion and who concurred in the judgment and by another justice who concurred in the judgment, so that makes a majority of five justices supporting the judgment even though there was no majority opinion:

BRENNAN, J., announced the judgment of the Court and delivered an opinion, in which MARSHALL and STEVENS, JJ., joined and in all but Part II-A(1) of which BLACKMUN, J., joined. BLACKMUN, J., filed an opinion concurring in part and concurring in the judgment, post, p. 875. WHITE, J., filed an opinion concurring in the judgment, post, p. 883.

If a prankster donates a copy of Penthouse Letters, the school obviously could not be required to shelve it.

That is a straw man example – Penthouse Letters is obviously not a serious scholarly work.

Pico did not involve a school district’s refusal to stock certain books. It involved a school that was removing books that were already stocked in the library. The plurality held that this was an important distinction: “nothing in our decision today affects in any way the discretion of a local school board to choose books to add to the libraries of their schools,” they wrote. “Because we are concerned in this case with the suppression of ideas, our holding today affects only the discretion to remove books.”

You just said that it is only a plurality opinion and now you are citing it like it is binding authority. Anyway, IMO that is a nitpicking and hairsplitting distinction – why should books that are already in the school library have more protection than books that are not? Also, the issue in the case of “Darwin’s Black Box” and “Darwin on Trial” was books donated to a school library, not books chosen by a school library, a school, or a school board.

Pico simply does not stand for the idea that a librarian rejecting certain donated books is somehow “censorship.” On the contrary, it stands for the idea that “local school boards have a substantial legitimate role to play in the determination of school library content,” id. at 869, so long as they do not use their discretion “in a narrowly partisan or political manner.” Id. at 870. (my emphasis)

Suppressing criticism of a controversial idea such as Darwinism is using their discretion “in a narrowly partisan or political manner.”

Stephen A. Newman, whose law review article Luskin uses as a springboard for his inept discussion of Pico, makes another important point that Luskin, of course, leaves out. Newman contends that librarians — who are obviously not lawyers — are often intimidated by blustery and incompetent ID supporters like Luskin, who insist that somehow rejecting a bad work of pseudoscience is unconstitutional.

There is no constitutional separation of pseudoscience and state.

That is a straw man example — Penthouse Letters is obviously not a serious scholarly work.

Neither is any of the IDer/creationist drivel, which is why they publish it in popular books rather than the peer-reviewed literature.

why should books that are already in the school library have more protection than books that are not?

For the practical reasons that have already been stated. A book in the library has already been approved by the library, or whatever the authority is. Once that’s done, the rule protects said books from those who might wish to censor them for other than academic reasons. But applying this to any book that might be donated puts the library in the position of having to answer to outsiders as to its content, which is exactly what these laws/rules are designed to prevent.

Suppressing criticism of a controversial idea such as Darwinism is using their discretion “in a narrowly partisan or political manner.”

You have it completely backwards. The criticism and so-called controversy over evolution is entirely political and religious. The ID movement is, by its very nature, “narrowly partisan or political”. Preventing this sort of truthiness from polluting the educational process is part of the educational system’s purpose, and as such, the action was entirely appropriate.

“Anonymous” is almost certainly Larry Foofooman…

There is no constitutional separation of pseudoscience and state.

Larry’s used this exact phrase in his latest post at UD…

From Comment #183516 posted by Science Avenger –

That is a straw man example — Penthouse Letters is obviously not a serious scholarly work.

Neither is any of the IDer/creationist drivel, which is why they publish it in popular books rather than the peer-reviewed literature.

These popular-market pro-ID books are peer-reviewed literature — they get lots of peer review.

why should books that are already in the school library have more protection than books that are not?

For the practical reasons that have already been stated. A book in the library has already been approved by the library, or whatever the authority is.

The Pico plurality opinion says that it covers books that have been placed in the school libraries “without objection” from the school authorities, i.e, without their approval:

”… the only action challenged in this case is the removal from school libraries of books originally placed there by the school authorities, or without objection from them” (page 862, emphasis added).

Anyway, you have not answered my question about why books that are already in the library should have more protection from censorship than books that are not. The Supreme Court did not answer that question, either.

Suppressing criticism of a controversial idea such as Darwinism is using their discretion “in a narrowly partisan or political manner.”

You have it completely backwards. The criticism and so-called controversy over evolution is entirely political and religious. The ID movement is, by its very nature, “narrowly partisan or political”. Preventing this sort of truthiness from polluting the educational process is part of the educational system’s purpose, and as such, the action was entirely appropriate.

The school authorities who were defeated in the Pico case felt the same way about the books that they censored.

There is no constitutional separation of pseudoscience and state.

Larry’s used this exact phrase in his latest post at UD…

Small world, isn’t it? Maybe he picked up the phrase from me! LOL. No, actually, I picked it up from him. It is one of his favorite expressions.

These popular-market pro-ID books are peer-reviewed literature

Classic Larry Falalalalalaman …

ahh, where’s Kevin Vicklund when you need him?

The Pico plurality opinion says that it covers books that have been placed in the school libraries “without objection” from the school authorities, i.e, without their approval

Without objection = without approval? Oh brother.

OK, I’m convinced, and I don’t feel right debating people with mental illnesses. Really.

That is a straw man example — Penthouse Letters is obviously not a serious scholarly work.

And by most sensible standards, neither are ID books.

That is a straw man example — Penthouse Letters is obviously not a serious scholarly work.

> Neither is any of the IDer/creationist drivel, which is why they publish it in popular books rather than the peer-reviewed literature.

>> These popular-market pro-ID books are peer-reviewed literature — they get lots of peer review.

Yeah, just like ‘Pandas and People’.

Like in the Dover trial where acknowledged experts in the relevant fields took Pandas’ apart page by page showing just how completely vacuous and entirely devoid of factual content it really was. (under oath, mind you)

Or, is this not the group of “peers” or the type of “review” of which you were thinking?

Anonymous -

These popular-market pro-ID books are peer-reviewed literature — they get lots of peer review.

If this statement is honest, then you don’t know what “peer review” means. It does not mean that a work has been published, and then “reviewed” after the fact, as is the case with ID books (reviewed negatively, I might add). Logic should have told you that ALL works could be said to be “peer reviewed” in this sense, as long as someone comments on them post hoc.

Peer review implies that the work is submitted to colleagues for review before publication, is critiqued, is modified by the original author to respond to critiques, and is ultimately judged worthy or unworthy of being published. Behe’s ID works would never have been published if they had been peer reviewed.

Of course, peer review is neither necessary, sufficient, nor even always relevant for a work’s inclusion in a library. It doesn’t guarantee quality by any means. It is necessary in some other circumstances. But if you’re going to flap your gums about it, you might as well know what it means.

Suppressing criticism of a controversial idea such as Darwinism is using their discretion “in a narrowly partisan or political manner.”

A holocaust revisionist would declare major elements of standard twentieth century history “controversial”; a flat earth nut would declare a standard globe to be “controversial” (I hope you’re neither of these), but there is no real controversy in these cases.

Likewise, your declaration that “Darwinism”, that is, biological evolution, is “controversial”, is an agenda-driven error.

In fact, it would be the inclusion of ID books in any library intended for readers too young to see through them which would constitute “narrowly partisan or political behavior”.

Science Avenger said,

The Pico plurality opinion says that it covers books that have been placed in the school libraries “without objection” from the school authorities, i.e, without their approval

Without objection = without approval? Oh brother.

OK, I’m convinced, and I don’t feel right debating people with mental illnesses. Really.

You are the mentally ill one because you did not give a flexible interpretation to my statement. OK, it was not simon-pure of me to equate “without objection” and “without approval.” But “without objection” does not necessarily mean that the book was approved by the school authority that has the power to remove the book. In fact, that authority might not have even noticed that the book was added to the school library – e.g., maybe the book was added by the school librarian but only the school board has the power to remove it. All we know is that the book somehow got into the school library. The Pico plurality opinion made it clear that the case before the court involved the removal of books and not the acquisition of books – here is the complete statement from the opinion:

… even as to library books, the action before us does not involve the acquisition of books. Respondents have not sought to compel their school Board to add to the school library shelves any books that students desire to read. Rather, the only action challenged in this case is the removal from school libraries of books originally placed there by the school authorities, or without objection from them. (page 862)

Anyway, you are still ducking my question – why should books that are already in the school library have more protection from censorship than those that are not?

PvM said,

That is a straw man example — Penthouse Letters is obviously not a serious scholarly work.

And by most sensible standards, neither are ID books.

Maybe by your standards – which I wouldn’t call “sensible” – but not by the standards of many others.

Anyway, if removing these ID books from school libraries is such a good idea, then how do you folks explain why the Dover plaintiffs did not even attempt to remove “Of Pandas and People” from the school library? And the Dover high school library didn’t have just one or two copies, but about 50, as I remember.

IOW, when one says something was peer reviewed, the listener should ask if said review was (1) approving, (2) disapproving, or (3) a shredding?

Henry

J-Dog — Please do not insult weasels!

Anonymous -

You are the mentally ill one because you did not give a flexible interpretation to my statement.

This is a rather strange standard for calling someone mentally ill.

Anyway, you are still ducking my question — why should books that are already in the school library have more protection from censorship than those that are not?

The short answer is, that’s what the supreme court said. The long answer is, in paraphrase, the court held that removing books was a stronger act than not adding new books. I’ll concede that it’s a nuanced argument.

At any rate, the salient point here is that, just because some wingnut like you decides to dump a pile of creationist, flat earth, or other obsessive crackpot books on a library, as an insincere, agenda-driven “donation”, does not mean that the library is obliged to shelve them. (I actually feel, however, that university libraries and large public library systems should shelve the major ID books, for reasons I’ll explain below.)

Anyway, if removing these ID books from school libraries is such a good idea, then how do you folks explain why the Dover plaintiffs did not even attempt to remove “Of Pandas and People” from the school library? And the Dover high school library didn’t have just one or two copies, but about 50, as I remember.

I’m in favor of having ID books in as many libraries as possible, so that they can be maximally held up to ridicule, and as the years go by, repeatedly used by educators as long-irrelevant examples of hypocritical pseudoscience put forth in the not-so-secret service of an extreme right wing agenda. For the same reasons, I encourage ID/creationist trolls to post on the internet as often as possible.

Having said that, a high school library is different from a public or university library. Users of the latter two understand that works are selected to represent or present schools of thought, rather than to endorse.

In the case of public school libraries, it may be better to restrict the shelved books to those that are instructive as written. While high school seniors are probably capable of reading a book critically, high school begins young, and students may be inclined to assume that the books they find on the library shelves are endorsed by the school as “correct”. Therefore it may actually be a good idea to remove garbage like P and P.

However, the Dover plaintiffs may have overlooked this, or they may disagree with me on this point, and advocate that high school libraries presage university libraries, and contain works that advocate indefensible positions, for the purpose of training students in critical thinking.

Harold said (Comment #183552 ) –

These popular-market pro-ID books are peer-reviewed literature — they get lots of peer review.

If this statement is honest, then you don’t know what “peer review” means.

The statement was intended as a sort of joke, but you obviously took it seriously. Seriously, though, some of these ID books end up getting a lot more “peer review” than most scientific papers that are peer reviewed before publication.

Of course, peer review is neither necessary, sufficient, nor even always relevant for a work’s inclusion in a library. It doesn’t guarantee quality by any means. It is necessary in some other circumstances. But if you’re going to flap your gums about it, you might as well know what it means.

I wasn’t the one who brought up the issue of peer review – Science Avenger did (Comment #183516).

A holocaust revisionist would declare major elements of standard twentieth century history “controversial”;

I’m a holocaust revisionist too, but it is hard to get an audience for my revisionist ideas because revisionists are ostracized, and that’s not fair.

Likewise, your declaration that “Darwinism”, that is, biological evolution, is “controversial”, is an agenda-driven error.

But Darwinism is controversial – very controversial.

Stevaroni said (Comment #183546) –

Like in the Dover trial where acknowledged experts in the relevant fields took Pandas’ apart page by page showing just how completely vacuous and entirely devoid of factual content it really was.

And Judge Jones thoroughly trashed the book in his written opinion after denying the book’s publisher, the Foundation for Thought and Ethics, an opportunity to defend the book by intervening in the case.

The Discovery Institute gave the coup de grace to the already badly discredited Dover opinion by revealing that the opinion’s ID-as-science section was ghostwritten by the ACLU.

Larry Falalalafelman Wrote:

I’m a holocaust revisionist too, but it is hard to get an audience for my revisionist ideas because revisionists are ostracized, and that’s not fair.

Larry, are you OK? You used to deny being a holocaust revisionist when posting here.

Anyway, if removing these ID books from school libraries is such a good idea…

Like Harold, I too am all for having books like Panda’s and People in school libraries.

Just so long as they are shelved in the appropriate section.

Under fiction.

anonymous:

I’m a holocaust revisionist too, but it is hard to get an audience for my revisionist ideas because revisionists are ostracized, and that’s not fair.

Could be realpc+100 other IDs.

Or maybe all crackpots sound alike.

I’ll bet anonymous also doesn’t believe HIV exists, or causes AIDS which also doesn’t exist.

Amazingly enough, there are still germ theory of disease deniers out there. And 20-25% of the US population believes the sun goes around the earth.

sorry, but the legal arguments are a key identifier to Larry farfrom sane, especially when combined with any mention of holocaust “revisionism”

…and Larry has been officially banned for doing what he is doing now, sockpupettry.

we need a dungeon around here like on Pharyngula.

And Judge Jones thoroughly trashed the book in his written opinion after denying the book’s publisher, the Foundation for Thought and Ethics, an opportunity to defend the book by intervening in the case.

The ‘Foundation for Thought and Ethics’, an Orwellian name if ever there was one, had plentiful opportunities to get involved in the Kitzmiller. After dawdling for months on the periphery of the case, they submitted their briefs waaay past the appropriate deadline.

The judge found their arguments weak, tardy, and only peripherally connected to the case.

All the filings are public records, available online. Read them

The Discovery Institute gave the coup de grace to the already badly discredited Dover opinion by revealing that the opinion’s ID-as-science section was ghostwritten by the ACLU.

Sigh.…

Once again, slowly.

Far from “discredited”, the Dover decision has been widely hailed as one of the clearest pieces of legal reasoning in the Church/State debate of the last decade. Surprisingly forceful, in fact, in light of it coming from a judge with quite a conservative prior record.

But on to the crux of your complaint. Dover was a civil case.

In civil cases, both sides allege that they represent the true and correct version of facts and events, and the judge is supposed to decide which one is right.

It is typical for the judge to ask both sides to submit proposed “findings of fact”, to say, to each side, in essence “In the event that you prevail, what would you have the decision say?”

If the judge finds that that the prevailing side has submitted proposed language that fairly sums up the actual facts of the dispute, it is common to grant the winner his proposal.

Slowly, again… both sides go to court saying “we think the facts are X and the decision should say Y”.

This is the way things are done. Both the ACLU and the DI (another Orwellian gem) submitted proposed findings. Both are public record.

Had the DI won, they Would have gotten their proposed findings instead. They lost. That’s how it works. Deal with it.

Gee, if I didn’t know better, I’d think Larry Fafarman didn’t have a law degree…

Larry, are you OK? You used to deny being a holocaust revisionist when posting here.

No, no, Larry denies being a holocaust denier. Accuse him of being a holocaust denier and he will haughtily retort that he is in fact a holocaust revisionist. He seems to interpret this as “okay, I grudgingly admit the holocaust happened, but I just think it’s impossible that the Germans could have killed that many Jews”. He must have all manner of evidence that no one else has been allowed to see. Or he’s the only one not in on the Grand Holocaust Conspiracy.

So, we can add ‘failed historian’ onto Larry’s CV, alongside ‘failed lawyer’ and ‘failed scientist’.

No, no, Larry denies being a holocaust denier.

I’m aware of the literal truth of that, which is as relevant as the ID claim that they’re not simply “scientific” creationists trying to resurrect the movement under a more politically correct name.

To those tempted to respond to larry in this thread, please don’t feed the troll. His appetite is insatiable.

As mentioned earlier by another poster, though, his sockpuppet IP should be banned since he’s violating the rules here (again).

No respect for law ‘n order as long as he’s lyin’ for Jesus. Par for the course.

“The Discovery Institute gave the coup de grace to the already badly discredited Dover opinion by revealing that the opinion’s ID-as-science section was ghostwritten by the ACLU.”

Now you are clearly in denial and or dishonest. If a decision such as this one were “already badly discredited” then why has is not been turned over?.…appealed.…challenged.

I know the reason, do you?

Harold said (Comment #183572) –

This is a rather strange standard for calling someone mentally ill.

Science Avenger called me mentally ill first.

Anyway, you are still ducking my question — why should books that are already in the school library have more protection from censorship than those that are not?

The short answer is, that’s what the supreme court said.

The Supreme Court never asked that question in Pico.

The long answer is, in paraphrase, the court held that removing books was a stronger act than not adding new books.

Pico implies that holding but does not try to explain or justify that holding. Removing books and blocking the addition of new books are both acts of censorship and I cannot see any practical difference between them.

Having said that, a high school library is different from a public or university library. Users of the latter two understand that works are selected to represent or present schools of thought, rather than to endorse.

The 3rd Circuit court of appeals nonetheless regarded high school libraries as entitled to special First Amendment protection. As noted in my comment #183473, the Dover plaintiffs’ response to the Rutherford Institute’s motion to intervene said,

… the Third Circuit distinguishes removing books from a library and removing books from a classroom: “‘special characteristics of the school library make that environment especially appropriate for the recognition of the First Amendment rights of students,’ for the library, unlike the school classroom, is a place for voluntary inquiry and study.” See Kreimer v. Bureau of Police for Town of Morristown, 958 F.2d 1242, 1254 (3d Cir. 1992)

Steveroni said (Comment #183582) –

Like Harold, I too am all for having books like Panda’s and People in school libraries.

Just so long as they are shelved in the appropriate section.

Under fiction.

In the controversy over having a creationist book in bookstores in Grand Canyon National Park, the book was placed in the inspirational-book section instead of the scientific-book section but that still did not satisfy the opponents of the book.

The ‘Foundation for Thought and Ethics’, an Orwellian name if ever there was one, had plentiful opportunities to get involved in the Kitzmiller. After dawdling for months on the periphery of the case, they submitted their briefs waaay past the appropriate deadline.

The judge found their arguments weak, tardy, and only peripherally connected to the case.

There was no “appropriate deadline.” When a subpoena from the plaintiffs made FTE realize that the book would be central to the case, FTE acted promptly. Intervention by the FTE would not have significantly delayed the case because: (1) the start of the trial was about 3-4 months away, (2) the book had already become central to the case, and (3) FTE apparently did not want to bring in new expert witnesses but just wanted to bring back William Dembski, who had already been deposed.

One of the reasons Jones gave for denying intervention was that FTE’s interests in the case were “purely economic,” but allowing defense of economic interests is one of the principal reasons for granting intervention.

“Only peripherally connected to the case”? LOL. The name of the book appears about 75 times in the Dover opinion.

Far from “discredited”, the Dover decision has been widely hailed as one of the clearest pieces of legal reasoning in the Church/State debate of the last decade.

Several law journal articles – including one written by Darwinist Jay Wexler – have criticized the decision for ruling on the ID-as-science question.

Surprisingly forceful, in fact, in light of it coming from a judge with quite a conservative prior record.

That only suggests that Jones bent over backwards to try to show that he was not influenced by his background. This churchgoing Bush-appointed Republican conservative even went so far as to say in a Dickinson College commencement speech that organized religions are not “true” religions.

If the judge finds that that the prevailing side has submitted proposed language that fairly sums up the actual facts of the dispute, it is common to grant the winner his proposal …

This is the way things are done.

No, that is not the way things are normally done and that is not the way things should be done. The Discovery Institute’s Casey Luskin showed that one-sided copying in writing judicial opinions is widely frowned upon – http://www.evolutionnews.org/2006/1[…]es_stud.html

The Dover opinion’s ID-as-science section was virtually entirely copied from the plaintiffs’ opening post-trial brief while ignoring the defendants’ opening post-trial brief and the plaintiffs’ and defendants’ answering post-trial briefs. There is no evidence that Judge Jones did any independent thinking here. There is no evidence that Jones even read any of the post-trial briefs other than the one that he copied from. The unsubstantiated argument that the reason why he ignored the defendants’ arguments was that he thought they were weak is no excuse because if he thought those arguments were weak then he would have had all the more reason to present them in order to refute them.

Deal with it.

So, we can add ‘failed historian’ onto Larry’s CV, alongside ‘failed lawyer’ and ‘failed scientist’.

Also, he’s a southern revisionist, so double the ‘failed historian’.

Plus, he has some bizarre theory about where meteorites come from, so add ‘failed amateur astronomer” to the list.

Steverino said,

“The Discovery Institute gave the coup de grace to the already badly discredited Dover opinion by revealing that the opinion’s ID-as-science section was ghostwritten by the ACLU.”

Now you are clearly in denial and or dishonest. If a decision such as this one were “already badly discredited” then why has is not been turned over?.…appealed.…challenged.

I know the reason, do you?

What are you saying? The reason why it was not appealed was that the new Dover school board decided not to appeal it.

The Discovery Institute’s Casey Luskin showed that one-sided copying in writing judicial opinions is widely frowned upon —

You’re depending on Casey Luskin to back up your arguments? You’re getting very desperate.

Larry, take your meds and quit pretending to be a lawyer.

What are you saying?

Confused already? That didn’t take long.

The reason why it was not appealed was that the new Dover school board decided not to appeal it.

And the reason for THAT is…?

You’re sharp as a cue ball, Larry.

“Moreover, if Luskin’s understanding were the law, it would be unworkable. Schools are obviously not required to stock whatever trash people choose to donate to them. If a prankster donates a copy of Penthouse Letters, the school obviously could not be required to shelve it.”

I’m beginning to think Luskin may have a point.

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This page contains a single entry by Timothy Sandefur published on June 15, 2007 12:16 PM.

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