Dembski on Forrest

Has Forrest ever debated or had a substantive exchange with any ID proponent?


Ironically, last year around this time she published an essay in which she called me a coward.

Let’s look at the context and see if we can answer Dembski’s question.

These tactics by DeWolf and Dembski highlight the bankruptcy of ID and the blustering cowardice of its leaders, who must capture support with brazen deceit and sarcastic punditry. The trial was Dembski’s moment to shine, to explain on the legal record why ID is a “full scale scientific revolution,” as he wrote in The Design Revolution (InterVarsity Press, 2004, p. 19). Instead, plaintiffs’ witness Robert Pennock read to Judge Jones Dembski’s statement regarding ID’s revolutionary status — and then dismantled it. Ironically, Dembski had his arch-critics right where he wanted us — on the witness stand and under oath. He could have been there, implementing his strategy, helping to “squeeze the truth” out of us, “as it were.” In November 2005, after the trial ended, Dembski posted on his “Design Inference” website a pdf made from his May 11 and 16, 2005, “vise strategy” blog pages, labeled as a “Document prepared to assist the Thomas More Law Center in interrogating the ACLU’s expert witnesses in the Dover case.” He appended a list of “Suggested Questions,” which, he wrote, “will constitute a steel trap that leave the Darwinists no room to escape.” But when he had an opportunity to witness firsthand how his trap would operate, he was nowhere to be found. He “escaped critical scrutiny” by quitting rather than face cross-examination. He is apparently $20,000 richer for it, however, marking yet another difference between us: whereas I served pro bono, Dembski charged $200 per hour and threatened to sue TMLC for payment for 100 hours of work he claims to have done prior to quitting.

After ID’s dramatic, unequivocal defeat in Kitzmiller, Dembski’s priorities remained remarkably consistent: “This galvanizes the Christian community. . . . People I’m talking to say we’re going to be raising a whole lot more funds now.” [70] If failure is that lucrative, one can only imagine how well-remunerated he and his ID colleagues would be if they could tell the truth and back up their claims about “intelligent design theory.”

The “Vise Strategy” Undone: Kitzmiller et al. v. Dover Area School District By Barbara Forrest

In other words, Forrest showed up to testify and the outcome of the trial shows how her contributions were instrumental in demolishing the case and exposing the religious foundations of the Intelligent Design movement.

Quite a substantial contribution

Yet, like Dembski, Meyer, and Campbell, neither DeWolf nor Cooper was anywhere in sight when they had a chance to defend ID in court.

And that is the rest of the story. Yes, ID is rightly afraid of the formidable lady as the following excerpt shows

After Forrest had been deposed, the TMLC tried but failed to have her stopped from testifying. In a motion to have her removed as a witness, they described her as “little more than a conspiracy theorist and a web-surfing, ‘cyber-stalker’ of the Discovery Institute…”[1][2] Judge Jones denied the motion and Forrest’s testimony began October 5th.

According to Forrest, after the TMLC’s attempt to exclude her as a witness had failed, and only a few days before she would be testifying, the Discovery Institute attempted to publicly ridicule her on their website. She wrote, “On September 29, I noticed that DI had posted a transcript of an interview I had done— except that I hadn’t done it. The transcript was fake. Apparently meant (though not marked) as a parody, the organization whose self-described goal is ‘to support high quality scholarship . . . relevant to the question of evidence for intelligent design in nature’ ridiculed me by, among other things, having fictitious radio host ‘Marvin Waldburger’ refer to me as ‘Dr. Barking Forrest Ph.D.’ If DI thought this would unsettle me, they were ignoring the fact that I had just been through two killer hurricanes. I could only shake my head at their doing something so jaw-droppingly stupid. If they were hoping Judge Jones would see and be influenced by this silliness, it was just another sign of the disrespect for his intelligence and integrity that began before the trial and continues today.”[3]

During her testimony the defense would again ask the court to exclude Forrest from testifying as expert witness. Judge Jones allowed them to present their case for dismissing her and then denied their request. Forrest would go on to testify on the religious origins and nature of the intelligent design movement, the wedge document, and also demonstrated that the drafts of the textbook at the center of the court case Of Pandas and People, substituted terms such as “intelligent design” and “intelligent designer” in place of “creationism” and “creator” in an attempt to circumvent the ruling in the Edwards v. Aguillard which determined that teaching creationism in public schools violated the Establishment Clause of the United States constitution. Her testimony had a significant impact on Judge Jones’s decision.


On Dispatches from the Culture War, Ed Brayton similarly concludes

As for being afraid of Barbara Forrest, one need only look at the incredible lengths the defense went to in the Dover trial to keep her off the witness stand. You see, Bill, Barbara did “mix it up” with the other side and she did so under oath. Guess what? She kicked your ass up one side and down the other. Her testimony was almost as devastating to the ID side as Michael Behe’s was.

Nuff said.