You’ve gotta hand it to the DI Media Complaints Division – when their PR team gives them a catchphrase-laden response to something, they repeat it so many times that they begin to sound like Rain Man (just replace Judge Wapner with Judge Jones). Rob Crowther continues to beat this drum in yet another post calling him an “activist judge” and taking him to task for making a few speeches since the Dover ruling. And of course, he has to distort what he said in order to make his argument:
Judge Jones knew full well that the eyes of the world were upon him during the Dover case, and so chose that moment to deliver a “civics lesson.”
Jones said he had no agenda regarding intelligent design but, rather, was taking advantage of the worldwide interest in the case to talk about constitutional issues important to him.
“I’ve found a message that resonates,” he said. “It’s a bit of a civics lesson, but it’s a point that needs to be made: that judges don’t act according to bias or political agenda.”
Crowther completely misreads Jones’ statement. He didn’t take the moment of the Dover ruling to deliver a civics lesson; he was just doing his job in that ruling. It’s the aftermath of the ruling, and the simplistic responses to it, that afford the opportunity to deliver a civics lesson. In his speech to the ADL, he used the criticisms of Phyllis Schlaffly as a jumping off point to deliver that lesson; he could easily have used many of the criticisms coming from Crowther and his compatriots as well.
Previously the Judge commented that his liberal arts education “provided me with the best ability to handle the rather monumental task of deciding the Dover case.”Monumental? Did anyone tell him that legally the case only deals with the middle district of Pennsylvania? What’s monumental is the Judge’s hubris, which isn’t helped by a fawning media.
The case was monumental in importance, regardless of where it technically applies. Like the McLean ruling, also only a district court decision, Kitzmiller has already proven very important in other states. It led, much to the DI’s chagrin, to the Ohio Board of Education pulling the “critical analysis” lesson (the governor of Ohio asked the board to revisit the issue in light of the Dover ruling, despite the fact that it was not technically a binding precedent in Ohio). It is having an enormous influence in debates about ID around the nation, and the DI knows it damn well (and is quite unhappy about it).
If the ruling had gone the other way, do you suppose the DI would be criticizing someone for calling it monumental? Hell no. They’d be screaming from every mountaintop about the unrivaled importance of the ruling. And the only reason they’re trying to downplay that importance now is because they lost the case. And that’s what their PR firm told them to say. Do you suppose if the decision had gone the other way and Jones had given a few commencement speeches talking about the case that the DI would be whining about his “hubris”? The odds of that are well below Dembski’s universal probability boundary.
All of this for a Judge who didn’t listen to the evidence provided to him (as recounted in detail in “Traipsing Into Evolution: Intelligent Design and the Kitzmiller vs. Dover Decision”), revised history, and was an activist judge. He anticipated that he’d be called an activist in his ruling, because he knew full well that he was acting as such when he wrote the decision.
Or maybe he knew that you and your simpleminded fellow travelers react to every court decision you don’t like by repeating “activist judges” over and over again like mindless automatons. I’m sure you’re an excellent driver, and I agree that the “Who’s on First” routine is very funny, but no matter how many times you repeat “Judge Jones sucks”, it isn’t going to become true. You were thrilled when he was given the case because he’s a conservative Republican and you were sure that gave you the advantage. The fact that you still couldn’t make a winning case even with that headstart just tears you up, I know, but it’s time to stop whining about it and accept reality.