THIS appears at the most excellent website of the National Center for Science Education (NCSE): Judge Jones honored by Geological Society of America. We are told:
Judge John E. Jones III, who presided over Kitzmiller v. Dover, the 2005 case establishing the unconstitutionality of teaching “intelligent design” creationism in the public schools, will receive the Geological Society of America’s President’s Medal for 2009, according to a September 28, 2009, press release from the GSA.
Clicking over to the GSA’s press release, it says, with bold supplied by us:
She [GSA Past President Judith Totman Parrish] explains that “the theory of evolution is one of the foundations of geosciences. Through the study of fossils and living organisms and the changes they have undergone through time, scientists are revealing not only the history of life, but the history of the Earth itself. The theory of evolution was established by careful, diverse, and revealing tests carried out by scientists in a wide array of disciplines. Yet despite the strength of the evidence for evolution and its practical importance to society, it is unique among the great scientific theories in being under nearly constant attack.” Proponents of religious creationism and more recently, intelligent design theory, object to the teaching of evolutionary theory in schools because it contradicts literal interpretation of the biblical description of Earth’s history.
Judge Jones had been serving on the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania for four years when, in 2005, he was assigned to the Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District case (informally known as the Dover trial). The Dover, PA school board was being sued over their decision to require that a disclaimer be read to 9th grade biology classes about the validity of intelligent design as an alternative to the theory of evolution. A group of parents argued that the disclaimer was an unconstitutional promotion of religion, in violation of the separation of church and state. In his 139-page decision, Judge Jones handed science a landmark victory.
This is so confusing. When we visit the website of the neo-theocrats at the Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture (a/k/a the Discoveroids), as we did recently to review their new Idiot’s Guide to Evolution, we are told by Casey Luskin:
[T]he district court ruling in Kitzmiller v. Dover misrepresented the arguments given by pro‐ID expert witness biologists and wrongly denied the existence of peer‐reviewed scientific articles and research supporting ID. The judge who ruled in the Kitzmiller v. Dover case (Judge Jones) copied over 90% of his section on whether ID is science verbatim or nearly verbatim from an inaccurate brief written by plaintiffs’ lawyers working with the ACLU. Judge Jones’ ruling satisfied the textbook definition of judicial activism, and even leading anti‐ID legal scholars have argued his ruling is “dangerous” to religious, scientific, and academic freedom.
But when we return to the GSA press release about their award for Judge Jones, we are told:
GSA’s silver President’s Medal was established in 2007 to recognize individuals whose impact has profoundly enhanced the geosciences profession. “Our recipient’s work qualifies as such an enhancement,” said Parrish. “By following the law separating religion and public education he, by extension, defended the study of evolution as science and the teaching of evolution.”
GSA also says this:
Judge Jones will also participate in a 5-member panel discussion on Monday, 19 October, from 11:30 a.m.–1:30 p.m., as part of “Darwin Day” — a day-long 200th birthday celebration of Charles Darwin in conjunction with the meeting. The session, titled “Overcoming Resistance to the Reality of Evolutionary Change in Nature,” will take place at the Oregon Convention Center, and members of the media are invited.
There’s a list of the other members of that panel, and we don’t see the name of a single creationist — not one! So it’s entirely understandable that we hear howling and wailing in the halls of Discoveroid headquarters in Seattle. Casey must be foot-stomping mad. This is enough to send him back to the fainting couch. See: Hey Casey!
What are we to make of this deep difference of opinion about Judge Jones? Science organizations honor him and creationists despise him. We’ll let you decide, dear reader.
But let us be the first to remind you — there are less than 90 shopping days left until Kitzmas. You don’t know what that is? See: Merry Kitzmas!
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