Dispatches from the Creation Wars

Press Release
12/18/06

On December 12, 2006, the Discovery Institute posted on its evolutionnews blog a further attack on Judge John Jones’s opinion in the Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District case, under the heading, “Study Shows Federal Judge Copied ACLU Text in Dover Intelligent Design Ruling.” DI Vice-President John West stated on the blog that Judge Jones “copied verbatim or nearly verbatim 90.9% of his 6,004 word section in whether intelligent design is science from the ACLU’s proposed ‘Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law’ submitted to him nearly a month before his ruling.” The DI’s purported “study,” according to West, “seriously undercuts the credibility of a central part of the ruling.”

There have been several responses to the DI’s “study” by lawyers who note that federal judges often incorporate in their opinions sections of the .proposed findings of fact by lawyers for the parties whose testimony and exhibits the judge finds credible. In the Dover case, Judge Jones presided over a 26-day bench trial with 31 witnesses, and clearly agreed that the plaintiffs had made a credible case that “intelligent design” (ID) was not science, but was simply repackaged creationism. Judge Jones violated no legal rules in following this common practice.

In response to the DI’s purported study, Professor Peter Irons of the University of California, San Diego, has prepared his own study of the DI’s recent effort to palm off as “original” work an article submitted to the Montana Law Review that was copied verbatim or nearly verbatim from a previously published book. Professor Irons, a Harvard Law School graduate and member of the United States Supreme Court bar, is a noted authority on First Amendment law and has published more than a dozen books on constitutional litigation, as well as numerous articles in the Harvard Law Review and other prestigious journals.

On July 26, 2006, Professor Irons was invited by the editors of the Montana Law Review to prepare a response to an article submitted by Profesor David DeWolf, a professor at Gonzaga Law School and a Senior Fellow of the Discovery Institute, along with John West and Casey Luskin of the DI staff. The article was titled, “Misconstruing Intelligent Design: A Critical Analysis of the Kitzmiller v. Dover Decision.” Irons is the author of a forthcoming book from Viking Press, titled “God on Trial: Dispatches From America’s Religious Battlefields,” which includes a 50-page chapter on the Dover case. In preparing this chapter, he had read the entire 6,000 page trial transcript and hundreds of exhibits and motions submitted by both sides.

When Professor Irons recieved a copy of the DI article, he immmediately suspected that it was virtually identical to the book, Traipsing Into Evolution, published by the DI in March 2006, with DeWolf, West, and Luskin as authors. On August 5, he wrote to the MLR co-editor-in-chief, “Before you and your editorial board make any decision about whether to run [the DI article}, either in its present or a shortened form, I would check to see how much of it has already been published in the [Traipsing] book.” Irons, a former law review editor, was aware (as DeWolf and Luskin, who are both lawyers, should have been), that virtually all law reviews decline to publish material that has been previously published.

That same day, the MLR editor replied to Irons that “I am troubled by the fact that DeWolf’s material is part of a previously published book. DeWolf hadn’t mentioned that to me.”

On August 8, the MLR editor wrote to DeWolf, “How original is the ‘Misconstruing Intelligent Design’ article I received? If the article is esentially similar to the Traipsing book, that will be an issue for the MLR to consider before we go any further. Can someone explain this to me and send me a copy of the book.” In fact, more than a month passed before the DI sent the editor the requested book.

On August 26, Irons wrote to the editor: “I have compared [the Traipsing book] with the article, and they are about 95 percent identical; a few word changes, and lengthier footnotes in the article.” Irons noted that even the chapter and section headings in the book and article were identical.

On August 27, the MLR editor wrote Irons: “Our author agreement requires that the authors pledge that the submitted article has not been published elsewhere. I told DeWolf straight up weeks ago that we require original works.” Irons replied: “I don’t think [the DI authors] have been up front with you, nowing that their article is 95 percent identical with Traipsing. That might explain why DeWolf didn’t tell you this at the outset and why you didn’t get a copy of Traipsing.”

Following Irons’s revelation of the virtual identity of the Traipsing book and the MLR article, DeWolf, West, and Luskin agreed with the the MLR’s insistence that they write a new article, which was finally submitted on September 28, with the new title, “Intelligent Design Will Survive Kitzmiller v. Dover.” This “new” article borrowed heavily from the Traipsing book, but Irons and the MLR editors agreed that it was sufficiently revised to meet (barely) the requirement of “original” work. In response, Irons wrote a rejoinder, titled “Disaster in Dover: The Trials (and Tribulations) of Intelligent Design.” Both articles will be published in the MLR’s next issue, in January or February, 2007.

Professor Irons concluded his study with these comments: “It seems to me the height of hypocrisy for the Discovery Institute to accuse Judge Jones of copying 90 percent of one section of his opinion (just 16 percent of its total length) from the proposed findings of fact by the plaintiff’s lawyers, when the DI itself tried to palm off as ‘original’ work a law review article that was copied 95 percent from the authors’ own book. Concealing this fact from the law review editors, until I discovered and documented this effort, seriously undercuts the credibility of the DI on this or any other issue.”

Comments

  1. #1 Ginger Yellow
    December 18, 2006

    Classic. Between Luskin and Dembski, the ID movement seems to be doing its best to throw away whatever credibility it might have had left.

  2. #2 Bill Snedden
    December 18, 2006

    Newsflash: Some of ID’s most vociferous advocates are frauds and liars!

    *yawn* Color me unsurprised…

  3. #3 CCP
    December 18, 2006

    Even their cartoon fart noises are unoriginal.

  4. #4 W. Kevin Vicklund
    December 18, 2006

    By the way, Jones only used 70% of the plaintiff’s PFoF in the “Whether ID is Science” section. That’s almost a third of the plaintiff’s arguments that he didn’t use! That doesn’t sound like someone who unthinkingly copied a different text. It sounds like someone who used what he had in front of him, given to him for that purpose, and picked and chose what parts he thought best suited to his decision, and then put it all together into a coherent whole.

  5. #5 mcmillan
    December 18, 2006

    My prediction for ID defenders position:

    What the DI did here is completely different from Judge Jones, since it was still written by West, Luskin and DeWolf and therefore ok.

    Not sure how they’ll go about explaining why they seem to have tried to hide that this work was already published elsewhere.

  6. #6 Mustafa Mond, FCD
    December 18, 2006

    You haven’t provided any links for this press release. Is this the original account?

  7. #7 Ed Brayton
    December 18, 2006

    mcmillan wrote:

    My prediction for ID defenders position:

    What the DI did here is completely different from Judge Jones, since it was still written by West, Luskin and DeWolf and therefore ok.

    Of course that will be their response. And here’s the obvious counter-response: the real difference between the two situations is the context, not the source. In judicial rulings, it is absolutely normal and routine for judges to use findings of fact from the briefs of the winning side in the case. In law review articles, on the other hand, it is pretty much universally forbidden to copy something you have previously published. And surely David DeWolf, as a law professor and author of many law review articles, knows that quite well. He chose to do it anyway, and would have gotten away with it had Prof. Irons not been as attentive as he was.

  8. #8 Ed Brayton
    December 18, 2006

    Mustafa Mond wrote:

    You haven’t provided any links for this press release. Is this the original account?

    This is the press release, from Prof. Irons himself.

  9. #9 Mustafa Mond, FCD
    December 18, 2006

    You said at The Panda’s Thumb (where comments have not been enabled):

    It seems that the Discovery Institute, while disingenuously libeling a Federal judge for his routine use of findings of fact from a plaintiffs’ brief, has been engaged in plagiarism of its own work in a context where such copying is strictly forbidden.

    I looked up ‘plagiarism’ at dictionary.com:

    1. the unauthorized use or close imitation of the language and thoughts of another author and the representation of them as one’s own original work.
    2. something used and represented in this manner.

    It sounds like plagiarism is the wrong word; the article was their own work, not that of another. I think the correct term would be double publication.

    Congrats on this incredible scoop.

  10. #10 Eric
    December 18, 2006

    I wonder if any of the many other law review articles submitted by David DeWolf have been self plagiarized ?

  11. #11 Whatever
    December 18, 2006

    I swear we need to make a sitcom of some of the shenanigans the ID movement comes up with. Every other moment their sticking their foot in their mouth. What really makes me sad though, is the fact that they will never give up. The will just keep getting beat, and their numbers will dwindle until finally it will end up as 200 members mailing poorly xeroxed propaganda to each other, just like the Flat Earth Society. Then just when we think there almost gone, they’ll make one last stand claiming there an endangered species and demand protection via the Endangered Species Act.

  12. #12 Mustafa Mond, FCD
    December 18, 2006

    One would expect this sort of stupidity from Casey Luskin, but I don’t know much about DeWolf.

  13. #13 vhutchison
    December 18, 2006

    Self-plagiarism is as unethical as plagiarism from another source. It can result in ‘double publication’ but that is not the only reason self-plagiarism is unacceptable.

  14. #14 Flint
    December 18, 2006

    I don’t see the DI’s base dwindling very rapidly. Remember, we’re dealing with Believers here, for whom PR is a hearty diet and accuracy is irrelevant.

  15. #15 Gerard Harbison
    December 18, 2006

    On August 27, the MLR editor wrote Irons: “Our author agreement requires that the authors pledge that the submitted article has not been published elsewhere. I told DeWolf straight up weeks ago that we require original works.” Irons replied: “I don’t think [the DI authors] have been up front with you, nowing that their article is 95 percent identical with Traipsing. That might explain why DeWolf didn’t tell you this at the outset and why you didn’t get a copy of Traipsing.”

    This is the key. Any academic publication to which I’ve ever submitted a paper requires a statement from the author(s) that the work, or something substantially similar to the work, has not been puiblished elsewhere. If DeWolf, West and Luskin signed such a statement, they lied. DeWolf could get in trouble for it; most colleges have a disciplinary process for breaches of academic integrity.

    Nice work, Ed.

  16. #16 RB
    December 18, 2006

    Yes, it isn’t plagerism, but it is ACADEMIC dishonesty. Its the sort of behavior that even gets tenured faculty fire. but then, look at the ID publications, they are almost always repubs of different older articles (remember Myer’s Hopeless monster?)

  17. #17 Gerard Harbison
    December 18, 2006

    Self-plagiarism is a recognized category of academic dishonesty. I don’t much like the term myself, but it is used.

    This is a nice overview:

    http://facpub.stjohns.edu/~roigm/plagiarism/Self%20plagiarism.html

  18. #18 Robert G. Natelson
    December 18, 2006

    First, I want to make clear that I am not involved in the ID dispute on any side. However, I do know the facts here, and they demonstrate that both Prof. Irons and your blog owe Professor DeWolf a profound apology. Your comments are a classic case of “ready, fire, aim.” Unfortunately, you have smeared an innocent man in the process.

    No “study” by Irons was necessary to determine that the DeWolf article is an adaption, for a legal audience, of earlier-written material. This was fully disclosed to everyone concerned, and if Irons had been genuinely curious about it (as opposed to merely wanting to score points), all he needed to do was ask.

    Here are the facts: In the spring of Professor DeWolf spoke at the University of Montana School of Law, where I am a long-time member of the faculty. My e-mail records show that in May, 2006 I was asked by an editor at the Montana Law Review to contact some scholars about writing for the Review. I agreed, and as part of the project, I contacted Professor DeWolf.

    On May 15, Professor DeWolf responded. We subsequently spoke on the telephone, and he ventured the idea of adapting an earlier writing for a legal audience, which of course has different interests and expertise than a lay audience, for which the earlier material had been written.

    On June 30, Prof. DeWolf sent me an e-mail with a proposed attached article with the following disclaimer: “The basic question would be whether or not the Law Review would be interested in publishing something that is a modestly revised version of the book.” I sought authorization to send it on to one of the editors, and Prof. DeWolf agreed. I encouraged the two parties to talk together instead of through me (which they later did).

    In the meantime, however (on July 2), I e-mailed the article to the editor with the explicit comment: “I mentioned that Prof. DeWolf would be willing to submit an article to MLR, putting in law review form material that earlier had been in a book directed at a different market. He has sent to me a file with a rough draft attached. Do you want to see it?”

    The editor’s answer, also dated July 2, was as follows: “Yes, forward me the draft manuscript. Thanks for your efforts on behalf of the Montana Law Review.”

    All of this demonstrates beyond doubt that Professor DeWolf was open and honest throughout the entire transaction. The transaction also resulted to certain advantages to all parties:

    1. The Montana Law Review received an article adapted for the special needs and interests of its audience.
    2. Professor DeWolf received an opportunity to reach an audience interested in the specifically legal issues surrounding Intelligent Design.
    3. The Montana audience will receive insight into the nature of Professor DeWolf’s comments at the law school this past spring, and
    4. Professor Irons received something groundless to get excited about.

    Sincerely,

    Robert G. Natelson
    Professor of Law
    The University of Montana

  19. #19 Mustafa Mond, FCD
    December 18, 2006

    1. The Montana Law Review received an article adapted for the special needs and interests of its audience.

    Judging from the dates in Irons’ press release and in your post, DeWolf, et.al. don’t seem to have done much of this “adaptation” until prompted by the MLR editor concerning the originality of the work. It does not make sense to me that MLR would have sent a draft to Irons that they knew would be very different from the eventually-published article he would be rebutting.

  20. #20 Coin
    December 18, 2006

    In the meantime, however (on July 2), I e-mailed the article to the editor with the explicit comment: “I mentioned that Prof. DeWolf would be willing to submit an article to MLR, putting in law review form material that earlier had been in a book directed at a different market. He has sent to me a file with a rough draft attached. Do you want to see it?”

    This seems sufficient to me to show that DeWolf was open with you, and you were open with the MLR editor, concerning the prepublished nature of the MLR article. However, how do we reconcile this with these other statements Irons quotes the MLR editor as making– which despite coming a month or so after your email, clearly indicate the MLR editor was not aware of these same facts at that time?

    August 5…That same day, the MLR editor replied to Irons that “I am troubled by the fact that DeWolf’s material is part of a previously published book. DeWolf hadn’t mentioned that to me.”

    On August 8, the MLR editor wrote to DeWolf, “How original is the ‘Misconstruing Intelligent Design’ article I received? If the article is esentially similar to the Traipsing book, that will be an issue for the MLR to consider before we go any further. Can someone explain this to me and send me a copy of the book.” In fact, more than a month passed before the DI sent the editor the requested book.

    On August 27, the MLR editor wrote Irons: “Our author agreement requires that the authors pledge that the submitted article has not been published elsewhere. I told DeWolf straight up weeks ago that we require original works.”

    Please help me understand what is happening here.

    Is it possible that once DeWolf began talking directly to the editor, DeWolf was not as upfront with the MLR editor about the origins of the article as he had been with you?

    Is it possible that the “editor” you contacted and the “editor” which Irons spoke with do not refer to exactly the same person?

  21. #21 Robert G. Natelson
    December 18, 2006

    One more point: Professor Irons had been informed of the facts before his “study,” but nevertheless persisted in accusing Prof. DeWolf of improper conduct. In an August 6 e-mail to him (in response to one from him to me), I wrote: “There never was any secret about [DeWolf's article] being an adaptation for law review purposes of his and his colleagues’ book, and I believe I mentioned that myself to one of the editors” [which in fact I had, on July 2]. The chronology shows that, notwithstanding that information, Irons continued to levy his charges. Irons appears to have misled Mr. Brayton as well.
    Robert G. Natelson
    Professor of Law
    The University of Montana

  22. #22 Ed Brayton
    December 18, 2006

    Mr. Natelson-

    What you posted here at least rescues Mr. DeWolf from the charge of hiding the duplicate nature of the article from you (though I don’t think that’s a charge anyone ever made). But the emails from the editor of the law review seem to indicate that he was quite surprised to find out that the paper was a republication. He clearly says that he told DeWolf that they require original works (“Our author agreement requires that the authors pledge that the submitted article has not been published elsewhere. I told DeWolf straight up weeks ago that we require original works.”) and he bluntly says that DeWolf had not told him that the material had been published before (“I am troubled by the fact that DeWolf’s material is part of a previously published book. DeWolf hadn’t mentioned that to me.”). It seems that there are three possibilities.

    1. Irons is lying about the content of those emails and inventing quotes from the editor (which seems highly unlikely since the law review editor could easily call him on it if he did)

    2. The editor is lying about not being informed by DeWolf that the article was a republication (which also seems unlikely, since DeWolf could easily call him on it and produce the emails where he tells him otherwise)

    3. DeWolf told you that it was a republication, but didn’t tell the law review editor that it was, which would explain the editor’s surprise when he found out that it was.

    Which of those do you suppose is true?

  23. #23 Robert G. Natelson
    December 18, 2006

    Response to Coin:

    Law Review editors are students, not professional editors, and that is true at Montana Law Review. I do not know why he said what he did to Irons, but it is possible the student simply forgot my e-mail to him. That is a question is best addressed to him.

    Less forgiveable is Iron’s decision to proceed with his charges without further investigation, especially in light of my note to him of August 6. I’m not saying he should have taken my word for gospel, but he shouldn’t have taken the student’s editor that way either. Academic standards would dictate that he investigate further. That’s the meaning of my comment that Irons “wanted to score points.”

    As for adaptation: My recollection was that the original, book version already had been heavily adapted/edited for law review publication when I passed it on.

    Finally: It is quite common for law reviews to publish reworkings — or even the original version — of materials produced for a different market. This is particularly true of materials produced by top academics. The practice is fully accepted, so long as there is full disclosure, which is what there was here, and what I hope will be in the issue itself.
    Robert G. Natelson
    Professor of Law
    The University of Montana

  24. #24 Ed Brayton
    December 18, 2006

    Assuming that the emails that Irons quotes from the law review editor are accurate (and again, it would seem pretty crazy to cite them if they’re not, since the editor could easily expose the deceit), it seems to me that the fault here lies with the editor, not with Irons. The editor told him very plainly that he had told DeWolf that the article had to be original, that DeWolf had not told him that the article was a double publication and he even implies that DeWolf had signed an agreement stating that the paper was original. If all of that is true, one can hardly blame Irons for taking the editor’s statements to him as true. And if those things are true, I think the apologies required are from Prof. Natelson to Prof. Irons (for accusing him of not having a basis for his criticism of DeWolf when he clearly did) and from the law review editor to DeWolf (for claiming not to know that the article was a duplicate publication when you had told him that it was before he ever read it). Assuming both you and Irons are telling the truth, that is, and I have no reason to doubt either.

  25. #25 Robert G. Natelson
    December 18, 2006

    Whoa, Mr. Brayton. One of the best examples of “blame the victim” I have ever seen! You are really good!

    Look: Irons already was on notice the article was an adaptation. If the editor told him something different, he needed to do some checking. Even if he hadn’t been on notice, he needed to do some checking. Mr. Brayton, it wouldn’t have hurt you do some checking, too, before questioning people’s (in this case, Professor DeWolf’s) good faith. That’s just common decency — which I recognize is in painfully short supply in Blogland.

    I have provided the information I have in the case, blow by blow, with quotes. If you want to believe something that better fits your worldview, then I suppose that’s okay. Unfortunate, but okay.
    – RGN

  26. #26 Mustafa Mond, FCD
    December 18, 2006

    Ok Ed,

    Why don’t you do some checking with the MLR editor(s)? First off, it would be good to know if Prof. Natelson and Prof. Irons were communicationg with the same person. Then you could provide him/her/them with quotes and dates and ask for verification of various claims made here.

  27. #27 Tyler DiPietro
    December 18, 2006

    I have provided the information I have in the case, blow by blow, with quotes. If you want to believe something that better fits your worldview, then I suppose that’s okay. Unfortunate, but okay.

    No, what you have provided is a conflicting story with that of professor Irons. Judging by the fact that the editor clearly indicated to Irons that he was unaware that the paper by DeWolf was a republication, it would seem that either Irons made up the emails, the editor is lying, or the editor being referred to is not the same person. We should probably let the facts be ironed-out here.

  28. #28 Chris Lawson
    December 18, 2006

    So let me get this straight from Natelson’s email…

    An editor at U Montana Law Review asks Prof Natelson to find some contributors, and despite being “not involved in the ID dispute on any side”, Natelson invites Prof DeWolf to submit piece knowing (having heard him speak) that he is a DI Fellow. DeWolf discusses with Natelson the prospect of sending along a piece that is heavily adapted from a previously published book. Natelson, despite not actually being an editor for the Law Review tells him to go ahead.

    DeWolf writes his piece with a rider that it is “is a modestly revised version of the book.” Natelson forwards it with a brief comment in the email that it is “in law review form material that earlier had been in a book directed at a different market.”

    Then the article gets rejected and DeWolf is asked to resubmit it after a rewrite, which he does.

    I think Natelson is quite right. Professor DeWolf does deserve an apology — from Professor Natelson. Natelson took on the role of editor by telling DeWolf to write the piece and only submitting it to the Law Review *after* the draft had been written. He should have asked the Law Review *before* giving DeWolf the go-ahead to write an article that was almost the same as already published.

    To compound problems, he then misrepresented what DeWolf had done. DeWolf was quite open in his submission that the article was a “modest revision” of a previously published book, which he felt the Law Review may reject on those grounds. Natelson, though, submitted the article while describing it as having been rewritten for a legal audience when in fact it was 95% identical to what had already been published for a lay audience. That is, it was neither significantly rewritten nor tailored to a professional legal audience.

    The fact that Irons felt it was a ploy by a DI fellow to self-plagiarise is all down to Natelson’s poor handling of the situation, not Irons “trying to score points.”

  29. #29 Ed Brayton
    December 18, 2006

    Robert Natelson wrote:

    Whoa, Mr. Brayton. One of the best examples of “blame the victim” I have ever seen! You are really good!

    I’m not sure who exactly you think the victim is here. Perhaps you could be more specific.

    Look: Irons already was on notice the article was an adaptation.

    Okay, but that’s not really relevant to the issue at hand. First, the problem is not that it was an “adaptation” but that it was a virtual carbon copy. Second, it doesn’t matter whether Irons was aware it was a double publication; it matters whether the law review editor was aware it was a republication. The law review editor, according to the quotes that Irons offers, says very clearly that A) he was not told that it was a republication and B) that he had explicitly told DeWolf that it could not be a republication. He further implies C) that DeWolf had signed a document agreeing that his paper was not a republication (he refers to that agreement, which one would assume is required to be signed by authors when they submit a paper and thus DeWolf likely signed it).

    If the editor told him something different, he needed to do some checking. Even if he hadn’t been on notice, he needed to do some checking.

    With whom was he supposed to check other than the law review editor, and why would he have such an obligation? The only reason he would have to double check what the editor clearly told him is he had some notion that the editor was lying to him, and I see no reason for him to have had such a notion.

    Mr. Brayton, it wouldn’t have hurt you do some checking, too, before questioning people’s (in this case, Professor DeWolf’s) good faith. That’s just common decency — which I recognize is in painfully short supply in Blogland.

    Nice cheap shot, but it does not make much of an argument. The evidence in Irons’ press release is quite clear. I’m not sure who you think I should have checked with; I didn’t know of your existence until you commented here. Was I supposed to track down a person I didn’t know existed to find out if he had evidence that might implicate someone else before publishing this? And even if I had, I’d still have to figure out who is telling the truth – you, Irons or the law review editor.

    I have provided the information I have in the case, blow by blow, with quotes. If you want to believe something that better fits your worldview, then I suppose that’s okay. Unfortunate, but okay.

    Is there a more annoying word than “worldview”? Be that as it may, this has nothing at all to do with ideology. yes, you provided your information, but your information is very clearly in conflict with what the law review editor told Irons. So now we have 3 possible explanations, which I listed above. You didn’t bother to say which one you think is true, or to offer a 4th possibility. Your information confused the picture some, but it didn’t tell us what actually did happen. Assuming that everything you said is true and everything Irons said is true, we are still stuck with one basic question: did DeWolf tell the law review editor that the paper was a republication, or is the law review editor lying? Do you know which of those is true? If so, please tell us why. I don’t know which of those is true, which makes your implication that I’m believing something that suits my ideology rather silly.

  30. #30 Ed Brayton
    December 18, 2006

    I have sent off an email to the staff of the Montana Law Review to see if we can clear things up. I’m curious to see if I’ll get any response at all. Whatever response I get, I will of course post.

  31. #31 Coin
    December 18, 2006

    Law Review editors are students, not professional editors, and that is true at Montana Law Review. I do not know why he said what he did to Irons, but it is possible the student simply forgot my e-mail to him. That is a question is best addressed to him.

    Okay. Here is the thing, though. You said: “All of this demonstrates beyond doubt that Professor DeWolf was open and honest throughout the entire transaction.” How do you know this? Your involvement in the transaction appears to have been limited only to a referral at the beginning that, as you note, the editor might not have even remembered the specifics of later. Based on what do we assume that Prof. DeWolf was as open and honest with the MLR as you were with them?

    In an August 6 e-mail to [Irons] (in response to one from him to me), I wrote: “There never was any secret about [DeWolf's article] being an adaptation for law review purposes of his and his colleagues’ book, and I believe I mentioned that myself to one of the editors”

    I’d be curious to hear from Prof. Irons as to why he didn’t factor this in when comprising his press release. But could it perhaps be he simply considered your e-mail unconvincing, or assumed it to be mistaken or misinformed, given that your assurances of the time do seem to be plainly contradicted by the words of the editor himself?

    I have provided the information I have in the case, blow by blow, with quotes.

    Yes, but the thing is that your information doesn’t seem to be particularly relevant to the specific allegations made by Prof. Irons. Your experiences could indicate some kind of inaccuracy with the naarative presented by Prof. Irons, so hopefully the MLR will respond to Ed and clear things up. However your story could also be completely consistent with the emails Irons quotes– since those seem to largely concern communications which you were not privy to between DeWolf and the MLR directly– and were that the case, Prof. Dewolf’s forthrightness with you wouldn’t really have any bearing whatsoever on his lack of forthrightness with the MLR later.

  32. #32 Wobert
    December 18, 2006

    Yes Ed, whenever I hear the term “worldview” I get a distinct aroma of fish, especially when it turns/pops up from absolutely nowhere. It could of course be down to the fact that John West has left the salmon and seafood industry and now works for the DI. I didn’t realise that world fish stocks were so low.

  33. #33 Raging Bee
    December 19, 2006

    Prof. Natelson: Ed Brayton not only allowed your responses — both factual and accusing — to stand as posted on his blog; he responded to them point by point, and is admitting many possible explanations of the discrepancies mentioned here, and, at the very least, credibly pretending to do the fact-checking you demand of him. You, on the other hand, are sinking your own credibility by accusing Ed of “blaming the (unspecified) victim,” and “want[ing] to believe something that better fits [his] worldview.” These accusations can be most charitably described as “premature.”

    Furthermore, no academic who is at all comfortable with the Discovery Institute is in any position to lecture about “common decency” being “in painfully short supply in Blogland.” The DI’s current phony outrage over Judge Jones’ alleged “plagirism” is only the latest proof of their lack of that commodity.

    If you want to be respected as a professor, then act like one.

  34. #34 Joe McFaul
    December 19, 2006

    Prof Natelson is a fellow traveler of DI and Dewolf:

    http://www.fvcc.edu/pdfs/honorssymposium06.pdf

  35. #35 Coin
    December 19, 2006

    Prof Natelson is a fellow traveler of DI and Dewolf:

    http://www.fvcc.edu/pdfs/honorssymposium06.pdf

    Uh… did you even read this link before you pasted it? Prof. Natelson AND Prof. Peter Irons are listed as speakers there, I see at least one apparent flaming liberal in the lineup, and the symposium itself was organized as the National Endowment for the Humanities, a federal agency.

    If you’re going to mindlessly sling links in an attempt to paint Prof. Natelson as biased or likely having a vested interest in one side of the creationism debate, you might as well choose something remotely relevant, like his 1996 run as the Republican candidate for Governor of Montana apparently with a Christian Reconstructionist activist as his campaign chairman.

    Which of course has nothing whatsoever to do with whether Prof. DeWolf’s Montana Law Review article was properly presented to the MLR’s editors.

  36. #36 Chris Lawson
    December 19, 2006

    Prof. Natelson’s actions should stand for themselves, not according to what symposia he has attended. Having said that, he appears at the above symposium discussing a topic he has addressed at length previously: the historical setting of the Establishment Clause in the constitution, where he has argued that it protects freedom of religion but does not extend to atheism or agnosticism, and he argues that the Ten Commandments in court houses is perfectly acceptable and that those who argue against it are being petty and concludes that “it is better to devote our energy to solving real constitutional problems than to be trapped in snares created only by our own misunderstanding.” So, yeah, if he is not exactly a fellow traveller, he’s walking damn close behind.

    http://www.umt.edu/law/faculty/natelson/articles/Original%20Meaning%20Estab%20Clause.pdf

  37. #37 Aaron
    December 19, 2006

    Funny how the one claiming non-involvement is quick to chastise others for being biased in their “worldviews” and blogging “(in)decency”, but it’s a pattern we’ve come to expect. Then to find he’s basically a theocrat…priceless.

  38. #38 Ric
    December 19, 2006

    Ah, thank you Chris and Coin. While these revelations do not disprove Natelson’s claims (for that we will need to hear the email from the editor that Mr. Brayton is waiting for), they do shed some light on the situation. I was wondering why Mr. Natelson seemed so vehement and defensive in his posts here.

  39. #39 Raging Bee
    December 19, 2006

    Quick preliminary judgement, subject to change as more facts are learned: Natelson recommended that DeWolf send an “adaptation” of a previous work to the Law Review; neither party made much effort to distinguish “adaptation” from “almost verbatim repetition;” nor did either party ascertain in advance the Law Review’s rules on this issue, perhaps thinking there would be no problem, or that a professor’s recommendation would overrule a grad-student editor’s judgement, or simply that good Christian folks should not be burdened by petty rules in their pursuit of a theistic understanding of the Universe.

    In the meantime, we wait for word from the editor…

  40. #40 J-Dog
    December 19, 2006

    “First, I want to make clear that I am not involved in the ID dispute on any side.”
    Robert G. Natelson
    Professor of Law
    The University of Montana

    “Newsflash: Some of ID’s most vociferous advocates are frauds and liars!”

    *yawn* Color me unsurprised…Bill Snedden, Dec 18, 2006

    Thank you Mr. Natelson, for confirming *my* worldview that the DI is entirely composed of liers and idiots.

  41. #41 Mustafa Mond, FCD
    December 19, 2006

    First, I want to make clear that I am not involved in the ID dispute on any side.

    Would you mind telling us how you happened across this blog post? Specifically, was your attention directed here by David DeWolf or anyone else associated with the authors of the article in question?

    As for adaptation: My recollection was that the original, book version already had been heavily adapted/edited for law review publication when I passed it on.

    Going beyond the inconvenience that “heavily” is a subjective term, your recollection seems to be at odds with the quantitative findings of Prof. Irons, and with the actions of the MLR editor. It is not at all clear to me why we should accept your recollections over those other sources.

    That same day, the MLR editor replied to Irons that “I am troubled by the fact that DeWolf’s material is part of a previously published book. DeWolf hadn’t mentioned that to me.”

    Perhaps Irons or the MLR editor could be asked to clarify a point here. Was the derivation of the article draft from the book acknowledged in the draft? My own experience is with scientific publication, not law review publication, but I assume proper acknowledgment of sourcing is expected.

  42. #42 David Heddle
    December 19, 2006

    Ed,

    Can we expect a substantive follow-up post? I ask because in my opinion (a) the charge you (and/or Irons) made is fairly serious (b) it has generated a lot of pixels (8 technorati blog reactions at last count) and (c) Natelson’s responses are detailed enough to deserve a more serious response.

    I look forward to additional information.

  43. #43 Ed Brayton
    December 19, 2006

    Yes, I’m hoping the editor of the law review answers my email so we can find out what the truth is. No response yet though.

  44. #44 Scott Eugene
    December 19, 2006

    If we can show that the Discovery Institute definitely plagiarized in their report to the Montana Law Review, then it would make it hypocritical for them to criticize Jones. However, it seems like (according to Ed here) that the DI copied themselves?! So the ideas were still their own.

    I read the Discovery Institute report on Judge Jones, it seems as if they are saying that Judge Jones copied some the ACLU without regard to what was said in the trial. They also gave some pretty solid evidence of that (solid when you compare it with the transcripts from the trial).

    Either way, all this copying back and forth aside, we should focus on the arguments of the DI and the ACLU, not who copied what.

  45. #45 Ed Brayton
    December 19, 2006

    Scott Eugene wrote:

    If we can show that the Discovery Institute definitely plagiarized in their report to the Montana Law Review, then it would make it hypocritical for them to criticize Jones. However, it seems like (according to Ed here) that the DI copied themselves?! So the ideas were still their own.

    The difference is context. Federal judges are expected to selectively incorporate findings of fact, even quoting them verbatim or close to it, when writing a ruling. On the other hand, most law reviews, including this one, will not accept previously published material. And in this case, the editor of the law journal appears to be saying that DeWolf knew that, hid the fact that his submission was a republication from the editor, and nonetheless signed a document attesting to its originality. That’s far, far worse.

    I read the Discovery Institute report on Judge Jones, it seems as if they are saying that Judge Jones copied some the ACLU without regard to what was said in the trial. They also gave some pretty solid evidence of that (solid when you compare it with the transcripts from the trial).

    Nonsense. I’ve already debunked their claims in this regard, with direct quotes from the testimony and evidential record from the trial. Their complaints in this regard amount to nothing more than “we didn’t win the argument.” They’re right, they didn’t win the argument. But so what?

  46. #46 Mustafa Mond, FCD
    December 19, 2006

    You should put a prominent link here to the follow-up article:
    MLR Editor Responds.

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