Tuesday, September 26, 2006

I just returned from the lecture at KU, where Judge Jones said...

...absolutely nothing regarding the Dover case last December. I drive to Lawrence expecting to hear the details of the trial from his viewpoint, and what does he give me?? No information whatsoever!!!

The entire lecture centered on his whining about the fact that he is (supposedly) not an activist judge. Basically, he told us he’s a victim of persecution by the conservatives. He even mentioned that he needed a US Marshall for a week after the trial. Good Lord....supposedly someone threatened him in some way. I have no idea why anyone would get that worked up over this case, but whatever.

He also informed us that students need to receive more education about the US Constitution, and how the court system works. He feels that will help eliminate negative comments about judicial activism, which he seems to think is non-existent.

I should have guessed that was what he was going to focus on. He’s been getting a lot of heat regarding his decision, not only from supporters of ID, but from other lawyers as well. From the book “Trapising into Evolution”:

The dogmatic tone of Judge Jones’ opinion is already attracting criticism from thoughtful scholars. Distinguished University of Chicago Law Professor Albert Alschuler, for one, has rebuked Judge Jones smearing ID proponents as Biblical fundamentalists:

“If fundamentalism still means what it meant in the early twentieth century...accepting the Bible as literal truth - the champions of intelligent design are not fundamentalists. They uniformly disclaim reliance on the Book and focus only on where the biological evidence leads. The court's response - “well, that's what they say, but we know what they mean” - is uncivil, and illustration of the dismissive and contemptuous treatment that characterizes much contemporary discourse. Once we know who you are, we need not listen. We’ve heard it all already.”

According to Alschuler, in Judge Jones’ eyes “Dover is simply Scopes trial redux. The proponents of intelligent design are guilty by association, and today’s yahoos are merely yesterday’s reincarnated.” Alschuler added that “proponents of intelligent design deserve the same respect” as evolutionists in the evaluation of their arguments, something they did not get from Judge Jones. Their ideas should be evaluated on their merits, not on presumed illicit motives. As Alschuler put it, “[f]reedom from psychoanalysis is basic courtesy.”

[Albert Alschuler, The Dover Intelligent Design Decision, Part 1: Of Motive, Effect, and History, The faculty blog university of Chicago Law School, (-Dec. 21, 2005), last visited Jan. 21, 2006)]

The lecture was scheduled for an hour and a half, but after a ~lengthy~ introduction, Jones spoke for only about 35-40 minutes. They took written questions for about 20 minutes and we were out of there 15 minutes early. Good grief, what a waste.

I’m still shocked that he said nothing about the case itself. NADA!

Here’s what I think happened. Jones said he ate dinner with the sponsors of the event before his lecture. He probably told them what he was going to cover (which was nothing), and they thought, “holy crap”, we’re going to have to get some information about the trial in there somewhere! That’s probably where the idea sprang forth for the tedious introduction.

Leonard Krishtalka, director of the Biodiversity Institute, and Victor Bailey, Director of the Hall Center for the Humanities, led the welcome and introduction. Krishtalka talked about the intent of the lecture series, and Bailey provided us with a short overview of Jones 139-page decision on the case. Of course, that was more of the same...ID is creationism in disguise, it’s religiously motivated, etc., etc.