Justice in Dover

The court’s ruling that Intelligent Design is nothing more than a sham was better than I’d expected: A “hypothetical reasonable observer,” adult or child, who is “aware of the history and context of the community and forum” is also presumed to know that ID is a form of creationism. Child Evangelism, 386 F.3d at 531 … Continue reading “Justice in Dover”

The court’s ruling that Intelligent Design is nothing more than a sham was better than I’d expected:

A “hypothetical reasonable observer,” adult or child, who is “aware of the history and context of the community and forum” is also presumed to know that ID is a form of creationism. Child Evangelism, 386 F.3d at 531 (citations omitted); Allegheny, 492 U.S. at 624-25. The evidence at trial demonstrates that ID is nothing less than the progeny of creationism. What is likely the strongest evidence supporting the finding of ID’s creationist nature is the history and historical pedigree of the book to which students in Dover’s ninth grade biology class are referred, Pandas. Pandas is published by an organization called FTE, as noted, whose articles of incorporation and filings with the Internal Revenue Service describe it as a religious, Christian organization. (P-461; P-28; P-566; P-633;Buell Dep. 1:13, July 8, 2005). Pandas was written by Dean Kenyon and Percival Davis, both acknowledged creationists, and Nancy Pearcey, a Young Earth Creationist, contributed to the work. (10:102-08 (Forrest)).

As Plaintiffs meticulously and effectively presented to the Court, Pandas went through many drafts, several of which were completed prior to and some after the Supreme Court’s decision in Edwards, which held that the Constitution forbids teaching creationism as science. By comparing the pre and post Edwards drafts of Pandas, three astonishing points emerge: (1) the definition for creation science in early drafts is identical to the definition of ID; (2) cognates of the word creation (creationism and creationist), which appeared approximately 150 times were deliberately and systematically replaced with the phrase ID; and (3) the changes occurred shortly after the Supreme Court held that creation science is religious and cannot be taught in public school science classes in Edwards. This word substitution is telling, significant, and reveals that a purposeful change of words was effected without any corresponding change in content, which directly refutes FTE’s argument that by merely disregarding the words “creation” and “creationism,” FTE expressly rejected creationism in Pandas. In early pre-Edwards drafts of Pandas, the term “creation” was defined as “various forms of life that began abruptly through an intelligent agency with their distinctive features intact – fish with fins and scales, birds with feathers, beaks, and wings, etc,” the very same way in which ID is defined in the subsequent published versions. (P-560 at 210; P-1 at 2-13; P-562 at 2-14, P-652 at 2-15; P-6 at 99-100; P-11 at 99-100; P-856.2.). This definition was described by many witnesses for both parties, notably including defense experts Minnich and Fuller, as “special creation” of kinds of animals, an inherently religious and creationist concept. (28:85-86 (Fuller); Minnich Dep. at 34, May 26, 2005; Trial Tr. vol. 1, Miller Test., 141-42, Sept. 26, 2005; 9:10 (Haught); Trial Tr. vol. 33, Bonsell Test., 54-56, Oct. 31, 2005). Professor Behe’s assertion that this passage was merely a description of appearances in the fossil record is illogical and defies the weight of the evidence that the passage is a conclusion about how life began based upon an interpretation of the fossil record, which is reinforced by the content of drafts of Pandas.

The weight of the evidence clearly demonstrates, as noted, that the systemic change from “creation” to “intelligent design” occurred sometime in 1987, after the Supreme Court’s important Edwards decision. This compelling evidence strongly supports Plaintiffs’ assertion that ID is creationism re-labeled. Importantly, the objective observer, whether adult or child, would conclude from the fact that Pandas posits a master intellect that the intelligent designer is God.

The polite thing to do before now has been to play along with the idea that Intelligent Design had some scientific basis and to refute it on scientific grounds. But now that even a federal district judge has been able to see through the charade and get to the substance of the matter, we don’t need to do that anymore. ID is an attempt to sneak supernaturalism into science classes, and it’s illegal.

That it’s also bad theology is almost beside the point, except for religious people who stand by the commandment about bearing false witness.

This is a great day for American science education. Now if we can get the feminist/liberal crap out of the social sciences the victory of science over propaganda will be complete.

ID prophet Bill Dembski is strangely cryptic about Dover, which he wrongly predicted, and the rest of the Discovery Institute frauds are completely silent. UPDATE: DI’er Paul Nelson says it’s no big deal:

There’s not a lot to say about yesterday’s opinion in Kitzmiller v. Dover. The oucome was as predictable as the sun rising, with the only question of interest being the possible breadth of the ruling. On that score, Judge John Jones III went for the Full Overton (see below), with an added half-rotation before entry.

Panda’s Thumb has interesting commentary, as does Steve Verdon at Outside the Beltway.

Via Mumon, here’s the closing para from The Skeptic’s review of the case:

Kitzmiller provides an excellent case study of evolution in action; ironically, in this case how the language of creationists has adapted to changing cultural environments. The defense argued that Intelligent Design is an entirely new species unrelated to creation science, and the plaintiffs expertly demonstrated both the clear ancestral relationship between creationism and ID and the selective pressure of higher court decisions that caused the speciation. With that phylogenetic relationship clearly established in the trial, the judge evidently decided that creationism had not mutated enough to survive as the new species of Intelligent Design.

Heh, indeed, RTWT.

6 thoughts on “Justice in Dover”

  1. I explain why Dembski’s cryptic over at my place… I think he’s afraid of lawyers. Or his lawyer probably told him to dummy up.

  2. Dembski’s probably pissed that he got bumped as an expert witness, and wants to say “I told you so” to them as bumped him. He gave this outcome only a 10% chance of happening, so he’s on record with bad probabilities again.

  3. Evidently Dembski want his lawyer present when he was deposed.

    His own personal lawyer. Not the DI’s lawyers.

    I think he may be privvy to some real DI dirt here that would have undermined the whole “we’re not really trying to be religious” BS they publicly said.

    Or, perhaps he was looking for a way to get out of questioning that would lead him to his association with Korean faith healers. I’m sure that would go over well with the judge.

    But I think he knows his “work” in “intelligent” “design” is garbage, and didn’t want to perjor himself.

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