Dispatches from the Creation Wars

Larry Farma has left a long comment in response to my post about the DI’s claim that Judge Jones should not have ruled on the scientific status of ID in the Dover case. Because that post is getting old and the comment is so long, I figured it should be moved up top and responded to in its own post. I’ll go argument by argument, as usual.

Rule 702 and Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, Inc., discussed in preceding comments, concern only the rules for making a judgment of expert scientific testimony, and have nothing to do with determining when such a judgment should be made.

This is true, of course, but not terribly relevant. There can’t be any simple rule on when such a judgement should be made; the rule has to be “whenever such a judgement is relevant to the case and the legal matter at issue.” Given that the bulk of the defense strategy in this case was making the argument that because ID is a genuine scientific theory it isn’t inherently religious and therefore not subject to Edwards, the issue was absolutely relevant to the legal question at the core of the case.

(1) Judge Jones could have decided the case solely on the basis of the religious motivations of the former school board members — he could even have thrown out the case as moot because those members had been replaced by anti-ID members. He did not have to rule on the scientific merits of ID. Before the decision was released, the best legal experts in the country were not able to predict whether he would rule on the scientific merits of ID — so much for the idea that he was compelled to rule on that issue.

The fact that he could have ruled solely on one basis does not mean he was wrong to rule on both. Surely Mr. Farma knows that such complaints are usually filed with multiple grounds and the court may rule on one, some or all of them depending on both factual and legal considerations that arise during trial. As for the “best legal experts in the country”, this is little more than empty rhetoric. If Mr. Farma can quote from those experts and what they said before the ruling came down, I’ll be happy to look at it. But I followed this case very closely and read virtually every article that appeared in the media anywhere while it was going on and I don’t recall seeing much of anything in the way of predictions from the “best legal experts in the country.” I can tell you that the attorneys involved in the case were quite confident that he would rule on the question and so was nearly every one of the legal scholars I talked to about it (and there were many) during the trial. I’ll also note the irony that the same people who usually scream bloody murder about the vagueness of the purpose prong of the Lemon test are here suddenly arguing that only the purpose prong should have been considered.

(2) Judge Jones was generally careful to cite the procedural rules and precedents governing his Dover opinion, but this opinion does not mention Rule 702 or the Daubert case, showing that he probably did not know what rules he was supposed to follow regarding judging expert scientific testimony.

This is absurd. If you really think a Federal judge did not know about the Federal rules of evidence or the Daubert case, you’re nuts. Every 2nd year law student knows those things. I would suggest that the real reason he doesn’t bother to justify this particular part of his ruling is because, contrary to the silly claims of the DI, it’s not even a matter of controversy. Every precedent in the case considered that issue and ruled on it, both the plaintiffs and the defense made it the key to their legal cases, and it clearly was directly germane to the question at hand. The only ones raising a stink about this are people with a vested interest in seeing it come out the other way.

(3) The decision to join the plaintiffs in asking Jones to rule on the scientific merits of ID was made by the defendants and their attorneys from the Thomas More Law Center, not by the Discovery Institute.

This is both false and irrelevant. The DI sent their own fellows to make the argument; they could have refused to do so, of course. And it’s irrelevant because the DI’s argument in this regard is still wrong.

(4) One of the two amicus briefs submitted by the Discovery Institute actually asked Judge Jones to not rule on the scientific merits of ID. This first DI brief, submitted on behalf of 85 scientists, was admitted to the case file by Jones. The second DI amicus brief, DI’s own brief, was not admitted to the case file by Jones. This brief presumably argued that ID is science just in case Jones was going to rule on that issue. See “Amicus curiae filings” in http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kitzmiller_v._Dover_Area_School_District_trial_documents

Not quite true. The DI’s brief was initially rejected for two reasons. First, because it included all of the expert testimony of William Dembski, who was withdrawn as a witness. The judge agreed with the plaintiff’s argument that you cannot allow in expert testimony that is not subject to cross examination. Second, because the DI had filed the brief improperly. He did, however, allow the DI to file an amended brief and request and they did so. But the real reply here is “so what?”. Yes, the DI said from the beginning that they didn’t want the judge to rule on the scientific status of ID; that does not mean that the judge shouldn’t have ruled on that question, it just means the DI didn’t want him to.

(5) Judge Jones did not have to rule on the question of ID as science just because both sides asked him to.

Not solely because of that, no, but it would have been highly unusual for him not to do so for several reasons. First, because this question was clearly germane to the legal question. The crux of the defense’s position was that ID is not a religious idea because it is, instead, a genuine scientific theory. That was the centerpiece of their entire case, without which they had no case left. Second, because the precedents all involved answering that same question. It would have been very, very strange had the judge chosen to ignore the bulk of argument from both sides in the case when those arguments were on the same issue that the higher court precedents considered and ruled on.

(6) A very, very important issue is the degree of scrutiny that should be used in judging scientific merit. In the Daubert v. Merrell Pharmaceuticals case, a huge amount of dollars of liability hinged on the issue of the validity of expert testimony that a drug likely caused birth defects, so the courts had be sure that this testimony was nearly airtight. However, in the Dover case, all Judge Jones had to do to allow ID into public-school science classrooms was just rule that ID has just a little scientific merit. In the Daubert case, the judgment of scientific merit was used to determine liability for damages, but in the Dover case the judgment of scientific merit was used to determine existence of secular purpose. There is a huge difference.

But not a relevant difference that speaks to the question of whether the judge should have ruled on this question. And you’re wrong that all Jones had to do to allow ID in was to determine that ID had “just a little scientific merit”. The precedents clearly stated that as long as the idea advances and endorses the notion of a supernatural creator, it is inherently religious in nature, so that would trigger the effect prong of the Lemon test, and of course the purpose prong is still alive as well.

(7) In Edwards v. Aguillard, there was no decision regarding the scientific merits of creation science. Because the expert witnesses offered on the side of creation science had not participated in the enactment or implementation of the law in question, the Supreme Court ruled, “The District Court, in its discretion, properly concluded that a ‘ Monday-morning battle of the experts ‘ over possible technical meanings of terms in the statute would not illuminate the contemporaneous purpose of the Louisiana Legislature when it made the law.”

It’s true that the court in Edwards relied primarily on the purpose prong, but this doesn’t mean much unless “creation science” is inherently religious. If it is scientific rather than religious then mandating it in schools does not advance religion. The equation of creation science with an explicitly religious viewpoint was absolutely a part of the court’s analysis in Edwards. The Court held:

The preeminent purpose of the Louisiana Legislature was clearly to advance the religious viewpoint that a supernatural being created humankind. The term “creation science” was defined as embracing this particular religious doctrine by those responsible for the passage of the Creationism Act. Senator Keith’s leading expert on creation science, Edward Boudreaux, testified at the legislative hearings that the theory of creation science included belief in the existence of a supernatural creator. See 1 App. E-421 == E-422 (noting that “creation scientists” point to high probability that life was “created by an intelligent mind”). Senator Keith also cited testimony from other experts to support the creation-science view that “a creator [was] responsible for the universe and everything in it.” 2 App. E-497. The legislative history therefore reveals that the term “creation science,” as contemplated by the legislature that adopted this Act, embodies the religious belief that a supernatural creator was responsible for the creation of humankind.

Thus, according to the precedent that Judge Jones was bound to follow, as long as ID involved a “supernatural creator”, that was enough to make it a religious belief and therefore trigger the effect prong of the Lemon test as well as the purpose prong.

(8)The McLean v. Arkansas Board of Education opinion did not rule that evolution is a science, but only ruled that evolution is not a religion. This opinion said in Sec. V(C), ” Assuming for the purposes of argument, however, that evolution is a religion or religious tenet, the remedy is to stop the teaching of evolution, not establish another religion in opposition to it. Yet it is clearly established in the case law, and perhaps also in common sense, that evolution is not a religion and that teaching evolution does not violate the Establishment Clause ….”

I have no idea why this is at all relevant to this discussion. The scientific status of evolution was not in question in this case, only the scientific status of ID was in question.

Judge Jones is a megalomaniac who wanted to earn a big name in history as the judge who scuttled ID. I think that his decision has backfired, as it looks like he has earned a place in infamy as one of the most activist judges in American history.

*yawn* More inflated and absurd rhetoric without any justification. Given the weakness of your arguments above, I would tone down such statements to what you can justify.

Comments

  1. #1 John Pieret
    January 30, 2006

    A very, very important issue is the degree of scrutiny that should be used in judging scientific merit. In the Daubert v. Merrell Pharmaceuticals case, a huge amount of dollars of liability hinged on the issue of the validity of expert testimony that a drug likely caused birth defects, so the courts had be sure that this testimony was nearly airtight.

    Money is more important than our constitutional rights?

    Judge Jones is a megalomaniac who wanted to earn a big name in history as the judge who scuttled ID. I think that his decision has backfired, as it looks like he has earned a place in infamy as one of the most activist judges in American history.

    My experience is that the people who get appointed to the Federal bench are rarely shrinking violets. But how that makes them “activist judges” is beyond me. That term, when used by conservatives, used to mean something like “the judge went way beyond the existing precedents.” Now it apparently means “the judge followed precedents I don’t like.”

  2. #2 Ginger Yellow
    January 30, 2006

    If you ask me the rhetoric about Jones isn’t aimed at us or him, but rather at Bush and future presidential candidates. They’re saying: “Don’t even think about promoting this guy or you’ve lost our vote.”

  3. #3 spyder
    January 30, 2006

    Ed, i so greatly admire your patience in arguing with “truthiness” whilst you could so easily just dismiss it as being the general absurdity that it is. Paul Craig Roberts’ CounterPunch piece over the weekend was quite revealing in this regard. Blind ignorance seems more likely to be a virus spread by those who must at all costs carve out supporting arguments for the “talking points” that they hold so dear and so close to their “hearts.” Thanks for all of your efforts to counter this virus and vaccinate us against it, as well as your patience.

    http://counterpunch.org/roberts01292006.html

  4. #4 Flint
    January 30, 2006

    Here we have a judge who spent six weeks collecting the facts by listening to testimony and cross-examination on both sides. Then he applied these facts to every relevant law and legal precedent, principle and test. And based on the facts, he found the Dover School Board unambiguously in violation of every single one of them, without exception.

    How anyone could possibly call this thoroughly exhaustive rubber-stamping of existing law “one of the most activist in American history” is simply stunning. I’m convinced creationists use as their scripture not the bible, but Orwell’s 1984. Ignorance is knowledge. Lies are truth. They have it down stone cold.

  5. #5 LarryFarma
    January 30, 2006

    Ed Brayton writes in the opening comment of this thread –
    *****I can tell you that the attorneys involved in the case were quite confident that he would rule on the question and so was nearly every one of the legal scholars I talked to about it (and there were many) during the trial.*****

    None of the news reports or discussions that I saw prior to release of the decision had any prediction of whether Judge Jones would rule on the scientific merits of irreducible complexity. Saying now that he was “compelled” to rule on that issue is just Monday-morning quarterbacking.

    *****If you really think a Federal judge did not know about the Federal rules of evidence or the Daubert case, you’re nuts. Every 2nd year law student knows those things.*****

    Apparently you did not read or absorb my reply to a rebuttal of my first message. Judge Jones should have mentioned the Daubert case just for the benefit of us peons who are not attorneys. He gave lengthy discussions of other precedents that are also familiar to 2nd year law students — he devoted pages 7-18 of the 139-page Dover opinion just to the discussion of precedents. It is reasonable to presume that Judge Jones was ignorant of the Daubert case.

    ****Every precedent in the case considered that issue and ruled on it, both the plaintiffs and the defense made it the key to their legal cases, and it clearly was directly germane to the question at hand.****

    The most important precedents in the case — e.g., Edwards v. Aguillard and McLean v. Arkansas Board of Education — preceded Daubert and hence could not have used Daubert as a basis for decision. Also, Edwards did not rule on the scientific merits of creation science because the expert witnesses offered in support of creation science had not participated in the enactment or implementation of the law in question.

    *****Not quite true. The DI’s brief was initially rejected for two reasons.*****

    I did not go into the reasons for the rejection of DI’s own brief. I only said that I presumed that it argued that ID is good science.

    ****Second, because the DI had filed the brief improperly.****

    Not true — Jones never said that the brief was improperly filed. It is OK to submit an amicus brief before getting permission from the judge, which is what DI did.

    *****(5) “Judge Jones did not have to rule on the question of ID as science just because both sides asked him to.”
    Not solely because of that, no, but it would have been highly unusual for him not to do so for several reasons.*****

    I would not have been surprised if Judge Jones had just thrown out the case as moot because the pro-ID school board members had been replaced by anti-ID members. In particular, ruling on the case after that replacement created great dilemmas in regard to an appeal. The courts have gone much farther than that in ducking cases. For example, before the Bakke case, the Supreme Court threw out the Marco DeFunis reverse-discrimination case as moot. And then there was one really big horror story: An environmental lawsuit was mistakenly filed without a required 60-days notice. This minor innocent error was corrected by giving the required 60-day notice and refiling the suit, but incredibly the court dismissed the suit because there was no 60-days notice the first time, and the Supreme Court upheld the dismissal ! ( I don’t know if the courts ever permitted refiling of that suit).

    *****And you’re wrong that all Jones had to do to allow ID in was to determine that ID had “just a little scientific merit”. The precedents clearly stated that as long as the idea advances and endorses the notion of a supernatural creator, it is inherently religious in nature, so that would trigger the effect prong of the Lemon test, and of course the purpose prong is still alive as well.****

    Ruling that ID has “just a little scientific merit” would have been a ruling that ID has a legitimate secular purpose. But the judge could have simply ruled that irreducible complexity is non-religious without ruling on its scientific merits, because irreducible complexity does not mention a supreme being, creationism, or anything else that has anything to do with religion. There is only a constitutional separation of church and state. There is no constitutional separation between the state and pseudoscience, bad science, unproven science, etc.. The use of the constitutional separation of church and state to ban the teaching of a competing scientific idea was never one of the intended purposes of that separation.

  6. #6 Flint
    January 30, 2006

    ****… irreducible complexity does not mention a supreme being, creationism, or anything else that has anything to do with religion.****

    As a matter of fact, Jones addressed this particular bald-faced lie quite directly, ruling that ID was functionally identical to “scientific creationism.” Larry, you keep forgetting that Judge Jones actually listened to the *facts*. He SAW the reference to “cdesign proponentsists”. He dismissed as a canard that dressing pure creationism up in a new name some changes what the name refers to.

    You are entirely correct in saying that the Constitution does nothing to forbid teaching arrant nonsense in public schools. What they can NOT teach is the “truth” of any particular religion. ID is religious doctrine. It is nothing else. It is 100% religious content, 0% scientific content. That’s what 6 weeks of testimony and cross-examination established beyond any further quibbling.

  7. #7 Ed Brayton
    January 30, 2006

    Larry Farma wrote:

    None of the news reports or discussions that I saw prior to release of the decision had any prediction of whether Judge Jones would rule on the scientific merits of irreducible complexity.

    The issue was the scientific status of ID, not the scientific merits of IC. And the fact that none of the news reports you saw had any prediction of whether he would rule on that subject is an entirely different statement from your earlier one, which was that “the best legal experts in the country were not able to predict whether he would.” Those are completely different statements. When was the last time you saw a news report about a district court trial with detailed predictions about how exactly the judge would rule? That sort of speculation just doesn’t happen unless it’s a Supreme Court case. So the fact that you didn’t see such predictions is entirely meaningless. The only ones I saw who even raised the question of whether the judge should rule on that particular issue were ID advocates; to everyone else, it was treated as a given that the judge would address the issue that dominated the strategies of both the defense and the plaintiffs. Probably 70% of the testimony in the case involved the scientific or religious status of ID. As I said, it would have been incredibly odd had the judge not ruled on the subject. Can you name a single prominent legal scholar not associated with the Discovery Institute who has said that the judge should not have ruled on that issue?

    Judge Jones should have mentioned the Daubert case just for the benefit of us peons who are not attorneys. He gave lengthy discussions of other precedents that are also familiar to 2nd year law students — he devoted pages 7-18 of the 139-page Dover opinion just to the discussion of precedents. It is reasonable to presume that Judge Jones was ignorant of the Daubert case.

    It’s not only not reasonable, it’s patently absurd. He devotes many pages to discussion of precedents on the primary legal issues; the question of whether it is constitutional for schools to teach religious alternatives to evolution in science classes. The question of how to evaluate scientific testimony is a minor procedural issue. Again, can you name any prominent legal scholar who has written about this opinion and is not connected to the DI who thinks he was wrong to rule on the scientific status of ID? With that being the single dominant issue in the case, with all of the precedents revolving around the distinction between scientific and religious alternatives to evolution, and with the entire defense strategy being based upon it, it was simply a given that the judge would rule on it. It would have been quite shocking if he had neglected to do so.

    The most important precedents in the case — e.g., Edwards v. Aguillard and McLean v. Arkansas Board of Education — preceded Daubert and hence could not have used Daubert as a basis for decision. Also, Edwards did not rule on the scientific merits of creation science because the expert witnesses offered in support of creation science had not participated in the enactment or implementation of the law in question.

    No one has claimed that he used Daubert specifically. Daubert was cited as an example of the fact – undenied entirely, I might add – that judges do have to determine what is and isn’t scientific on a routine basis in court. That fact is undeniable and it makes the DI’s assertion that judges have no business making such judgements sound like utter nonsense. Judges must make them and do make them all the time in a wide range of cases. Lastly, Edwards did rule directly on the scientific status – not merits – of creation science. I quoted the ruling to you directly and you appear to have ignored it. The ruling clearly says that because creation science posits a supernatural creator it is a religious belief, not a scientific theory, and hence it cannot be taught in public schools.

    I would not have been surprised if Judge Jones had just thrown out the case as moot because the pro-ID school board members had been replaced by anti-ID members. In particular, ruling on the case after that replacement created great dilemmas in regard to an appeal. The courts have gone much farther than that in ducking cases.

    This is an entirely different argument, but you’re still wrong. There was a series of articles after the school board election took place addressing the question of whether the election results would moot the proceedings. The consensus among legal scholars was that it would not and there was never any serious consideration that it would. Neither the defense nor the plaintiffs believed that the case was mooted by them, nor did the new school board attempt a motion to dismiss based upon that. Furthermore, the voluntary cessation doctrine says that “a defendant’s voluntary cessation of a challenged practice does not deprive a federal court of its power to determine the legality of the practice.” And in this case, there was no cessation because the new school board was not actually seated until after the ruling came down and didn’t rescind the policy until January.

    Ruling that ID has “just a little scientific merit” would have been a ruling that ID has a legitimate secular purpose. But the judge could have simply ruled that irreducible complexity is non-religious without ruling on its scientific merits, because irreducible complexity does not mention a supreme being, creationism, or anything else that has anything to do with religion.

    You continue to confuse irreducible complexity with ID. Irreducible complexity is a label given to one argument made by ID advocates, but it is not synonymous with ID. The issue in this case was, specifically, the nature of the book Of Pandas and People, within which irreducible complexity was but a single claim. And your first sentence here is incoherent. The question is not whether ID has a secular purpose – it is legislative actions that must have a secular purpose. In this case, the legislative action was the teaching of ID through the recommendation of the Pandas book. If that teaching endorses a religious position, then then it violates the effect prong; the purpose prong violation was based upon statements made by the school board members of their clear intent to “stand up for” Christianity by putting this alternative into science classes.

    There is only a constitutional separation of church and state. There is no constitutional separation between the state and pseudoscience, bad science, unproven science, etc.. The use of the constitutional separation of church and state to ban the teaching of a competing scientific idea was never one of the intended purposes of that separation.

    But as the ruling makes clear, ID is not merely bad science it is religious dogma wrapped up in scientific-sounding language. This is the same thing the court ruled in McLean and the same thing the court ruled in Edwards. The standard laid forth in Edwards was that if it invokes a supernatural creator as an explanation – and the evidence at the trial clearly proved that ID does so – then it is a religious idea and therefore forbidden. In order to follow precedent, the judge had to rule on that issue. The evidence in the case made it very easy and obvious that ID is religion, not science, by the criteria laid out by the Court previously.

  8. #8 LarryFarma
    January 31, 2006

    Ed Brayton posted January 30, 2006 10:28 PM —
    *****When was the last time you saw a news report about a district court trial with detailed predictions about how exactly the judge would rule? That sort of speculation just doesn’t happen unless it’s a Supreme Court case.****

    The Dover case got more publicity last year than any Supreme Court case except Kelo vs. New London, the eminent domain case, and Dover got much more pre-decision publicity than any Supreme Court case I can remember except Bakke. I hardly knew about Kelo before the decision.

    *****Probably 70% of the testimony in the case involved the scientific or religious status of ID. As I said, it would have been incredibly odd had the judge not ruled on the subject. ****

    That was because the plaintiffs brought a lot of expert witnesses into the case and because the defendants were forced to answer with witnesses of their own. And these expert witnesses were brought into the case before it was realized that the religious motivations of the school board members were enough reason to rule against the school board. The judge could have saved a lot of time and money if he had scheduled the expert witnesses to testify last and then said before their testimony, “I have heard enough — there is no need for expert testimony.”

    **** Can you name a single prominent legal scholar not associated with the Discovery Institute who has said that the judge should not have ruled on that issue?****

    The prominent legal scholars did not want to make a prediction before the decision because they were so unsure about whether the judge would rule on that issue. Anything they say now is just Monday-morning quarterbacking.

    ****The question of how to evaluate scientific testimony is a minor procedural issue.****

    “Minor” procedural issue ? Absolutely not. Court procedures are often critical in deciding a case. Daubert made major changes in how the federal courts are supposed to treat scientific evidence and expert scientific testimony.

    ****There was a series of articles after the school board election took place addressing the question of whether the election results would moot the proceedings. The consensus among legal scholars was that it would not and there was never any serious consideration that it would.*****

    The existence of the series of articles showed that someone seriously considered this question. This question did raise issues of mootness as well as issues of how appeal rights would be affected. The new board met for the first time just two weeks after the decision was released and voted to repeal the ID rule. The judge could have delayed releasing his decision until after the 1st meeting if he had felt that the actions of the new board should influence his decision ( despite their election promises, the new board members were apparently trying to duck the ID issue by saying that they would defer to his decision ), but he said that the election’s results would have no influence on his decision.

    ****Furthermore, the voluntary cessation doctrine says that “a defendant’s voluntary cessation of a challenged practice does not deprive a federal court of its power to determine the legality of the practice.”*****

    The applicability of the voluntary cessation doctrine was questionable because all but one of the pro-ID school board members had been replaced and the new members had promised to repeal the ID rule.

    ****You continue to confuse irreducible complexity with ID. Irreducible complexity is a label given to one argument made by ID advocates, but it is not synonymous with ID.****

    In many people’s minds, irreducible complexity is synonymous with ID. It is the best known argument for ID ( there is also “specified complexity” ). I feel that ID is virtually nothing without irreducible complexity. I think that the name “intelligent design” is unfortunate, because it implies the existence of an intelligent designer, though ID proponents say that ID is not supposed to identify the designer. I don’t like the name ID myself — I wish that they would just use nonreligious-sounding names like irreducible complexity.

    ****The issue in this case was, specifically, the nature of the book Of Pandas and People,****

    Now you are really talking nonsense. The Dover decision banned ID, period, not just the Pandas book. The Dover opinion said, “Defendants are permanently enjoined from maintaining the ID Policy in any school within the Dover Area School District.” (page 139)

    *****The standard laid forth in Edwards was that if it invokes a supernatural creator as an explanation – and the evidence at the trial clearly proved that ID does so – then it is a religious idea and therefore forbidden.*****

    The Dover opinion makes frequent use of the terms “objective observer” and “reasonable observer.” An objective or reasonable observer would see that irreducible complexity makes no mention of a supernatural creator or anything else related to religion and hence would conclude that irreducible complexity is not a religious idea.

    Here is a summary of my views –

    (1) The courts have no business “traipsing” (Judge Jones’ term) into scientific controversies unless it is absolutely unavoidable.
    (2) Judge Jones could have thrown out the Dover case as moot because of the board election results.
    (3) He could have made an airtight decision just on the basis of the religious motivations of the school board members.
    (4) He could have ruled that irreducible complexity is non-religious because it makes no mention of anything that has anything to do with religion. Scientific merit is irrelevant because there is no separation of bogus science and state.
    (5) If he absolutely insisted on judging the scientific merit of irreducible complexity, a very low level of scrutiny should have been used because only minimal scientific merit is required to justify teaching IC as science. This is not a scientific issue affecting $millions or $billions in liability, for example.

    Judge Jones had several opportunities to show judicial restraint and he blew them all. He is a dyed-in-the-wool activist judge, his protestation to the contrary notwithstanding.

  9. #9 Flint
    January 31, 2006

    Here we go again.

    Most of this argument is off topic. Why is it important whether there was debate about how Jones would handle this decision? Let’s grant that he had fairly wide latitude. He probably could have mooted the case if he so chose. He probably could have done without any expert testimony as well.

    But in the decision itself, Jones makes it clear that he saw the writing on the wall. The DI and creationist forces generally are well funded, politically active, PR-savvy, and making a concerted effort to get creationism preached in science class under glaringly false pretenses. Jones observed (IMO quite correctly) that unless and until a very thorough decision was rendered, considering not just the very local antics of Bonsell and Buckingham but in fact the entire scope of the ID movement, cases like this one would continue to waste time and resources nationwide.

    And in this respect, Larry is entirely correct. Jones took it upon himself to attempt to nip these represensible legal shenanigans in the bud, by hearing all the facts from both sides and presenting an exhaustive, universally applicable decision. In this respect, he was more “active” than he needed to be.

    But his decision was the very opposite of what an “activist” judge as accused of doing, namely legislating from the bench. Jones (as I wrote above and Larry conveniently ignored) simply applied ALL the facts to ALL the relevant laws and precedents, and rubber-stamped them. He established absolutely NO new principles or policies, nor did he extend any existing interpretation beyond any current understanding. He was as conservative in this respect as it is possible to be. One could even argue that in exerting the effort to reiterate ALL existing law in such detail, Jones was FAR less “activist” than if he’d just decided on the narrowest and least portable possible grounds and allowed such bogus cases to proceed elsewhere anew.

    Now for the unpleasant task of correcting some of Larry’s most flagrant lies:

    ****An objective or reasonable observer would see that irreducible complexity makes no mention of a supernatural creator or anything else related to religion ****

    Nope. Indeed, Jones had no difficulty at all seeing that Behe’s claim was supported by NO scientific evidence (or even research), that currently available peer-reviewed science thoroughly refutes this claim, and that Behe himself admitted that you had to be a Christian to find his argument persuasive.

    ****In many people’s minds, irreducible complexity is synonymous with ID.****

    Ahem. If ID is pure religion (and it is), and IC is synonymous, how is IC not religious? I guess consistency is unnecessary when you assume your conclusions?

    ****It is the best known argument for ID****

    As Judge Jones wrote in detail (and Larry conveniently ignores), even Behe and Minnich (under cross-examination) admitted that AT BEST, IC is an argument against evolution, and NOT an argument in favor of ID.

    Jones concluded that there WERE NO arguments supporting ID. All the defendents’ experts could present were solidly-refuted criticisms of evolution. But Jones pointed out that even if these criticisms were valid, this STILL wouldn’t support Design in any way. For science to support design, it is not permitted to ASSUME design and demand proof to the contrary. It is necessary to OBSERVE design.

    Finally, even if we give Larry every benefit of the doubt, pretend we don’t notice that IC is itself motivated by religious faith, and pretend there’s something scientific about it, we’re still facing the prospect of teaching 9th graders something *rejected by every working biologist as scientific nonsense*, solely because those pushing for it understand that it’s a backdoor technique to get their religious faith taught as scientific fact.

    Judge Jones showed responsibility and integrity, applying existing laws and precedents as thoroughly as the facts of the case permitted. There is a world of difference between an “active” judge who goes out of his way to consider all the facts so as to find according to existing law, and an “activist” judge who creates new laws according to his preferences.

    What Jones did, of course, was to point out in eloquent and exhaustive detail that teaching Larry’s faith as science is illegal.

  10. #10 Ed Brayton
    January 31, 2006

    Larry Farma wrote:

    That was because the plaintiffs brought a lot of expert witnesses into the case and because the defendants were forced to answer with witnesses of their own. And these expert witnesses were brought into the case before it was realized that the religious motivations of the school board members were enough reason to rule against the school board. The judge could have saved a lot of time and money if he had scheduled the expert witnesses to testify last and then said before their testimony, “I have heard enough — there is no need for expert testimony.”

    Hardly a word of this is true. The religious motivations of the school board were the first thing that triggered the suit. There was a great deal of discussion of that long before discovery had even begun on the effect prong issue. The defense in this case did what the defense has always done in such cases, which is try to argue that their version of creationism is a genuine scientific theory, not a religious belief. There simply is no getting around the fact that this is the key question in the case. The fact that the judge could have ruled without considering that question does not mean that he was wrong to make a more complete ruling. Indeed, the irony is that the same folks who are now screaming that the judge should have ruled solely on the grounds of the purpose prong have spent the last 3 decades arguing that the purpose prong is a bad standard and should be done away with. But hey, whatever is convenient at any given time, who cares about consistency.

    I asked Larry, “Can you name a single prominent legal scholar not associated with the Discovery Institute who has said that the judge should not have ruled on that issue?” He replied:

    The prominent legal scholars did not want to make a prediction before the decision because they were so unsure about whether the judge would rule on that issue. Anything they say now is just Monday-morning quarterbacking.

    Do you have any actual evidence, other than your bare assertion, that they were unsure that he judge would rule on that issue? I was in communication with several prominent legal scholars around the country before the ruling came down and every single one of them just assumed that he would because it was the key to the entire case and because all of the precedents followed the same path. And for crying out loud, legal scholars love monday morning quarterbacking – that’s better known as “criticism” in the academic world. There is no shortage of legal scholars who write op-eds criticizing judges for their rulings. Yet not one legal scholar not tied to the DI has agreed with their criticism, so far as I know. If you can find one, let me know. If it’s so clear here that the judge overstepped his bounds, that should be clear to more than a group with a vested interest in the outcome.

    The existence of the series of articles showed that someone seriously considered this question. This question did raise issues of mootness as well as issues of how appeal rights would be affected. The new board met for the first time just two weeks after the decision was released and voted to repeal the ID rule. The judge could have delayed releasing his decision until after the 1st meeting if he had felt that the actions of the new board should influence his decision ( despite their election promises, the new board members were apparently trying to duck the ID issue by saying that they would defer to his decision ), but he said that the election’s results would have no influence on his decision.

    Jesus, you are dense. The existence of that series of articles shows that those not educated in such matters assumed – falsely – that the board being voted out might moot the proceedings. But listen to this carefully: no one – no one – in the situation, including the new school board, the plaintffs, the defense, the judge, or any legal scholars quoted in any of those stories, agreed with that. The voluntary cessation doctrine rules it out and the case was filed, as Vic Walczak said in one of the articles, specifically in order to avoid that outcome. This is very common in cases, where the defendant says, “Okay, we’re not doing what we’re accused of anymore, so please dismiss the case”, but under the voluntary cessation doctrine that’s just not enough to moot the case. The court still rules to prevent it from happening again.

    The applicability of the voluntary cessation doctrine was questionable because all but one of the pro-ID school board members had been replaced and the new members had promised to repeal the ID rule.

    Okay, so again I challenge you to find a single prominent legal scholar who agrees that the case should have been mooted by the school board elections. You can’t. You know why? Because they don’t exist.

    ME: The standard laid forth in Edwards was that if it invokes a supernatural creator as an explanation – and the evidence at the trial clearly proved that ID does so – then it is a religious idea and therefore forbidden.

    The Dover opinion makes frequent use of the terms “objective observer” and “reasonable observer.” An objective or reasonable observer would see that irreducible complexity makes no mention of a supernatural creator or anything else related to religion and hence would conclude that irreducible complexity is not a religious idea.

    Is that supposed to be a response to what I said? It’s not in any way responsive. Behe and Dembski admit that the designer must be supernatural. I’ve quoted them many times on this question. The book Of Pandas and People says that the designer must be supernatural. In fact, that book used the exact same definition for “intelligent design” that it used for “creation”, word for word. The religious nature of ID was firmly established in this trial and is explained in excruciating detail in the judge’s ruling. Irreducible complexity is simply a label for a system; it’s the explanation for that system that is clearly and undeniably religious.

  11. #11 Ginger Yellow
    January 31, 2006

    In many people’s minds, irreducible complexity is synonymous with ID. It is the best known argument for ID ( there is also “specified complexity” ). I feel that ID is virtually nothing without irreducible complexity. I think that the name “intelligent design” is unfortunate, because it implies the existence of an intelligent designer, though ID proponents say that ID is not supposed to identify the designer. I don’t like the name ID myself — I wish that they would just use nonreligious-sounding names like irreducible complexity.

    Yes, you’ve got a point. If only intelligent design proponents would stop implying there is an intelligent designer then things would be a lot simpler. Unfortunately for you, that’s the whole point of ID.

    As for IC being synonymous with ID, that is a ridiculous argument. Yes it is the only vaguely substantial argument the IDers have. But as real scientists have patiently explained time and time again, as Judge Jones emphasised in his ruling and as even its most ardent proponent Behe admitted on the stand, IC is not a falsifiability test for ID. Demonstrating that a given IC system has evolved would not falsify the ID proposition in general or even the claim that some IC systems are unevolvable. Nor, if somehow proven true, would it be evidence for ID, as opposed to any one of an infinite number of non-evolutionary hypotheses. This is one of the key reasons why scientists and Judge Jones say ID isn’t science.

    The predictions that ID proponents make do not follow necessarily or even logically from the central ID hypothesis. This is because in order to avoid the restrictions on religion in schools they have refused to constrain the designer or even the design/implementation process. Therefore practically any prediction is compatible with the ID hypothesis.

  12. #12 LarryFarma
    January 31, 2006

    From post of Ed Brayton | January 31, 2006 10:25 AM –
    ****The religious motivations of the school board were the first thing that triggered the suit.****

    Wrong. Most people — including the plaintiffs — were initially unaware of those religious motivations, which were brought out during the trial. In fact, one of the reasons why the plaintiffs filed for a trial was that a temporary restraining order could not be quickly obtained because of a lack of evidence of the board’s religious motivations ( William Buckingham’s lies during deposition was one of the reasons for that lack of evidence).

    ***Indeed, the irony is that the same folks who are now screaming that the judge should have ruled solely on the grounds of the purpose prong have spent the last 3 decades arguing that the purpose prong is a bad standard and should be done away with.****

    You people keep seeing inconsistencies where there are none. There is nothing inconsistent with saying that the purpose prong is bad and at the same time trying to use it to advantage because it exists.

    *****— The prominent legal scholars did not want to make a prediction before the decision because they were so unsure about whether the judge would rule on that issue. .–
    Do you have any actual evidence, other than your bare assertion, that they were unsure that the judge would rule on that issue? I was in communication with several prominent legal scholars around the country before the ruling came down and every single one of them just assumed that he would*****

    Why is your “bare assertion” better than my bare assertion ? Do you know of any prominent legal scholar’s published prediction that Jones would rule on the scientific merits of irreducible complexity and ID ? Also, you are asking me to find things that people did not say, and that is a very difficult to do.

    ****Yet not one legal scholar not tied to the DI has agreed with their criticism, so far as I know.****

    Yes, “so far as [you] know,” and I’ll bet that you have made no special effort to find such a legal scholar. Anyway, to hell with legal scholars — anyone who hears the pro and con arguments is qualified to form a valid opinion on this issue.

    ****The existence of that series of articles shows that those not educated in such matters assumed – falsely – that the board being voted out might moot the proceedings. But listen to this carefully: no one – no one – in the situation, including the new school board, the plaintffs, the defense, the judge, or any legal scholars quoted in any of those stories, agreed with that.*****

    I presume that the author of the article series, if a journalist for the general media, would have consulted those who were involved in the situation. There is no question that the replacement of the board members did present problems regarding mootness and appeals.

    ****The voluntary cessation doctrine rules it out and the case was filed, as Vic Walczak said in one of the articles, specifically in order to avoid that outcome.****

    As I said, the applicability of this doctrine was questionable because all but one of the pro-ID board members had been replaced by anti-ID members. Incidentally, it is interesting that whereas no individual persons were named as defendants in the Dover complaint, the complaint in the Lebec, Calif. (El Tejon School District ) suit named individual school board members and school district personnel as defendants.

    *****—-The Dover opinion makes frequent use of the terms “objective observer” and “reasonable observer.” An objective or reasonable observer would see that irreducible complexity makes no mention of a supernatural creator or anything else related to religion and hence would conclude that irreducible complexity is not a religious idea.—
    Is that supposed to be a response to what I said? It’s not in any way responsive. Behe and Dembski admit that the designer must be supernatural. I’ve quoted them many times on this question.*****

    What Behe and Dembski say about ID bears no relation to my above description of what an objective and reasonable observer would see in the teaching of irreducible complexity in a science class.

    As I said, the courts have no business “traipsing” into scientific controversies unless it is unavoidable. It was avoidable here. Judge Jones wantonly stabbed a scientific idea that was already struggling to gain acceptance. An amicus brief submitted by the Discovery Institute on behalf of 85 scientists asked him to not rule on the scientific merits of ID, but he did it anyway.

    Scientists to judges — “We won’t peer-review your decisions if you don’t judge our science.” LOL

  13. #13 Flint
    January 31, 2006

    *****What Behe and Dembski say about ID bears no relation to my above description of what an objective and reasonable observer would see****

    If there’s any way to interpret this lie other than as “anyone who disagrees with me is not objective” then I don’t see it. If there is any observer, on either side of this issue, anywhere in the world, who does NOT understand that ID is a religious doctrine, that observer has never made himself visible. I will agree that those on the religious side of the fence disagree as to whether denying that their position is faith-driven bears false witness.

    Judge Jones himself couldn’t help commenting about how those who pound their bibles hardest, were the very ones who lied repeatedly under oath about their motivations. “Religion? Not me, honest! It’s science, I swear to God! I’m OBJECTIVE!”

    *****Judge Jones wantonly stabbed a scientific idea that was already struggling to gain acceptance.****

    Judge Jones heard all the facts (Larry might actually consider them sometime) and decided that ID is pure religion. No science involved. None. Jones didn’t judge ANY science. Jones correctly rejected and prohibited the preaching of religion in public schools, no matter how dishonestly it might be dressed as something else. Nobody was fooled: not Jones, not Buckingham, not the local York newspaper columnists, not the TMLC or the DI, nobody.

    Larry might *claim* to be fooled, but his prayers that creationism will somehow change from religion to science remain unanswered. (Larry might also reflect about bearing false witness.)

  14. #14 Ed Brayton
    January 31, 2006

    Larry Farma wrote:

    Wrong. Most people — including the plaintiffs — were initially unaware of those religious motivations, which were brought out during the trial. In fact, one of the reasons why the plaintiffs filed for a trial was that a temporary restraining order could not be quickly obtained because of a lack of evidence of the board’s religious motivations ( William Buckingham’s lies during deposition was one of the reasons for that lack of evidence).

    Absolutely false. I was involved with this case from the start and I know damn well what was going on at the time. Even before the Dover board passed its policy, we were already gathering the evidence of clear religious intent. We already had the videotape of Buckingham saying he wanted creationism taught in biology classes, we already had all of the newspaper reports of the various school board members discussing creationism at school board meetings and proclaiming the need to “stand up for” Jesus and much more. The decision not to file for a temporary restraining order had nothing to do with whether the trial would occur – it was already filed and the case was going forward regardless, the only question was whether to ask for an injunction first. We already had more than enough evidence of religious intent long before that point. As I said, we had it before the board even passed the policy and it was already all being saved for the inevitable lawsuit. You aren’t going to win on the details of this trial, Larry. My history of the trial is being published next month in Skeptic and I was involved with the details from the very start (and that means long before the case was actually filed). Before the policy was passed, I was already writing about the Dover board’s clearly expressed religious intent in previous meetings.

    You people keep seeing inconsistencies where there are none. There is nothing inconsistent with saying that the purpose prong is bad and at the same time trying to use it to advantage because it exists.

    But you’re talking about using the purpose prong to lose the case, for crying out loud. There is certainly something absurd and hypocritical about saying that the purpose prong is a bad standard and that only the practical effect of a policy should be considered in court, and then turning around and saying that this judge should have considered only the purpose and ignored the effect prong entirely.

    Why is your “bare assertion” better than my bare assertion ? Do you know of any prominent legal scholar’s published prediction that Jones would rule on the scientific merits of irreducible complexity and ID ? Also, you are asking me to find things that people did not say, and that is a very difficult to do.

    No, I’m asking you to justify your statement about what legal scholars “did not want” to do or what they were “unsure” of. If you can’t find a single statement from a single legal scholar saying, “I don’t really know what to expect here”, you have no basis for claiming that they were unsure. On the other hand, I spoke and exchanged emails with many prominent legal scholars during this trial and afterward, on the ReligionLaw listserv and in private communications (because I was preparing to write a serious history of the trial), and every one of them treated the judge’s ruling on the effect prong matter-of-factly. It was a given. And I have yet to see one legal scholar who is not attached to the Discovery Institute agree with their position on it.

    There is no question that the replacement of the board members did present problems regarding mootness and appeals.

    If there’s no question about this, then it should be trivially easy for you to find statements from legal scholars or the attorneys involved agreeing with it. The plaintiffs’ legal team didn’t think it mooted the trial. The defense legal team didn’t think it mooted the trial even though, given how horribly the trial had gone for them, they would certainly have jumped at any chance to avoid the ruling that they had to know was coming. Not a single legal scholar that I communicated with thought it would moot the trial. The incoming school board didn’t think it would moot the trial, even though getting the trial mooted and avoiding a ruling would likely have saved them hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees. As far as appeals go, the effect on appeals was cut and dry – the new board would have the sole authority to decide whether there would be an appeal because it was the school being sued, not the old board members as individuals. The only one who thinks that that should have mooted the trial, it appears, is you.

    What Behe and Dembski say about ID bears no relation to my above description of what an objective and reasonable observer would see in the teaching of irreducible complexity in a science class.

    Again, it’s not the teaching of irreducible complexity that is a problem. It’s the teaching that irreducible complexity supports a supernatural creator that is a problem.

    Judge Jones wantonly stabbed a scientific idea that was already struggling to gain acceptance. An amicus brief submitted by the Discovery Institute on behalf of 85 scientists asked him to not rule on the scientific merits of ID, but he did it anyway.

    For this to be a reasonable statement, you would have to establish that Judge Jones not only shouldn’t have ruled on the scientific status of ID, but that he was wrong about the scientific status of ID. Good luck making that argument. ID is not a scientific theory; it explains nothing and is not at all testable. It is nothing more than a set of dishonest criticisms of evolution.

    And by the way, Judge Jones evaluated the scientific status of ID by the exact criteria required by Daubert and Edwards. Daubert said that such a question should be answered by reference to “whether the theory or technique in question can be (and has been) tested, whether it has been subjected to peer review and publication, its known or potential error rate and the existence and maintenance of standards controlling its operation, and whether it has attracted widespread acceptance within a relevant scientific community.” Those are exactly the bases upon which Judge Jones evaluated the question. Edwards ruled that if an explanation includes “belief in the existence of a supernatural creator”, then it is a religious idea and not scientific.

    Judge Jones’ ruling goes into enormous detail on all of the reasons why ID is an inherently religious idea. If you want to try and disprove all of that evidence, be my guest. But I suspect you know as little about that subject as you do about the law.

  15. #15 Roger Tang
    January 31, 2006

    *****Judge Jones wantonly stabbed a scientific idea that was already struggling to gain acceptance.****

    Then it wasn’t a very good scientific idea in the first place.

    Larry, you don’t seem to have a very good grasp of what makes science work. You don’t do it in the courtroom….and you certainly don’t do it in the high schools and grade schools.

    The place to do it is in labs and research areas—places where Judge Jones didn’t have a thing to do with. All he killed was an imposter trying to cloak itself in science and trying to invade an area where it had no right to be.

  16. #16 Dave S.
    January 31, 2006

    Judge Jones wantonly stabbed a scientific idea that was already struggling to gain acceptance.

    Except that it’s not a scientific idea….

    And nothing the judge said prevents the folks at the Discovery Institute or like minded people from pursuing this wonderful “scientific idea” all they wish. If they want to gain acceptance, then how about actually positively supporting the idea with tests instead of putting out press releases? That’s how other unpopular ideas gained acceptance. Why should we give ID a free pass that they didn’t get?

    The fact that they don’t do so sadly has nothing to do with Judge Jones. It’s the fact that they have no scientific theory from which to even begin this pursuit.

    An amicus brief submitted by the Discovery Institute on behalf of 85 scientists asked him to not rule on the scientific merits of ID, but he did it anyway.

    Why not, since it was after all the cornerstone of the defense’s case?

    I’m sure if he ruled that ID was science, you wouldn’t be here whining that he should’t have done that.

  17. #17 LarryFarma
    February 1, 2006

    From post of Ed Brayton | January 31, 2006 04:34 PM —

    *****Even before the Dover board passed its policy, we were already gathering the evidence of clear religious intent.*****

    How did you know in advance that the Dover board was going to enact the ID policy, and that the Dover lawsuit would become important ? And with all this wonderful evidence that you had, how come a temporary restraining order could not easily be obtained ? The Dover opinion itself said that Bonsell’s and Buckingham’s lies during depositions “likely contributed to Plaintiffs’ election not to seek a temporary restraining order at that time based upon a conflicting and incomplete factual record.” page 115, emphasis added. If you disagree with Judge Jones’ preceding statement, then you should argue about it with him, not me.

    *****—You people keep seeing inconsistencies where there are none. There is nothing inconsistent with saying that the purpose prong is bad and at the same time trying to use it to advantage because it exists.
    But you’re talking about using the purpose prong to lose the case, for crying out loud. There is certainly something absurd and hypocritical about saying that the purpose prong is a bad standard and that only the practical effect of a policy should be considered in court, and then turning around and saying that this judge should have considered only the purpose and ignored the effect prong entirely.*****

    It became obvious early in the trial that the defendants had no chance of passing the purpose-prong test, so a ruling on the effect prong could only make things worse. Also, other things were going badly for the defendants — Behe’s blunder in saying that ID is like astrology, the withdrawal of Dembski and Meyer as defense expert witnesses, and the judge’s rejection of the Discovery Institute’s own amicus brief (the second amicus brief submitted by DI).

    *****I spoke and exchanged emails with many prominent legal scholars during this trial and afterward ——- and every one of them treated the judge’s ruling on the effect prong matter-of-factly.******

    They may have treated it “matter of factly,” but did you ever ask them what they thought the likelihood of such a ruling was? And if they were so confident that there would be such a ruling, then why didn’t they say so to the media?

    ******—-There is no question that the replacement of the board members did present problems regarding mootness and appeals.
    If there’s no question about this, then it should be trivially easy for you to find statements from legal scholars or the attorneys involved agreeing with it. The plaintiffs’ legal team didn’t think it mooted the trial. The defense legal team didn’t think it mooted the trial even though, given how horribly the trial had gone for them, they would certainly have jumped at any chance to avoid the ruling that they had to know was coming.*****

    Of course the plaintiffs’ legal team did not want the case to be declared moot — it was going very well for them. As for the old board’s response to this issue of mootness, the trial hearings ended on November 4, about the same time that the incumbent board members were voted out. Around the middle of November, at what was apparently the last meeting of the old school board, a member made a motion to try to make the case moot by repealing the ID rule and promising not to reinstate it, but the motion was not seconded — see http://www.ydr.com/doverbiology/ci_3219237 The incoming school board held its first meeting two weeks after the decision was released.

    I was really surprised that the media did not have more discussion of the potential effects of the replacement of the board members, particularly in regard to appeals. Also, I firmly believe that Judge Jones was emboldened to be unrestrained in his decision because he knew that an appeal was extremely unlikely because of the change in the school board. Anyway, I am against giving any precedential weight to federal district-court opinions because they are just the unreviewed opinions of single judges ( I think that too much weight is given to McLean, for example ). Also, some federal appeals courts will not consider unpublished federal appellate opinions as precedent, and I agree with that.

    ****—Judge Jones wantonly stabbed a scientific idea that was already struggling to gain acceptance.
    For this to be a reasonable statement, you would have to establish that Judge Jones not only shouldn’t have ruled on the scientific status of ID, but that he was wrong about the scientific status of ID.****

    If he shouldn’t have ruled on the matter, then whether his ruling was right or wrong doesn’t matter. And I have already shown why he shouldn’t have ruled on the matter — there is no constitutional separation of bogus science and state, and there was no unavoidable reason for ruling on the matter (as there would be in the case of a scientific theory affecting liability)

    ****ID is not a scientific theory; it explains nothing and is not at all testable.****

    I agree that ID is not a scientific theory, because it does not attempt to scientifically explain the origin of species — it is just a criticism of evolution theory. But evolution theory is also not “testable,” because the only predictions that evolution theory can make in regard to macroevolution are just predictions of likely future finds of more circumstantial evidence of macroevolution. For example, the fossil record is used to make predictions of likely future finds of “missing link” fossils.

    ***** And by the way, Judge Jones evaluated the scientific status of ID by the exact criteria required by Daubert and Edwards.*****

    The Dover opinion does not mention Daubert, so there is no evidence that Jones intentionally used the standards of Daubert. But if Jones should not have ruled on the matter at all, then how well his ruling followed precedent does not matter. It is like the March Hare in Alice in Wonderland putting butter in the Mad Hatter’s watch and when told that butter does not belong in a watch, trying to defend himself by saying, “it was the best butter.” (`Yes, but some crumbs must have got in as well,’ the Hatter grumbled: `you shouldn’t have put it in with the bread-knife.’ ).

    *****Judge Jones’ ruling goes into enormous detail on all of the reasons why ID is an inherently religious idea. *****

    The “detail” does not matter — what matters is how an objective observer would view irreducible complexity. An objective observer would see that irreducible complexity makes no mention of anything having anything to do with religion, and hence is not a religious concept. I feel that when teaching irreducible complexity in the public schools, the name “intelligent design” should be dropped because it implies the existence of an intelligent designer and hence appears to be a religious concept.

  18. #18 Roger Tang
    February 1, 2006

    If he shouldn’t have ruled on the matter, then whether his ruling was right or wrong doesn’t matter. And I have already shown why he shouldn’t have ruled on the matter — there is no constitutional separation of bogus science and state, and there was no unavoidable reason for ruling on the matter (as there would be in the case of a scientific theory affecting liability)

    Sorry, Larry, but no matter how many times you state this, it’s still dead wrong.

    You’re a very dull fellow when you keep denying facts. It’s quite stupid.

  19. #19 LarryFarma
    February 1, 2006

    From post of Dave S. | January 31, 2006 09:48 PM –
    *****Judge Jones wantonly stabbed a scientific idea that was already struggling to gain acceptance.
    Except that it’s not a scientific idea….*****

    OK, it is an “alleged” scientific idea. Sound better ?

    Even Judge Jones did not say that irreducible complexity is not science — he just said that he thinks it is bad science or disproven science — “We therefore find that Professor Behe’s claim for irreducible complexity has been refuted in peer-reviewed research papers and has been rejected by the scientific community at large.” page 79 of the Dover opinion

    *****And nothing the judge said prevents the folks at the Discovery Institute or like minded people from pursuing this wonderful “scientific idea” all they wish.*****

    Even if that is true, it does not excuse his actions.

    *****An amicus brief submitted by the Discovery Institute on behalf of 85 scientists asked him to not rule on the scientific merits of ID, but he did it anyway.
    Why not, since it was after all the cornerstone of the defense’s case? *****

    The judge was not required to make a ruling just because the defense asked him to.

    I’ll use a baseball analogy, which Chief Justice “Ump” Roberts just loves. There are four ways in which a baseball player can be put out — strike out, fly out, force out, and tag out. Only one way is needed. Similarly, once the Dover defendants had been solidly put “out” by the purpose prong of the Lemon test, it was not necessary to determine whether they would have also been put out by the effect prong. And when Judge Jones unnecessarily ruled on the effect prong, he could have simply ruled that irreducible complexity is a non-religious concept because it makes no mention of anything that has anything to do with religion — he did not need to rule on the contentious and non-legal issue of the scientific merits of IC.

    *****I’m sure if he ruled that ID was science, you wouldn’t be here whining that he should’t have done that.*****

    Wrong. If he had ruled the other way on the scientific merits of IC and you had opposed that ruling with the same arguments I have used here, I would have told you, “I agree with you.”

  20. #20 Ed Brayton
    February 1, 2006

    Larry Farma wrote:

    How did you know in advance that the Dover board was going to enact the ID policy, and that the Dover lawsuit would become important ?

    Because it was being discussed both in school board meetings and in behind the scenes meetings with the teachers long before the board actually voted on it. I don’t know exactly when I first heard abotu it, but it was several weeks and probably months before the board actually passed the policy (if I hadn’t reformatted my computer, I could probably look back and see the first email I got about it; I bet it was in June or July of 2004 and the policy was passed in October). It works pretty obviously – someone in the area who is allied with us, perhaps a member of the NCSE or of a local science group, sees something in a local paper about it, attends a school board meeting and hears discussion about it, or hears from a friend at the school that he board is pushing the teachers to teach creationism, and he contacts one of any number of groups, but most likely the NCSE. They send in a newspaper clipping or an email that details what’s going on and the word goes out of a potential flareup. So we begin watching it, tracking stories in the local paper, having people attend subsequent meetings and report on what’s going on, etc. You know, the standard way any watchdog group operates. Some of those potential flareups become big events, most of them are resolved behind the scenes. We don’t know which is going to be which in advance.

    And with all this wonderful evidence that you had, how come a temporary restraining order could not easily be obtained ? The Dover opinion itself said that Bonsell’s and Buckingham’s lies during depositions “likely contributed to Plaintiffs’ election not to seek a temporary restraining order at that time based upon a conflicting and incomplete factual record.” page 115, emphasis added. If you disagree with Judge Jones’ preceding statement, then you should argue about it with him, not me.

    As I said, we already had significant evidence of religious intent before the policy was even passed. The controversy over buying the new textbooks was in June 2004, as were Buckingham’s statements to the newspaper about wanting to teach creationism and about standing up for Christ. There were things we didn’t know at the time, like that Buckingham had solicited donations at his church or that the board president had given creationist videos to the assistant superintendant to watch. I have no quarrel with Judge Jones’ statement, he is correct. But the point here is that we had strong evidence of religious intent long before discovery had begun on the effect prong arguments.

    ME: But you’re talking about using the purpose prong to lose the case, for crying out loud. There is certainly something absurd and hypocritical about saying that the purpose prong is a bad standard and that only the practical effect of a policy should be considered in court, and then turning around and saying that this judge should have considered only the purpose and ignored the effect prong entirely.

    It became obvious early in the trial that the defendants had no chance of passing the purpose-prong test, so a ruling on the effect prong could only make things worse. Also, other things were going badly for the defendants — Behe’s blunder in saying that ID is like astrology, the withdrawal of Dembski and Meyer as defense expert witnesses, and the judge’s rejection of the Discovery Institute’s own amicus brief (the second amicus brief submitted by DI).

    I don’t see how this answers what I said about the hypocrisy of arguing that the purpose test is wrong and only the real effect of a policy should matter and then turning around and saying the opposite. In fact, you are supporting my argument here by admitting that it’s really just a matter of convenience for your side – the case went badly for you, so you suddenly want to change the ground rules of what should and shouldn’t be considered – “We really screwed up on the effect test argument, so the judge shouldn’t have considered it at all.” That’s not a principled position, it’s pure hypocrisy. And if you admit all this is true and you think that there was a good case to be made for the trial to be mooted, why didn’t the TMLC make a motion to moot the trial or delay the ruling to see what the new board did? Surely if they knew the case had gone badly and they were likely to lose and thought there was any way to avoid such a ruling, they would have attempted it.

    They may have treated it “matter of factly,” but did you ever ask them what they thought the likelihood of such a ruling was? And if they were so confident that there would be such a ruling, then why didn’t they say so to the media?

    For crying out loud, youv’e got yourself so twisted up that you don’t know whether you’re on foot or horseback. Your original claim was that “the best legal minds” in the country were “unsure” of whether the judge would rule on the scientific status of ID and therefore were “afraid” to make a prediction in the media. But you haven’t shown a single instance where any of them was asked to make such a prediction, or quoted a single one of them as saying anything that would support that claim. On the other hand, I was in contact with many legal scholars during that time and in our discussions, it was treated as a completely uncontroversial and obvious fact that the judge would rule on that issue. As I’ve said a hundred times, it would have been shocking to everyone involved, including both sides in the trial, if he had not done so.

    The only ones who have raised the issue at all are ID advocates, and as you admit above, that’s purely a matter of convenience – in any other church/state case they would be arguing the opposite, that the purpose prong is a faulty standard and only the effect test should be considered in court. But since that argument goes against you, suddenly you all take the opposite position and want to pretend that it’s a principled stand. Do you really think anyone is going to be fooled when you piss on their leg and tell them it’s raining?

    Of course the plaintiffs’ legal team did not want the case to be declared moot — it was going very well for them. As for the old board’s response to this issue of mootness, the trial hearings ended on November 4, about the same time that the incumbent board members were voted out. Around the middle of November, at what was apparently the last meeting of the old school board, a member made a motion to try to make the case moot by repealing the ID rule and promising not to reinstate it, but the motion was not seconded — see http://www.ydr.com/doverbiology/ci_3219237 The incoming school board held its first meeting two weeks after the decision was released.

    But why didn’t the defense team make a motion to dismiss based upon the new board? You admitted above that the case went horribly for them and they were almost certain to lose. They surely would have wanted to moot it if there was any way possible to do so. But the fact was, and is, that the election of a new board did not moot the case under any established legal principle. The TMLC knew that. The ACLU and Pepper Hamilton attorneys knew that. Every legal scholar I saw quoted when asked about it said that the case could not be mooted by the new board. We discussed this on the ReligionLaw listserv and several prominent legal scholars agreed. Here’s Michael Masinter’s statement:

    Whether the school board *could* moot the case is the harder question; as Ann Althouse already noted, the plaintiffs would likely respond that the voluntary cessation of illegal conduct generally is insufficient to moot a claim for injunctive relief. U.S. v. W. T. Grant Co. 345 U.S. 629 (1953). To be sure, as in Buckhannon, governmental defendants can moot a claim for injunctive relief despite the voluntary cessation limitation by repealing an offending statute or regulation since its repeal eliminates any risk of the recurrence of its mandated illegal conduct. The problem for the Dover
    School Board is that its challenged conduct is an exercise of discretionary authority that it remains free to reassert at any time; the election did not alter its statutory or regulatory authority to reimpose
    elements of ID as part of the curriculum. In short, I don’t think the School Board can moot the case.

    Here’s James Maule’s statement:

    When I saw this my first thought was, ok, the new school board (which is sworn in on Dec 5) changes the curriculum, and this would seem to moot the case. Would it be dismissed by agreement? By the judge? Could it be dismissed? Should it be dismissed?

    But further reading revealed that the group “sponsoring” the slate of Democrats had promised that if they claimed a majority of the school board, they would not rush to change the curriculum. He stated, “The guiding force for this group is going to be Judge Jones’ decision.” So there goes dismissal by agreement, and I guess there goes dismissal because the issue is mooted.

    Here’s Ann Althouse’s statement:

    I’d say the voluntary cessation doctrine would cover anything that might appear moot here.

    I know you don’t think it should apply, but you’re wrong. The reason why the voluntary cessation doctrine applies here is because, as Masinter noted, the board would remain free to reimpose the same policy at any time without an injunction against it.

    I was really surprised that the media did not have more discussion of the potential effects of the replacement of the board members, particularly in regard to appeals.

    There was considerable discussion of it. The Philadelphia Enquirer had a story about it the day after the election in Dover, as did both York newspapers. All three quoted attorneys from both sides and legal experts, all of whom agreed that the election did not moot the case. One of the first things I did the morning after the Dover elections was email two friends, both of whom teach constitutional law, and ask them if the election results could potentially moot the case. Both said no, it would be highly unusual if such a motion would win for all of the reasons above. So the only one at this point who seems to think that the case should have been mooted here is you, and you can’t cite a single legal scholar who agrees with you. Yet you still cling to it and repeat the same nonsensical statements. You’re bringing density to a whole new level here, Larry.

    But evolution theory is also not “testable,” because the only predictions that evolution theory can make in regard to macroevolution are just predictions of likely future finds of more circumstantial evidence of macroevolution. For example, the fossil record is used to make predictions of likely future finds of “missing link” fossils.

    This is nonsense. There are also lots of interlocking lines of evidence that provide useful predictions. You can also use fossil data to make predictions about molecular homologies and those predictions are also successful. The claim of “circumstantial evidence here is irrelevant; almost all evidence is “circumstantial” in this manner. The notion that there is a single crucial test that would “prove” a theory true is a myth. The longer a theory goes on making successful predictions about the nature of new evidence and the longer it retains its explanatory power in the face of new data, the more certain we become of its validity. There is no moment at which you say “A ha, now that proves it.” That does not mean evolution isn’t testable, not even close.

  21. #21 Dave S.
    February 1, 2006

    OK, it is an “alleged” scientific idea. Sound better ?

    Yes.

    Even Judge Jones did not say that irreducible complexity is not science — he just said that he thinks it is bad science or disproven science — “We therefore find that Professor Behe’s claim for irreducible complexity has been refuted in peer-reviewed research papers and has been rejected by the scientific community at large.” page 79 of the Dover opinion

    Irreducible complexity is just a way to describe a system. Whether or not you’re doing science depends on the claims made about it.

    Even if that is true, it does not excuse his actions.

    His actions need no excuse, as he acted properly.

    The judge was not required to make a ruling just because the defense asked him to.

    But he’s not barred from doing so just because a group files an amicus brief asking him not to either.

    I’ll use a baseball analogy, which Chief Justice “Ump” Roberts just loves. There are four ways in which a baseball player can be put out — strike out, fly out, force out, and tag out.

    Dont’ forget using a corked bat, passing another runner and interference. There are others as well.

    Only one way is needed. Similarly, once the Dover defendants had been solidly put “out” by the purpose prong of the Lemon test, it was not necessary to determine whether they would have also been put out by the effect prong. And when Judge Jones unnecessarily ruled on the effect prong, he could have simply ruled that irreducible complexity is a non-religious concept because it makes no mention of anything that has anything to do with religion — he did not need to rule on the contentious and non-legal issue of the scientific merits of IC.

    You seem to be insisting that since he could have ruled based on A, he was therefore barred to rule based on B or C or D. The judge wasn’t deciding a case based on irreducible complexity alone in isolation, he was deciding one based on intelligent design, of which arguments “explaining” irreducible complexity play a part. The concept of irreducible complexity may in principle have some non-religious advancing role, but so far that hasn’t been seen. Not even by Behe, by the man who pioneers the modern concept.

    Judges not only make decisions, but are required to explain why the decision was made. There is nothing improper about deciding based on multiple reasons just because you could come to the same conclusion using one.

    Would you harangue a judge because he considered the DNA evidence when the other evidence aleady showed the defendant was guilty beyond all reasonable doubt?

    Wrong. If he had ruled the other way on the scientific merits of IC and you had opposed that ruling with the same arguments I have used here, I would have told you, “I agree with you.”

    I would have no reason to use your arguments.

    But I agree that if I agreed with you, that you’d agree with me. For what that’s worth.

  22. #22 LarryFarma
    February 1, 2006

    From post of Ed Brayton | February 1, 2006 09:54 AM —
    ****Larry Farma wrote:
    —” How did you know in advance that the Dover board was going to enact the ID policy, and that the Dover lawsuit would become important ? “—-
    Because it was being discussed both in school board meetings and in behind the scenes meetings with the teachers long before the board actually voted on it.*****

    Well, this stuff must be going on all the time in many school boards around the country, so I am still wondering how you just happened to zoom in on the Dover board so long before the ID rule was enacted.

    ****I don’t see how this answers what I said about the hypocrisy of arguing that the purpose test is wrong and only the real effect of a policy should matter and then turning around and saying the opposite.****

    You gotta do what you gotta do. “Principle” is for losers. And the plaintiffs’ side had no principle — they had 9-10 attorneys of record just to drive up the possible award of attorney fees. Anyway, I never changed my position — it was always my position that the courts should not rule on the scientific merits of irreducible complexity (indeed, ruling that IC is good science is in effect ruling that evolution theory is bad science). I feel that even on the effect prong, the courts should just rule that IC is non-religious without ruling on IC’s scientific merits. I feel that arguing in court that IC is good science is just a defensive act.

    **** As I’ve said a hundred times, it would have been shocking to everyone involved, including both sides in the trial, if he had not done so [i.e., ruled on the scientific status of ID]*****

    I would not have been shocked, because I know that judges often try to duck issues if they can (e.g., the Marco DeFunis case and the “under god” case). However, I now realize that Judge Jones figured that he could get away with murder because it was very unlikely that the case would be appealed.

    *****But why didn’t the defense team make a motion to dismiss based upon the new board?*****

    I don’t know — you have to ask them.

    ******Here’s Michael Masinter’s statement:
    —-”To be sure, as in Buckhannon, governmental defendants can moot a claim for injunctive relief despite the voluntary cessation limitation by repealing an offending statute or regulation since its repeal eliminates any risk of the recurrence of its mandated illegal conduct. The problem for the Dover School Board is that its challenged conduct is an exercise of discretionary authority that it remains free to reassert at any time; the election did not alter its statutory or regulatory authority to reimpose elements of ID as part of the curriculum.”—-*******

    This guy is talking through his hat. In the first sentence above, he says that repeal eliminates risk of recurrence (which is not true), and in the second sentence, he says the opposite — that repeal by the school board does not eliminate risk of recurrence !

    *****Here’s James Maule’s statement:
    —-”But further reading revealed that the group ‘sponsoring’ the slate of
    Democrats had promised that if they claimed a majority of the school
    board, they would not rush to change the curriculum. He stated, ‘The
    guiding force for this group is going to be Judge Jones’ decision.’ “—-******

    Was that promise made before or after the election ? Not living in the Dover area, I don’t know. Too bad the Dover decision was released before the new board met for the first time — it would have been interesting to see what the new board would have really done in the absence of the decision.

    I think that your legal experts did not really think this thing through. Suppose hypothetically (I know that is hard for you to do, but please try) that the defendants won but that the new school board voted to repeal the ID rule anyway. So then the plaintiffs would have gotten part of what they wanted — elimination of the ID rule — but maybe would have wanted to appeal anyway because, say, the case opinion ruled that ID is good science, but they could not appeal because the case was moot because the school board had repealed the ID rule even though the judge said that the rule could stay. A lot of people try to greatly oversimplify very complex legal issues.

    I think it is an interesting question — when is a lower court judgment or out-of-court settlement against a body of elected officials binding on their successors? In the El Tejon (Lebec), Calif. lawsuit (Hurst v. Newman), unlike in the Dover lawsuit, the school board members were sued as individuals as well as in their official capacities as board members, and they signed an out-of-court settlement in which they promised not to reinstate the challenged course — but is that settlement binding on their successors, since they were sued as individuals ?

    ******I was really surprised that the media did not have more discussion of the potential effects of the replacement of the board members, particularly in regard to appeals.
    There was considerable discussion of it. The Philadelphia Enquirer had a story about it the day after the election in Dover, as did both York newspapers. ******

    Well, you have not cited those stories. All you cited were some private conversations. And I saw nothing here in Los Angeles, even though the case was national news.

    *****The claim of “circumstantial evidence here is irrelevant; almost all evidence is “circumstantial” in this manner.*****

    Not true — with some scientific theories, the results of predictions can be directly observed. Macroevolution in progress, however, cannot be directly observed. Because all the evidence for macroevolution is circumstantial, evolution theory is entitled to much less credibility than some other scientific theories.

  23. #23 LarryFarma
    February 2, 2006

    From post of Dave S. | February 1, 2006 10:35 AM —
    *****—-”The judge was not required to make a ruling just because the defense asked him to.”——-
    But he’s not barred from doing so just because a group files an amicus brief asking him not to either.******

    The difference is that the amicus brief asked him to do the right thing.

    *****”—-”I’ll use a baseball analogy, which Chief Justice “Ump” Roberts just loves. There are four ways in which a baseball player can be put out — strike out, fly out, force out, and tag out.”—-
    Dont’ forget using a corked bat, passing another runner and interference. There are others as well.*****

    So ? You just cited some rare ways in which players can be put out — that does not affect the validity of my statement.

    *****The judge wasn’t deciding a case based on irreducible complexity alone in isolation, he was deciding one based on intelligent design, of which arguments “explaining” irreducible complexity play a part.*****

    What counts is not how the judge views irreducible complexity, but how an objective observer would view it. Objective observers do not hear several days of biased testimony claiming that IC is inseparable from ID and that ID is inseparable from religion.

    *****There is nothing improper about deciding based on multiple reasons just because you could come to the same conclusion using one.*****

    Well, that depends on your judicial philosophy. Some judges believe in exercising maximum restraint — this is called “judicial minimalism.” The Supreme Court often practices it. Other judges, like Jones, believe in being “activists.”

    Also, the potential benefits of judging more issues than necessary should be weighed against the potential harm. In this case, the judge unnecessarily disparaged a scientific idea that was already struggling to gain acceptance. What if the judge had ruled that irreducible complexity has scientific merit, which would in effect have raised serious doubts about evolution theory ? What was the chance of the judge ruling against a theory that is accepted by the great majority of scientists ? The judge had lots of alternatives — he could have thrown out the case as moot because of the election results, he could have made an airtight decision based just on religious motivations, and he could have ruled that irreducible complexity is non-religious without ruling on its scientific merits.

    ****I would have no reason to use your arguments. ****

    You would if the judge had ruled that IC has scientific merit.

  24. #24 Ginger Yellow
    February 2, 2006

    “In this case, the judge unnecessarily disparaged a scientific idea that was already struggling to gain acceptance.”

    No. He disparaged an unscientific idea that has been comprehensively rejected by the scientific community. That, indeed, is why he disparaged it. That and the fact, which you keep on ignoring, that Behe himself admitted under oath that his own experiment showed IC systems can evolve even under extremely unfavourable conditions.

  25. #25 LarryFarma
    February 2, 2006

    From post of Ginger Yellow | February 2, 2006 07:42 AM –
    ****—-”In this case, the judge unnecessarily disparaged a scientific idea that was already struggling to gain acceptance.”—-

    No. He disparaged an unscientific idea that has been comprehensively rejected by the scientific community. That, indeed, is why he disparaged it. That and the fact, which you keep on ignoring, that Behe himself admitted under oath that his own experiment showed IC systems can evolve even under extremely unfavourable conditions.*****

    The controversy over the scientific merits of irreducible complexity was none of the judge’s business. There is only a constitutional separation of church and state — there is no constitutional separation of bogus science and state. And he had no other reason for ruling on the scientific merits of IC ( in contrast, judges are compelled to rule on the scientific merits of scientific ideas affecting liability ).

  26. #26 Ginger Yellow
    February 2, 2006

    If ID has scientific merit, then teaching it has a legitimate secular purpose. Given that this is one of the prongs of the Lemon test, Jones had to determine if it has scientific merit. It doesn’t. That doesn’t in itself mean that ID is religous, but the point is that if it had scientific merit it wouldn’t matter if the policy was religiously motivated.

    By the way, Kitzmiller defence witness Steve Fuller thinks that both Judge Jones and you are wrong:

    Unfortunately, Judge Jones based his ruling against ID in Kitzmiller on the clear religious motivation of the theory’s practitioners. Instead he should have drawn on the precedent set in McLean v. Arkansas (1982), which relied on a conception of the scientific method independent of practitioner motives and, for that matter, the received opinion of scientific experts.

    You guys might want to get your story straight. I don’t know about anyone else, but I find this hilarious.

  27. #27 Dave S.
    February 2, 2006

    The difference is that the amicus brief asked him to do the right thing.

    So says you.

    So ? You just cited some rare ways in which players can be put out — that does not affect the validity of my statement.

    It’s an analogy, analogies are only illustrations. Baseball is not law. And you said “there are four ways”, not “there are at least four ways” or some other such phrase, so I was simply correcting this error of fact. And what makes you think baseball umps can’t rule on a violation based on more than one reason? Can you show me in the rule-book where it says they must for example rule a strike either based on the ball crossing the strike zone or the batter going around on it?

    What counts is not how the judge views irreducible complexity, but how an objective observer would view it. Objective observers do not hear several days of biased testimony claiming that IC is inseparable from ID and that ID is inseparable from religion.

    The testimony was from the inventor of the term himself. If he could not separate the religion from the science using his own idea, how can anyone? I stress again that the ruled ruled on the argument of irredicible complexity, not just on the term itself as descriptive of some system.

    Well, that depends on your judicial philosophy. Some judges believe in exercising maximum restraint — this is called “judicial minimalism.” The Supreme Court often practices it. Other judges, like Jones, believe in being “activists.”

    If your definition of being an activist judge is deciding a case thouroughly based on the merits then I agree this judge was activist.

    Also, the potential benefits of judging more issues than necessary should be weighed against the potential harm. In this case, the judge unnecessarily disparaged a scientific idea that was already struggling to gain acceptance.

    You keep coming back to this nonsensical phrase. If it really is a genuine scintific idea, then nothing the judge did stops it from being used. If it is science, why is even Behe himself unable to present a single piece of positive evidence in support? His only paper actually supports the opposite view, even when extensively rigged against that.

    What if the judge had ruled that irreducible complexity has scientific merit, which would in effect have raised serious doubts about evolution theory ? What was the chance of the judge ruling against a theory that is accepted by the great majority of scientists ? The judge had lots of alternatives — he could have thrown out the case as moot because of the election results, he could have made an airtight decision based just on religious motivations, and he could have ruled that irreducible complexity is non-religious without ruling on its scientific merits.

    That something is irreducbly complex does not a priori mean it could not have evolved, nor can we simply assume Behe has even correctly identified certain structures as IC. Behe himself accepts some structures, which are IC according to his definition, as having evolved. Even if they were not religion motivated, these ideas would provide no argument against evolution. Some of the details of the Dover ruling regarding IC can be found on pages 72-80.

    Personally I see IC as simply a game of semantics. What’s a “part”? What’s a “basic function”? A human being is IC…they have a contol part (central nervous system) and a controlled part (rest of body). Neither works if you remove the other. Does that mean we couldn’t have evolved?

    That the judge could have done one thing doesn’t mean its wrong he did another. There are issues here that needed a legal resolution. In particular, were the actions themselves constitutional and was ID indeed just crationism in disguise? The evidence was unequivocal, no and yes. That doesn’t stop people from trying to find some scentific significance in irreducible complexity.

    You would if the judge had ruled that IC has scientific merit.

    Not at all.

    Behe’s arguments are scientifically vacuous, even setting aside the religious question. It’s a just-so story (the kind creationists despise when used by the other side), easily rebutted simply pointing out some process which is a) evolutionary and b) produces systems like those at issue. Behe is already dead in the water at that point. All he has left is to deny (or ignore) the evidence accumulated, and still accumulates, that supports a) and b).

    Haven’t you even wondered why, in 10 long years or more, Dr. Behe himself has not published so much as a single scientific paper supporting his ‘hypothesis’? I stand corrected…he did publish one, but that one unfortunately did not support his views and in fact supported the opposite view. I can see why he doesn’t bother, although I do like the imperious demands that others ‘prove him wrong’.

  28. #28 Ed Brayton
    February 2, 2006

    I’ve frankly bored of continuing to answer the same bad arguments, Larry. You really don’t have an argument to make here. Your only argument for why the judge should not have ruled on the scientific status of ID is that he could have reached the same result without doing so. But if you don’t see why that’s a weak argument, I can’t really help you any further. The fact that he could have ruled just on the purpose prong doesn’t mean he should have ruled just on the purpose prong. Most such complaints come with multiple grounds and the judge’s job is to evaluate all of them, not merely to decide on the first one and then stop. His job is to make the right decision, not the easiest decision or the one that’s most convenient for you. You haven’t even attempted to dispute the innumerable findings of fact that support his conclusion, and without that you’re frankly just pissing in the wind.

  29. #29 Dave S.
    February 2, 2006

    Your only argument for why the judge should not have ruled on the scientific status of ID is that he could have reached the same result without doing so. But if you don’t see why that’s a weak argument, I can’t really help you any further. The fact that he could have ruled just on the purpose prong doesn’t mean he should have ruled just on the purpose prong.

    I could understand his position if Judge Jones were to have veered off and ruled on issues which were not before him and not fully and fairly vetted, but that was simply not the case.

    His argument that the judge somehow stabbed a genuine nascent scientific idea in the back is equally weak, as nothing said prevents anyone from using IC to make scientific discoveries. Only the lack of a proper theory and any positive supporting data prevents that, and that’s hardly the province of a district court.

  30. #30 Francis
    February 2, 2006

    Re 702 and Daubert.

    The purpose of the Daubert test is to determine what is heard by a JURY. The purpose of the ID trial is to determine what is heard by high-school students.

    Trying to determine how ID would have to pass a Daubert test is not trivial. Here’s one guess. In a biosciences patent dispute one party might claim that the compound at issue is not patentable because it evolved from a natural compound. The other party could then argue that the compound is patentable because it is irreducibly complex and therefore could not possibly have evolved.

    That’s a bit of a stretch. However, since IDist refuse to publish a coherent defensible theory that could then generate evidence theoretically usable in federal court, it’s the best I could do.

  31. #31 LarryFarma
    February 2, 2006

    Note: I am responding to several different posts and commenters here.

    From post of Ed Brayton | February 2, 2006 09:52 AM —
    *****I’ve frankly bored of continuing to answer the same bad arguments, Larry. You really don’t have an argument to make here. *****

    Yes I do — otherwise you and others would not keep responding to me.

    You’re bored? What do you think I am? I not only have to answer your posts, but I have to answer the posts of others. Anyway, a lot of the stuff here has not been boring to me. I have gotten a helluva lot out of the debate here — it has helped me greatly to develop and refine my views and arguments.

    Ed Brayton wrote:
    *****Your only argument for why the judge should not have ruled on the scientific status of ID is that he could have reached the same result without doing so.*****

    No, that is not my only argument. I am also arguing that the scientific status of ID — or at least irreducible complexity — was none of Judge Jones’ beeswax. He had no reason to rule on that status — there is no separation of bogus science and state, and determining that status was not necessary for a decision on the effect prong. On the effect prong, he should have simply ruled that an objective observer would view IC as a non-religious concept. If it took several days of testimony to persuade Judge Jones that IC is inseparably tied to religion, then an objective observer would not see IC as such. Also, in his written opinion, Jones never held that IC is an inherently religious concept, and he treated it as a strictly scientific concept for his scientific analysis. If IC had affected liability, for example, then it would have been necessary to make a ruling on IC’s scientific merits. What other strictly scientific controversies would you like Judge Jones to settle ?

    A good comparison would be astrology. Astrology is a pseudoscience, but is generally not associated with religion. So it could be taught in science class for whatever reason — for historical interest (astrological observation was a precursor of astronomical observation, and many astronomical symbols are from astrology), for comparison with astronomy, or whatever.

    Since Jones had no constitutional or legal basis for ruling on the scientific merit of irreducible complexity, it does not matter how low that merit is. As Thomas More said in the play “A Man for All Seasons” — “The world must construe according to its wits. This court must construe according to the law.”

    ===========================

    From post of Dave S. | February 2, 2006 09:30 AM —
    *****—–”So ? You just cited some rare ways in which players can be put out — that does not affect the validity of my statement.”—–
    It’s an analogy, analogies are only illustrations. Baseball is not law. And you said “there are four ways”, not “there are at least four ways” or some other such phrase, so I was simply correcting this error of fact.******

    It was a nitpicking and pointless criticism of what I said. I used the baseball analogy because “Ump” Roberts used one in his confirmation hearings — he said that judges are like umpires. And even he was wrong when he said that “no one comes to a baseball game to see the umpire” — an umpire became the star of a recent playoff game by making a crucial bad call. Anyway, if judges are like umpires, they should start thinking like them — once a player is out by a caught fly ball, he does not have to be forced out at first and tagged out too.

    Dave S. wrote –
    *****—-”What counts is not how the judge views irreducible complexity, but how an objective observer would view it. Objective observers do not hear several days of biased testimony claiming that IC is inseparable from ID and that ID is inseparable from religion.”—–
    The testimony was from the inventor of the term himself. If he could not separate the religion from the science using his own idea, how can anyone? *******

    Your reply has nothing to do with my above statement. Also, Behe may have coined the term “irreducible complexity,” but he does not own the term or the concept. And he only said that ID is like astrology — he never said that ID is religious.

    Dave S. wrote —
    *****—–”Also, the potential benefits of judging more issues than necessary should be weighed against the potential harm. In this case, the judge unnecessarily disparaged a scientific idea that was already struggling to gain acceptance.”—–
    You keep coming back to this nonsensical phrase. If it really is a genuine scientific idea, then nothing the judge did stops it from being used.*****

    Jones’ rulings on ID and IC could affect the acceptance of ID and IC in the scientific community and could also prevent ID and IC from being taught in public schools if other courts accept his reasoning. So these rulings definitely have a practical effect.

    =======================================

    From post of Ginger Yellow | February 2, 2006 09:17 AM —
    *****If ID has scientific merit, then teaching it has a legitimate secular purpose. Given that this is one of the prongs of the Lemon test, Jones had to determine if it has scientific merit.*****

    Determining the existence of legitimate secular purpose is necessary only for things that an objective observer would perceive as being religious in nature, in order to decide when an exception to the separation of church and state is justified. Since an objective observer would not perceive IC as being religious in nature, such a determination for IC is not necessary.

    Ginger Yellow wrote –
    ****By the way, Kitzmiller defence witness Steve Fuller thinks that both Judge Jones and you are wrong —
    “Unfortunately, Judge Jones based his ruling against ID in Kitzmiller on the clear religious motivation of the theory’s practitioners. Instead he should have drawn on the precedent set in McLean v. Arkansas (1982), which relied on a conception of the scientific method independent of practitioner motives and, for that matter, the received opinion of scientific experts. ” ****

    I disagree. Judge Jones never claimed that Behe was motivated by religion. Anyway, there is no reason why I should have to agree with Fuller.

    ===========================================

    From post of Francis | February 2, 2006 11:39 AM
    *****Re 702 and Daubert.
    The purpose of the Daubert test is to determine what is heard by a JURY. The purpose of the ID trial is to determine what is heard by high-school students.******

    Wrong. The Daubert opinion says nothing about juries. And the issue here concerning what is taught to high-school students is the separation of church and state — and I assert that irreducible complexity is a non-religious idea regardless of whether it has any scientific merit or not. So the issue of IC’s scientific merit is irrelevant.

    Francis wrote –
    ****In a biosciences patent dispute one party might claim that the compound at issue is not patentable because it evolved from a natural compound.****

    Congratulations — you have found another type of lawsuit in which judging the merits of a scientific idea would be necessary — a patent dispute. Daubert was a liability dispute. The issue here is separation of church and state — and as I said above, the issue of IC’s scientific merit is irrelevant.

    =================================

    From post of John Pieret | January 30, 2006 12:06 PM .
    *****—–”A very, very important issue is the degree of scrutiny that should be used in judging scientific merit. In the Daubert v. Merrell Pharmaceuticals case, a huge amount of dollars of liability hinged on the issue of the validity of expert testimony that a drug likely caused birth defects, so the courts had be sure that this testimony was nearly airtight.”—-
    Money is more important than our constitutional rights?******

    You know the saying, “money isn’t everything, but it is far ahead of whatever is in second place.”

  32. #32 Ed Brayton
    February 2, 2006

    Larry Farma wrote:

    I have gotten a helluva lot out of the debate here — it has helped me greatly to develop and refine my views and arguments.

    For crying out loud, you think your arguments are getting more refined?

    On the effect prong, he should have simply ruled that an objective observer would view IC as a non-religious concept. If it took several days of testimony to persuade Judge Jones that IC is inseparably tied to religion, then an objective observer would not see IC as such.

    More idiocy. In point of fact, one of the lines of evidence that Judge Jones examined as to how an objective observer would view ID was from how folks in the community on both sides of the issue did view it. There were dozens and dozens of letters to the editor written by folks on both sides and virtually every single one of them recognized that at its core, ID is a religious idea – including everyone who supported the idea. That’s powerful evidence of how the average person perceived the policy.

    And for the four millionth time, he did not rule on the “scientific merit of irreducible complexity”, he ruled on the scientific status of intelligent design. That you continue to conflate both sides of that argument only shows how ridiculous your position is.

  33. #33 LarryFarma
    February 3, 2006

    From post of Ed Brayton | February 2, 2006 10:08 PM —
    *****More idiocy. In point of fact, one of the lines of evidence that Judge Jones examined as to how an objective observer would view ID was from how folks in the community on both sides of the issue did view it. There were dozens and dozens of letters to the editor written by folks on both sides and virtually every single one of them recognized that at its core, ID is a religious idea – including everyone who supported the idea. That’s powerful evidence of how the average person perceived the policy.*****

    “Virtually every single one of them”? Wrong. According to the Dover opinion, a substantial number of the letters and editorials did not even address the issues in religious terms at all. For example, the Dover opinion says on page 60 that only 86 out of 139 published letters and only 28 out of 43 editorials in the York Daily Record addressed the issues in religious terms. And of the letters and editorials that did address the issues in religious terms, the Dover opinion did not say how these issues were addressed, e.g., whether ID and/or irreducible complexity were held to be wholly religious, partly religious, or non-religious, or whether the ID rule appeared to be an endorsement of religion. Also, the judge should have made some allowance for the fact that most or many of the writers were not experts on ID, IC, and the difference between ID and IC — this was not like the issues of whether, say, a Christmas tree or Santa Claus is a religious symbol. An objective observer studying irreducible complexity in a science class might reach a completely different conclusion than an objective observer on the outside. And one of the big problems with the name “intelligent design” is that it sounds religious because it implies the existence of an intelligent designer, a problem that irreducible complexity does not have. Anyway, counting letters and editorials is a very crude way of poll taking, to say the least.

    Also, the Dover opinion’s following descriptions of an “objective observer” and a “reasonable observer” show that these observers are supposed to have a high level of knowledge about the subject –

    “The test [i.e., the endorsement test]consists of the reviewing court determining what message a challenged governmental policy or enactment conveys to a reasonable, objective observer who knows the policy’s language, origins, and legislative history, as well as the history of the community and the broader social context in which the policy arose.” pages 15-16

    – and —

    “In elaborating upon this ‘reasonable observer,’ the Third Circuit explained ……that ‘the reasonable observer is an informed citizen who is more knowledgeable than the average passerby. ‘ ” page 16

    Presumably many — maybe most — of the authors of the letters and editorials did not have the level of knowledge necessary to qualify as “objective” or “reasonable” observers under the above definitions. Also, in this case, the knowledge required should include a good knowledge of ID and IC. I think that basically the judges are usually just supposed to imagine that they themselves are the “objective” or “reasonable” observers.

    The Dover opinion incorrectly concludes that the published letters and editorials “constitute substantial additional evidence” that “the community collectively perceives the ID Policy as favoring a particular religious view.” pages 62-63 Anyway, as shown above, the collective opinion of the community is not supposed to represent the opinion of the “objective” or “reasonable” observer, because that observer is supposed to be “an informed citizen who is more knowledgeable than the average passerby.”

    Also, the Dover opinion noted that the defendants “strenuously objected” to the plaintiffs’ introduction of the published letters and the editorials as evidence.

    At the conclusion of this erroneous analysis based on counts of letters and editorials, the Dover opinion says on page 63,

    “We have now found that both an objective student and an objective adult member of the Dover community would perceive Defendants’ conduct to be a strong endorsement of religion pursuant to the endorsement test. Having so concluded, we find it incumbent upon the Court to further address an additional issue raised by the Plaintiffs, which is whether ID is science. To be sure, our answer to this question can likely be predicted based on the foregoing analysis.”

    So his decision to judge whether ID is science was based on his false conclusion that he showed that an objective observer would perceive the ID rule as a strong endorsement of religion. Also, the judge said, “To be sure, our answer to this question can likely be predicted based on the foregoing analysis.” In other words, he is saying that the opinions of people who may know little or nothing about ID and IC are a good predictor of the scientific merits of ID and IC, and this statement also showed that he did not look at ID and IC with an open mind ! It seems that almost every time I look at the Dover opinion, I find one or more additional flaws in it.

    The Dover opinion is at –http://media.ljworld.com/pdf/2005/12/20/kitzmiller_342.pdf

    *****And for the four millionth time, he did not rule on the “scientific merit of irreducible complexity”, he ruled on the scientific status of intelligent design.*****

    What is this thing called “scientific status” — which I have not seen anywhere else — and how does it differ from scientific merit ?

  34. #34 Ginger Yellow
    February 3, 2006

    “For example, the Dover opinion says on page 60 that only 86 out of 139 published letters and only 28 out of 43 editorials in the York Daily Record addressed the issues in religious terms.”

    “Only”? Have you ever considered becoming a politician?

  35. #35 LarryFarma
    February 3, 2006

    From post of Ginger Yellow | February 3, 2006 01:07 PM
    *****—-”For example, the Dover opinion says on page 60 that only 86 out of 139 published letters and only 28 out of 43 editorials in the York Daily Record addressed the issues in religious terms.”—-
    “Only”? Have you ever considered becoming a politician?”*******

    My “only” was in comparison to Ed Brayton’s “virtually every single one.”

  36. #36 Ed Brayton
    February 3, 2006

    Larry-

    As your quotes show, this is but one of many, many lines of evidence on how an objective observer would view the issue. And remember, that was only one of many standards by which it was judged. In fact, I would argue that this cuts the other way on your argument – if the objective observer standard under the endorsement test is so suspect, then the judge was correct to consider the other tests, particularly the question of whether ID was inherently religious or not. And this is especially true given that all of the previous precedents on teaching alternatives to evolution considered that very question.

    So his decision to judge whether ID is science was based on his false conclusion that he showed that an objective observer would perceive the ID rule as a strong endorsement of religion. Also, the judge said, “To be sure, our answer to this question can likely be predicted based on the foregoing analysis.” In other words, he is saying that the opinions of people who may know little or nothing about ID and IC are a good predictor of the scientific merits of ID and IC, and this statement also showed that he did not look at ID and IC with an open mind!

    An utterly dishonest reading of the statement. When he said “the foregoing analysis” he was clearly not referring only to the objective observer analysis but to all of the previous analysis on the prior standards discussed. He goes into great detail to support his conclusions on the scientific status of ID (not IC, as you so annoying continue to conflate – if you think IC should be taught without teaching ID, fine, but that has nothing to do with the case the judge actually had to decide) and it was not based on how observers might perceive it. It was based on dozens of lines of evidence about the reality of ID, not anyone’s perceptions of ID. The more you look at this decision, the more you continue to obfuscate about the case and substitute the hypothetical case in your head for the case the judge actually ruled on.

  37. #37 Flint
    February 3, 2006

    Larry:

    OK, I’ll try to clarify once again. Like Ed, I don’t think anyone is getting anywhere.

    there is no separation of bogus science and state, and determining that status was not necessary for a decision on the effect prong.

    Misleading. “Bogus science” which just happens to be a straight creationist religious doctrine, pushed into the school by religious people because it IS religious doctrine, is not legal. Therefore, it was necessary for Jones to examine ID to see if it IS religious doctrine. Sure enough, it’s 100% pure religion and nothing but. The attempt to disguise it as science fooled nobody, not Jones, not Bonsell, not Buckingham’s church. Nobody. Please be honest.

    On the effect prong, he should have simply ruled that an objective observer would view IC as a non-religious concept.

    Astounding. Larry, IC is religious apologetics. Jones directly investigated this (he didn’t take your word for it, thankfully). And sure enough, Behe himself said that to the extent that one believes in God, one finds IC persuasive. How is your “objective observer” supposed to decide that IC has nothing to do with religion after that testimony?

    If it took several days of testimony to persuade Judge Jones that IC is inseparably tied to religion, then an objective observer would not see IC as such.

    Astounding. Jones listened to several days of testimony to the effect that IC IS IN FACT inseparably tied to religion. What you seem to be arguing is that the “objective observer” simply assumes religious doctrine is not religious, and then ignores all relevant facts so as to preserve his error. This may be how YOU operate, but it’s not objective.

    Also, in his written opinion, Jones never held that IC is an inherently religious concept, and he treated it as a strictly scientific concept for his scientific analysis.

    A creatively self-serving interpretation. What Jones did was to start by assuming IC was scientific, recognize what this would require, construct tests based on those requirements, subject IC to those tests, and find that it failed all the tests. Sure enough, IC is not only motivated by religion, it has no secular scientific value.

    A good comparison would be astrology. Astrology is a pseudoscience, but is generally not associated with religion. So it could be taught in science class for whatever reason — for historical interest (astrological observation was a precursor of astronomical observation, and many astronomical symbols are from astrology), for comparison with astronomy, or whatever.

    Where this comparison fails is, astrology is not being pushed into science classes as scientific truth, for religious motivations. This distinction was the crux of the case: not ONLY whether ID has any scientific merit, but ALSO whether it reflects a religious viewpoint and is being promoted out of religious motivations. If Astrology were regarded as a relition, there were a million Churches of Astrology that 85% of the population attended, and the school board members were devout members of this church, then astrology would ALSO become illegal to teach in public schools. Context matters.

    Since Jones had no constitutional or legal basis for ruling on the scientific merit of irreducible complexity

    You seem to feel that if you repeat this enough, somehow it will come true. It was Jones’ responsibility to establish simultaneously BOTH that ID had no scientific merit, and that it represented religious doctrine. Either one, by itself, isn’t sufficient. Therefore Jones is obligated to assess BOTH the scientific and the religious merits.

    [Behe] he only said that ID is like astrology — he never said that ID is religious.

    But he DID say, and Jones pointed out, that you have to believe in Behe’s god to find ID persuasive.

    Jones’ rulings on ID and IC could affect the acceptance of ID and IC in the scientific community

    But the chances of this are essentially zero. ID and IC are accepted or rejected on scientific grounds, not because of the opinion of a judge. What affects acceptance of any hypothesis are studies, experiments, test results, peer-reviewed papers, actual research.

    and could also prevent ID and IC from being taught in public schools if other courts accept his reasoning. So these rulings definitely have a practical effect.

    I agree. In fact, Jones explicitly stated that he went to all the trouble of hearing both sides in exhaustive detail to save other venues this same effort. He established that ID IS religion, and IS NOT science. These are the FACTS.

    Beyond this, you are simply repeating in reply to everyone who makes the effort to correct you, that somehow ID is not creationism, and that “cdesign proponentsists” aren’t creationists! If there’s anything this trial made totally clear, it is that ID is creationism, nothing else, nothing but, nothing new. And Ed (and others) are getting bored telling you this over and over and over and over and over and over, only to have you come back and say “no objective observer could possibly think creationism is religion.” Who do you think you’re fooling?

  38. #38 LarryFarma
    February 4, 2006

    Ed Brayton | February 3, 2006 02:19 PM
    ***** —–”Also, the judge said, “To be sure, our answer to this question can likely be predicted based on the foregoing analysis.” In other words, he is saying that the opinions of people who may know little or nothing about ID and IC are a good predictor of the scientific merits of ID and IC, and this statement also showed that he did not look at ID and IC with an open mind!”—–
    An utterly dishonest reading of the statement. When he said “the foregoing analysis” he was clearly not referring only to the objective observer analysis but to all of the previous analysis on the prior standards discussed.*****

    OK, I thought that the words “foregoing analysis” referred to the study of the letters to the editor and the editorials — I made that misinterpretation because you made such a big deal about that study (which I showed to be a lot of hooey). I agree that “foregoing analysis” must have referred to the entire foregoing analysis, which included other matters. But that does not change the fact that his statement — i.e., “our answer to this question [i.e., whether ID is science] can likely be predicted based on the foregoing analysis” — implied that he was prejudiced by a preconceived idea of the likely outcome of his analysis of the scientific merits of ID and IC. Lucky for him that the case was not appealed — the appeals court judges probably would have thrown his opinion out the window when they saw that statement.

    Also, the “objective observer” or “reasonable observer” is supposed to be well-informed about the issues, and the judge had no right to make that assumption about the members of the community in general, particularly in regard to a subject as involved as ID and IC. As for treating members of the public as “objective observers,” Judge Jones failed to cite the results of formal opinion polls showing that the majority of the public wants creationism and/or ID to be taught in the public schools as well as evolution theory . The judge should have just imagined himself to be the “objective observer” and ruled accordingly. I feel that an objective observer would not see IC as being religious in nature. I think that the name ID is religious in nature because the name implies that there is an intelligent designer, even though ID proponents claim that ID is non-religious in nature because ID is not supposed to speculate about the “designer.”

    Also, how IC or ID is taught can be a crucial consideration — whether IC or ID are merely “explained” or whether they are taught as being true. This distinction was an issue in Epperson v. Arkansas, 393 U.S. 97 (1968), but the US Supreme Court decided that this distinction was of no consequence in that case — “The Court does not decide whether the statute is unconstitutionally vague, since, whether it is construed to prohibit explaining the Darwinian theory or teaching that it is true, the law conflicts with the Establishment Clause.”

    If the judge, imagining himself to be the objective observer, felt that teaching ID and/or IC appeared to be a government endorsement of religion (I feel that teaching IC definitely does not), then I feel it was appropriate to determine the scientific merit of ID and/or IC in order to decide if there was a legitimate secular purpose justifying an exception to the establishment clause. However, issues of scientific merit generally (1) are outside the courts’ normal scopes of jurisdiction and expertise, (2) are often contentious, (3) involve the reputations of scientists, and (4) affect the direction of scientific progress. For these reasons, judges should rule on scientific merit only as a last resort, and it was not a last resort in the Dover case. The judge had good opportunities to duck the issue — (1) throwing out the case as moot because of the election, (2) ruling only on the religious motivations of the board members, or (3) ruling that IC is a non-religious concept and hence determination of its scientific merit was not necessary (though ID is arguably a religious concept).

    *****He goes into great detail to support his conclusions on the scientific status of ID (not IC, as you so annoying continue to conflate – if you think IC should be taught without teaching ID, fine, but that has nothing to do with the case the judge actually had to decide) and it was not based on how observers might perceive it. *****

    For starters, what is this thing you’ve got about “scientific status” ? I have not seen that term elsewhere, and you have never defined it. And why couldn’t the judge decide that it is OK to teach IC so long as the name ID, which implies the existence of a supernatural “designer,” is not used ? Also, I think that an objective observer’s perception of the scientific merits of ID or IC can be important, because that perception can affect the observer’s view of whether there is a legitimate secular purpose to teaching ID or IC if teaching ID or IC initially appears to violate the establishment clause.

    ******The more you look at this decision, the more you continue to obfuscate about the case and substitute the hypothetical case in your head for the case the judge actually ruled on*****

    It is not surprising that those who support the Dover opinion get all upset when opponents of the opinion critically analyze it, because these critical analyses can lead to exposure of serious flaws in the opinion.

  39. #39 LarryFarma
    February 4, 2006

    From post of Flint | February 3, 2006 02:47 PM
    ******—–”On the effect prong, he should have simply ruled that an objective observer would view IC as a non-religious concept.”—–
    Astounding. Larry, IC is religious apologetics.*****

    Not even Judge Jones ruled that IC is religious apologetics — he just ruled that it is bad science and that it is a test for evolution theory and not for ID. See page 79 of the opinion. Also, the notion that IC is just religious apologetics is based on conspiracy theories, most notably the “Wedge Document.” Conspiracy theories and other urban legends have no place in judicial decisions. There is nothing in IC that gives the appearance of having anything to do with religion.

    *****And sure enough, Behe himself said that to the extent that one believes in God, one finds IC persuasive. How is your “objective observer” supposed to decide that IC has nothing to do with religion after that testimony? *****

    It’s easy — all the objective observer has to do is think that Behe’s opinion is just the opinion of one person and should not be controlling.

    *****—-”Also, in his written opinion, Jones never held that IC is an inherently religious concept, and he treated it as a strictly scientific concept for his scientific analysis”——
    A creatively self-serving interpretation. What Jones did was to start by assuming IC was scientific, recognize what this would require, construct tests based on those requirements, subject IC to those tests, and find that it failed all the tests. Sure enough, IC is not only motivated by religion, it has no secular scientific value.*****

    Jones never ruled that IC was motivated by religion. And what motivated IC does not matter so far as the establishment clause is concerned, because IC was established by scientists and not by the government. The issue of whether IC has secular scientific value is irrelevant because there is no separation of bogus science and state, as I have pointed out many times. As Thomas More said in the play “A Man for All Seasons” — “The world must construe according to its wits. This court must construe according to the law.”

    *****Where this comparison fails is, astrology is not being pushed into science classes as scientific truth, for religious motivations.*****

    Some of those pushing ID or IC into science classes are motivated by religion, but others are not.

    *****Beyond this, you are simply repeating in reply to everyone who makes the effort to correct you,*****

    Oh, so that’s it — this is not a forum for debate, but a place where us ignorant peons are supposed to come for the purpose of being “corrected” by you all-knowing gurus. The superciliousness of evolutionists knows no bounds.

    ******And Ed (and others) are getting bored telling you this over and over and over and over and over and over, only to have you come back and say “no objective observer could possibly think creationism is religion.” *****

    You are putting words in my mouth — you know I never said that. That is just a straw man argument.

  40. #40 Jeff Hebert
    February 4, 2006

    Larry “Super Troll” Farma said:

    And why couldn’t the judge decide that it is OK to teach IC so long as the name ID, which implies the existence of a supernatural “designer,” is not used ?

    I can’t decide what’s more irritating, your unwillingness to use blockquotes or your ignorance of the very position you’re trying to advocate. You keep using Irreducible Complexity (IC) and Intelligent Design (ID) as if they are interchangeable concepts, which they are clearly not. Please go back and re-read Darwin’s Black Box. If you can’t even tell the difference between two fundamental terms used by “your side” then everything else you say is cast into doubt.

    Cast into doubt, that is, until you explain yourself and confirm that you don’t, in fact, have any idea what you’re talking about.

    It is not surprising that those who support the Dover opinion get all upset when opponents of the opinion critically analyze it, because these critical analyses can lead to exposure of serious flaws in the opinion.

    I don’t see how you can come to this conclusion after reading this thread, since to be frank, you have yet to produce any analysis I could sincerely qualify as “critical” and the only serious flaws you’ve exposed have been in your complete lack of comprehension of matters both legal and scientific.

    I enjoy engaging in an honest debate in a search for the truth, but Larry, you’ve proven that you’re not interested in that. You’re just a troll, and it’s not worth trying to talk to you because you’re not interested in a dialog. You just repeat the same nonsensical things over and over. They’re not even arguments, they’re just blatherings that make no logical sense even within themselves.

    It’s a waste of everyone’s time here — pro or con the Dover decision — to talk to you, especially since you’re so profoundly ignorant of even your own side of things. I’m done with you, enjoy life under the bridge (that is still where trolls live, right?).

  41. #41 LarryFarma
    February 4, 2006

    From post of Jeff Hebert | February 4, 2006 11:55 AM —

    I can’t decide what’s more irritating, your unwillingness to use blockquotes or your ignorance of the very position you’re trying to advocate.

    Oh, is that how “blockquote” works here? Thanks — on another message board, “blockquote” forms boxes, which I do not want here.

    You keep using Irreducible Complexity (IC) and Intelligent Design (ID) as if they are interchangeable concepts, which they are clearly not.

    I never said that the two terms are interchangeable. ID is the general idea that some biological systems appear to be too complex to have evolved and appear to have been “designed.” “Irreducible complexity” is the specific idea that a biological system cannot function at all if any part is removed and therefore the system is not likely to have gradually evolved by adding one part at a time. IC is considered to be part of ID, and to some people, the terms are virtually synonymous. Go to the Wikipedia online encyclopedia and you will see that IC is explained in the article on ID. The problem with ID is that the name implies the existence of a supernatural “designer” and thus appears to be a religious concept, even though many ID proponents claim that ID is not supposed to identify this “designer.” IC, on the other hand, makes no mention of anything at all that has anything to do with religion.

    Also, with all the hoopla over IC, a lot of people have the mistaken impression that it is the only scientific criticism of evolution theory. There are other criticisms that have little or nothing to do with “design,” intelligent or otherwise. Some of these other criticisms concern — (1) the mechanisms of the propagation of beneficial mutations in organisms that reproduce sexually, (2) the mathematical probability of evolution, and (3) the co-evolution of two co-dependent organisms, e.g., bees and flowering plants ( this co-dependence is called “mutualism” ).

    ” It is not surprising that those who support the Dover opinion get all upset when opponents of the opinion critically analyze it, because these critical analyses can lead to exposure of serious flaws in the opinion. “

    I don’t see how you can come to this conclusion after reading this thread, since to be frank, you have yet to produce any analysis I could sincerely qualify as “critical” and the only serious flaws you’ve exposed have been in your complete lack of comprehension of matters both legal and scientific.

    I was speaking generally about criticisms of the Dover opinion, not just about my own criticisms. Criticisms of the Dover opinion are often rejected before they are even read, because after all, Judge Jones is infallible. I have yet to see a supporter of his Dover opinion concede that it contains a single flaw, though there are many. As for my own criticisms, all of my statements here have been backed up with reasoning. In contrast, my adversaries have been making unsupported statements like, “IC is just religious apologetics.” As for flaws in the Dover opinion, I found the following blatant statement of prejudice preceding an analysis of the question of whether ID is science —”To be sure, our answer to this question can likely be predicted based on the foregoing analysis.” ( page 63 of the opinion ) That one statement alone is enough to blow the Dover opinion out of the water.

    If my arguments did not make sense, people would not spend so much time trying to refute them.

    It’s a waste of everyone’s time here — pro or con the Dover decision — to talk to you, especially since you’re so profoundly ignorant of even your own side of things.

    You mean that you are actually conceding that there is a “con” side to the Dover decision ?

  42. #42 Flint
    February 4, 2006

    As for flaws in the Dover opinion, I found the following blatant statement of prejudice preceding an analysis of the question of whether ID is science —”To be sure, our answer to this question can likely be predicted based on the foregoing analysis.” ( page 63 of the opinion ) That one statement alone is enough to blow the Dover opinion out of the water.

    If my arguments did not make sense, people would not spend so much time trying to refute them.

    No, people are spending a lot of time trying to correct your errors. You seem impervious to correction. It’s not that your arguments don’t make sense, it’s just that they are incorrect on the merits.

    Personally, I’m getting tired of your misinterpretation of that same quote. Judge Jones is saying basically, “Now that you’ve waded through a hundred pages of facts and seen that the defense doesn’t have leg to stand on, and since my job is to decide on the basis of the facts, you won’t be surprised to learn that I’m basing my decision on the facts.” Jones’ statement did not PRECEDE his analysis, it FOLLOWED it. That’s what “foregoing analysis” means. It means the analysis has *already* been presented. But you reverse this position, because otherwise you’d have to actually admit error.

    FAR from any pre-existing prejudice (just check a mirror if you want to know what that looks like), Jones has carefully considered every fact and every argument presented in testimony and cross-examination by both sides, laid them all out, and noted that they all point unambiguously in the same direction.

    Now, if you wish to argue that Jones has a predisposition to follow the facts rather than ignore them, I can’t disagree with you. As people here are tiring of telling you, you are the poster child for ignoring any inconvenient facts (in the Dover case, this is ALL of the facts) to misrepresent what little you can find in the hopes that once you’ve twisted it beyond any recognition it will say what you so desperately need to hear.

    “Backing things up with reasoning” is a case in point. In your mouth, this phrase means “MAKING reality fit my preferences, despite every fact and every effort by everyone else to get through to you.”

    If you ever DO find a flaw in the Dover decision (beyond that you refuse to accept it for religious reasons), we’ll all be glad to consider it. So far, you’ve found none. The one quote you keep repeating says exactly the opposite of what you insist on hearing.

    And by the way, IC really IS religious apologetics. I’d refer you to the decision, but you read one thing and understand another, so that’s a waste of effort. I already pointed out that IC is Behe’s baby, Behe himself admits you need to believe in Behe’s god to accept it, and you simply rejected this because it didn’t meet your needs. Your “objective observer”, like yourself, will simply ignore that IC was invented by, defined by, and explained and defended by Behe. If Behe says it’s religious, and this isn’t what you want to hear, then your “objective observer” simply ignores Behe!

    And you call this “reasoning.”

  43. #43 LarryFarma
    February 4, 2006

    From post of Flint | February 4, 2006 06:57 PM –

    “As for flaws in the Dover opinion, I found the following blatant statement of prejudice preceding an analysis of the question of whether ID is science —”To be sure, our answer to this question can likely be predicted based on the foregoing analysis.”

    Personally, I’m getting tired of your misinterpretation of that same quote. Judge Jones is saying basically, “Now that you’ve waded through a hundred pages of facts and seen that the defense doesn’t have leg to stand on, and since my job is to decide on the basis of the facts, you won’t be surprised to learn that I’m basing my decision on the facts.” Jones’ statement did not PRECEDE his analysis, it FOLLOWED it. That’s what “foregoing analysis” means. It means the analysis has *already* been presented.

    WRONG. Let’s go back to the original passage that I quoted –

    “We have now found that both an objective student and an objective adult member of the Dover community would perceive Defendants’ conduct to be a strong endorsement of religion pursuant to the endorsement test. Having so concluded, we find it incumbent upon the Court to further address an additional issue raised by the Plaintiffs, which is whether ID is science. To be sure, our answer to this question can likely be predicted based on the foregoing analysis.” From page 63 of the opinion.

    The “question” referred to in the last sentence above is obviously the issue of whether ID is science (this issue is mentioned in the sentence preceding the last sentence). This question is analyzed in the opinion’s following section, which is titled, appropriately enough, “Whether ID is Science.” That section runs from pages 63-89 of the opinion. It is thus obvious that the last sentence above said that the “foregoing analysis,” which did not even specifically analyze the question of whether ID is science, was a likely predictor of the results of the following analysis of the question of whether ID is science. The blatant prejudice of the last sentence is glaringly obvious. The opinion is on http://media.ljworld.com/pdf/2005/12/20/kitzmiller_342.pdf

    If you ever DO find a flaw in the Dover decision (beyond that you refuse to accept it for religious reasons), we’ll all be glad to consider it.

    I know of several other flaws, but they are off-topic here because this thread primarily concerns the issue of whether it was proper of Judge Jones to rule on the question of whether ID is science. The comments here are long enough without getting into off-topic issues.

    Your “objective observer”, like yourself, will simply ignore that IC was invented by, defined by, and explained and defended by Behe. If Behe says it’s religious, and this isn’t what you want to hear, then your “objective observer” simply ignores Behe!

    I did not propose simply ignoring Behe — I just said that his opinion should not be controlling. He has no copyright on either the term “irreducible complexity” or the concept.

  44. #44 Flint
    February 5, 2006

    Larry:

    Hey, I learned something new. If you’ve written into this little response box for half an hour and accidentally hit the tab key, you lose everything you’ve written and can’t get it back! Isn’t that fascinating? Guess how I learned this?

    The “question” referred to in the last sentence above is obviously the issue of whether ID is science (this issue is mentioned in the sentence preceding the last sentence). This question is analyzed in the opinion’s following section, which is titled, appropriately enough, “Whether ID is Science.” That section runs from pages 63-89 of the opinion. It is thus obvious that the last sentence above said that the “foregoing analysis,” which did not even specifically analyze the question of whether ID is science, was a likely predictor of the results of the following analysis of the question of whether ID is science. The blatant prejudice of the last sentence is glaringly obvious.

    Only if you make some bafflingly unjustified assumptions. You seem to be taking it for granted that this decision is a diary, written in chronological order. If Jones says the results of the foregoing analysis are a good predictor of what is subsequently presented, this certainly doesn’t mean Jones made up his mind before the following information was presented. Instead, the *entire written decision* was composed after ALL the facts had been examined in detail. The material covered in the decision was NOT presented in the courtroom in the order it’s presented in the decision.

    Now, if Jones had written “Day 21. I already know how I’m going to decide on the issue of whether ID is science, but we’ll go through the motions anyway. Day 22: Today, we start examining the scientif merit of ID” THEN you would have a point. But this isn’t how it works.

    Instead, Jones was making the point that ID is being pushed AS RELIGION, for religious purposes, by religious believers, which should be obvious to everyone. And which is also a pretty good predictor of how the facts will fall out in the next section. Please remember that Jones wrote this AFTER hearing ALL the facts. Not before.

    I did not propose simply ignoring Behe — I just said that his opinion should not be controlling. He has no copyright on either the term “irreducible complexity” or the concept.

    In reality, Behe IS ‘irreducible complexity’. He invented it, defined it, wrote a book about it, and trots it out in court and everywhere else. Nobody else does. IC is Behe’s baby. And his defense of IC under cross-examination was worth reading even for your “objective observer” (who appears ready to drop Behe and MAKE UP some new definition because Behe’s sure laid an egg). The notion of scaffolding was presented which refutes Behe’s IC completely, so Behe simply rejected it by fiat. Exaptation was presented, and Behe rejected that. An organism adopting a very different lifestyle was brought up, and Behe decided that didn’t count either. Finally, actual living cases of structures missing what Behe claimed were essential parts were presented, and Behe disallowed those too! As Jones pointed out, it isn’t scientific to reject one valid refutation after another. It IS religious to do this. So what happened was, when cornered over what IC *actually IS*, Behe was obliged to keep redefining it until it applied to absolutely nothing.

    And just to beat a dead horse into the ground, Behe had to do this because IC lacks any scientific merit. It is worthless, it applies to nothing, it is an article of religiious faith inaccessible to science. Period.

    (I admit I enjoyed the part where Behe’s book claimed IC was concerned ‘exclusively with the mechanisms’ and Rothschild asked what those mechanisms were. Behe (hilariously) had *no mechanisms*. Not one. He could only say that his *conclusion* was that an intelligence was involved. BUT, he was asked, isn’t that what you’d conclude AFTER you examined the mechanisms? No, Behe says, we can conclude a Designer prima facie. BUT, what you’ve done is *started with your conclusions*, SAID you were focusing exclusively on mechanisms, and then totally ignored any mechanisms (and can’t even specify one!) and just keep repeating a conclusion unreachable without examining what you can’t even describe! Religion in action! I loved it.)

    this thread primarily concerns the issue of whether it was proper of Judge Jones to rule on the question of whether ID is science.

    I despair of finding a way to present this that you won’t treat the way Behe treated refutations to HIS faith – by flat rejection. But I’ll try one more time.

    Consider a matrix with two variables: Whether something is religious doctrine, and whether something has scientific merit. Basically, the matrix has four cells:
    1) doctrine/merit => legal to teach, has scientific merit
    2) doctrine/no merit => illegal, straight religion
    3) not doctrine/no merit => legal to teach bogus science, as you say
    4) not doctrine/merit => legal to teach; typical case

    So you see that if ID falls into any of three of these four cells, it’s legal to teach it. The ONLY time it’s illegal is if it IS religion, AND has no scientific merit.

    Therefore, to find that ID is illegal, Jones MUST examine the scientific merit. Just being religious doctrine, by itself, doesn’t disqualify ID. This is cell (1) outlined above. There’s no way Jones can rule against teaching ID, EVEN IF it’s religious doctrine, UNLESS it isn’t science. And to do that, Jones must determine if ID is science. He has no choice. I hope that’s clear by now.

  45. #45 LarryFarma
    February 6, 2006

    From post of Flint | February 5, 2006 01:18 PM –

    Hey, I learned something new. If you’ve written into this little response box for half an hour and accidentally hit the tab key, you lose everything you’ve written and can’t get it back!

    That is just one of many ways that comments can be lost. One of the big problems that I have is that my computer frequently freezes up when I am on the Internet. To prevent big losses, I compose comments in an email write-box and frequently save them, then copy-and-paste the completed comments into the response box.

    You seem to be taking it for granted that this decision is a diary, written in chronological order.

    Well, it is written in the present tense, the way a diary is written, e.g., “We have now found……” and “Having so concluded, we find it incumbent upon the Court to further address an additional issue raised by the Plaintiffs ………. ” page 63 of opinion

    If Jones says the results of the foregoing analysis are a good predictor of what is subsequently presented, this certainly doesn’t mean Jones made up his mind before the following information was presented.

    He did not say that what is subsequently presented is consistent with the foregoing analysis — he said that what is subsequently presented “can likely be predicted based on the foregoing analysis.” page 63, emphasis added

    Jones was making the point that ID is being pushed AS RELIGION, for religious purposes, by religious believers, which should be obvious to everyone. And which is also a pretty good predictor of how the facts will fall out in the next section.

    See, you are showing the same prejudice — you are saying that because ID was allegedly pushed for religious purposes, then ID — and presumably also irreducible complexity — therefore likely have no scientific merit ! Of course, now you are going to argue that if ID and/or IC had some scientific merit, then they would have more acceptance in the scientific community, but perhaps the reason why they do not have more acceptance is that they are considered to be unorthodox and even heretical ideas.

    In reality, Behe IS ‘irreducible complexity’. He invented it, defined it, wrote a book about it, and trots it out in court and everywhere else. Nobody else does. IC is Behe’s baby.

    As I said, Behe does not have a copyright on the term or the concept. It is wrong to say that no one else uses the term or the concept. I could “invent,” “define, ” and write about a concept I call, say, “mutational nonpropagability,” a notion that the difficulty in propagating beneficial mutations in organisms using sexual reproduction is a barrier to evolution — but I would not own the term or the concept.

    I admit I enjoyed the part where Behe’s book claimed IC was concerned ‘exclusively with the mechanisms’ and Rothschild asked what those mechanisms were. Behe (hilariously) had *no mechanisms*.

    I don’t know what Behe meant by “mechanisms” — there are no proposed “mechanisms” for the creation of irreducibly complex systems because IC is not a scientific explanation for the creation of those systems but is rather just a criticism of evolution theory. Even Jones said that IC is just a test for evolution theory and is not a test for ID.

    As Jones pointed out, it isn’t scientific to reject one valid refutation after another.

    It is scientific to reject “refutations” that are not valid.

    Consider a matrix with two variables: Whether something is religious doctrine, and whether something has scientific merit. Basically, the matrix has four cells:

    1) doctrine/merit => legal to teach, has scientific merit

    2) doctrine/no merit => illegal, straight religion

    3) not doctrine/no merit => legal to teach bogus science, as you say

    4) not doctrine/merit => legal to teach; typical case

    I assert that IC is not religious doctrine, because it does not mention anything that has anything to do with religion. Therefore, IC falls into either category 3 or 4 above. Since it is legal to teach IC in both categories, it was not necessary to determine the scientific merit of IC in order to allow teaching of IC. Since Judge Jones ruled that IC is not a test for ID, the scientific merit of IC was also irrelevant in regard to ID. ID itself is not science — it is just the philosophical concept that if something looks designed, it probably was designed. ID is arguably a religious concept because the name implies the existence of an intelligent designer ( even though many ID proponents deny that there is any intention to identify the designer); therefore, I think that ID per se should not be taught in public-school science classes. Also, “constitutional” and “unconstitutional” are more appropriate terms here than “legal” and “illegal.”

    Jones must determine if ID is science. He has no choice.

    Jones still had a choice — he could have ruled that the case was moot because of the school-board election results or he could have ruled just on the basis of the board members’ religious motivations.

  46. #46 Dave S.
    February 6, 2006

    Of course, now you are going to argue that if ID and/or IC had some scientific merit, then they would have more acceptance in the scientific community, but perhaps the reason why they do not have more acceptance is that they are considered to be unorthodox and even heretical ideas.

    The reason why these ideas (various arguments to ID) do not find acceptance in the scientific community is because they are completely vacuous. They are bad arguments on their face. It has nothing to do with the religious motivations expressed clearly by virtually all the main proponants, although such expression does explain why they would accept arguments.

    Science has seen unorthodox and even heretical ideas many times in the past. Take the role of bacteria in ulcer formation, or plate tectonics. Did those scientists insist on using school boards to enforce their views in public schools and letting 9th graders decide the issue? No, that would be completely inappropriate. They actually made predictions and tested their hypotheses and provided positive evidence and did this again and again until they convinced their peers. Now I know that’s like, a lot of hard work. But why should ID get a pass? You tell me.

    Let me say it again. ID fails on its merits (or lack thereof) completly as a science, totally independent of any questions about religion. They do not even have a theory from which to draw testable hypotheses to even begin the process of providing positive evidence for their theory. No small wonder then that there has not been a single discovery about nature made by any ID advocate. Although obviously actual production of results is not at all a requirement to some insisting its a wonderful science.

    At the very best their arguments are critiques of evolution only. Even that much assumes they are making valid critiques, which they are not.

  47. #47 Flint
    February 6, 2006

    Larry:

    Well, it is written in the present tense, the way a diary is written

    And you are seriously going to argue that therefore it was written as the case went along, and no attempt was made after all evidence was presented, to go back and edit “initial speculations”? Come on, Larry, you were WRONG about the particular locution Jones chose being any sort of prediction or prejudice. The decision, whatever tense Jones used, was clearly written AFTER the ENTIRE trial had been completed. Can’t you admit even the slightest error?

    See, you are showing the same prejudice — you are saying that because ID was allegedly pushed for religious purposes, then ID — and presumably also irreducible complexity — therefore likely have no scientific merit !

    You are so damned determined to misrepresent Jones’ words that even when I explain them, you think I’M making the same error! Jones knew, at the time he wrote these words, that ID had been tested in cross-examination and found to have no scientific merit. He was attempting to emphasize WHY scientific merit was not very important to those pushing ID.

    As I said, Behe does not have a copyright on the term or the concept.

    And as I attempted to explain, this is disingenuous. So once again, Behe IS IC. It is Behe’s concept entirely. Here’s an example. Let’s say that I decide (after watching Behe stomp on his dick on the stand) that IC really means something very different. And of course, Behe disagrees with me about the definition. Whose definition matters? Or are you saying that anyone can take Behe’s phrase, redefine it to mean whatever they damn please, and everyone will agree that Behe has nothing to say about this and all definitions are equally valid? Really?

    I don’t know what Behe meant by “mechanisms” — there are no proposed “mechanisms” for the creation of irreducibly complex systems because IC is not a scientific explanation for the creation of those systems but is rather just a criticism of evolution theory. Even Jones said that IC is just a test for evolution theory and is not a test for ID.

    Then let me explain. Without any specific testable mechanism, IC is NOT SCIENCE. To be scientific, any proposed natural phenomenon MUST have a mechanism that can be tested. Lacking any mechanism, IC is pure religion, as I’ve said (and you’ve denied) all along. Without any mechanism, IC isn’t even a criticism of evolutionary theory, because the only valid *scientific* criticism is to propose and investigate a different mechanism. And so Jones pointed out that EVEN IF ‘irreducible complexity’ had any scientific substance (which it does not), and could be tested (which it can not) and *actually succeeded* in producing a scientifically valid criticism, it STILL wouldn’t be support for supernatural intelligence. In fact, scientists would be absolutely delighted with a testable criticism.

    And that’s why the lack of mechanism was so hilarious. Behe (as I wrote) *started with his conclusions*, assumed they are correct, had no mechanisms, couldn’t even suggest one, has done no research, has ignored the literature, and STILL claims IC is science and not religion.

    It is scientific to reject “refutations” that are not valid.

    Ah, but the problem is that every single refutation Behe tried to weasel around was entirely valid, and backed with a wealth of hard evidence and consistent test results. And as I pointed out, Behe didn’t say these refutations were wrong, he redefined IC so that the refutations didn’t apply anymore! But by the time he’d redefined IC to the point where NONE of the objections applied, IC itself didn’t apply to anything anymore!

    Here’s a direct analogy: Let’s say Behe claimed that transportation is impossible. Let’s say that on cross-examination, he’s presented with all known forms of transportation, and to preserve his position he must deny that those are what he ‘means’ by transportation. By the time he’s done, his concept no longer applies to anything at all. Judge Jones couldn’t help but notice this.

    I assert that IC is not religious doctrine, because it does not mention anything that has anything to do with religion.

    Yes, I know. This is the basic wedge strategy: keep the religion, but remove the religious terminology. So Behe could only say that IC (which no longer applied to anything in real life) ‘indicated an intelligence’. What intelligence? Behe won’t say. But clearly, what Behe was arguing was “Here’s something that couldn’t possibly have evolved (except for all the ways it COULD have evolved that Behe had to disallow!). Therefore it must have been designed.” Larry, this is a religious statement UNLESS Behe can show a mechanism. Which he cannot do.

    You seem to be saying that it’s not religious for Behe to say something couldn’t have happened naturally, provided he’s really really careful NOT to say how it COULD have happened, which he leaves for the congregation to fill in. You clearly aren’t fooled by this: if this deviousness didn’t provide YOU with plausible deniability in defense of your faith, you’d laugh at it. “Gee, it’s science because while we can SEE it was designed (without ANY tests or mechanisms), we refuse to name the Designer.” Uh huh, right.

    Therefore, IC falls into either category 3 or 4 above.

    And since IC in fact IS religious doctrine, as the court found having considered all the facts and listened to all the testimony, it falls into category 1 or 2. Remember the ‘foregoing’ you are having so much trouble understanding? That material was presented to show that ID (and IC is just an attempt to find god hiding somewhere in biochemistry) is religious doctrine. That placed ID (and IC) solidly into the ‘doctrine’ half of the matrix. All that remained was to determine if there was any scientific merit anyway. And of course, there was not. IC, for all you can’t admit it, is an indirect claim that Goddidit. Nothing more.

    Jones still had a choice — he could have ruled that the case was moot because of the school-board election results or he could have ruled just on the basis of the board members’ religious motivations.

    You may be correct here. Jones decided to base his decision on ALL the facts, and on EVERY legal principle, EVERY precedent, and EVERY existing test. He called this “belt and suspenders”. He wanted to make sure he had touched every possible base. And remember, the DI and the TMLC had wanted to make this a test case, so it was in the perceived interests of the defense as well as the plaintiffs to make it so, and perform wall-to-wall coverage of every possible aspect of the facts and the law.

    So I’m amused that since the actual FACTS demonstrated that ID is religion, 100% religion, pure religion, nothing but religion, no science involved, a one-to-one relabeling of ‘scientific creationism’ using exactly the same definition!!!, NOW here you are wishing Jones had NOT done his homework, and maybe left some loophole some subsequent creationist somewhere else could crawl through.

    perhaps the reason why they do not have more acceptance is that they are considered to be unorthodox and even heretical ideas.

    As Dave S. pointed out, you don’t need to guess. The reason is stated explicitly and repeatedly, even if you don’t like it. ID is *not testable*. Until it is, it cannot be accepted as science. Testable heretical ideas are welcomed and enthusiastically tested. Testable ideas propose mechanisms, the mechanisms are tested, and conclusions are drawn from the tests.

    And so I’ll repeat until it penetrates: Behe could not specify a mechanism. (Incidentally, saying IC is ‘focused entirely on mechanisms’ when he couldn’t name a single one is entirely characteristic of ‘creationist honesty’). Instead, he started with the conclusion that according to science MUST be based on the tests Behe can’t even define. He simply ‘knows’ that IC must be true, even if every example has been soundly refuted.

    And until you can grasp that conclusions selected in the absence of any possible evidence, and impervious to any possible conflicting evidence, are *religious doctrine*, you will never understand this case. What Behe did was he made up what he wanted to hear, and simply *tuned out* everything else. Larry, this is religion. Why can’t you see that? (Rhetorical question, I admit. You can’t see it for the same reason Behe can’t. That’s how religion affects the mind. You KNOW what you argue is true because you WANT it to be true, which is how religious statements come true. It’s the only way you seem to know.)

  48. #48 Dave S.
    February 6, 2006

    Instead, he started with the conclusion that according to science MUST be based on the tests Behe can’t even define. He simply ‘knows’ that IC must be true, even if every example has been soundly refuted.

    As even Behe himself admits in his reply to his critics (and again during testimony at Dover), IC focuses on removing parts from pre-existing systems, but the task actually facing evolution is building such systems in the first place, which is not the same thing at all. Behe said at that time he wrote that (2001) that he was going to repair that defect.

    But he never did, and why should he when folks like Larry think its perfectly fine as it is? Behe seems to think it minor that his central argument criticising evolution is criticising a process that is exactly backwards to how evolution actually works. Apparently others think so too.

  49. #49 Flint
    February 6, 2006

    Dave S.

    …the task actually facing evolution is building such systems in the first place, which is not the same thing at all.Behe said at that time he wrote that (2001) that he was going to repair that defect.

    But he never did, and why should he when folks like Larry think its perfectly fine as it is?

    Of course, as you’re surely aware, this is rather a joke. HOW evolution builds such systems in the first place is thoroughly well established and well understood. The problem with recognizing this, of course, is that it renders the entire issue of ‘irreducible complexity’ moot.

    Yeah, fine, in fact nature has countless structures that can be considered IC (i.e. contain no redundency or inessential ‘noise’). So what? They all evolved, we know how they evolved, none of them present even the slightest challenge to evolutionary theory. Behe, in ‘repairing this defect’, would be obliged to admit that IC is indeed a normal, entirely predictable, stone common result of the evolutionary process. As remarkable as the sun rising in the east.

    And so we were treated to the delightful spectacle of Behe saying “This structure couldn’t have evolved. Well, it couldn’t have evolved by adding pieces. Well, it couldn’t have evolved by adding pieces and *keeping the same function*. Well, it couldn’t have evolved by adding pieces and keeping the same function AND not changing the usage of some existing piece. Well, except for those organisms that have the same system performing the same functions but missing a piece they couldn’t live without. But *except for all that*, it couldn’t have evolved!

    And Larry thinks this is science. Even Judge Jones notes with some amusement that after Behe had been forced to admit that his systems could have easily evolved in many ways, and that he’d done no research, and hadn’t reviewed the literature, he still sat there saying “It’s science because I *believe* it’s science, and that settles it!” As Jones pointed out, it’s not science as defined and practiced by any working scientists.

    Behe was at least honest enough to admit that you have to believe in Behe’s God to accept his arguments, in which case you don’t even need to KNOW Behe’s arguments to accept them! Which is religion, of course. Larry isn’t that honest. Larry keeps claiming that substituting ‘designed by an intelligence’ for ‘designed by God’ somehow magically extracts the religious belief. I imagine if Barbara Forrest had found an example of “The Chr-an intelligence-od” Larry STILL couldn’t see that it’s religion.

  50. #50 Dave S.
    February 6, 2006

    Yeah, fine, in fact nature has countless structures that can be considered IC (i.e. contain no redundency or inessential ‘noise’). So what?

    Of course.

    I’ve always thought IC an exercise in semantics. The actual existance of ‘IC’ structures is trivial since it’s largely rests in definitions and where you draw boundarys (What constitutes a “part”? What’s a “basic function”? What does “well matched” mean in the context of organisms?). It’s what significance you assign them that is at issue. And all Behe has here is to deny that evolution could have “directly” constructed such systems and then dismiss the evidence for indirect mechanisms, all the while not eve finding a bit of evidence fo his own assertions. The funny part is he then complains that evolutionists use “just-so” stoies, when his entire thesis on IC is itself a just-so (or rather a just-not-so) story.

    After his very poor performance at Dover Behe hasn’t been heard from much. Apparently he has a new article in the friendly confines of a DI tract, explaining how he was wronged and how the judge just didn’t get it and how could he believe that ID has anything at all to do with religion? But really, who cares any more? Behe hasn’t advanced his argument since 1996. It’s tired and old and just plain wrong.

  51. #51 Dave S.
    February 6, 2006

    Dammit….forgot the blockquote. Sorry.

  52. #52 Flint
    February 6, 2006

    And all Behe has here is to deny that evolution could have “directly” constructed such systems and then dismiss the evidence for indirect mechanisms

    Yep. After enough cross-examination, he was able to keep repositioning IC until it required evolution by perhaps the only possible way evolution could NOT work. Just as I illustrated with my transportation example earlier.

    Apparently he has a new article in the friendly confines of a DI tract, explaining how he was wronged and how the judge just didn’t get it and how could he believe that ID has anything at all to do with religion?

    Yes, here it is:

    http://www.discovery.org/scripts/viewDB/filesDB-download.php?command=download&id=697

    As an example of stonewall denial, it’s superb. I really wonder how it must feel to be labeled a crackpot by the *entire faculty* of the university where you work? One of the absolute requirements of science is to admit error; one of the absolute requirements of religion is to deny error. To someone perhaps a bit less committed than Larry, this is another clue. As if we needed another.

  53. #53 Dave S.
    February 6, 2006

    From Flint:

    As an example of stonewall denial, it’s superb. I really wonder how it must feel to be labeled a crackpot by the *entire faculty* of the university where you work?

    Well I’m sure the fact he has probably, with royalties, stipends, speaking fees and such, earned more money than all of them combined in the last 10 years. That might lessen some of the pain.

  54. #54 Flint
    February 6, 2006

    Well I’m sure the fact he has probably, with royalties, stipends, speaking fees and such, earned more money than all of them combined in the last 10 years. That might lessen some of the pain.

    If you want to be a wealthy crackpot, there’s no substitute for being a *religious* crackpot. There’s no escaping who buys the books, attends the speeches, hires his ‘expert witness’ services, etc.

    There’s a reason the vanity press won’t touch a religious book. Quality, cogency, even basic comprehensibility aren’t required for stunning sales; only recommendations from pulpits. Behe rides this same gravy train.

  55. #55 LarryFarma
    February 7, 2006

    From post of Flint | February 6, 2006 10:53 AM

    —-” Well, it is written in the present tense, the way a diary is written ” —–
    And you are seriously going to argue that therefore it was written as the case went along, and no attempt was made after all evidence was presented, to go back and edit “initial speculations”?

    I was only responding to your argument that I was treating the opinion as though it were written like a diary — it was. But I have no problem with that. What I do have a problem with is the opinion’s claim that the results of one analysis in the opinion — concerning the public’s views of ID — likely “predicted” the results of another analysis in the opinion, concerning whether ID is science. The two analyses should have been treated as being completely independent of each other — even remarking that they were “consistent” would have been inappropriate, because the public could have easily been misinformed about ID’s scientific merits. Judge Jones should not have said anything that would give even a hint of prejudice. And you made no response to my complaint about the use of the word “predicted.”

    Behe IS IC. It is Behe’s concept entirely.

    That is like saying that Darwin IS evolution theory.

    Lacking any mechanism, IC is pure religion, as I’ve said (and you’ve denied) all along. Without any mechanism, IC isn’t even a criticism of evolutionary theory, because the only valid *scientific* criticism is to propose and investigate a different mechanism.

    Where is it written that a scientific theory may not be criticized unless a plausible alternative scientific theory is presented at the same time?

    Ah, but the problem is that every single refutation Behe tried to weasel around was entirely valid, and backed with a wealth of hard evidence and consistent test results.

    Some of the alleged refutations were pretty far-fetched, like the idea of jawbones evolving into middle-ear bones.

    Remember the ‘foregoing’ you are having so much trouble understanding? That material was presented to show that ID (and IC is just an attempt to find god hiding somewhere in biochemistry) is religious doctrine.

    There you go again, showing that Judge Jones was prejudiced, just like you. The “foregoing analysis” was just an analysis of public opinion. Jones’ own analysis of the scientific merits of irreducible complexity and ID should have been independent of that.

    ID is *not testable*.

    Evolution theory is not testable, either, because macroevolution in progress cannot be directly observed. The only predictions that evolution theory can make regarding macroevolution are predictions of likely future finds of more circumstantial evidence of macroevolution. For example, the fossil record is used to make predictions of likely future finds of “missing link” fossils.

  56. #56 LarryFarma
    February 7, 2006

    From post of Dave S. | February 6, 2006 12:50 PM —

    As even Behe himself admits in his reply to his critics (and again during testimony at Dover), IC focuses on removing parts from pre-existing systems, but the task actually facing evolution is building such systems in the first place, which is not the same thing at all. Behe said at that time he wrote that (2001) that he was going to repair that defect. But he never did ….

    I don’t understand the distinction here. If a system won’t work when parts are removed, then why should that system work while under construction ? If the system won’t work while incomplete, what does it matter how it reached a particular state of incompleteness ? Nonfunctioning incomplete systems at worst are actually detrimental to the organism and at best provide no advantage that would cause them to be naturally selected for the next step in an evolutionary process.

    From post of Flint | February 6, 2006 04:31 PM —

    And so we were treated to the delightful spectacle of Behe saying “This structure couldn’t have evolved. Well, it couldn’t have evolved by adding pieces. Well, it couldn’t have evolved by adding pieces and *keeping the same function*. Well, it couldn’t have evolved by adding pieces and keeping the same function AND not changing the usage of some existing piece.”

    Yes, this is the theory of “exaptation” — the idea that some of the parts in the system previously had different functions outside the system. But the parts would still have to miraculously come together simultaneously in their final forms to create the complete irreducible system. In some alleged examples of adaptation, the parts had much different forms outside the system — e.g., middle-ear bones supposedly came from jawbones. Also, if the part previously had some essential function, it would not be available to help form the irreducible system.

    From post of Dave S. | February 6, 2006 05:05 PM –

    I’ve always thought IC an exercise in semantics. The actual existance of ‘IC’ structures is trivial since it’s largely rests in definitions and where you draw boundarys (What constitutes a “part”? What’s a “basic function”? What does “well matched” mean in the context of organisms?).

    Biology is often not an exact science. A lot of biology is mainly just philosophy. For example, many of the concepts of evolution, like punctuated equilibrium, are mainly just philosophy.

  57. #57 Ginger Yellow
    February 7, 2006

    I don’t understand the distinction here. If a system won’t work when parts are removed, then why should that system work while under construction ? If the system won’t work while incomplete, what does it matter how it reached a particular state of incompleteness ?

    Then you’re either not very bright or you’re being deliberately obtuse. If you knock any part out of a completed crane, it will fall down. That doesn’t mean you can’t build a crane, or that the crane isn’t functional (at a reduced height) while under construction. IC fails as science, among other reasons, because it completely fails to take into account the way evolution works, by adapting parts and entire systems for other functions or to improve a system’s current functioning. Even if we were to ignore that, how can you ignore Behe’s own experiment that showed IC systems could evolve even with huge artifical constraints on the evolutionary process?

    But the parts would still have to miraculously come together simultaneously in their final forms to create the complete irreducible system

    Unless you consider ordinary development “miraculous” this is nonsense. All that has to have happened to create a currently existing IC system is for a previous IC (or even non-IC) system to have one or more of its parts altered by genetic mutation. Then you have a new IC system with the same or perhaps a different function.

    Some of the alleged refutations were pretty far-fetched, like the idea of jawbones evolving into middle-ear bones.

    It’s hardly far-fetched – it’s well documented in the fossil record.

  58. #58 Dave S.
    February 7, 2006

    From LarryFarma:

    That is like saying that Darwin IS evolution theory.

    No, because unlike Behe’s work, many others have greatly expanded on Darwin’s evolutionary theory and have added entire new concepts (neutral theory, genetics). Who has even used let alone advanced Behe’s ideas beyond his original contentions? What new discoveries about nature have been made? Has even Behe himself made any? Those arguments have remained static for more than a decade now, and they don’t improve with age.

    Some of the alleged refutations were pretty far-fetched, like the idea of jawbones evolving into middle-ear bones.

    Then what are we to make of the series of many fossil intermediates between therapsid reptiles and mammals, coupled with the embryological evidence that the same two structures which develop into the quadrate and the articular bones of the reptilian jaw develop into the anvil and hammer of the marsupial mammalian ear?

    You think it’s far fetched. So you must have a more plausible biological explanation? Unless you have nothing but personal incredulity to offer.

    Evolution theory is not testable, either, because macroevolution in progress cannot be directly observed.

    Many things have not been directly observed. The core of the Earth. Electrons. The orbit of Pluto about the Sun. A photon striking a rod or cone in your eye. The formation of a crater on the Moon.

    So none of these fall within the parameters of science either?

    I don’t understand the distinction here. If a system won’t work when parts are removed, then why should that system work while under construction?

    But who says evolution works but somehow envisaging some system in advance and building towards that? Behe?

    I’m not interested in straw-man attacks against characatures of evolution. Please stick to criticising the actual theory if you will.

    If the system won’t work while incomplete…

    Only Behe insists evolutionary systems don’t work unless complete.

    They can do the same job but less effectively. Or they can do a different job. Or such systems can be formed by loss of function. Evolution is not constrained by Behe’s just-so stories.

    Also, if the part previously had some essential function, it would not be available to help form the irreducible system.

    It wouldn’t? I don’t think so. The organisms that formed the transitional series between reptilian jaw and mammalian ea presumably were alive and kicking before they died and were fossilized.

    Biology is often not an exact science. A lot of biology is mainly just philosophy. For example, many of the concepts of evolution, like punctuated equilibrium, are mainly just philosophy.

    It only seems that way to those who clearly don’t understand it.

  59. #59 Flint
    February 7, 2006

    Larry,

    Well, back we go.

    What I do have a problem with is the opinion’s claim that the results of one analysis in the opinion — concerning the public’s views of ID — likely “predicted” the results of another analysis in the opinion, concerning whether ID is science. The two analyses should have been treated as being completely independent of each other — even remarking that they were “consistent” would have been inappropriate,

    You have two problems here. One is, these WERE considered independently. The second is, these ARE consistent. What you seem to be saying is that Jones should have carefully pretended that non-science that just happens to be religious doctrine should be evaluated as science and evaluated as religion without either consideration being influenced by the other. But unlike you and creationists, Jones was an aficionado of reality. ID was being pushed for religious reasons. The Board knew little or nothing about science.

    And you made no response to my complaint about the use of the word “predicted.”

    In reality, when a religious doctrine is being promoted by religious people to serve religious purposes, science has little to do with any part of this. In *actual fact* the relationship is so solid and reliable that such a “prediction” has never failed yet. Nonetheless, as I wrote (and YOU make no response), the entire decision was written after the entire case had been heard. Whether ID is religion, and whether ID is science, were considered independently. Read the trial transcripts.

    That is like saying that Darwin IS evolution theory.

    Yes, it IS like saying that, if Darwin is the ONLY person to have made this proposal, nobody else uses it, nobody AT ALL is researching it, and not even Darwin can dream up any way of constructing any tests for it. In that case, you’d be right.

    Conversely, as soon as anyone does any actual research, you know, science stuff, and starts publishing actual peer-reviewed papers about IC, THEN IC is no longer just Behe, it has become a scientific proposition subject to new interpretation as new REAL EVIDENCE comes in. But as of yet, neither of these things is true.

    Please TRY to bear in mind that science does NOT work by the religious process of making congenial assertions and then refusing to listen to anything else. It works by actual investigation. As soon as ANYONE does ANY investigation of IC, then it will be science and not just Behe.

    Where is it written that a scientific theory may not be criticized unless a plausible alternative scientific theory is presented at the same time?

    You are the most profoundly dishonest person I’ve tried to communicate with in a long time. A scientific theory is criticized by the presentation of *conflicting evidence*. Saying “I have done no research, I can’t imagine how to do any, but I WANT this theory to be wrong” is NOT criticism. It’s religion.

    Some of the alleged refutations were pretty far-fetched, like the idea of jawbones evolving into middle-ear bones.

    Here your words have tripped you up. Unlike Behe, nobody just dreamed up the idea of jawbones becoming ear bones out of nowhere. Instead, they OBSERVED this happening in the ACTUAL EVIDENCE. You seem to have a problem with evidence. And having the evidence, they presented it in peer-reviewed journals, and other scientists attempted to replicate the research, and so on. So I’ll repeat: scientific theories are critiqued on the basis of evidence. Just NOT LIKING a theory (especially for religious reasons) isn’t a refuttion, nor a criticism.

    Evolution theory is not testable, either, because macroevolution in progress cannot be directly observed.

    By any honest definition, evolutionary theory is entirely testable, it has been tested for 150 years, it is observed in real time and historical evidence. What you’re doing, as usual, is defining “macroevolution” as “more change than you can demonstrate in a short time”. In the lab, impressive amounts of change have been demonstrated, EASILY enough to refute prior creationist definitions of “macroevolution”. But do creationists say “Oops, you’re right, it DOES happen”? Nope, they just redefine macroevolution to be “a little more than that.” This is called moving the goalposts. Biological research is making such rapid strides today that creationists have strapped the goalposts to their backs and are on the dead run!

    Consider how Behe “defends” the notion of IC. He defined it, exceptions were noted. Did he admit error? Of course not, that would be scientific. Instead, he redefined IC. And yet MORE exceptions were noted. So he redefined IC again. THIS is moving the goalposts. Behe has been reduced to saying that nothing less than infinite conflicting evidence will satisfy him. Which is why IC is not science.

    For example, the fossil record is used to make predictions of likely future finds of “missing link” fossils.

    But these predictions are quite specific. They say that form X must have existed, but form Y could never have existed. They say this for tens of thousands of forms X and forms Y. And over the course of time, we’ve found thousands of X and no Y at all. Why do you suppose this is? Just good luck?

    I don’t understand the distinction here. If a system won’t work when parts are removed, then why should that system work while under construction ?

    Do you fail to understand because you REFUSE to understand, or because you are afraid to make even minimal effort. In real life, EVERY organism is a “system under construction”, a work in progress. Always has been, probably always will be. I think your error lies in looking at current organisms, thinking of evolution as a process by which one current organism somehow turns into another current organism, (correctly) rejecting this idea, and (incorrectly) thinking this disallows evolution. So repeat after me: EVERY life form is and always has been under construction, a work in progress. A process that will never end.

    If the system won’t work while incomplete, what does it matter how it reached a particular state of incompleteness ?

    No working system has EVER been incomplete. You are using assembly-line think, but evolution doesn’t use that method. What happens is, systems gradually change for a variety of reasons. Some changes mean the system works better at some new function, so the new function is adopted. The prior function worked perfectly well *at something different*. (And by “perfectly well” I mean adequately. Certainly there are countless examples of highly suboptimal designs in nature, but they are good enough).

    Nonfunctioning incomplete systems at worst are actually detrimental to the organism and at best provide no advantage that would cause them to be naturally selected for the next step in an evolutionary process.

    Except of course nonfunctioning incomplete systems invariably USED TO BE functioning complete systems, useful for purposes no longer relevant. Nature doesn’t discard obsolete systems overnight; quite often these are co-opted for new purposes.

    But the parts would still have to miraculously come together simultaneously in their final forms to create the complete irreducible system.

    Yes, they’d have to come together. No, there is no requirement of simultaneous at all. Everything in evolution is very gradual, tiny variations being selected in preference to other tiny variations, cumulative over vast stretches of time. Whether this natural process is miraculous depends on your personality, not the process itself.

    In some alleged examples of adaptation, the parts had much different forms outside the system — e.g., middle-ear bones supposedly came from jawbones.

    Once again, in a futile effort to keep you honest, this “supposed” change is “alleged” on the basis of HARD EVIDENCE. Unlike religion, science doesn’t arrive at knowledge by making stuff up. Science requires evidence. Allegations are accepted if evidence supports them, and rejected if it does not.

    if the part previously had some essential function, it would not be available to help form the irreducible system.

    So long as the part is essential for some function, it can’t be used for another. But changes in lifestyle can render parts no longer essential. Try looking at parasites: they all started as independent organisms with everything necessary to live independently. And they gradually discarded these formerly-essential parts as they were no longer needed.

    A lot of biology is mainly just philosophy. For example, many of the concepts of evolution, like punctuated equilibrium, are mainly just philosophy.

    Statements like this would be more persuasive if you had the slightest idea what punctuated equilibrium is. Here’s a nutshell presentation: PE is the OBSERVATION BASED ON EVIDENCE (remember that stuff?) that species spend most of their lifespan not changing at all, EVEN IF their environment changes gradually around them. That in nearly all instances, the way life forms evolve to fit changing environments is for *new species* to branch off which are better suited to the changes, while the parent species does not adapt. This is NOT “philosophy”, it’s a description of the pacing and process *actually observed*.

    (I hypothesize that Larry’s problem isn’t that our corrections to his errors aren’t clear, but that they ARE clear, forcing him to make less and less rational statements as part of his defense mechanism. If Jones’ decision NEEDS to be a diary to fit Larry’s requirements, then by damn it IS a diary. It MUST be a diary. Otherwise, Larry would be (ghasp) wrong.)

  60. #60 Dave S.
    February 7, 2006

    Flint says:

    The Board knew little or nothing about science.

    We should also note that the Board knew little or nothing about intelligent design either. And in fact, they still know nothing about it (other than the fact that its somehow a way to stand up for the man who died on the cross 2000 years ago that they were told would withstand legal challenge).

    Hardly the actions of a Board whose only interest was in making science education better for the kiddies.

  61. #61 Jeff Hebert
    February 7, 2006

    Larry the Super-Troll said:

    Yes, this is the theory of “exaptation” — the idea that some of the parts in the system previously had different functions outside the system. But the parts would still have to miraculously come together simultaneously in their final forms to create the complete irreducible system. In some alleged examples of adaptation, the parts had much different forms outside the system — e.g., middle-ear bones supposedly came from jawbones. Also, if the part previously had some essential function, it would not be available to help form the irreducible system.

    You seem hung up on this idea that if something is IC it could not have evolved. Behe identified the blood clotting system of vertebrates as such an IC system. However, as Miller has shown, such a system could easily have evolved naturally. The paper is here:

    http://www.millerandlevine.com/km/evol/DI/clot/Clotting.html

    And we repeat (since you keep avoiding it), even Behe admitted under oath that the only “experiment” he has ever tried showed that even under the most biased possible conditions that he could set, it was still shown that an IC system could evolve naturally.

    Of course the response to something like this is to claim “Well, OK, sure, THAT system turns out to be IC that could have evolved, but surely there are some systems somewhere!” But that’s the point — if it’s impossible to say categorically that an IC system could not have evolved naturally, then there’s no point to identifying something as IC at all. It’s a trivial observation that cannot be used to deduce anything concrete and cannot lead to any extrapolations whatsoever. It’s a dead end.

  62. #62 Dave S.
    February 7, 2006

    Dave S.’ corollary to Behe’s definition of irreducible complexity: All objects or groups of objects are irreducibly complex.

  63. #63 Dave S.
    February 7, 2006

    Addendum to Corollary: An object consists of at least two fundemental particles.

  64. #64 LarryFarma
    February 7, 2006

    Posted by: Flint | February 7, 2006 09:42 AM –

    If Jones’ decision NEEDS to be a diary to fit Larry’s requirements, then by damn it IS a diary. It MUST be a diary.

    I said that I have no problem with the fact that the opinion was written in the present tense like a diary. I said that what I do have a problem with is the fact that the opinion has two analyses that should have been completely independent but Jones said that the results of one analysis “likely predicted” the results of the other.

    You insist on misrepresenting my posts. I do not see any point in continuing my discussion with you. I presume that your goal was to make me so disgusted that I would cease responding so that you could then claim that you “won” the debate. The only thing you have won is the title of “jerk.”

  65. #65 LarryFarma
    February 7, 2006

    From post of Jeff Hebert | February 7, 2006 10:49 AM –

    “……. if it’s impossible to say categorically that an IC system could not have evolved naturally, then there’s no point to identifying something as IC at all. It’s a trivial observation that cannot be used to deduce anything concrete and cannot lead to any extrapolations whatsoever. It’s a dead end.”

    That is like saying that DNA testing is a dead end because it is impossible to say categorically that two DNA samples that appear to be from the same person or from identical siblings actually came from two different people who are not identical siblings. DNA labs sometimes give a probability — I think one in several billion — that a DNA test was mistaken in finding that two DNA samples came from the same person or from identical siblings. Similarly, just finding that it is unlikely that an IC system evolved naturally is enough to raise serious doubts about Darwinism (i.e., the notion that evolution was driven solely by random mutation and natural selection ).

  66. #66 Ginger Yellow
    February 7, 2006

    “Similarly, just finding that it is unlikely that an IC system evolved naturally is enough to raise serious doubts about Darwinism (i.e., the notion that evolution was driven solely by random mutation and natural selection ).”

    But nobody has made or ever will make that finding, precisely because the fact that a system is IC has no bearing on the probability of it evolving. For the hundredth time, Behe’s own experiment showed this and he admitted it under oath. Will you please address this rather pertinent fact before blathering on about anything else.

  67. #67 LarryFarma
    February 8, 2006

    CORRECTION — The first sentence in my last post should have read —
    “That is like saying that DNA testing is a dead end because it is impossible to say categorically that two DNA samples that appear to be from the same person or from identical siblings did not come from two different people who are not identical siblings.”

  68. #68 Dave S.
    February 8, 2006

    Larry said:

    CORRECTION — The first sentence in my last post should have read —
    “That is like saying that DNA testing is a dead end because it is impossible to say categorically that two DNA samples that appear to be from the same person or from identical siblings did not come from two different people who are not identical siblings.”

    No Larry, they are not at all the same. DNA is an objective and real entity, the existance of which implies specific and observable results which are reproducible. Saying IC is just like DNA is no more true than Behe saying it’s just like Big Bang theory. The difference is that while Big Bang theory, and indeed evolutionary theory which includes evidence from DNA, may have religious implications for some (ohhh, just like ID!) the former two also make testable predictions that flow directly from the theory. ID does not since it is not a scientific theory at all, and ID only has religious speculations to keep it going.

    Irreducible complexity on the other hand is simply a subjective determination about an object ot group of objects which depends on how you define things and where you choose to draw boundarys (both arbitrary). And even when a system is identified as such, it is no barrier to normal evolutionary processes. As even Behe (sometimes)accepts such systems as having evolved; and his own research (Behe and Snokes, 2004) confirms IC systems can arise through evolutionary processes. Even when you, as he did, shackle those processess as much as possible.

    If Behe thinks ID has nothing to do with non-materal (supernatural) causation, he needs to have a serious chat with Dembski and Johnson.

    Do you have anything to add other than repeating your claims ad nauseam?

  69. #69 Flint
    February 8, 2006

    Larry:

    I said that what I do have a problem with is the fact that the opinion has two analyses that should have been completely independent but Jones said that the results of one analysis “likely predicted” the results of the other.

    You insist on misrepresenting my posts.

    I realize the points I’ve made are too difficult for you to respond to without looking VERY stupid, but I’ll answer this one more time.

    Yes, Jones said one analysis “likely predicted” the results of the other. He did say that. The analyses themselves, however, WERE (as you can see from reading the transcripts) IN FACT conducted entirely independently, just as you desire. In the actual trial, in the presentation of evidence, in the focus on these discrete topics, the conduct of the analyses was as independent as you could ever ask for.

    So you have either expressed yourself very poorly or you are desperate to misrepresent the decision. Your wishes were in fact followed. AFTER THE FACT, Jones noted that the results of these *independent* analyses were in fact consistent with one another.

    I’m not misrepresenting what you wrote. You are misrepresenting how the case was conducted, how the analyses were done, when the decision was written, and anything else you can misrepresent to twist anything you can find to fit what it does not. Yes, Jones noticed the obvious. Jones was meticulously careful to keep his different legal tests (is it religion? Is it science?) separate. He knew these were independent tests. However, they produced mutually consistent results: the defense failed BOTH of these tests.

    Why is this so hard for you?

    ID was tested to see if it was religion. It was. THEN, ID was tested for scientific content anyway. It had none. THEN Jones pointed out that these separate results aren’t surprising; the first is always a good predictor of the second. Maybe you’d be happier if Jones had expressed amazement at this consistency, rather than lack of surprise?

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