Many will recall the oft cited ruling by Judge Jones in the infamous Kitzmiller case. Indeed Jones has been running all over the place with speaking engagements due to his new found celebrity status. Not that there’s anything wrong with that per se, but is it deserved? According to a a report just released by the Discovery Institute, by John West and David DeWolf, it appears that Jones “borrowed” heavily from some ACLU briefs in his discussion of why ID isn’t science.
West and DeWolf note that
…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 verbatim 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.
Now, the issue here isn’t that Jones copied or cut and pasted wholesale from other briefs…that sort of thing happens all the time. What is at issue is that the arguments and information Jones copied from the ACLU was itself full of erroneous factual claims…claims that Jones apparently didn’t bother to check. This might all be so much dust in the wind if it weren’t for the fact that this particular section of Jones’s ruling is cited often by the anti-ID crowd as demonstration that, well, “ID ain’t science”. Complicating the issue further is the fact that the charge of quoting erroneous “facts” is one levelled quite often by Darwinists against IDPs.
For more fun, take a peek at what Timothy Sandefur writes about the DI report over at The Panda’s Thumb. Note how Sandefur totally sidesteps the main issue, which is not that Jones copied from the ACLU report, but that what he copied was erroneous to start with. In a finding of “fact”, one would think that the facts in question would be checked for accuracy! It might be worth discovering what source or sources the ACLU used.
Readers of this blog may wish to also check out William Dembski’s comments over at Uncommon Descent entitled Judge Jones: Towering Intellectual or Narcissistic Schlemiel?