FTE and Jon Buell's Day in Court

Over on the DIscovery Institute’s weblog, Casey Luskin writes:

In 2005, a federal judge banned Pandas outright from science classrooms in Dover, Pennsylvania — but only after denying FTE [Foundation for Thought and Ethics] the right to appear before the court to defend the book.

Hmmm. Why does that sound odd?

Maybe because Jon Buell, President of FTE, did actually appear in the courtroom of Judge John E. Jones III, and there attempted to defend the book. Of course, Buell made a laughingstock of himself, of FTE, and of the sham called “intelligent design” – pretty serious work for just one day in court, I’d say. NOVA’s focus on the bad boys of the Kitzmiller v. DASD case could have been filled out to three “B”s, Bonsell, Buckingham, and Buell, if only Jones had ruled favorably on FTE’s motion to intervene.

Who is to blame for FTE’s inability to take part in the trial portion of KvD? It isn’t Judge Jones. This is a matter of public record, something that Luskin should have been aware of before spinning stuff. One can make a case for either FTE President Jon Buell or IDC advocate and FTE Academic Editor William A. Dembski having tripped up on this one, as becomes clear with just a small excursion to the transcript of the court’s consideration of FTE’s motion to intervene. At the time that FTE finally decided to file its motion to intervene, it was already late in May, 2005. Notably, this only happened about the time that the Thomas More Law Center and the Discovery Institute were apparently having some serious behind-the-scenes disagreements over the conduct of the case. FTE seemed to be far more willing to act on DI orders than the TMLC had proved to be, so having FTE obtain a co-defendant role in the case was likely a high priority for the DI. This may explain the DI’s continuing angst over the exceedingly poor showing that Buell had in court, so much so that they won’t even draw attention to it, but instead place blame – erroneously, of course – on Judge Jones.

Did FTE receive due process? It is hard to argue that they did not, given the copious public record demonstrating that they did. That seems to be why Luskin just tosses off a slur, apparently hoping that no one will take a closer look. There are several elements of interest in Buell’s testimony, including the howler that FTE is not a religious organization, the curious silence of Dembski, and Buell’s ignorance of the one issue that might have given FTE entry to the case.

(Continue reading at the Austringer)