Now that’s chutzpah

| 82 Comments

Over at the DI Media Complaints Division/Department of calling young-earth creation scientists ID proponents and then pretending that ID isn’t creationism relabeled, David Klinghoffer has commented on the previous PT post on Coppedge v. JPL and the various suggestions and speculations that I and others made in the discussion. As is par for the course, Klinghoffer mischaracterizes clearly labeled speculation as definitive conclusions, says we’re meanies, yadda yadda.

But that’s not what’s interesting. What’s interesting is Klinghoffer’s description of Coppedge and his lawyer, William Becker. According to Klinghoffer, they are almost in opposition to each other – both in attitude and on the witness stand, of all places. Becker seems “impatient” and “frustrated” with Coppedge on the stand. Why exactly? It’s hard to say. Klinghoffer chalks it up to Coppedge’s “sheepish hesitancy” and “tendency to digress”.

Klinghoffer also mentions that Coppedge is suffering from severe headaches, which the media indicates has been delaying testimony. And Klinghoffer recounts an event Klinghoffer personally witnessed in which Becker almost got into a fist-fight after dinging another guy’s car with his door.

Klinghoffer spins all this to illustrate the “shy” and mild-mannered nature of Coppedge – says Klinghoffer,

It made me wonder if Coppedge isn’t too bashful to offer a proper evangelical pitch for anything. Think about it. “Pushing” your ideas on anyone, as distinct from diffidently offering them a DVD and making a note in your diary if they liked it or not (as Coppedge did), requires a fearless nerve, a certain cheekiness. In Jewish terms, chutzpah.

Coppedge doesn’t have chutzpah in his DNA.

Now, an alternative interpretation of all of this is that Coppedge is turning out to be a weird dude, his case is coming apart at the seams, and Becker is mad and frustrated because he knows this, which would mean that years of work will go down the drain, and, worse, there will be no compensation of legal fees. I have no strong opinion about this possibility, it could be wrong, but it seems at least as plausible as Klinghoffer’s interpretation.

What I would like to discuss is Klinghoffer’s statement that Coppedge ain’t got no chutzpah. Klinghoffer concludes:

I bring this up only to point out that David Coppedge is the absolute polar opposite type of personality from Becker. When this is all over I hope they’ll be able to laugh about that. Imagining that Coppedge could “push” a person or an idea, whether the issue is a dinged car door or intelligent design, as JPL claims, is simply preposterous.

Well, I have no idea what Coppedge is like in person, but let’s have a look at some of the things he said over the 12+ years he’s been running the Creation-Evolution Headlines website (old site: creationsafaris.com; new site: crev.info). And just to make it interesting, let’s not worry about what Coppedge says about Darwin and evolution – we know creationists don’t like those at all. How about what Coppedge says about the field of planetary science, particularly the results planetary scientists have gotten from the Cassini mission and similar studies based on telescope and space probe observations? These are the people Coppedge worked with and worked for at JPL on the Cassini mission. What would these folks discover that Coppedge was saying about them and their research, if they happened upon a link to one of Coppedge’s Creation-Evolution Headlines pages during a google search?

For an example, have a look at this: Results of googling Cassini A.S.S. site:creationsafaris.com, on March 15, 2012:

August 8, 2006: It’s Tough to Get a Date, but Fun to Keep Trying - http://creationsafaris.com/crev2006[…]tm#20060808a

If you have been led to believe that ice-core dating, Milankovitch cycles and deep sea sediments provide reliable records of Earth’s prehistory, this entry should hit you with a proverbial two by four. The records don’t match up naturally. Scientists attempt to force a match with “sophisticated” and “conceptual” models that provide the best of bad solutions (see best-in-field fallacy). Taking the A.S.S. (age of the solar system) as an unalterable boundary condition (because a younger Earth would utterly preclude Darwinian evolution), they find themselves in a bind. Their faith forces them to believe there is a solution, but the data don’t fit. No problem; the goal of life now is to keep the detective game going, not to really know the truth about reality past.

Each rigger has his role in the endless game. The Darwinist astronomy wizards prophesy the date when the earth cooled 4.5 billion years ago, the Darwinist origin-of-life wizards prophesy the date life appeared 3 billion years ago, the Darwinist geochemist wizards prophesy when life began to produce oxygen two billion years ago, and the Darwinist paleoanthropologist wizards prophesy when Homo habilis appeared and what kind of clothes he was wearing 3 million years ago. In between these posts of straw, they string their tabernacle to Charlie, hoping they can keep the whole structure from falling down with enough researchers pushing and pulling where needed.

We just thought you should know how the process works. Because the Darwinists are master riggers, everything makes sense, the wizards and priests remain employed, textbooks have nice graphics, students memorize the currently accepted dates, Charlie gets the glory, and nobody asks questions.

October 12, 2006: Glory Be Behind Saturn - http://creationsafaris.com/crev2006[…]tm#20061012a

(This was just after Cassini successfully achieved orbit around Saturn.)

Cassini’s findings confirm predictions made over several decades now that Saturn’s rings are being rapidly eroded by collisions. We now have even more evidence that impactors, from comet-size to molecule-size, are wearing away Saturn’s rings. The E-ring would be gone in mere decades or centuries if Enceladus were not constantly replenishing with new micron-size material. The color differences between the rings also show that whatever non-ice material has been added has not had time to become thoroughly mixed. And it would be surprising to think that this new D-ring impact was a one-time phenomenon we just happened to be lucky to witness.

It may be impossible to say from data alone that the rings are mere thousands of years old or less, but they certainly cannot be billions of years old. That should raise some eyebrows by several inches among scientists who accept the standard A.S.S. (age of the solar system) as being 4.5 billion years old. Upper limits at ring ages are often put at 10 or 100 million years. That may sound like a lot (it’s an upper limit, remember), but even 100 million years is 1/45 the standard age. What was Saturn doing the other 44 parts? No materialist wants to believe that humans were somehow lucky to emerge right at the time when Saturn’s rings were at the height of their glory. Yet no secular scientist dares question the A.S.S., because concluding a recent formation of Saturn and the rings would collapse the time available for evolution. There is nothing about the Saturn system that needs billions of years. A scientist should follow the evidence where it leads, whether or not it agrees with prevailing orthodoxy.

September 25, 2007: More Impacts on Crater Count Dating - http://creationsafaris.com/crev2007[…]tm#20070925a

Despite their rigorous and admirable work of calculating and estimating the physical effects of impacting bodies on Mars, the authors could not think outside the box. Their own work casts severe doubt on the ability to use crater counts as a dating method. In principle, if one impact can produce ten million secondaries scattered around the whole planet (see 10/20/2005), there is no way to know how old the Martian surface is. If anything, one would think the whole planet would have been saturated with craters in short order, hinting that the surface might be young. And think about it: we’ve already seen several global dust storms in the 33 years since the first Martian orbiter. How much weathering of craters would be expected in tens of millions of years? And why is bedrock still clean-swept in large areas on Mars? (06/01/2005).

Because these scientists began their modeling with undaunted faith in the Age of the Solar System (A.S.S.), a figure (4.5 billion years) that, according to the Law of the Needs of the Darwins cannot be altered, they had to make it all work within their mythical paradigm. Their crater cluster formation model must fit within the scheme of imaginary Noachian, Hesperian and Amazonian epochs, even though their own work undermines the assumptions that went into making the scheme in the first place (for other problems with the current scheme, see Astrobiology Magazine). What’s in a name? Would calling them the Washingtonian, Lincolnian and Clintonian epochs make Mars blink an eye? Let the discerning mind understand that the fancy charts of geological time scales on Mars and Earth are human impositions on the data - not inevitable products of the observations themselves.

March 25, 2008: March Moon Madness - http://creationsafaris.com/crev2008[…]tm#20080325a

Science marches on - sometimes in disciplined ranks, sometimes in scatter formation. The latter occurs when observation bombs drop in on theory playgrounds.

Remember, the consensus theories that have been blown away by new discoveries were textbook orthodoxy a few years ago. Only a devout logical positivist would think this could not happen to today’s accepted ideas. Just wait.

Evidence does not exist in isolation. To make sense, it must be incorporated into one’s web of belief by a number of auxiliary hypotheses and assumptions. Planetary scientists interpret what Ithaca Chasma, Titan’s rotation and Earth’s oxygen-16 ratios mean through the filter of assumptions and auxiliary hypotheses that are rarely considered or questioned independently.

One of their most sacred assumptions is the A.S.S. (age of the solar system). The accepted value of 4.5 billion years is written in their genes. All evidence is viewed within this major structural component of their web of belief. The web itself stretches and distorts as new evidence bombards it, but it would take a mighty big impact to break it.

Too much is at stake for secular planetologists, bent on finding life and evolution at every water hole, to allow that to happen. Like predatory spiders, they snag the evidence, wrap it in theories spun out of their own selves, and suck the juice out of it to feed themselves and their young. The dried up hulk that once contained structure, organs and connective tissue is discarded to blow away in the wind.

February 2, 2009: Titan Methane Age Still a Problem - http://creationsafaris.com/crev2009[…]tm#20090202a

We’ve been bringing up this problem for years. This latest paper shows that no solution has been forthcoming for over two decades; in fact, the problem has only gotten worse. The consensus Age of the Solar System (A.S.S.) is 4.6 billion years. 10 million years is 1/450th of that value, and that is the maximum that the empirical evidence permits. If planetary scientists truly followed the evidence where it leads, as scientists are supposed to do, they would have to conclude Titan is young. Evidence from Enceladus, Iapetus, Mercury, comets, Mars, the moon and many other bodies that showcase evidence of youth could be adduced for support. The ramifications of that conclusion would be so far-reaching and unpalatable to the old-age, evolution-inebriated materialistic community, they have to resort to distraction to keep people from thinking about it. CEH thinks the sidestep is the most interesting part of the dance.

The comeback argument is that scientists “know” the solar system is old from other lines of evidence, e.g., radiometric dating of meteorites and rock units on Earth, and so forth. But they don’t “know” these things without making assumptions. Planetologists used to “know” that planets required billions of years to form from a solar nebula. That was before the revolution in thinking caused by the discovery of extrasolar planets. Their properties suggest - some say require - rapid formation to prevent destruction by migration. Indeed, a whole new “heretical” disk-instability hypothesis proposes that giant planets can form much more rapidly than thought. When you find a number of bodies in the solar system today with upper-limit ages converging at the recent end of the evolutionary timescale, it becomes increasingly implausible to believe we live at a special epoch when all these phenomena are observable. It should call into question the timescale itself. For reasons philosophical rather than empirical, many in the old paradigm don’t wish to think along those lines. Others, from years of indoctrination in the paradigm, cannot even begin to think outside the box. They just chalk up the mysteries as anomalies. Anomalies are the stuff of which scientific revolutions are made.

September 21, 2009: Mars Red-Faced Without Water - http://creationsafaris.com/crev2009[…]tm#20090921c

The moyboys should be red-faced (moyboys: those recklessly spouting claims about “millions of years, billions of years”). Not only does this potentially undermine the astrobiologists’ hopes for water on Mars, it casts doubt on whether the surface is really billions of years old. Remember, even 100 million years is a tiny fraction of the assumed age of the solar system (A.S.S.). What color was Mars before? Yellow? Green? Purple? Why are we seeing the tail-end of a rapid process if Mars dried up billions of years ago and its sand grains have been tumbling around for eons? The truth is, they just don’t know. They weren’t there. The fact that a hypothesis this radical can upset everything previously believed about a planet should give one pause before accepting the next moyboy pronouncement on faith.

December 14, 2009: Iapetus Mystery Moon Solved - http://creationsafaris.com/crev2009[…]tm#20091214a

For those of us who have followed this mystery since the Voyagers in 1981 failed to resolve it, there is a mix of satisfaction and wonder at the solution. Who would have thought of this answer before we had the high-resolution images that forced it? It’s an illustration of how observations - data - are vital for constraining theories, models and speculations (like those of Arthur C. Clarke in 2001: A Space Odyssey, who made Iapetus the Stargate of the advanced aliens; Wikipedia explains).

Yet there is also a strange sense of schizophrenia in the scientific papers. On the one hand, the authors cannot avoid the evidence that many of these features look young. On the other, though, they cannot and will not ever admit that they are too young to fit into the billions-of-years paradigm. The papers go strangely silent on that point. It’s bizarre. The assumed Age of the Solar System (A.S.S.) is, in planetary science, a Law of the Misdeeds and Perversions that cannot be altered. The solution is to either ignore the problem, or to change the subject: i.e., H2O on Iapetus? Maybe there could be liquid water under the crust - maybe there could be life! (Examples: 03/26/2008, 07/12/2007, bullet 1, PhysOrg.)

Remember that it’s more reasonable to set an upper limit on age than a lower limit. Why? Because the observation-to-assumption ratio is lower. We only have a few centuries of observation of Iapetus - only a few decades of spacecraft observations, the best observations within the last 4 years from Cassini. Extrapolating what we know or can reasonably infer back in time by a few decades or centuries or millennia may be acceptable, but not billions of years. These papers indicate that impact gardening, sublimation and thermal segregation will darken a crater within a few thousand years. With very liberal assumptions they can stretch some of the bright craters into a few tens or hundreds of millions of years - but not billions. It’s probably far less, due to the fact that the ice is lost to space each orbit (see 05/05/2008). But even the most generous upper limit is far less than the time needed to keep Iapetus 4.5 billion years old.

[…]

Models by definition are only simulations of reality. Other plausible models with variable deposition rates and impact rates might produce the observed pattern in orders of magnitude less time. A rigorous examination of the assumptions used in these papers, constrained by observations, might rule out the billions of years evolution requires. Here’s an opportunity for creation scientists to tighten the upper-limit belt for the processes on Iapetus, and cause some impact on the evolutionary A.S.S.

(Hmm, what happened to Coppedge being an “intelligent design” guy? There’s “creation science”, right there. Kicking A.S.S. Is that a Christian thing to say/fantasize about? Hmm.)

September 17, 2010: Lunar Complexity Challenges Simple Theories - http://creationsafaris.com/crev2010[…]tm#20100917a

Are planetary scientists coming closer to “the truth” about our moon’s origin? The data are certainly getting better. But infrared maps and crater size-distribution statistics do not interpret themselves. They need to be incorporated into a paradigm (interpretive framework with its ancillary assumptions). That paradigm has shifted again, according to Greenhagen.

The paradigm has not shifted to revolution status, evidently. Scientists are at the stage of admitting more anomalies in the current paradigm. According to Thomas Kuhn, this is a routine part of normal science. Only when the anomalies accumulate to the point of unwieldiness, or younger scientists enter the field with maverick ideas, can the paradigm get replaced by a new paradigm in a “scientific revolution.”

The current paradigm includes a time framework and numerous unproveable assumptions. Entrenched assumptions currently include the Age of the Solar System (A.S.S.) of 4.5 billion years (the Law of the Misdeeds and the Perversions that cannot be altered), the reliability of radiometric dating along with its copious assumptions about initial conditions, the hypothesis the moon formed when a Mars-size body impacted the Earth, the Late Heavy Bombardment, the reliability of crater count dating, and more. Interpretations made about the moon (our nearest neighbor) are often extrapolated to other bodies in the solar system.

[…]

Bro, can youse paradigm? Scientists are often oblivious to the assumptions they spend on paradigms. Within the guild, everything seems intuitively obvious. Anomalies are mere puzzles that will be solved within the consensus, they glibly presume (03/31/2005). What is needed is thinking outside the box, if for no other reason that to study the soundness of the box. Why, for instance, must scientists take a bottom-up strategy for origins? Is it somehow more blessed to explain everything up from particles to people, from hydrogen to high-tech, than from top-down design?

Top-down thinking certainly has the Second Law of Thermodynamics in its favor. For an example of outside-the-box, top-down thinking about the moon, you might want to examine the new updated edition of Our Created Moon by Whitcomb and DeYoung, available on Amazon.com. It explores the design purposes of the moon as well as analyzing flaws in secular origin theories. Other top-down analyses of the moon include Tas Walker’s analysis of fault scarps (9/2/2010 at CMI), an analysis of transient lunar phenomena by Dr. Don DeYoung in Journal of Creation April 2003 (free access to PDF file), videos on “Our Created Moon” by Dr. DeYoung viewable on Answers in Genesis, and an article by DeYoung on ICR comparing bottom-up and and top-down views on the origin of the moon.

December 7, 2010: News from Saturn - http://creationsafaris.com/crev2010[…]tm#20101207a

None of the Enceladus articles talked about how this little moon could be putting out so much energy for 4.5 billion years. That’s because they don’t have a clue. The geysers remain exciting, but not as wildly improbable, without the Law of the Misdeeds and Perversions, which cannot be altered, known as the A.S.S. (age of the solar system).

March 18, 2011: It’s Raining Methane on Titan’s Dunes - http://creationsafaris.com/crev2011[…]tm#20110318a

None of the reports discussed the age issue, but it seems seasonal rains like this would have left evidence of vast deposits of sedimentation if cloudbursts have been going on for billions of years. It appears that the drainage channels are being formed by currently active dynamic weather and are not relics of past epochs. Unlike Earth, Titan does not appear to have plate tectonics or volcanoes (at least in abundance), and its surface winds are primarily confined to equatorial latitudes. That means the surface is pretty static. Methane may cycle through the atmosphere, but not liquid ethane that should have formed a global ocean miles deep after 4.5 billion years of steady precipitation (07/31/2008).

So we have raining methane on Titan, and reigning dogma on Earth. In fact, it’s reigning cats and dogmas, speaking of the reigning cats in academia who sit on their A.S.S. (age of the solar system) and never budge. Some stand-up scientist should model what the conditions on Titan would be expected to look like after billions of years of erosion and ask whether the model fits the observations. It might shed some light where the sun never shines.

We are still discovering facts about Titan, so definitive conclusions are premature; however, enough is known to falsify many assumptions and predictions made by those who refuse to budge from their A.S.S. (age of the solar system, 4.5 billion years; see 02/19/2011). They were wrong about a global ocean; they were wrong about huge lakes of liquid ethane; they were dumbfounded to find sand dunes; and now it appears they were wrong about active geology.

The upper limits on age appear to be growing stronger with time. The puzzlement on their faces, and the silence about defending the consensus age, are tell-tale signs that their fascination with discovery is tempered by panic over looming destruction of favored beliefs about the age of the solar system (02/15/2008). Titan may be the old-agers’ Titanic.

(Note 1: All bolds added by me. Other formatting original. Green text (Coppedge’s commentary is always in green on CEH) not reproduced.)

(Note 2: Just so that we don’t get any whining about not dealing with the evidence, here’s the evidence for an old solar system. It is as well-established as any fact in science. This does not necessarily mean that any particular moon, ring, or arbitrary feature/surface of these is 4.5 billion years old, of course, although Coppedge likes to pretend so.)

For more of Coppedge’s mild demeanor, politeness, winsome criticism of mainstream science, shyness, and utter lack of chutzpah, try googling: “stupid evolution” site:creationsafaris.com . Others may discover other good searches and post them in the comments.

My conclusion: Klinghoffer’s spin on Coppedge? Now that’s chutzpah.

82 Comments

From a comment on Sensuous Curmudgeon:

Doc Bill | 15-March-2012 at 5:42 pm |

The attorney-attorney brouhaha that got resolved by the Judge today involved an intended line of questioning that would probe the religious and political beliefs of the JPL witnesses.

JPL argued that of the 15 or so witnesses only about 5 of them had any involvement with Coppedge’s reprimand or layoff and, thus, opinions of people not involved were irrelevant.

Becker disagrees and says that their religious views tainted how they viewed Coppedge. In a court filing available on the NCSE site today Becker writes, yes, in bold uppercase:

THE PUBLIC HAS A RIGHT TO KNOW THAT INDIVIDUALS WERE MOTIVATED TO FALSELY AND MALICIOUSLY ACCUSE PLAINTIFF OF THE INVIDIOUS ACT OF HARASSMENT BECAUSE OF THEIR OWN RELIGIOUS VIEWS AND PERSPECTIVES, AND BECAUSE THEY FELT INTIMIDATED BY COPPEDGE’S STRONG RELIGIOUS CONVICTIONS DUE TO THEIR WEAK CONVICTIONS.

IANAL, so I have to ask. Is it normal for attorneys to write in bold italic uppercase?

Ah. Looking at the PDF just now, it’s a heading, and all headings are in bold caps. So, yes.

Curiouser and curiouser.

So Coppedge is too shy and retiring to force his views on anyone and yet his own legal defence claims that work colleagues “felt intimidated by Coppedge’s strong religious convictions”?

Jesus, even by DI standards this is pathetically transparent agitprop.

I just recently saw the movie Expelled. It was spooky how there is such a clear motive to punish innocent people just because they are seen as a threat to evolution etc. This case is case in point. Its publicity for this educated suspicion or downright knowledge that so many creationists or those perceived to be DO face out important opposition in their workplace.

I guess the case comes down to secret motivations of the bosses and how their stated and workculture attitudes persuade this regular and non confrontational gentleman that he was fired unjustly. As long as his case is made he doesn’t , what’s that foreign word mean, need any other psychology. These cases are all gain for the good guys.

Robert Byers said:

I just recently saw the movie Expelled. It was spooky how there is such a clear motive to punish innocent people just because they are seen as a threat to evolution etc. This case is case in point. Its publicity for this educated suspicion or downright knowledge that so many creationists or those perceived to be DO face out important opposition in their workplace.

I guess the case comes down to secret motivations of the bosses and how their stated and workculture attitudes persuade this regular and non confrontational gentleman that he was fired unjustly. As long as his case is made he doesn’t , what’s that foreign word mean, need any other psychology. These cases are all gain for the good guys.

http://www.expelledexposed.com will disabuse you of any misconceptions you have arrived at by believing anything from the faux documentary Expelled.

Robert Byers said: I just recently saw the movie Expelled.

You certainly fit the demographic it was aimed at, so it’s not surprising you liked it. Like you, the film is dishonest, insulting and full of patronizing, poorly structured arguments - to quote just a few of its reviews - see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Expell[…]ence_Allowed

No surprises here - Coppedge is a barking-mad junkyard moonbat when hiding behind his blog, and a pearl-clutching wimp in person. Fits the profile.

Byers likes Expelled; Coppedge likes intelligent design creationism - hand, meet glove.

THE PUBLIC HAS A RIGHT TO KNOW THAT INDIVIDUALS WERE MOTIVATED TO FALSELY AND MALICIOUSLY ACCUSE PLAINTIFF OF THE INVIDIOUS ACT OF HARASSMENT BECAUSE OF THEIR OWN RELIGIOUS VIEWS AND PERSPECTIVES, AND BECAUSE THEY FELT INTIMIDATED BY COPPEDGE’S STRONG RELIGIOUS CONVICTIONS DUE TO THEIR WEAK CONVICTIONS.

So, once again, ID is not religion and that’s what he was peddling. But this is still discrimination against his religious beliefs! Is any judge really stupid enough to fall for this crap? Is any attorney really stupid enough to argue both things at once? Can you bring a law suit for being discriminated against because of your scientific beliefs? Can you do this even if your job involves doing science and working for people who do science?

Is every big mouth creationist who gets fired for insubordination and incompetence going to sue for discrimination? Are they all going to claim they are being persecuted? When they all lose, are they ever going to get the message?

THE PUBLIC HAS A RIGHT TO KNOW THAT INDIVIDUALS WERE MOTIVATED TO FALSELY AND MALICIOUSLY ACCUSE PLAINTIFF OF THE INVIDIOUS ACT OF HARASSMENT BECAUSE OF THEIR OWN RELIGIOUS VIEWS AND PERSPECTIVES, AND BECAUSE THEY FELT INTIMIDATED BY COPPEDGE’S STRONG RELIGIOUS CONVICTIONS DUE TO THEIR WEAK CONVICTIONS.

He’s accusing the co-workers of having weak religious convictions! That’s a tad over the top.

Paul Burnett said:

Robert Byers said: I just recently saw the movie Expelled.

You certainly fit the demographic it was aimed at, so it’s not surprising you liked it. Like you, the film is dishonest, insulting and full of patronizing, poorly structured arguments - to quote just a few of its reviews - see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Expell[…]ence_Allowed

Absolutely agreed, someone needs to pay me money first before I see that risible example of cinematic mendacious intellectual pornography. Paul, while I agree with your analogy of “hand meets glove”, I prefer “pot meets kettle”.

One thing that has emerged in Dover, the Freshwater case, and perhaps here, is the subjective appearance of aggressive legal counsel pushing clients into ill-advised lawsuits.

The results were not beneficial to defendants in Dover, and do not seem to have been beneficial to Freshwater. Being associated with losing lawsuits doesn’t seem to have improved anyone’s stock.

Needless to say, having a track record of first losing your job for inappropriate aggressive preaching, and second, engaging in an aggressive nuisance suit, is harmful toward future mainstream employment prospects.

However, here, one might guess that someone somewhere imagined that there might be a possibility of a cash settlement.

Is Becker known to be a creationist? Or could he have taken the case in the hopes of sharing in a settlement?

After reading the clips from Coppedge’s website, I’m thinking Coppedge could of actually been a security risk at JPL. Someone so determined and radical in his beliefs having so much access to those doing work… that he considers the enemy of his strongly held beliefs.… could and should be considered a risk. Dare I say even capable of sabotage.

I also read into his rantings the clinical definition of a conspiracy theorist.

Charley Horse said:

After reading the clips from Coppedge’s website, I’m thinking Coppedge could of actually been a security risk at JPL. Someone so determined and radical in his beliefs having so much access to those doing work… that he considers the enemy of his strongly held beliefs.… could and should be considered a risk. Dare I say even capable of sabotage.

I also read into his rantings the clinical definition of a conspiracy theorist.

Let’s hope JPL’s attorneys have arrived at a similar conclusion. If they do, then that may be the best reason for the judge to rule against Coppedge and his religiously-inspired breathtaking inanity.

So because Coppedge is shy and reserved in court, we can assume he was shy and reserved at work. Sure.

After reading the clips from Coppedge’s website, I’m thinking Coppedge could of actually been a security risk at JPL. Someone so determined and radical in his beliefs having so much access to those doing work… that he considers the enemy of his strongly held beliefs.… could and should be considered a risk. Dare I say even capable of sabotage.

If an employee is constantly undermining his own employer, is the employer obliged to keep him? I’d say this nutjob is an infiltrator.

I dunno Nick. I’m perfectly willing to believe that someone who is an obnoxious blowhard in internet postings may be shy and bumbling on a witness stand. I don’t think we can draw much about his ‘court’ personality from his internet postings.

eric said:

I dunno Nick. I’m perfectly willing to believe that someone who is an obnoxious blowhard in internet postings may be shy and bumbling on a witness stand. I don’t think we can draw much about his ‘court’ personality from his internet postings.

I agree about his court personality. The question is what his court personality says about his real-life personality at work. His online personality at Creation-Evolution Headlines is at least as relevant, although again not determinitive.

While Coppedge’s credentials may preclude mainstream employment they’re a positive boon for employment in “creation science.”

Shy and retiring employees don’t challenge their bosses to debates outside of work (posted in another thread by Nick Matzke):

Update: Lawyers Depict Two Sides of Laid Off JPL Worker (in the Montrose Patch, March 14, 2012)

http://montrose.patch.com/articles/[…]f-jpl-worker

After working with Coppedge for a decade, Chin wanted to try to coach Coppedge about how to improve his behavior in the office, Zapp said. He told Coppedge not to discuss religion or politics in the office if it was unwelcome or disruptive.

“If he’d accepted Chin’s helpful advice, and said, ‘I heard what you’re saying; I disagree…and I’ll try to watch it – we wouldn’t be here. There would be no case,” Zapp said.

Instead, Coppedge grew increasingly agitated, took it as a “war on intelligent design,” and challenged Chin to a debate outside JPL (he declined), Zapp said. From there, Coppedge escalated the converstion by demanding to know who his accusers were. Chin opted not to tell him and Coppedge said he felt it had become a “hostile work environment,” so a human resources investigation was launched, Zapp said.

patrickmay.myopenid.com said:

Robert Byers said:

I just recently saw the movie Expelled. It was spooky how there is such a clear motive to punish innocent people just because they are seen as a threat to evolution etc. This case is case in point. Its publicity for this educated suspicion or downright knowledge that so many creationists or those perceived to be DO face out important opposition in their workplace.

I guess the case comes down to secret motivations of the bosses and how their stated and workculture attitudes persuade this regular and non confrontational gentleman that he was fired unjustly. As long as his case is made he doesn’t , what’s that foreign word mean, need any other psychology. These cases are all gain for the good guys.

http://www.expelledexposed.com will disabuse you of any misconceptions you have arrived at by believing anything from the faux documentary Expelled.

No it won’t: Robert Byers takes great pride in being Invincibly Stupid For Jesus. He is literally incapable of registering literally anything that contradicts his Preconceived Notions For Jesus.

Carl Drews said:

Shy and retiring employees don’t challenge their bosses to debates outside of work (posted in another thread by Nick Matzke):

Update: Lawyers Depict Two Sides of Laid Off JPL Worker (in the Montrose Patch, March 14, 2012)

http://montrose.patch.com/articles/[…]f-jpl-worker

After working with Coppedge for a decade, Chin wanted to try to coach Coppedge about how to improve his behavior in the office, Zapp said. He told Coppedge not to discuss religion or politics in the office if it was unwelcome or disruptive.

“If he’d accepted Chin’s helpful advice, and said, ‘I heard what you’re saying; I disagree…and I’ll try to watch it – we wouldn’t be here. There would be no case,” Zapp said.

Instead, Coppedge grew increasingly agitated, took it as a “war on intelligent design,” and challenged Chin to a debate outside JPL (he declined), Zapp said. From there, Coppedge escalated the converstion by demanding to know who his accusers were. Chin opted not to tell him and Coppedge said he felt it had become a “hostile work environment,” so a human resources investigation was launched, Zapp said.

People with a “shy and retiring” personality are just as capable of being harassing as anyone else.

What matters is what he DID.

The incomplete evidence to date seems to suggest that he disrupted the workplace in a selfish and inconsiderate way, that he was treated with great consideration and kindness, that competent and well-meaning efforts were made to help him improve, that he rejected such efforts with arrogance and hostility, and that even so, he wasn’t actually fired, but merely included in a round of lay-offs.

There are a great many people who are unemployed, or even homeless, who have better sys admin skills than he ever had, who would be delighted to have access to the opportunities he chose to wipe his anus with. His motivation for this behavior appears to have been a narcissistic insistence that his own eccentric ideas about “the universe”, apparently grounded in a fantasy that comes close to believing himself to be a god, were superior to the hard-won partial understanding of the universe that mainstream science has managed to achieve, through the hard work of people who have abilities, qualifications, and dedication that he could never hope to match.

Obviously he has psychological problems; however, removing him from his particular work role was probably the best thing that the JPL could do. His particular problems would be a major challenge for a trained therapist, even if he had the insight to seek help. JPL stands for “Jet Propulsion Laboratory” not “Institute for the Treatment of Intractable Personality Disorders, Including But Not Limited to Narcissism and Delusional Disorder”. The JPL is likely to be a place that is tolerant of social eccentricity and psychological issues, and they seem to have made an effort to help him, arguably erring significantly on the side of patience and efforts to rehabilitate - perhaps at the level of sys admin competence as well as interpersonal interaction. It didn’t work.

What he should do now is terminate this suit, terminate relationships with those who seek to exploit him, reach out apologetically to the people who tried to help him, and try rebuild his life, starting with time in a low pressure role that will give him the opportunity to pursue the therapy he seems to need.

None of this has anything to do with “religion”; I have worked with intensely religious people who were models of professionalism and application of science, including but not limited to active Mormons, and Jewish or Islamic people who were religious enough to wear special clothing.

THE PUBLIC HAS A RIGHT TO KNOW THAT INDIVIDUALS WERE MOTIVATED TO FALSELY AND MALICIOUSLY ACCUSE PLAINTIFF OF THE INVIDIOUS ACT OF HARASSMENT BECAUSE OF THEIR OWN RELIGIOUS VIEWS AND PERSPECTIVES, AND BECAUSE THEY FELT INTIMIDATED BY COPPEDGE’S STRONG RELIGIOUS CONVICTIONS DUE TO THEIR WEAK CONVICTIONS.

OBJECTION!!!!

WTH?? Your honor, the plaintiff’s counsel is attempting to lead the witnesses.

IANAL, but this seems to be way out there wrong. This isn’t actually even a question. It is an accusation, a statement and a conclusion.

I think the creationists know they are going to lose so they are simply going for maximum propaganda value.

I’m sure the case won’t turn on this, but it would seem to me that JPL might be justified in letting someone go who, although he performs his assigned duties competently, works on his own time to actively subvert the goals of JPL. Their goals must include discovering new knowledge about the solar system, and disseminating same–i.e., educating the public. Someone who works hard to convince the public that most of what JPL tells them is a LIE, or at least badly mistaken, doesn’t sound like someone JPL would be obligated to retain.

Wouldn’t Apple be justified in dumping an employee who maintained a blog devoted to trashing Apple products as junky, buggy, overpriced, and, oh yes, satanic?

Apple would not be justified in dumping an employee who trashed their products on a blog, it’s actually part of the employee contract not to make any comments whatsoever about products, good or bad. So, it’s written into the employment contract that employees sign, just like the intellectual property waiver.

JPL probably doesn’t have something similar so the same condition would not apply. Obviously, JPL didn’t care about what Coppedge did on his own time and I’m sure Creation-Evolution Headlines was not a big secret.

I thought it was obscene that employees of mine were in a bowling league but there was nothing I could do about it so long as they didn’t set up 10 pins in the computer room.

Just Bob said:

I’m sure the case won’t turn on this, but it would seem to me that JPL might be justified in letting someone go who, although he performs his assigned duties competently, works on his own time to actively subvert the goals of JPL. Their goals must include discovering new knowledge about the solar system, and disseminating same–i.e., educating the public. Someone who works hard to convince the public that most of what JPL tells them is a LIE, or at least badly mistaken, doesn’t sound like someone JPL would be obligated to retain.

Wouldn’t Apple be justified in dumping an employee who maintained a blog devoted to trashing Apple products as junky, buggy, overpriced, and, oh yes, satanic?

But he was an IT expert. He was there to work on the computer equipment and networks. He was not in a position to speak for JPL science.

I am a bit confused about his employment history though. I have read where he was with JPL for 15 years but was not employed by JPL until about 2003. How can that be? Was he a support contractor before he was hired by JPL. If so, JPL should have know what they were getting when they hired him in 2003. What were they thinking???

Doc Bill said:

Apple would not be justified in dumping an employee who trashed their products on a blog, it’s actually part of the employee contract not to make any comments whatsoever about products, good or bad.

NOT? Umm, doesn’t your second clause exactly contradict the first?

Just Bob said:

I’m sure the case won’t turn on this, but it would seem to me that JPL might be justified in letting someone go who, although he performs his assigned duties competently, works on his own time to actively subvert the goals of JPL. Their goals must include discovering new knowledge about the solar system, and disseminating same–i.e., educating the public. Someone who works hard to convince the public that most of what JPL tells them is a LIE, or at least badly mistaken, doesn’t sound like someone JPL would be obligated to retain.

Wouldn’t Apple be justified in dumping an employee who maintained a blog devoted to trashing Apple products as junky, buggy, overpriced, and, oh yes, satanic?

I am reminded of the case at Woods Hole: (http://ncse.com/news/2008/05/creati[…]issed-001667).

alicejohn said:

But he was an IT expert. He was there to work on the computer equipment and networks. He was not in a position to speak for JPL science.

That’s sort of my point. He took it upon himself to speak AGAINST JPL science. I don’t know this, but I’d wager that he made it clear in his blog that he WAS a JPL employee, thereby taking on, by implication, some of the perceived authority of JPL.

Sort of like creationists having a “Cornell conference.”

If I was a conspiracy theorist, I would think JPL was set up:

1) JPL had been telling everyone lots of people would be let go in two years. 2) Coppedge finally pushes his fellow employees and management to the point where they have to push back. 3) A year later he files a suit knowing he was going to be layed off the next year. 4) When he is finally layed off, he has established a record of “persecution” by JPL.

Why? To become a big man within the ID circles so he can make money, money, money.

DS said:

…he was ascared. … Man, I always seem to be right. :)

Well, except when you have a Freudian spelling slip! But like most Freudian slips, this one has truth behind it. I think that it should be spelled differently, though.

asscared: scared because “he knew he was going to get his ass handed to him”

John said:

SLC said:

Karen S. said:

Dembski’s testimony at Kitzmiller / Dover is more pathetic than that…he did escape. Behe’s testimony was pathetic, but Dembski’s cowardice pegged the pathetic meter.

And Dembski used to fantasize about having the “Darwinists” on the witness stand. He even had a Darwin doll with its head in a vise.

Actually, the plaintiffs in Dover had lined up Prof. Jeffrey Shallit to refute anything that Dumbski might say in his testimony. I’m quite sure that Dumbski begged off knowing that he would be in over his head in going up against Shallit.

No, Dembski begged off when he learned that his attorney, John Gilmore, couldn’t participate as part of the defense team. He’s tangled with Shallit and Elsberry before, and dealt with their mathematically rigorous critiques by either ignoring them or engaging in character assassinations.

IMHO, that was an excuse. In court testimony, he could have been held in contempt if he attempted to engage in character assassination.

BTW Bill Dembski has shown no hesitation to lie, as demonstrated in this online debate he had with Genie Scott over a eleven years ago (As an aside, as the moderator of the AMNH ID debate, Genie was especially courteous to Behe and Dembski, noting that she had to be as impartial as possible.):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oav_[…]ature=relmfu

So if you think debating (or appearing in court with) Shallit and Elsberrry would have frightened the ever devious Dembski, then please disabuse yourself of such a notion.

John said:

Karen S. said:

I was at that debate at the AMNH, and I’m surprised Dembski walked out alive. Robert Pennock creamed him. No wonder Dembski wouldn’t testify at Dover!

Pennock’s elegant takedown of Dembski wasn’t the motivating factor, Karen S. Dembski skipped town when he - and the DI - were refused permission to have their attorneys present as part of the defense team (I believe Judge Jones made that decision.).

John, I don’t think that was even up to Judge Jones. As I recall it was limited to a dispute between the TMLC (defense counsel firm) and the DI attorneys. (You can check for yourself on the wikipedia page and NCSE pages regarding Kitzmiller v. Dover.)

What Judge Jones did refuse was the amicus brief(s) from the DI. The reason, as I recall, was that it was essentially a rehash of what Dembski wanted to say in deposition. The reason he refused the amicus briefs was it would be as if allowing the DI and Dembski to have their say while at the same time avoiding cross examination by the plaintiffs attorneys. Again for more details you will have to refer to the trial documents and/or summaries.

David said:

John said:

Karen S. said:

I was at that debate at the AMNH, and I’m surprised Dembski walked out alive. Robert Pennock creamed him. No wonder Dembski wouldn’t testify at Dover!

Pennock’s elegant takedown of Dembski wasn’t the motivating factor, Karen S. Dembski skipped town when he - and the DI - were refused permission to have their attorneys present as part of the defense team (I believe Judge Jones made that decision.).

John, I don’t think that was even up to Judge Jones. As I recall it was limited to a dispute between the TMLC (defense counsel firm) and the DI attorneys. (You can check for yourself on the wikipedia page and NCSE pages regarding Kitzmiller v. Dover.)

What Judge Jones did refuse was the amicus brief(s) from the DI. The reason, as I recall, was that it was essentially a rehash of what Dembski wanted to say in deposition. The reason he refused the amicus briefs was it would be as if allowing the DI and Dembski to have their say while at the same time avoiding cross examination by the plaintiffs attorneys. Again for more details you will have to refer to the trial documents and/or summaries.

You may be right about this David, but I would have to check my copy of Edward Humes’s “Monkey Girl” when I have a chance (It remains the best, most comprehensive, account of the Kitzmiller vs. Dover trial.).

David said: John, I don’t think that was even up to Judge Jones. As I recall it was limited to a dispute between the TMLC (defense counsel firm) and the DI attorneys. (You can check for yourself on the wikipedia page and NCSE pages regarding Kitzmiller v. Dover.)

Surprisingly, NCSE gives only a terse timeline, not indicating at all why Dembski et al. opted to opt out of testifying. As for Wikipedia, there is no article on the trial itself, nor would I rely upon it for accuracy (e. g. Dembski’s Wikipedia biography mentions that one of his sons is autistic. I believe it’s his daughter if my memory is correct.).

I’ll check in a sec (just started re-reading “Devil in Dover” and was going to follow that with “Monkey Girl”), but I believe the original story was that Dembski and the rest of the withdrawing Disco Dance Troop did so because TMLC refused to allow them to have their personal attorneys present during deposition. (Nick Matzke did a great transcript of the squabble between Disco and TMLC here.)

According to that fount of all information (mis- and otherwise), Wikipedia, an article in the Seattle Times here states that: “Chapman said he asked Discovery fellows not to testify in the Dover case. But Scott Minnich, a microbiologist, and Michael Behe, a biochemistry professor, did and were asked in court who they thought the designer was.” (bolding added by me) Aside from throwing about how “nuanced” testimony in case was, Mr. Chapman doesn’t really explain why he asked them not to testify. Although I do suppose that, “You’ll get your butt handed to you on a platter” is about as good an unspoken reason as most.

John said:

BTW Bill Dembski has shown no hesitation to lie, as demonstrated in this online debate he had with Genie Scott over a eleven years ago (As an aside, as the moderator of the AMNH ID debate, Genie was especially courteous to Behe and Dembski, noting that she had to be as impartial as possible.):

So if you think debating (or appearing in court with) Shallit and Elsberrry would have frightened the ever devious Dembski, then please disabuse yourself of such a notion.

Not to beat this to death but it is my information that Shallit would have been called as a rebuttal witness to refute anything Dumbski said as well as providing the plaintiff’s attorneys with cross examination material, based on Dumbski’s testimony on direct. Mr. Kwok must realize that there is a considerable difference between engaging in a debate and testifying in court. IMHO, Dumbski made the right call, based on what happened to Behe whose scientific reputation, such as it was, was decimated by the cross examination.

SLC said:

John said:

BTW Bill Dembski has shown no hesitation to lie, as demonstrated in this online debate he had with Genie Scott over a eleven years ago (As an aside, as the moderator of the AMNH ID debate, Genie was especially courteous to Behe and Dembski, noting that she had to be as impartial as possible.):

So if you think debating (or appearing in court with) Shallit and Elsberrry would have frightened the ever devious Dembski, then please disabuse yourself of such a notion.

Not to beat this to death but it is my information that Shallit would have been called as a rebuttal witness to refute anything Dumbski said as well as providing the plaintiff’s attorneys with cross examination material, based on Dumbski’s testimony on direct. Mr. Kwok must realize that there is a considerable difference between engaging in a debate and testifying in court. IMHO, Dumbski made the right call, based on what happened to Behe whose scientific reputation, such as it was, was decimated by the cross examination.

SLC, I am well aware of that and Shallit did not testify as Dembski’s rebuttal witness since Dembski withdrew as noted here:

http://ncse.com/creationism/legal/e[…]rt-witnesses

But I think you are putting a spin on Dembski’s rationale for not participating when he requested the presence of his personal attorney, John Gilmore, and the DI, theirs, but were rebuffed. Let’s just stick with the facts and not mire ourselves in conjecture, even when there may be some plausibility to such conjecture.

Slight cross-post with the next thread, but there IS a trial transcript on the discussion over why Dembski, Campbell, and Meyer didn’t testify. It was the second part of the July 14 pretrial hearing.

Though that isn’t the funnest part of that particular day’s dicussion. The most amusing bit is when FTE’s head, Buell, says the FTE has no religious purpose (in publishing OPAP). Then the crossing attorney pulls up FTE’s IRS form, which states FTE’s ‘primary exempt purpose’ for being a tax-exempt entity is publishing books promoting Christianity. Buell, ignoring the first rule of holes, then proceeds to tell the judge that he didn’t approve that description - or the incorporation paperwork that says the same thing - and that all that stuff about promoting Christianity was just boilerplate done up by lawyers so he could get nonprofit status!!!

Maybe they should apply for nonprophet status?

eric said:

Slight cross-post with the next thread, but there IS a trial transcript on the discussion over why Dembski, Campbell, and Meyer didn’t testify. It was the second part of the July 14 pretrial hearing.

Though that isn’t the funnest part of that particular day’s dicussion. The most amusing bit is when FTE’s head, Buell, says the FTE has no religious purpose (in publishing OPAP). Then the crossing attorney pulls up FTE’s IRS form, which states FTE’s ‘primary exempt purpose’ for being a tax-exempt entity is publishing books promoting Christianity. Buell, ignoring the first rule of holes, then proceeds to tell the judge that he didn’t approve that description - or the incorporation paperwork that says the same thing - and that all that stuff about promoting Christianity was just boilerplate done up by lawyers so he could get nonprofit status!!!

Thanks for the reminder, eric. Anyone who hasn’t read RBH’s latest post (the next thread) will find John Pieret’s commentary especially noteworthy.

John said:

SLC said:

John said:

BTW Bill Dembski has shown no hesitation to lie, as demonstrated in this online debate he had with Genie Scott over a eleven years ago (As an aside, as the moderator of the AMNH ID debate, Genie was especially courteous to Behe and Dembski, noting that she had to be as impartial as possible.):

So if you think debating (or appearing in court with) Shallit and Elsberrry would have frightened the ever devious Dembski, then please disabuse yourself of such a notion.

Not to beat this to death but it is my information that Shallit would have been called as a rebuttal witness to refute anything Dumbski said as well as providing the plaintiff’s attorneys with cross examination material, based on Dumbski’s testimony on direct. Mr. Kwok must realize that there is a considerable difference between engaging in a debate and testifying in court. IMHO, Dumbski made the right call, based on what happened to Behe whose scientific reputation, such as it was, was decimated by the cross examination.

SLC, I am well aware of that and Shallit did not testify as Dembski’s rebuttal witness since Dembski withdrew as noted here:

http://ncse.com/creationism/legal/e[…]rt-witnesses

But I think you are putting a spin on Dembski’s rationale for not participating when he requested the presence of his personal attorney, John Gilmore, and the DI, theirs, but were rebuffed. Let’s just stick with the facts and not mire ourselves in conjecture, even when there may be some plausibility to such conjecture.

I don’t want to play lawyer here but it seems rather unusual for an expert witness to demand that his/her own lawyer be present for either a deposition or during his/her testimony. For instance, in the OJ Simpson trial, there were a number of expert witnesses that testified for both sides and none of them, AFAIK, had a lawyer representing them in the court during their testimony. I don’t see why a civil proceeding should be any different. This is why I have the suspicion that Dumbski was using this demand as an excuse not to testify. This after he bragged about how he was going to apply the vise to the experts on the other side and squeeze them.

SLC said:

John said:

SLC said:

John said:

BTW Bill Dembski has shown no hesitation to lie, as demonstrated in this online debate he had with Genie Scott over a eleven years ago (As an aside, as the moderator of the AMNH ID debate, Genie was especially courteous to Behe and Dembski, noting that she had to be as impartial as possible.):

So if you think debating (or appearing in court with) Shallit and Elsberrry would have frightened the ever devious Dembski, then please disabuse yourself of such a notion.

Not to beat this to death but it is my information that Shallit would have been called as a rebuttal witness to refute anything Dumbski said as well as providing the plaintiff’s attorneys with cross examination material, based on Dumbski’s testimony on direct. Mr. Kwok must realize that there is a considerable difference between engaging in a debate and testifying in court. IMHO, Dumbski made the right call, based on what happened to Behe whose scientific reputation, such as it was, was decimated by the cross examination.

SLC, I am well aware of that and Shallit did not testify as Dembski’s rebuttal witness since Dembski withdrew as noted here:

http://ncse.com/creationism/legal/e[…]rt-witnesses

But I think you are putting a spin on Dembski’s rationale for not participating when he requested the presence of his personal attorney, John Gilmore, and the DI, theirs, but were rebuffed. Let’s just stick with the facts and not mire ourselves in conjecture, even when there may be some plausibility to such conjecture.

I don’t want to play lawyer here but it seems rather unusual for an expert witness to demand that his/her own lawyer be present for either a deposition or during his/her testimony. For instance, in the OJ Simpson trial, there were a number of expert witnesses that testified for both sides and none of them, AFAIK, had a lawyer representing them in the court during their testimony. I don’t see why a civil proceeding should be any different. This is why I have the suspicion that Dumbski was using this demand as an excuse not to testify. This after he bragged about how he was going to apply the vise to the experts on the other side and squeeze them.

That seems plausible. After all, you know that the opposing side is gong to call their own experts for rebuttal of any “expert witness” testimony. They are absolutely going to say that you are wrong, they have to, that’s what they are there for. However, there are no consequences for an “expert witness” if he is shown to be in error. After all, all he is providing is his “expert” opinion. Why would any “expert witness” ever need a lawyer, let alone his own separate lawyer? It might have been just an excuse to get out of the very humiliation that Behe suffered, although he doesn’t seem to realize it.

On the other hand, if he was planning on committing perjury under oath, if he was planning on being deliberately deceitful. if he was planning on doing something that could get him charged with obstruction of justice or contempt, then you would want a lawyer and maybe even your own lawyer present.

Either way, choosing not to testify was pathetic. Choosing to keep the money was even more pathetic.

SLC said: He found Velikovsky to be very intelligent and totally ignorant of physics.

I vaguely recall something like that being said about Phillip Johnson, godfather of intelligent design creationism. He was a UC Berkeley law professor, very intelligent about the law and totally ignorant of biology.

DS said:

SLC said:

John said:

SLC said:

John said:

BTW Bill Dembski has shown no hesitation to lie, as demonstrated in this online debate he had with Genie Scott over a eleven years ago (As an aside, as the moderator of the AMNH ID debate, Genie was especially courteous to Behe and Dembski, noting that she had to be as impartial as possible.):

So if you think debating (or appearing in court with) Shallit and Elsberrry would have frightened the ever devious Dembski, then please disabuse yourself of such a notion.

Not to beat this to death but it is my information that Shallit would have been called as a rebuttal witness to refute anything Dumbski said as well as providing the plaintiff’s attorneys with cross examination material, based on Dumbski’s testimony on direct. Mr. Kwok must realize that there is a considerable difference between engaging in a debate and testifying in court. IMHO, Dumbski made the right call, based on what happened to Behe whose scientific reputation, such as it was, was decimated by the cross examination.

SLC, I am well aware of that and Shallit did not testify as Dembski’s rebuttal witness since Dembski withdrew as noted here:

http://ncse.com/creationism/legal/e[…]rt-witnesses

But I think you are putting a spin on Dembski’s rationale for not participating when he requested the presence of his personal attorney, John Gilmore, and the DI, theirs, but were rebuffed. Let’s just stick with the facts and not mire ourselves in conjecture, even when there may be some plausibility to such conjecture.

I don’t want to play lawyer here but it seems rather unusual for an expert witness to demand that his/her own lawyer be present for either a deposition or during his/her testimony. For instance, in the OJ Simpson trial, there were a number of expert witnesses that testified for both sides and none of them, AFAIK, had a lawyer representing them in the court during their testimony. I don’t see why a civil proceeding should be any different. This is why I have the suspicion that Dumbski was using this demand as an excuse not to testify. This after he bragged about how he was going to apply the vise to the experts on the other side and squeeze them.

That seems plausible. After all, you know that the opposing side is gong to call their own experts for rebuttal of any “expert witness” testimony. They are absolutely going to say that you are wrong, they have to, that’s what they are there for. However, there are no consequences for an “expert witness” if he is shown to be in error. After all, all he is providing is his “expert” opinion. Why would any “expert witness” ever need a lawyer, let alone his own separate lawyer? It might have been just an excuse to get out of the very humiliation that Behe suffered, although he doesn’t seem to realize it.

On the other hand, if he was planning on committing perjury under oath, if he was planning on being deliberately deceitful. if he was planning on doing something that could get him charged with obstruction of justice or contempt, then you would want a lawyer and maybe even your own lawyer present.

Either way, choosing not to testify was pathetic. Choosing to keep the money was even more pathetic.

It wasn’t only Dembski who requested his own attorney, so did his other DI associates. But it was utterly reprehensible for Dembski to keep the money that was billed to the Dover Area School District board. IMHO that really amounted to theft.

John said:

It wasn’t only Dembski who requested his own attorney, so did his other DI associates. But it was utterly reprehensible for Dembski to keep the money that was billed to the Dover Area School District board. IMHO that really amounted to theft.

Do you know if the others kept the money? Were they deposed? Maybe they were all planning on telling the same lies, you know, just to make it look like a scientific consensus.

DS said:

John said:

It wasn’t only Dembski who requested his own attorney, so did his other DI associates. But it was utterly reprehensible for Dembski to keep the money that was billed to the Dover Area School District board. IMHO that really amounted to theft.

Do you know if the others kept the money? Were they deposed? Maybe they were all planning on telling the same lies, you know, just to make it look like a scientific consensus.

To the best of my knowledge, it was only Dembski who kept the money. But IMHO it’s modus operandi for him considering that he’s also done the following:

1) Falsely accused eminent University of Texas ecologist Eric Pianka of being a potential bioterrorist to the Federal Department of Homeland Security in 2006 after hearing from fellow creotard Forrest Mims that Pianka had addresed the Texas Academy of Sciences, suggesting that Planet Earth’s biodiversity would be better off if humanity became extinct due to an Ebola virus-like plague (Pianka was questioned by Homeland Security agents.).

2) All but admit that he stole a XVIVO-produced Harvard University cell animation video that also wound up in an early cut of “Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed” (Ample credit is due to science blogger Abbie Smith for spotting this video when Dembski lectured in the Fall of 2007 at the University of Oklahoma.).

3) Had Amazon delete a harsh, but accurate, review of a book he co-wrote with Jonathan Wells that I wrote in December, 2007 until I issued him an e-mail ultimatum to have it restored within twenty four hours or else suffer the consequences. He had no choice but to relent.

DS said:

SLC said:

John said:

SLC said:

John said:

BTW Bill Dembski has shown no hesitation to lie, as demonstrated in this online debate he had with Genie Scott over a eleven years ago (As an aside, as the moderator of the AMNH ID debate, Genie was especially courteous to Behe and Dembski, noting that she had to be as impartial as possible.):

So if you think debating (or appearing in court with) Shallit and Elsberrry would have frightened the ever devious Dembski, then please disabuse yourself of such a notion.

Not to beat this to death but it is my information that Shallit would have been called as a rebuttal witness to refute anything Dumbski said as well as providing the plaintiff’s attorneys with cross examination material, based on Dumbski’s testimony on direct. Mr. Kwok must realize that there is a considerable difference between engaging in a debate and testifying in court. IMHO, Dumbski made the right call, based on what happened to Behe whose scientific reputation, such as it was, was decimated by the cross examination.

SLC, I am well aware of that and Shallit did not testify as Dembski’s rebuttal witness since Dembski withdrew as noted here:

http://ncse.com/creationism/legal/e[…]rt-witnesses

But I think you are putting a spin on Dembski’s rationale for not participating when he requested the presence of his personal attorney, John Gilmore, and the DI, theirs, but were rebuffed. Let’s just stick with the facts and not mire ourselves in conjecture, even when there may be some plausibility to such conjecture.

I don’t want to play lawyer here but it seems rather unusual for an expert witness to demand that his/her own lawyer be present for either a deposition or during his/her testimony. For instance, in the OJ Simpson trial, there were a number of expert witnesses that testified for both sides and none of them, AFAIK, had a lawyer representing them in the court during their testimony. I don’t see why a civil proceeding should be any different. This is why I have the suspicion that Dumbski was using this demand as an excuse not to testify. This after he bragged about how he was going to apply the vise to the experts on the other side and squeeze them.

That seems plausible. After all, you know that the opposing side is gong to call their own experts for rebuttal of any “expert witness” testimony. They are absolutely going to say that you are wrong, they have to, that’s what they are there for. However, there are no consequences for an “expert witness” if he is shown to be in error. After all, all he is providing is his “expert” opinion. Why would any “expert witness” ever need a lawyer, let alone his own separate lawyer? It might have been just an excuse to get out of the very humiliation that Behe suffered, although he doesn’t seem to realize it.

On the other hand, if he was planning on committing perjury under oath, if he was planning on being deliberately deceitful. if he was planning on doing something that could get him charged with obstruction of justice or contempt, then you would want a lawyer and maybe even your own lawyer present.

Either way, choosing not to testify was pathetic. Choosing to keep the money was even more pathetic.

If Dembski was planning on committing perjury, he would have to be profoundly stupid to think that having a lawyer present would provide any protection. In fact, the first thing any lawyer worth his salt would tell him was don’t commit perjury.

I can understand the DI wanting their own lawyers. They were already trying to say that they never advocated teaching ID in the classroom. This was a lie as they had already met with members of the school board and produced a pamphlet on teaching ID. As the famous interview showed, this was causing some friction between the DI and TMLC. If I was the DI I would have been worried that the TMLC would throw me under the bus for giving the School Board bad advice.

As for Dembski I think that the timing of his withdrawal is too neat not to be caused by fear of being on the stand.

Ohh fun times.

IMHO, all the IDiots are in on the scam: Behe, Wells, Dembski, Meyer and the rest. They know it’s all bullshit and they are professional bullshitters. I always recommend Harry Frankfurt’s book, “On Bullshit,” to really understand the art form as opposed to liars for Jesus like David Barton; different animals altogether.

A bullshitter works best either among fellow bullshitters, which explains why IDiot conferences are closed affairs, or among “marks” (not Robert who, himself, is a bullshitter) who don’t know any better and listen with rapt attention.

I know from experience as a bullshitter, myself, that the worst situation to be in is with a knowledgeable person who calls you on it. Then it’s time to exit stage left. Nothing like a few inconvenient facts to ruin a good story.

And that’s what Dembski faced at Kitzmiller. Barbara “Doc Holiday” Forrest came into the saloon, the party was over and the monkey was dead.

Fortunately for all involved, Behe turned out to be a bullshitter, an IDiot and a real idiot such that his idiocy shielded him from any awareness that he had been eviscerated on the stand, remarking outside later that day, “I think that went very well.”

Now that’s chutzpah!

Doc Bill said: Fortunately for all involved, Behe turned out to be a bullshitter, an IDiot and a real idiot such that his idiocy shielded him from any awareness that he had been eviscerated on the stand, remarking outside later that day, “I think that went very well.”

Now that’s chutzpah!

To this day, Behe thinks the audience wasn’t laughing at him and Dembski during the 2002 American Museum of Natural History Intelligent Design debate. Karen S. and I would strongly beg to differ, since we were both in attendance.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Nick Matzke published on March 15, 2012 6:39 PM.

Coppedge vs. JPL – discussion thread was the previous entry in this blog.

Your reward system is more primitive than you thought is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.

Categories

Archives

Author Archives

Powered by Movable Type 4.381

Site Meter