|Wesley R. Elsberry
Joined: May 2002
Over on the Discovery Institute’s weblog, Casey Luskin writes:
In 2005, a federal judge banned Pandas outright from science classrooms in Dover, Pennsylvania — but only after denying FTE [Foundation for Thought and Ethics] the right to appear before the court to defend the book.
Hmmm. Why does that sound odd?
Maybe because the text “Of Pandas and People” (OPaP) is not explicitly mentioned in the order made by Judge John E. Jones III at the end of his decision:
NOW, THEREFORE, IT IS ORDERED THAT:
1. A declaratory judgment is hereby issued in favor of Plaintiffs pursuant to 28 U.S.C. ?? 2201, 2202, and 42 U.S.C. ? 1983 such that Defendants’ ID Policy violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States and Art. I, ? 3 of the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. 2. Pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 65, Defendants are permanently enjoined from maintaining the ID Policy in any school within the Dover Area School District. 3. Because Plaintiffs seek nominal damages, Plaintiffs shall file with the Court and serve on Defendants, their claim for damages and a verified statement of any fees and/or costs to which they claim entitlement. Defendants shall have the right to object to any such fees and costs to the extent provided in the applicable statutes and court rules
so the blunt statement that OPaP is “banned from classrooms” appears to be an unsupported extrapolation. Can a student check a copy out from the library and have it in his or her possession in a classroom? There seems to be nothing to prevent that. Can a science teacher or administrator teach credulously from OPaP in a classroom? That would appear to be against the sense of the order. Can a civics teacher show that egregious hogwash sometimes intrudes into public policy, using OPaP as a noisome example? I see nothing in the order that would prevent OPaP from appearing in the classroom for that purpose. Given the assessment the book received:
Accordingly, the one textbook to which the Dover ID Policy directs students contains outdated concepts and badly flawed science, as recognized by even the defense experts in this case.
the notion that OPaP is a good fit as an authoritative source in a science curriculum is just laughable. Could a defense by FTE salvage OPaP from that evaluation? That seems quite doubtful.
Maybe Luskin’s statement sounds odd because Jon Buell, President of FTE, did actually appear in the courtroom of Judge John E. Jones III, and there attempted to defend the book. Of course, Buell made a laughingstock of himself, of FTE, and of the sham called “intelligent design” — pretty serious work for just one day in court, I’d say. NOVA’s focus on the bad boys of the Kitzmiller v. DASD case could have been filled out to three “B”s, Bonsell, Buckingham, and Buell, if only Jones had ruled favorably on FTE’s motion to intervene.
Who is to blame for FTE’s inability to take part in the trial portion of KvD? It isn’t Judge Jones. This is a matter of public record, something that Luskin should have been aware of before spinning stuff. One can make a case for either FTE President Jon Buell or IDC advocate and FTE Academic Editor William A. Dembski having tripped up on this one, as becomes clear with just a small excursion to the transcript of the court’s consideration of FTE’s motion to intervene. At the time that FTE finally decided to file its motion to intervene, it was already late in May, 2005. Notably, this only happened about the time that the Thomas More Law Center and the Discovery Institute were apparently having some serious behind-the-scenes disagreements over the conduct of the case. FTE seemed to be far more willing to act on DI orders than the TMLC had proved to be, so having FTE obtain a co-defendant role in the case was likely a high priority for the DI. This may explain the DI’s continuing angst over the exceedingly poor showing that Buell had in court, so much so that they won’t even draw attention to it, but instead place blame — erroneously, of course — on Judge Jones.
Did FTE receive due process? It is hard to argue that they did not, given the copious public record demonstrating that they did. That seems to be why Luskin just tosses off a slur, apparently hoping that no one will take a closer look. There are several elements of interest in Buell’s testimony, including the howler that FTE is not a religious organization, the curious silence of Dembski, and Buell’s ignorance of the one issue that might have given FTE entry to the case.
See the rest at the link.
J-Dog suggested that an entry should be made at AtBC.
"You can't teach an old dogma new tricks." - Dorothy Parker