Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Judge Makes a Monkey Out of Himself in Evolution Case

The media reported that Judge Jones shot down arguments from Intelligent Design advocates.

A popular Creationist Website has a startling report about judicial misconduct. Their report follows:

Judge John E. Jones has become somewhat of a celebrity of late, traveling and speaking about his judgment against the Dover, Pennsylvania School Board on December 20, 2005. He has stated that he felt his opinion should set forth the case once for all that intelligent design is not science but religion in disguise, and wanted to write it such that it could be used by other courts in other states so that they would not have to argue from scratch. He has been declared an “original thinker” and has been praised by Time Magazine as one of the 100 most influential people of the year.

Now it turns out that 90.9% of his 6,004-word opinion about whether intelligent design is science was lifted “virtually verbatim” from ACLU documents. A new study released today on Evolution News details the comparisons and discusses its implications. The entire study can be downloaded from Uncommon Descent and Discovery Institute. Here is the Executive Summary from the study conducted by the Discovery Institute:

In December of 2005, critics of the theory of intelligent design (ID) hailed federal judge John E. Jones’ ruling in Kitzmiller v. Dover, which declared unconstitutional the reading of a statement about intelligent design in public school science classrooms in Dover, Pennsylvania. Since the decision was issued, Jones’ 139-page judicial opinion has been lavished with praise as a “masterful decision” based on careful and independent analysis of the evidence. However, a new analysis of the text of the Kitzmiller decision reveals that nearly all of Judge Jones’ lengthy examination of “whether ID is science” came not from his own efforts or analysis but from wording supplied by ACLU attorneys. In fact, 90.9% (or 5,458 words) of Judge Jones’ 6,004-word section on intelligent design as science was taken virtually verbatim1 from the ACLU’s proposed “Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law” submitted to Judge Jones nearly a month before his ruling. Judge Jones even copied several clearly erroneous factual claims made by the ACLU. The finding that most of Judge Jones’ analysis of intelligent design was apparently not the product of his own original deliberative activity seriously undercuts the credibility of Judge Jones’ examination of the scientific validity of intelligent design.

While it is not uncommon for judges to quote material provided by the lawyers in the case in their rulings, the extent of his borrowing is “stunning,” according to John West, co-author of the study, considering how much credit Jones himself has taken for it. “For all practical purposes, Jones allowed ACLU attorneys to write nearly the entire section of his opinion analyzing whether intelligent design is science,” West wrote. “As a result, this central part of Judge Jones’ ruling reflected essentially no original deliberative activity or independent examination of the record on Jones’ part.” The Discovery Institute had early published an analysis of the arguments used in the Dover decision in a book entitled Traipsing into Evolution.

(continued- click "WEDNESDAY" below and scroll down for rest of story)


Blogger Mark Moore (Moderator) said...


The next day, this story was picked up by Associated Press, New York Dispatch and World Net Daily and numerous blogs. Evolution News followed up with an article claiming that wholesale copying of material from the lawyers for one side, while not illegal, is “frowned upon” by the courts. Judge Jones had no comment.

What “virtually verbatim” means can be easily seen by comparing the side-by-side comparisons of Jones’s decision with the ACLU document. Jones changed a word here or there, sometimes shortening “intelligent design” to “ID” and other inconsequential changes like listing points as (a) (b) (c) instead of (1) (2) (3), and rearranging parts of sentences, occasionally inserting a phrase, but no schoolteacher would be fooled.

It’s not just the wording that is virtually identical, but the structure of the argument, the points listed, the repetition of factual errors from the ACLU. That along with the omission of any counter-arguments from the other side makes it incredible that this decision would be hailed as original work of high intellectual rank.

Download and read the PDF file. This revelation is sure to create a large ripple around the web. The Darwin Party will do its best to do damage control, claiming that such quotation of documentation is common practice for judges (i.e., judges are allowed to plagiarize with reckless abandon). But this judge has personally taken credit and received adulation for his ruling as if it were his own material.

When the public learns that he borrowed most of it word-for-word from the ACLU, a leftist-secularist-liberal organization despised by many Americans, they may return his little Christmas present with a strong “no, thanks.”

Even those who have no particular feelings about the ACLU should be shocked at how biased Jones was to quote so much from one side – even repeating known inaccuracies – and not give due consideration to material provided by the other side. He brazenly stated that his court was not an activist court – but now look at how he liberally used material from one of the most liberal activist organizations in the country. Then, he went around the country speaking, getting a standing O at the Geological Society of America, accepting all this gushing praise for his intellect and originality (Access Research Network contains a list of his 2006 speaking engagements).

Is this how impartial judges are supposed to behave? It doesn’t take much intellect to cut and paste. This gives us an idea of what to do with the Dover decision: drag and drop.

Hopefully this expose will kick the Dover crutch out from under the opponents of intelligent design and make people realize the highly-touted opinion last year came from a very biased source and cannot be trusted. The time has come for school boards to stop fearing the Dover case and reconsider the issues about intelligent design in education fairly.

6:36 PM, December 13, 2006  
Blogger scripto said...

Can you say "so what?" The findings of fact are generally taken from the winners which is why they are written in the language of the court. A closer reading of the transcript disappears the "errors" reported by the Discovery Institute, particularly regarding the publishing of peer reviewed literature supporting Intelligent design. The More Center lost because their findings of fact contained no facts and the motives of the defendents were transparently religious.

8:33 AM, December 14, 2006  
Blogger Mark Moore (Moderator) said...

Hey scritpo,

The judge is supposed to consider the arguments of BOTH parties and give them a fair hearing. If he is going to be a sock-puppet for the ACLU he should recuse himself from the case.

The fact that he didn't AND simply plagurized the ACLU's brief AND tried to pass it off as his own work AND held it up as a model for others to follow shows that he is not an honest man. That ruling did not consider both sides fairly.

I know from what happened here in Arkansas how this works. The judge in our evolution case ruled against the creationists, then took praise from his whole family where he acknowledged that he had his mind made up before the trial even started. Disgusting. I know this from someone who was a relative of the judge.

As for "transparent religious motives" , they could not be as transparent as the transparent (anti)religious bigotry from the ACLU. So I will throw your own phrase back at you, "so what?" I tell you, the ACLU and this judge are so biased against ID that they would not give it a fair hearing regardless of the evidence. And there IS evidence.

1:39 PM, December 14, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The ACLU doesn't want anything to do with God, religion, or those who support the like and have beliefs contrary to the anti-Christian leanings of the ACLU. For a group that somehow finds separation of church and state in the US Constitution (something that is NOT there), this case doesn't surprise me.

3:40 PM, December 14, 2006  
Blogger scripto said...

And there IS evidence.

Maybe they should have brought some to the trial.

6:48 AM, December 15, 2006  
Blogger Mark Moore (Moderator) said...

I suspect they did. But it would not have mattered anyway. The judge was an ACLU sock-puppet.

11:32 AM, December 15, 2006  

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