Three Years Since Dover — Merry Kitzmas!

Buffoon Award

Rejoice, gentle readers! Today we celebrate Kitzmas, our annual festival in honor of the decision on 20 December 2005 by Judge John E. Jones III in the case of Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District.

To gladden your hearts during this Kitzmas season, we are treated to a brief (and deliciously bitter) piece by John West — a Senior Fellow at the Seattle-based Discovery Institute (the DI), where he is Associate Director of their Center for Science and Culture (a/k/a the Discoveroids). That makes him one of the chief Keepers of their Wedge Strategy, and the guru of the cdesign proponentsists (a term described here: Missing link: “cdesign proponentsists”).

Most importantly, Mr. West is your Curmudgeon’s very first Buffoon Award Winner, thus the jolly logo in his honor at the head of this page.

Mr. West has a timely article in the Discoveroid’s blog today: Dover Plus Three: The More One Looks, the Less That’s There. It’s only one paragraph long, so we’ll take it one sentence at a time:

Today marks the third anniversary of Judge John Jones’ attempt to ban science classroom discussions of intelligent design in the Kitzmiller v. Dover case

Yes, Mr. West. Jones’ “attempt” — as you term it — quite handily thwarted what was actually your attempt to slip ID into science class. Hint, see: Kitzmiller v. Dover: The Role of The Discovery Institute.

More from the Discoveroid article:

In the three years since Jones’ decision was announced, it has not worn well.

Really? No school board has adopted a pro-ID policy since then, although several have talked about it. We think it’s because their legal advisers read the Dover decision and then inform their clients that it’s hopeless. So actually, Mr. West, the decision has worn quite well.

Judge Jones’ supposedly devastating critique of intelligent design turned out to be cut and pasted (factual errors and all) from a document written by lawyers working with the ACLU.

So much spinning, so little time. Mr. West, you ought to know by now that when a trial is over and the judge instructs the litigants — as happened in the Dover case — to file with him their proposed findings of fact and their proposed conclusions of law, the lawyers face an arduous and time consuming task. It consists of summarizing — with specific references to the trial transcripts — all that was said, all the evidence offered (and perhaps rebutted), issue by issue, so that the judge can make his “findings” of the facts determined at the trial. Then they have to brief all the applicable law to be applied to those facts. This work can take weeks, as it did in the Dover case, where the trial lasted 40 days. It’s one of the reasons that litigation is so expensive.

The court’s final opinion is almost certain to be a cut-and-paste job that the judge assembles from those submissions (which he compares to and embellishes from his own trial notes), with much of the judge’s decision coming from what was submitted by the wining side — not because he’s blindly copying what they wrote, but because he thinks they got it right. This is utterly standard procedure in federal courts. You surely know this, Mr. West, yet for three years you Discoveroids have been complaining that the judge “plagiarized” his decision. Keep it up. It makes you look great.

Law professors (including some who oppose intelligent design) have skewered Jones’ embarrassing judicial opinion as poorly argued and unpersuasive.

Isn’t that shocking? Mr. West, let’s see if you can name an important judicial decision that doesn’t attract such controversy. (Hint: Most US Supreme Court decisions contain rather strong dissents.) It’s inherent in the nature of litigation. Nice try, but that “point” scores a zero on the Curmudgeon-Scale. Besides, if the decision were all that flawed, why don’t you try the same thing in some other jurisdiction? Let’s move along:

And many of the alleged factual claims on which Judge Jones based his opinion have been refuted

That’s great, Mr. West. We didn’t know that you guys have recently located the wreck of Noah’s Ark. Then go ahead and flim-flam another school board into adopting a pro-ID policy. We’re waiting. It’ll be easier the second time around. Oh — perhaps the refuted “alleged factual claims” that Judge Jones relied are the claims put forth by your creationist experts? No, it can’t be those. The judge didn’t rely on them because they were all refuted at the trial.

Well, let’s continue:

In the meantime, public interest in intelligent design has continued to grow, as has support for academic freedom to question Darwinism (no doubt encouraged by this year’s theatrical documentary Expelled).

Curmudgeonly translation: We sure hope all our financial contributors keep the flow of dough coming in.

Darwinists, alas, have yet to learn the futility of trying to win scientific debates by court orders and intimidation.

We know how to do science, Mr. West. And we know that you Discoveroids aren’t doing it in your Seattle “think tank.” What you and your “fellows” seem to do is plan for a big legal or political breakthrough. Hey, you’re “winning” in Louisiana. Why can’t you be happy with that?

No matter—although Darwinists may not believe in free speech and debate, the vast majority of Americans do.

And so, as this article draws to a close, we ask you, dear reader, to join us in a bit of Kitzmas merriment, as we all raise our glasses and sing:

Roll me ooooo-ver,

In the Doooo-ver …

Merry Kitzmas, to one and all!

[Etymology note: A year ago on another website, a British chap -- "SeaLion" by screen-name -- first proposed the celebration of Kitzmillermas. We suggested (and he approved) shortening it to Kitzmas. This is the second year that we've been posting about this merry event. But the first appearance of "Kitzmas" appears to have been a year earlier, when the Dover decision was first announced, used by both Panda's Thumb and PZ Myers.]

Update: See Four Years Since Dover — Merry Kitzmas!

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21 responses to “Three Years Since Dover — Merry Kitzmas!

  1. No trip down the Kitmas memory lane is complete without reveling in the mendacity manifested by the defendants in the Dover case — the very same sort of mendacity you have highlighted in Mr. West’s disingenuous essay.

    From p 115 of the Kitzmiller decision, we have:

    As we will discuss in more detail below, the inescapable truth is that both
    Bonsell and Buckingham lied at their January 3, 2005 depositions
    about their knowledge of the source of the donation for Pandas, which likely contributed to Plaintiffs’ election not to seek a temporary restraining order at that time based upon a conflicting and incomplete factual record. This mendacity was a clear and deliberate attempt to hide the source of the donations by the Board President and
    the Chair of the Curriculum Committee
    to further ensure that Dover students received a creationist alternative to Darwin’s theory of evolution. We are accordingly presented with further compelling evidence that Bonsell and Buckingham sought to conceal the blatantly religious purpose behind the ID Policy.

    [emphasis added]

    In conclusion, where there are anti-Evos at work, do not be surprised to find a web of deceit & deception, and a cornucopia of manifold mendacities.

  2. Don’t look now, but Panda’sThumb linked to our article in this post: Three Years Already? Merry Kitzmas!, and now they’re wishing everyone Marry Kitzmas. This thing might fly! We’ll take this opportunity to credit a certain Brit who first suggested “Kitzmillermas” about a year ago. Then I suggested the shorter term, and we posted a whole bunch about it back then. So we have a year’s priority. No problem, let all join in the festivities!

    To document our priority, we just added an “Etymology note” at the end of this article. Maybe some internet historian will find that useful.

  3. Ya know, I miss Sealion.

  4. Yup. Kitzmillermas was SeaLion’s creation. He’s still around, somewhere.

  5. “Merry Kitzmas” was introduced as early as 2005, and probably by more than one person. P. Z. Myers used it at the end of his December 20, 2005, post on The Panda’s Thumb, for example: http://pandasthumb.org/archives/2005/12/unconstitutiona.html.

  6. Okay then, SeaLion and I are Alfred Wallace, and PZ is Darwin. That’s how it goes.

    I just Googled “Kitzmas.” Almost 900 hits.

    This blog article, dated 20 December 2005, documents the earliest instances of “Kitzmas.” They credit both PZ and Panda’s Thumb. So I’m late to the party.

  7. Merry Kitzmahanukwanzakkah :-)

  8. Thanks, Stacy. Glad to see you’ve got the right spirit.

  9. Merry Kitzmas.

    I’ve got my aluminum pole. When is the traditional airing of grievances?

  10. Merry Kitzmas and Happy Monkey.

  11. Shouldn’t that be “Merry Kitzmas and Have a New Beer!”?

  12. Tony says: “Barbara Forrest has a Merry Kitzmas message …”

    I just read it. Barbara Forrest is the greatest!

  13. Today marks the third anniversary of Judge John Jones’ attempt to ban science classroom discussions of intelligent design in the Kitzmiller v. Dover case

    Wrong, and I suspect West knows it. The issue was teaching ID as science, not discussing it. Depending on where they are teaching, a good teacher should be ready to discuss ID and other forms of creationism if they come up, making it clear, in a polite and succinct fashion, that they are not science.

    Law professors (including some who oppose intelligent design) have skewered Jones’ embarrassing judicial opinion as poorly argued and unpersuasive.

    [citation needed]

    And many of the alleged factual claims on which Judge Jones based his opinion have been refuted

    [citation needed]

    In the meantime, public interest in intelligent design has continued to grow, as has support for academic freedom to question Darwinism (no doubt encouraged by this year’s theatrical documentary Expelled).

    They did get their BS legislation passed in Louisiana, and time will tell how pernicious their influence in Texas will be. Meanwhile, their “publication” record virtually ground to a halt after 2005, so I suppose they have to look to public opinion.

    Darwinists, alas, have yet to learn the futility of trying to win scientific debates by court orders and intimidation.

    *irony meter explodes*

  14. James says: “*irony meter explodes*”

    Yeah, it was a funny article. They often are.

  15. No celebration of Kitzmas is complete without reciting some memorable lines from Mike Argento. One of my favorites:

    “At the onset of his stay on the witness stand, Buckingham raised his right hand and swore, or affirmed, to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Then, for the record, he stated his name.

    “William Buckingham.”

    By the time he left the stand, six hours later, I almost expected the judge to ask him for a photo ID to make sure he was indeed William Buckingham.”

  16. “… I almost expected the judge to ask him for a photo ID to make sure he was indeed William Buckingham.”

    Hee hee!

  17. Did my comment expose your stupidity and dishonesty- is that why it was censored?

  18. That’s right, Joe. You’re too powerful for me to handle. That’s why you’re banned.

  19. You forgot the sarcasm emoticon after your remark above….

  20. We’ve had a small outbreak of creationism today. One got banned, the other is on moderation. Plus the sidebar now mentions the “Commenting Rules.” Must be something about Christmas that brings them out.