Talk:Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District/Archive 1

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Case number

Kitzmiller et al. v. Dover Area School District is the full name-- I just set that to redirect here, but should we make that the main article? Jokestress 02:28, 26 September 2005 (UTC)

Aren't only cases that reach the Supreme Court named "<petitioner> v. <defendant>"? All other cases are "<petitioner> vs. <defendant>" if I'm not mistaken. R'son-W 21:14, 21 December 2005 (UTC)
No. There is no difference between v. and vs. and usage does not depend on the court in which the case is heard. The most commonly used legal manual of style uses v. in all cases, and that is general practice, but it is a matter of preference and either one is acceptable. -EDM 21:25, 21 December 2005 (UTC)
Actually, the practice which you will now find used almost universally in U.S. law school textbooks, opinions, and court briefs, is "v." - this would definitely be the preference in any U.S. federal court decision, such as this one. BD2412 T 21:47, 21 December 2005 (UTC)

Numbers associated with the case: 04-CV-2688, 2005 WL 578974 (MD Pa. 2005) I've not done citations in Wikipedia style before. Jokestress 02:34, 26 September 2005 (UTC)

To be really picky there is an "et al" in the defendants as well. I notice that other Wikipedia articles don't put in "et al" that are technically part of the title. And a lot of places will simply call the case Kitzmiller v. Dover. -- MSH


Anyone want to write a background section? We have the event leading up to the case, the pre-trial hearings, etc. The various sides fight it out in the press and we also have the reporters who did not want to do a deposition that they where asked for. -- MSH

Hi MSH--
Great work on this so far! We will definitely take a crack at the suggestions you made. I encourage you to consider registering a username to make communication and editing tasks easier. That way people can leave you messages on your talk page and keep track of changes you made, since you do not have a static IP address. Just click up at the top, choose a name and password, and you are good to go! Then you can do cool things like keep a watchlist of articles you follow and see a list of all your contributions, as well as sign your comments with four tildes like this -> Jokestress 23:44, 27 September 2005 (UTC)
MHS, I think the background is a clash between:
  1. those who believe in God, and don't want science "abused" (as they see it) to indoctrinate schoolchildren into a materialistic philosophy that claims people could come into being without being created on purpose; and,
  2. those who do not believe in God, and are equally outraged by using the trappings of science and logic to argue that there is any room for the possibility of life having being created on purpose.
{false dichotomy. Indeed a quick examination of the people involved disproves this claim. -- MichaelSH 4:30 Central 29 September 2005}
Probably not one person in 20 is even interested in taking an scientific (i.e. objective) look at the issue. 19 out of 20 say that the facts are on their side, and that's all they care about.
I think Darwinist are correct about the politics of intelligent design. They see it as undermining their view that human orgins can be explained without God. They want to be able to say that the debate is over and that their side won. ID advocates are trying to use the courts to force the debate to be re-opened.
Personally, I think evolutionists need to prevent open debate, particularly in public school classrooms. Debate allows logical thought to enter the arena, and that's always bad for anyone pushing a doctrine. Uncle Ed 02:35, 28 September 2005 (UTC)
Hi Ed-- the suggested broader background you have referenced is discussed at length on creationism, intelligent design, and evolution. In addition, your comments reflect a misstatement of the scientific method, which is limited to falsifiable hypotheses that are testable through empirically observable phenomena. Because the ID proponents have not been willing to debate by presenting evidence in peer-reviewed scientific journals (another hallmark of scientific method), this court case is the first chance that the issue can be debated openly and objectively. At any rate, the background to this specific case is probably all that needs to be here, with links to the larger articles, many of which are already linked. The intelligent design article already has some pretty good background on the case. Jokestress 07:43, 28 September 2005 (UTC)
LOL, I note that you are seem to be (a) ignoring the substance of what I said and (b) declaring that I've made a mistake, which you then go on to "correct". This doesn't help us get articles written.
I think I'm going to have to write an over-arching article which presents the viewpoints of both camps fairly. Evolutionists see creationists as doing this, trying that, forgetting / omitting / misunderstanding the other. On the other hard, creationists see evolutionists as having such and such an agenda, confusing this and that, ignoring the other, etc. That would be a balanced, unbiased analysis. And actually I'm not sure I'm up to the challenge! But our encyclopedia really needs someone to do this.
Currently, Wikipedia articles side (or tend to side) with the view that evolution is correct. This is a violation of NPOV, since there is considerable controversy on the matter. 99.8% of biologists and 95% of scientists in general are in conflict on this point with around 50% of the general population (depending on country). In the U.S. only about 10% to 12% of the general population rejects creationism and accepts evolution.
There is not considerable controversy among scientists -- the claim that 99.8% of biologists are in conflict is a plain falsehood. Every science organization and every biology department supports not only the fact that evolution occurs, but also the theory of evolution that explains how it occurs. It is not a violation of NPOV to tell the truth. As for the views among the general population, that's merely a statement about how widespread ignorance is on this subject; in itself it has no bearing on the truth or falsity of evolution. -- 23:50, 20 December 2005 (UTC)
Note that this breaks down to around 45% of Americans embracing creationsm straight out, and another 40 to 45% (approx.) believing that God created life through gradual stages - a view which Wikipedia articles need to compare and contrast with the materialistic, no God needed theory of evolution.
There is plenty of mendacity on both sides! I'm the first to admit this (well, maybe the second ;-) and there's good reason for evolution advocates to be suspicious of ID adherents. But all I'm concerned about here is how to craft an objective, unbiased look at the entire controversy - without having Wikipedia endorse or reject any particular view. Uncle Ed 14:08, 28 September 2005 (UTC)
I suggest you start by reading the well-known book by the first witness called in the trial. That should clear up a lot of confusion about this matter. Your plans for writing another "teach the controversy" type overview will simply be duplicating efforts already available on the site. I suggest adding to existing pages if you feel there is something missing. Jokestress 15:54, 28 September 2005 (UTC)
The claim that "Wikipedia articles side (or tend to side) with the view that evolution is correct" is itself a POV, and one almost exclusively found by those here who push creationist POVs or have an ideological ax to grind, I'll add. Most who are not so polarized feel that Wikipedia's evolution related articles are reasonably balanced. Those who refer to other editors here (and scientists elsewhere) as "evolutionists" when there are other, more accurate, less charged terms available are dealing in intentionally devisive stereotyping that has no other purpose than to additionally charge the debate.
Jokestress' additions to this article appear grounded in fact and well-cited. I see no POV issue with them or the article. FeloniousMonk 16:47, 28 September 2005 (UTC)

A fine example is presented by "Uncle Ed" of the sort of dishonest ploy Creationists are wont to use. Once one sees the science being described as "darwinist" one knows that someone is pulling the same old, threadbare wool over your eyes. "Uncle Ed," don't pretend to want "fairness" with us! There is no substance in the "substance" you are peddling. Your sort of dishonesty has NO place in any encyclopedia. Report the facts (given the anti-intellectual superficiality of the press on any issues scientific, you really should be satisfied) here as you will, but expect any creationist "spin" of the facts to be deleted immediatly. (May others pardon me for the rather sharp retort, but I would rather warn Ed someone's on his tail from the start than let him (?) pretend the usual la-di-da about "fairness" will allow him to rule other writers.) TheCryingofLot49 23:26, 28 September 2005 (UTC)

Please review Wikipedia:Avoid personal remarks. I have marked up with HTML strikeout formatting a few that you made about me. Uncle Ed 23:31, 28 September 2005 (UTC)
I've said enough, 'tis true, though I am unimpressed by your "corrections." I remain watchful. TheCryingofLot49 23:35, 28 September 2005 (UTC)

I am taking an 11th grade Biology class as part of my requirememnts to graduate in 2007. Alongside with a unit in Evolution, goes a unit on Homeostasis, Ecology, , Energy, Matter and Organization, Continuity, and Growth and Development. These requirements can be found here:California State Standards for Science and Biology If you are so against Evolution being taught in schools, why don't you then petition to get it changed? It doesn't go against the moral ethics of the schools to teach Evolution. My teacher, at the start of unit, said that we weren't going to be discussing religion or go all "Religion is the only way of life". If you don't like the fact of evolution, then don't talk about it. It's as simple as that. --Aeris of iniquity 21:05, 10 December 2005 (UTC)

Oh trust me, they're doing a lot more than phoney petitionsDunc| 22:05, 10 December 2005 (UTC)

Opening statements

I did a crude version of the opening statments. These will need looking at when transcripts become availiable. In any even, anyone please feel free to expand on what the two lawyers said here. A more talented writer might want to clean up my language as well. The defense opening statement part especially needs some work. Most sources seem to give little coverage of that statement include pro-ID sources. The NCSE podcast linked to as a reference has the most details. Possibly the defense lawyer failed to capture anyone's imagination for good or for ill. But that is speculation on my part and does not belong in the article. MichaelSH 02:10, 30 September 2005 (UTC)

The Dover School board statement observes that Pennsylvania requires the teaching of evolution. The statements informs students that materials on Intelligent Design are available. It refers discussion on origins to parents. The statement does not mandate the teaching of Intelligent Design. The only mandating part is that students be informed that Intelligent Design exists and that materials on it are available in the library. Accordingly I corrected the statement that the teaching is mandatory to that materials are available, and noted that evolution is what was mandated. --DLH 13:37, 10 October 2005 (UTC)

Just in case of any future edit wars: "The School Board in Dover, Pa., however, got it wrong, Meyer said, when it required instruction in intelligent design. (The matter is now in court.) Intelligent design isn't established enough yet for that, Meyer says." [1] Meyers is part of the Discovery Institute and certainly a big-name ID advocate and certainly not someone biased towards the ACLU's story. One could also just read the transcripts. MichaelSH 04:48, 24 October 2005 (UTC)

Wikilinks to expert witnesses

I have been trying to figure out the best place for wikilinks to expert witnesses like Kenneth R. Miller, Barbara Forrest, etc. I have been thinking about some kind of annotation along with links to their pretrial statements. Thoughts? Jokestress 04:55, 14 October 2005 (UTC)

I would assume subsection for each one of their testimony. But I would not worry too much as of yet. When the trial part of this case is finished then it would time to reorganize all the materials into a coherent whole. MichaelSH 00:12, 15 October 2005 (UTC)

Moved trial documents

This was getting unwieldy, so I moved the court materials to Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District trial documents. Jokestress 03:20, 21 October 2005 (UTC)


I have already edited Pandas to reflect the source of the donation, but I am wondering how it needs to handled here. Basically the source of the donated copies of Pandas was Bill Buckingham's church where Buckingham asked for donation [2]. This comes a very sticky Neutral Point of View issue: Buckingham appears to have committed perjury in his January deposition. Look at page 17 of the PDF which is page 57-58 of the transcript where he denies all knowledge. This is not going to be the only claim that Buckingham has now lied under oath [3].

Some more info has come up that casts severe doubt on Buckingham's testimony on day 16. Buckingham's excuse about his use of the word creationism in the Fox 43 interview was that he ambushed. The reporter has now directly contradicted Buckingham [4]. Also since I wrote the above, the above further example of Alan Bonsell came up. Judge Jones clearly thought that Bonsell lied in his testimony. By all accounts Jones was fairly mad when he asked Bonsell if he knew during deposition that he was under oath. MichaelSH 02:22, 9 November 2005 (UTC)

Condensing witness info

The article is getting a bit unweildy again. I propose we remove the separate heading for each witness and just start each paragraph with their name, date of testimony and a summary of their testimony. If we want, we can bold the names, but I don't know if that's necessary. Notable names would have links to their bios anyway, which would stand out. Thoughts? Jokestress 22:55, 4 November 2005 (UTC)

Sounds good to me. MichaelSH 02:12, 9 November 2005 (UTC)

It doesn't seem to make any sense to me to include a laundry list of witness names. I would remove any entries with a name, date, and nothing else. Wikicrusader 00:10, 21 December 2005 (UTC)

Intelligent Design and Darwin

Could it not be said, though, that Intelligent Design and Darwinian theories of evolution are not mutually exclusive concepts? The Intelligent Designer could have intently launched a process aeons ago that would follow the pattern described by Darwin. BD2412 T 17:13, 14 November 2005 (UTC)

Yes and no. In the broadest sense ID does not contradict "Darwinian theories of evolution" in the sense that utterly nothing contradicts ID in the broad sense. That is why ID is not science: I can think of things that can disprove any "Darwinian theories of evolution" but not ID. That God is or is not behind evolution is something that science cannot address. As for the compatability of ID and evolution, well IDist Michael Behe does accept that we share a common ancestor with a chimp. On the other hand, many strong opponents of intelligent design, Kenneth Miller for example, fully accept the existance of a personal God. In practice, most ID advocates deny common descent and pretty darn close to all of them (and possibly outright all of them) deny that God set up a universe where life could form naturally and then undergo Darwinian evolution. The minority of IDists that are not special creationists would (to oversimply) replace the created kinds with the created flagellum and other specially created biochemical machinaries. In contrast, mainstream science thinks that it has made progress towards the understand the natural evolution of the flagellum. This is so even for the theists like Miller. Miller in the trial used the analogy of the 2004 World Series win by Boston. Maybe the Socks won because God wanted them to [5]. But that is not science [6]. Science would exclusively examine things like batting averages and other non-supernatural factors [7]. I might add to Miller's analogy that the ID advocates are basically saying that we can't in anyway understand the course of baseball games using things like batting averages, pitching, morale, the crowd, the officials, etc. but must look at who God wants to win. Science seems to get along just find using things like mutation, natural selection, recombination, mass-extinction, endosymbiosis, and other factors to understand evolution. Again that does include Miller. The IDists want to deny that those factors and even any factors yet to be discovered could have done it and go straight to God or designer depending on the audience. Also, many scientist's object to "Darwinian theories of evolution." They would drop "Darwinian" since the field has advanced quite a bit since Darwin and since we usually don't say "Daltonian theories of atoms", etc. Finally, mainstream scientists don't just object to the supernatural stuff, but rather say that the arguemnts and "facts" of the ID advocates are often outright wrong. Thus while ID in the broad sense is irreputable, much of what ID advocates say and call "intelligent design" is wrong (and contrary to "Darwian" evolution).MichaelSH 04:10, 17 November 2005 (UTC)
This is not what is meant by Intelligent Design, certainly not within the context of Kitzmiller, where ID was explicitly offered as an alternative to the theory of evolution. Notably, the plaintiff's witness Kenneth Miller, a Catholic, subscribes to a view like what you have described. -- 04:55, 23 December 2005 (UTC)

Should it be noted that the ID supporters on the school board have all been voted out of office now? And Should Pat Robertson's public comments regarding that be included as well? I think both are relevant.

  • I think they deserve a line or two a piece, but not more - the article is about the case, after all. BD2412 T 20:11, 18 November 2005 (UTC)
    • It is important to note that the ID supporters of the School Board have been voted out of office because now that the School Board is no longer ID-friendly there is no possibility of an appeal to a higher court. This is definitely noteworthy. --Cyde Weys talkcontribs 20:23, 20 December 2005 (UTC)

What the judge said

PDF. Full 139 page decision of the judge

"The evidence at trial demonstrates that intelligent design is nothing less than the progeny of creationism," Judge Jones wrote. "We conclude that the religious nature of intelligent design would be readily apparent to an objective observer, adult or child," he said. "The writings of leading ID proponents reveal that the designer postulated by their argument is the God of Christianity." [8]

Jones wrote in his 139-page opinion that "the secular purposes claimed by the Board amount to a pretext for the Board's real purpose, which was to promote religion in the public school classroom." and "It is ironic that several of these individuals, who so staunchly and proudly touted their religious convictions in public, would time and again lie to cover their tracks and disguise the real purpose behind the ID Policy." [9]

Some of the quotes from the judge's decision were not 100% accurate compared to the text of the decision available on the web. I corrected them where necessary. I also noted which page in the decision each quote was from, rather than link to newspaper articles about the decision. Also... I am unconvinced that it's important to quote where the judge notes irony in the case. It's NPOV from the judge himself. I wonder if the quote should even be mentioned in the Wikipedia article. Quacks Like a Duck 21:35, 20 December 2005 (UTC)

Persuasive weight of District Court decisions

Wikicrusader: It is not correct that District court opinions ALWAYS have low persuasive authority.. page size is irrelevant as you wrote in an edit summary. A district court decision has no binding precedential value on other district courts, but that is a different concept from its persuasive authority. An opinion such as this one, which was obviously (and expressly) written to be an exhaustive discussion of the ID debate, and is far longer and more detailed than the normal opinion, will have persuasive authority. The judge obviously took care to make detailed factual findings, including reasoned determinations of the credibility of witnesses, so that the decision would be persuasive to the 3rd Circuit on the inevitable appeal. I'm happy to discuss this more with you but the paragraph you added is simply not accurate in the context of this case. -EDM 00:48, 21 December 2005 (UTC)

Well when it comes to findings of law, district courts do have low persuasive authority. By persuasive authority I mean the judicial U.S. hierarchy of authority.
In essence, the point of my paragraph was to point out to the casual reader that this judicial opinion is simply not legally binding. Even if it were appealed to and affirmed by the 3d circuit, it would still only have mandatory legal effect in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware. The other circuits would still be free to interpret the teaching of ID as being constitutional. In fact, very often different federal circuits can establish radically different interpretations of the law.
I think the person who reads this without a strong legal background might feel "Oh, okay the courts have decided that the teaching is ID is unconstitutional." No, that's not what happened here at all. Under the doctrine of stare decisis, other courts MAY interpret the constitution the same way, but this is definitely not a given.
In any case, as they say, I have no dog in this fight. I was just trying to enlighten people a little who might not have a legal education. I have been reverted twice, and really have no great amount of interest in trying to re-include it. But, as a law student I do stand behind my statement's accuracy. Wikicrusader 01:01, 21 December 2005 (UTC)
In reality, the decision will be viewed by judges around the nation in similar cases and it will influence school boards considering adopting similar policies. The 1981 McLean v. Arkansas decision was just a district court decision as well, but it was hugely influential and is widely cited across the nation. FeloniousMonk 01:04, 21 December 2005 (UTC)
I think you are confusing what I am saying. My point here is that this decision can be disregarded by other courts. Yes, I am aware that federal district court opinions can have a large impact, e.g. Zippo Mfg. v. Zippo Dot-Com. By the same token, the Restatements or the Model Penal Code have "persuasive impact on courts." However, it usually takes being cited by higher-level courts before they start to carry any appreciable judicial weight. I concede that maybe my phrasing was not perfect but I do stand behind the addition. Wikicrusader 01:11, 21 December 2005 (UTC)

For the benefit of others reading this section, the paragraph in question is the following:

Although U.S. Federal Courts have the foremost authority to interpret U.S. Constitutional law, it should be noted that District-level court opinions typically carry little persuasive legal authority, especially outside of the circuit in which they reside.

If what Wikicrusader meant was that the next time there is a challenge to some school district's attempt to teach ID in a science class, in Colorado or Alabama or wherever, the judge hearing the case will not be bound by the Kitzmiller decision, he's correct. But anyone who thinks that later judges reading the Kitzmiller decision will not find it persuasive is fooling himself. -EDM 01:16, 21 December 2005 (UTC)

Okay, I apologize. "Mandatory authority" and "persuasive authority" are legal jargon terms. Strictly speaking, as a matter of judicial hierarchy, a district court opinion has little persuasive authority on other courts outside the district. By that I mean, for example, the 9th circuit would find a 3d circuit opinion to have much more persuasive authority than an M.D.P.A. opinion. In any case, I withdraw my contention that my addition be included. Wikicrusader 01:20, 21 December 2005 (UTC)
It may be appropriate to briefly mention the likely legal ramifications of this decision, if it can be expressed accurately and concisely. Sourced information would be preferable; ideally, an opinion on the case itself. If not, or if it will take more than a sentence, it's probably best to leave it out. Incidentally, EDM, I thought I read that there is no plan for appeal, especially given that the public voted out all 8 of the 9 board members who had been up for re-election; the new board seems opposed to the mention of ID. — Knowledge Seeker 02:21, 21 December 2005 (UTC)
That is a good idea, and I'm sure there is no shortage of commentators from whom to draw the information. And you may well be right about the appeal - I hadn't read that the board did not plan to appeal but it would certainly be reasonable to think they wouldn't. -EDM 03:39, 21 December 2005 (UTC)

Where binding vs persuasive

Propose to restate this issue as: Since this case was not appealed, Jones' ruling has "mandatory authority" (is binding) over public schools in his Middle District of Pennsylvania, and provides persuasive authority elsewhere. DLH 18:12, 12 December 2006 (UTC)

rm'ed Statement of POV

I've removed the following two snippets from the background section:

  • (most biologists claim that evolution is a factual phenomenon explained by the theory)
  • (many biologists claim that the theory of evolution explains biodiversity, not the origins of life; see abiogenesis)

While these may be accurate (and quite disarming) rebuttals to the Defense's arguments, the "punch, counter punch" style in which they were written is a thinly veiled statement of POV. Unless they were points specifically made by the plaintiffs they do not belong here, and if they were they belong in that context. Jasongetsdown 05:15, 21 December 2005 (UTC)

They are in fact points made by the plaintiffs to establish their position -- as agreed to by the court -- that ID isn't science. Putting them in some other section seems to give the claims of the defendants special status. -- 04:51, 23 December 2005 (UTC)

Also, and separate from the above, in general should "The school board claims" now be "The school board claimed?" I'm not sure... Jasongetsdown 05:17, 21 December 2005 (UTC)


From my discussion with Jokestress. Here are two separate definitions of Apologetics for you:

1 : systematic argumentative discourse in defense
2. Formal argumentation in defense of something, such as a position or system.

Yes, the most common kind of apologetics appears to be Christian apologetics, but the Talk.Origins Archive focuses on defending evolutionary dogma (and it is particularly focused on arguing over issues to this end). In this case, "pro-evolution apologetics site" is a more accurate description than "pro-evolution site". And I doubt anyone will get confused and think that labelling Talk.Origins as a pro-evolution apologetics site implies that it is a site supporting evidence of God or Christianity. I feel that the more accurate description is warranted. There is nothing in either of these definitions which requires that apologetics specifically refer to Christianity or any doctrine at all, and it provides more information in one accurate word. The Jade Knight 06:16, 21 December 2005 (UTC)

"evolutionary dogma" is POV, and adding "apologetics" would express that POV in the same way that changing it to "a pro-evolutionary dogma site" would. -- 05:04, 23 December 2005 (UTC)
"Apologetics" is specifically a branch of theology devoted to the defense of the authority and divine origin of Christianity. (You left this definition out of your quotation from Merriam Webster). It can also be used in a less specific sense, but certainly is confusing and unnecessary in its proposed use here.- Outerlimits 06:19, 21 December 2005 (UTC)
Labeling it "pro-evolution apologetics site" spoon feeds the reader. Spoon feeding is applying subsequent non-descript analytical statements to an article that is supposed to comprise of purely descriptive sentences. "pro-evolution site" is sufficiently informative. FeloniousMonk 06:22, 21 December 2005 (UTC)
That is only one definition of the word, and the description, I feel, is relevant and warranted—it is certainly accurate. Regarding my quote from M-W, I gave only the first (primary) definition, which is what applies in this context. "Apologetics" describes the site in question in much greater detail than simply the phrase "pro-evolution", and thus is not, by your definition, "spoon-feeding". I disagree that it is confusing at all.
I will likely revert again, but I am waiting out of courtesy to give you further opportunity to respond. The Jade Knight 06:27, 21 December 2005 (UTC)
The Wikipedia article on apologetics explains why the term is problematic and loaded (after the first paragraph). Jokestress 06:31, 21 December 2005 (UTC)
Should then one remove all use of the word "Apologetics" in Wikipedia articles because some people feel that it is a "loaded" term? The Jade Knight 06:34, 21 December 2005 (UTC)
Depends on the context, but in most cases I would say "yes". - Ta bu shi da yu 09:32, 21 December 2005 (UTC)
WP:CON Respect consensus. Your viewpoint is not widely shared. FeloniousMonk 06:32, 21 December 2005 (UTC)
Thus my decision to wait to revert. I'm well aware of Wikipedia policies (of which that is not one, BTW). Thank you for the reminder, however. The Jade Knight 06:34, 21 December 2005 (UTC)

If people feel the term "Apologetics" is that problematic, and refuse to support an accurate, positive, and general usage of the term, please mention so here. If there is clear consensus, then I (and anyone else who desires) will go and edit the term out of any other articles I may find it in, as it must clearly be an unacceptable word for Wikipedia usage. The Jade Knight 06:51, 21 December 2005 (UTC)

People feel the term is specifically problematic here. Don't disrupt Wikipedia to make a point. - Outerlimits 06:59, 21 December 2005 (UTC)
Please tell me how the word can ever be used in an NPOV article where it can't be used here. People have shared their opinion that they feel the term fails to work in an NPOV article, but I don't see how it could be applicable to any article where it wouldn't be applicable here. I await further response. The Jade Knight 07:03, 21 December 2005 (UTC)
When describing a fight between Christians and lions, you don't describe the Christians as "leonine", even if it were true. You'd find another word. When describing an interaction between the Pope and a Jesuit, you don't describe the Pope as "jesuitical" and the Jesuit as "pontificating". You choose another word where a more specific meaning has a confusing association. That's all that's being objected to here. "Apologetics" has a specifically Christian association, and you are applying it to the side which is not fighting to get Christian doctrine into the curriculum. Do you really not get it? - Outerlimits 07:09, 21 December 2005 (UTC)
I really was unaware that the vast majority of people (evidently) don't know the meaning of the word "apologetics", but you have clearly demonstrated that there are at least a few people here who inherently associate it with only its religious aspect. I find this sad; it otherwise provides a useful description—how else do you describe in one word an organisation that takes a priori positions on what is true and then systematically defends them (such as Talk.Origins)? Does anyone know another word which means the same thing as "apologetics" but without the Christian connotations? The Jade Knight 07:16, 21 December 2005 (UTC)
As I explained on your talk page, the term has religious and negative connotations that make it inappropriate in this context. You are taking this personally, it seems. It's simply not accurate or neutral in this context. Jokestress 07:21, 21 December 2005 (UTC)
I disagree; it is accurate and neutral, but apparently confusing for some who do not understand its primary definition. If it is not neutral, it shouldn't be used at all. I'm not taking this personally so much as lamenting the loss of a good academic term. The Jade Knight 07:46, 21 December 2005 (UTC)
Taken from the wikipedia article concerned:
Apologetics is the field of study concerned with the systematic defense of a position. Someone who engages in apologetics is called an apologist or an "apologete". The term comes from the Greek word apologia (απολογια), meaning defense of a position against an attack. When John Henry Newman entitled his spiritual autobiography Apologia Pro Vita Sua in 1864, he was playing upon both connotations. Early uses of the term include Plato's Apology (the defense speech of Socrates from his trial) and some works of early Christian apologists, such as St. Justin Martyr's two Apologies addressed to the emperor Marcus Aurelius.
However, it can also be fair to say that apologetics has two connotations. First, those familair with the term in a scholarly context tend to think of it only in religious context. Second, it has as significant negative connotation colloquially. Again from the wikipedia article:
Today the term "apologist" is colloquially applied to groups and individuals systematically promoting causes, justifying orthodoxies or denying certain events, even of crimes. Apologists are often characterized as being deceptive, or "whitewashing" their cause, primarily through omission of negative facts (selective perception) and exaggeration of positive ones, techniques of classical rhetoric. When used in this context, the term often has a pejorative meaning. The neutralized substitution of "spokesperson" for "apologist" in conversation conveys much the same sense of "partisan presenter with a weighted agenda," with less rhetorical freight.
So then we are presented with a potential for an accidental destruction of neutrality and accuracy based on a flaw with the english language. The question then becomes, is what we have neutral and accurate enough. Pro evolution, while a clumsy term suggesting that evolution is a social doctrine (atleast to me) implies advocacy in favor of evolution. This implies, neccessary, a systematic defense.
Long story short, pro-evolution is accurate and sufficient.--Tznkai 14:51, 21 December 2005 (UTC)
You said: an organisation that takes a priori positions on what is true and then systematically defends them (such as Talk.Origins). That is a blatant misrepresentation of fact. TalkOrigins argues from the scientific perspective, which takes nothing as a priori and instead uses evidence to back up claims. The only apologetics here are the religious people; TalkOrigins certainly isn't apologetic. --Cyde Weys talkcontribs 15:21, 21 December 2005 (UTC)
I'm going to have to disagree with you here. First of, a priori is irrleivent to apologetics (the systematic defense of a position, however that position is arrived at), secondly TalkOrigins assumes there is a significant and malicious threat to evolution and the standards of the scientific community. While I discussed above why apologetics is an innappropriate term, TalkOrigins is certainly an advocacy site.
As an aside, please don't whitewash "religous people" together wholesale--Tznkai 15:25, 21 December 2005 (UTC)
From what I've seen, Talk.Origins takes macroevolution a priori and then uses a combination of logical and scientific argument to back up their positions on evolution. I don't remember any of the apologists there truly questioning (agent provocateur aside) whether or not evolution was scientifically supportable. The Jade Knight 20:07, 21 December 2005 (UTC)
Even if this is true, it isn't relevant. Neither WP policy nor guideline supports editial comments or spoon feeding readers. Accept both policy and consensus and find another topic. FeloniousMonk 20:18, 21 December 2005 (UTC)
It's relevant to the comments above; I'm not currently arguing that the word "apologetics" should be inserted into the article. While I think that your use of the term "spoon-feeding" in this context is entirely ignorant of the meaning of the word and the context it would be used in here (and thus incorrect), and I am submitting to consensus, with the understanding that evidently most people here do not readily grasp the primary definition of the word "apologetics". You may have noticed I have not edited the article since some sort of consensus had become apparent. Forgive my ignorance, but I'm not entirely sure what "editial" means. The Jade Knight 21:48, 21 December 2005 (UTC)
Since the site FAQ provides extensive evidence for "macroevolution", your a priori claim isn't even close to true. So, to the degree that it's relevant, the falsity of your claim is reason not to include your loaded term in the article. And if you're not currently arguing for that, then your comments don't have any relevance to the article under discussion. -- 05:16, 23 December 2005 (UTC)
Is the question on editial comments an exercise in smart-assery, or an actual question?--Tznkai 18:33, 22 December 2005 (UTC)
Oh, it was an actual question. I do run across words I'm unfamiliar with from time to time. The Jade Knight 09:19, 24 December 2005 (UTC)
Evidently most people here aren't susceptible to elementary sophistry. -- 04:59, 23 December 2005 (UTC)
I'm certainly not convinced, considering. The Jade Knight 09:19, 24 December 2005 (UTC)
Your use of the manufactured word "macroevolution" immediately paints you as biased. Scientists make no real distinction between "microevolution" and "macroevolution" in much the same way that physicists make no real distinction between "microvelocity" and "macrovelocity". "Macroevolution" simply happens over longer periods of time. And TalkOrigins certainly doesn't take any facet of evolution as an a priori truth; there's evidence to back all of it up. Please see the ComDesc FAQ. --Cyde Weys talkcontribs 18:48, 22 December 2005 (UTC)
I suspect this will get quickly off topic. Why don't you take the a priori nature or lacktherof discussion to user talk?--Tznkai 19:12, 22 December 2005 (UTC)
I appreciate that you point out the fact that I'm biased; this implies that you assume that you are unbiased? My training in historiography taught me that we are all biased, and that we can choose to admit or deny our biases, but it wont change the fact that we are. Regardless of what methods Talk.Origins uses to defend their claims on evolution, the fact still remains that they a priori accept evolution as a fact and then reason out why and how it's a fact, scientifically. Furthermore, your claim to know what "Scientists" say (as if they were one perfectly unified body) belies a strong sense of biased historiography to your own interpetation of things—I've done enough reading to know that "Scientists" aren't completely unified on this issue. Forgive me for using the term "historiography" here; I don't know what the term for the Science version of historiography is. "Pseudoscience"? "Metascience"?
Your claim of a "fact" that "still remains" is unsupported. When one provides evidence for one's claims (such as that macroevolution has occurred), it is unreasonable to insist that the claims are held "a priori" -- that term isn't just a matter of when one came to a belief, but rather of the nature of its support, axiomatic or empirical. Regardless of how one may have been trained, providing supporting evidence for a claim is not just another "method" for defending a claim on a par with, say, misrepresentation, appeals to emotion, threats, and other common forms of defense. -- 10:36, 30 December 2005 (UTC)
Truly, I don't believe this conversation is worth furthering—I checked back out of curiosity, but I don't believe I'll be checking back again. As such, if you feel overwhelmingly compelled to send me a rebuttal, put it on my discussion page. The Jade Knight 09:19, 24 December 2005 (UTC)

Burning of mural

The burning of the mural (discussed on the very end of page 107 of the opinion, and the top third of 108) is interesting, but can we add it to the article consistent with NPOV? -- Pakaran 07:22, 21 December 2005 (UTC)

Current vs. Previous School Board

As the school board now in place is not the school board which instituted the policy, should that be noted in the litigants section (ie, Dover School District Board of Directors (2004))? I'm not familiar with the details here, if it was the people themselves sued, or the board itself (where technically the newly elected board are defendants as well)? Would be nice to have that answer in the article.

  • As I recall the district itself is being held liable, and the directors involved are representative as officers of a governmental entity, so both. If a suit is filed against the state, the governor is at the top of the defence, whether or not he/she voted against it. I believe then, but I'm not sure, that the former representatives are being held for being involved in the infringment of rights, as is the entity of the DSDBD.--Tznkai 14:45, 21 December 2005 (UTC)
  • Here's my comment from above: It is important to note that the ID supporters of the School Board have been voted out of office because now that the School Board is no longer ID-friendly there is no possibility of an appeal to a higher court. This is definitely noteworthy. --Cyde Weys talkcontribs 15:18, 21 December 2005 (UTC)

Convert to timeline format

May I humbly suggest that trial proceedings be changed to timeline format so that it looks like, "September 20, 2005: XXXXX testified" rather than "XXXXX testified on September 20, 2005". --Cyde Weys talkcontribs 19:19, 21 December 2005 (UTC)


The "Holding" section of the infobox states:

"Teaching intelligent design in public school biology classes violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States (and Article I, Section 3 of the Pennsylvania State Constitution) because intelligent design cannot uncouple itself from creationism's religious antecedents."

We should insert is not science and between "design" and "cannot", thus:

Teaching intelligent design in public school biology classes violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States (and Article I, Section 3 of the Pennsylvania State Constitution) because intelligent design is not science and cannot uncouple itself from creationism's religious antecedents."

This is a major part of the judge's ruling and should be included. JHCC (talk) 19:26, 21 December 2005 (UTC)

Current Events Tag

Should this really still be here? After all, the court case is settled, the creationists lost, so this case in and of itself is no longer current. --Xinoph 23:25, 21 December 2005 (UTC)

"Churchgoing Republican" judge?

I recall seeing an article where the judge either described himself or was described by the author as a "Churchgoing Republican". Can anyone confirm this, and put it in the article if it's worth including? Cheers! BD2412 T 23:33, 21 December 2005 (UTC)

I recall seeing the same thing, or something similar. I don't think it is worth including in the article though, since all it adds is a "gee whiz" element. -EDM 23:35, 21 December 2005 (UTC)
In essence that information is in John E. Jones III - Bush appointee, ran for Congress, Lutheran. But yeah, I know I have seen that somewhere too. Guettarda 23:39, 21 December 2005 (UTC)
From USAToday [10] "Jones, a Republican and a churchgoer appointed to the federal bench three years ago}". They probably got the info from an AP report, but I'm too lazy to look for it. BlankVerse 03:16, 22 December 2005 (UTC)
I find that "gee whiz" elements make articles more fun to read. BD2412 T 18:06, 22 December 2005 (UTC)
I would say its relevance is minimal, unless you want to add a description of the trial, preferably quoted. Such as "Judge Jones, a churchgoing Republican and 2002 GWB appointee, handled the the court with both humor and seriousness" from the XXXX issue of YYY magazine.--Tznkai 18:32, 22 December 2005 (UTC)
The relevence is only minimal because the judge is a Christian Republican. If the judge had been a very left wing atheist, it would seem like more relevant information. When I came to wikipedia, this was the piece of information I wanted to know; I don't think it should be removed.Happyharris 15:06, 23 December 2005 (UTC)
We're running the danger of spoonfeeding the readers with the information.--Tznkai 15:57, 23 December 2005 (UTC)
You say that as if it's a bad thing. The Judge himself notes in his public addresses that he is always, always (always!) identified in press reports as "conservative, Republican, Bush-appointed federal judge..." - that is to say, that the media (and thus most of the public) find it to be a material and necessary piece of information, despite the Judge's own skepticism in that direction. So if he's a churchgoer, and he decided in favor of separation of church and state in a sense (by enforcing the establishment clause against a local area school district's attempt to foist religion on kids), then keep it in. Maybe not in this way, but somewhere.Eh Nonymous 11:02, 20 July 2006 (UTC)

Kitzmiller conclusions as wikisource

The judge's summing up (Kitzmiller_342.pdf) gives a very good overview, and provides information on points that people are raising in talk pages. It is my intention to copy the pdf as text into Wikisource, then add headings so that the relevant part can easily be linked from an article or talk page. I understand that U.S. Federal court opinions are public domain. ....dave souza 13:27, 22 December 2005 (UTC) In progress at Wikisource:Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District et. al., formatting hairy, will split unto topic pages as it's rather huge. ...dave souza 16:16, 22 December 2005 (UTC)

  • That is absolutely correct - statutes, court opinions, executive orders, all frolic happily in the public domain. BD2412 T 13:52, 22 December 2005 (UTC)
Good thing, too, because I just inserted a direct quote from the opinion into the "infobox" at the top of the article. I am wondering though, how exactly does a statute "frolic"?  :) 6SJ7 15:40, 22 December 2005 (UTC)
Statutorily. JHCC (talk) 16:06, 22 December 2005 (UTC)
Act-ively. -EDM 17:02, 22 December 2005 (UTC)
Pfew! That pun stank. – Quadell (talk) (bounties) 19:22, 22 December 2005 (UTC)

Nane o' yer cheek. The judge's memorandum's on Wikisource, split into six parts. Not all formatting fully checked yet. Enjoy. ...dave souza 02:16, 23 December 2005 (UTC)


Can this decision be appealed? Is it likely to be? The article needs information on this. – Quadell (talk) (bounties) 17:59, 22 December 2005 (UTC)

  • It could be, but it won't, because the school board has changed in composition since the case was filed. Ergo, the party with the ability to appeal has no desire to do so. BD2412 T 18:05, 22 December 2005 (UTC)
I'm no legal expert, but it seems to me that, if FTE had succeeded in their efforts to intervene in this case (and thereby becoming co-defendents), they would have been in a position to appeal the decision. Since they did not, they are not. Interesting hypothetical possibility, though. JHCC (talk) 20:09, 22 December 2005 (UTC)

Explaining mandate in first sentence

I revised the first sentence thus:

The board "required a statement be read to biology classes about intelligent design as an alternative explanation to evolution."

Which was reverted to this:

The board "tried to mandate teachers to read a statement to the students about intelligent design as an alternative 'explanation' to evolution."

Explanation in quotations is fine, but my reason for using the first version:

  • it was not read to all students, just to biology classes
  • it was not read by teachers (who refused), but by an administrator
  • the second sentemce is kind of clunky

I feel the first is more accurate, but I have now been reverted twice. Thoughts? Jokestress 18:13, 22 December 2005 (UTC)

I agree. I took a crack at rewording that sentence. Jokestress's bullet points are in the next paragraph and later in the article, so they don't need to be in the opening. -EDM 18:28, 22 December 2005 (UTC)

"Holding" in Infobox

Here is what the judge actually said:

"In making this determination, we have addressed the seminal question of whether ID is science. We have concluded that it is not, and moreover that ID cannot uncouple itself from its creationist, and thus religious, antecedents."

I think some people have misread the second sentence. When I first saw the Holding in the Infobox, it said:

Teaching intelligent design in public school biology classes violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States (and Article I, Section 3 of the Pennsylvania State Constitution) because intelligent design is not science and cannot uncouple itself from creationism's religious antecedents. (italics added)

The placement of the word "creationism's" in the Infobox ignored the meaning of judge's use of the word "its." He said ID cannot uncouple ITSELF (that is, ID cannot uncouple ID) from ITS (that is, ID's) creationist, and thus religious, antecedents. So someone, not me, changed it so that after the word "because," it read

intelligent design is not science and cannot uncouple itself from intelligent design's religious antecedents.

That was correct, although less complete than it could have been, because it left out "creationist, and thus religious". But then someone came along and reverted it, so it was wrong again. At that point I put in the judge's exact words:

intelligent design is not science and "cannot uncouple itself from its creationist, and thus religious, antecedents."

For whatever reason, JWSchmidt then came along and changed it back to the wrong version. I have now put the direct quote back in. There is no reason to change it again because I have the judge's exact words in there, and those words make clear that "ITS" means intelligent design, and not creationism. It's all angels dancing on the head of a pin anyway, because the judge is saying that intelligent design = creationism = religious teaching for purposes of public school science education. 6SJ7 18:56, 22 December 2005 (UTC)

  • I totally agree with you on this issue. Unambiguous is great; using original quotations is greater. If someone tries to change this on you again I will revert for you. --Cyde Weys talkcontribs 19:01, 22 December 2005 (UTC)

Lying by witnesses

The judge said in the opinion that some of the defense witnesses lied under oath. One news article said that as the trial judge he can't do anything to them - is this true? -- Pakaran 20:20, 22 December 2005 (UTC)

Yes. It's with the federal prosecutor who will decide whether or not to bring charges; see| 20:25, 22 December 2005 (UTC)
Hmm, should that be in the article? It's of course all speculation at this point... -- Pakaran 20:42, 22 December 2005 (UTC)
I think at the present it deserves at most a single sentence. Once (if?) the DA decides to file charges, then it will merit a larger section. --Cyde Weys votetalk 02:18, 23 December 2005 (UTC)

FSM doesn't belong here

I really, really don't see how the Flying Spaghetti Monster is relevant here, but someone keeps trying to add him as an external link. RAmen. --Cyde Weys votetalk 02:28, 23 December 2005 (UTC)

It's being added, I suppose, because both FSM and this article fall broadly in the realm of Intelligent Design. But FSM has no place in this article. -EDM 02:32, 23 December 2005 (UTC)

Piltdown Man

"He mentioned that board member Alan Bonsell had done his own reading and discovered flaws in evolution such as Piltdown Man."

This reported speech is confusing: it is not clear if evolution itself, or the theory which describes it, is flawed in Bonsell's view; and it is not clear in what respect Piltdown Man constitutes such a flaw. Would the following replacement text concur with transcripts, does anyone know? : " ... and discovered what he believed to be flaws in evolutionary science, such as the Piltdown Man hoax.'

  • Just to clear things up, Piltdown Man is a very old hoax. Unlike Big Foot, it was conclusively outed as such, so you don't have loonies to this day still believing in it. The relevance of Piltdown Man to today's evolutionary theory is non-existent. Yet creationists will time and time again trot out Piltdown Man ... their argument boils down to, "Look, here's a hoax in the history of biology ... all of biology could be suspect too!" --Cyde Weys votetalk 13:45, 23 December 2005 (UTC)

Intro discussion of 12-23-05

The reasons for my edits are as follows:

  • 14th Amendment - doesn't matter if it's in the decision. It's trivial in this context. The 1st amendment is applicable to the states under the 14th amendment, that is settled law and this decision didn't change, expand, or deal with that issue.
  • removed under the jurisdiction of the 3rd Circuit - who cares? Had nothing to do with the decision other than that the decision did analysis under 3rd Circuit gloss of Lemon test, but result wouldn't have been different in any other circuit; decision won't be appealed; 3rd Circuit never mentioned later in article
  • 2002 appointee of Geo. W. Bush - info is in judge's article which is linked; mentioning it here contributes to the pernicious attitude that a judge's rulings do or should follow predictably from the identity of the president who appoints the judge
  • 139-page decision - well, that disappeared in the rewrite; put it back if you want though it's in the article later.

-EDM 17:28, 23 December 2005 (UTC)

  • 14th Ammendment is applied even if not in any new or novel way. Therefore both the 1st and 14th ammendments are applied. Applying only the first doesn't work.
  • We can't predict the future, and it effected the decsision greatly. The third circuit is definitivly part of the context surrounding this case. (little green men rule). The descision refrences the 3rd circuit every paragraph that I've read. (its a 139 pages, not nearly done).
  • Gives context as to when the judge was appointed. I'm more intrested in the lack of years on the court to a rather significant decision in the Grand Scheme of Things than who appointed him. The who is a matter of providing sufficient context. This was also a compromise with the suggestions littered throughout the talk.

--17:35, 23 December 2005 (UTC) The preceding unsigned comment was added by tznkai (talk • contribs) .

With respect, you're simply wrong on your first two bullet points. As for the third, anyone who's interested can simply click over to the judge's article and the info is there. Date of appointment and who appointed him are pertinent to the judge, not to this decision. So the info is properly placed in the judge's article, not the article about the court case. -EDM 17:45, 23 December 2005 (UTC)

... I'm not even sure where to begin, but "you're plain wrong" isn't exactly conductive to the idea that the button "discussion" is supposed to represent.--Tznkai 17:49, 23 December 2005 (UTC)
You're quite right and I only wrote that because I was in haste. I'll expand it later. -EDM 17:52, 23 December 2005 (UTC)
At any rate, the paragraph you reverted has one thing, aside from these points (I'm willing to concede 1, 3, and possibly even two), the introductary paragraph really *needs* to flow properly or no information is being gleaned--Tznkai 18:00, 23 December 2005 (UTC)

OK. I apologize again for sounding dismissive earlier. The points with regard to items 1 and 2 are:

  • I didn't create that court case infobox; if I'm not mistaken, Postdlf did and he can correct this if I'm wrong. But I think that the "Laws applied" section there isn't meant to be an exhaustive list of all statutes or Constitutional provisions cited in the opinion, only those that are interpreted as the focus of the opinion. In this case, the 14th amendment incorporation doctrine is assumed; the decision breaks no new ground in this field and so the citation to it is no more important than a citation to any background statute. What the decision analyzes is the impact of the 1st amendment establishment clause on the Dover school board's resolution, and that is the provision that is really being "applied" here.
  • The Third Circuit issue. The decision references previous 3rd Circuit decisions because those are controlling on this federal court in Pennsylvania, so his analysis has to conform to 3rd Circuit precedent. It is unsurprising - that is, non-notable - that the decision is sprinkled with references to prior 3rd Circuit cases. But the decision also cited to decisions of other circuits, and the result would almost certainly have been the same if the case had arisen in another circuit. The decision applies both the Lemon test and the endorsement test because that's how the 3rd Circuit does it in establishment clause cases, and it cites 3rd Circuit precedent for that point. But for either the casual reader or the curious space alien, the fact that the Middle District of Pennsylvania is part of the Third Circuit, while true, is just not pertinent to this article, particularly in the introductory paragraphs which should really just give the overall background and significance of the subject of the article. If an appeal were to be filed, the court to which the case was being appealed would be worthy of mention at that time. Although, as you say, we can't definitively predict the future, the article does mention that the only party with the capability of filing an appeal has stated that it does not intend to do so. So for right now, mentioning the 3rd Circuit is just clutter.
  • I think I explained already why I didn't think the judge's appointment details were necessary in this article.

As for text flow, I'll look again at the intro to see if it seems to flow, and if you think it doesn't, well, you're free to edit it. But in general my view is that superfluous details impede flow, not enhance it, and there is such a thing as too much context in an introduction. -EDM 18:44, 23 December 2005 (UTC)

Appointment of Judge

This is discussed among several other topics in the preceding section, but I decided to break it out as its own topic. I have put the fact that President G.W. Bush appointed Judge Jones back into the article. It definitely is relevant not just to an article on the judge, but also to an article on this particular case. People should know that this is not some "liberal judge" but was one appointed by the current president, who has made statements in support of ID. Or, stated another way, Wikipedia is not a legal encyclopedia, it is an encyclopedia for a general readership and therefore the larger political context of a case is relevant information. 6SJ7 00:38, 24 December 2005 (UTC)

agreed. Dave (talk) 04:08, 24 December 2005 (UTC)
  • Agreed. That this judge is a Republican appointed by George Bush is very relevant in helping to diffuse the "goddamn liberal activist judge" nonsense we get around these parts. --Cyde Weys votetalk 04:12, 24 December 2005 (UTC)
Guess what. Republicans appoint goddamn liberal activist judges sometimes. Democrats appoint goddamn conservative Neanderthal judges sometimes. Leave this sort of crap to USA Today. Putting it in an encyclopedia fosters the politicization of the judiciary. I'm not going to revert it since so many of you feel it belongs here, but you are wrong, wrong, wrong. -EDM 07:02, 24 December 2005 (UTC)
Far from fostering the politicization of the judiciary, it indicates that at least in this one instance, Law and Science won out over Politics. Seems relevant to me. 6SJ7 17:01, 24 December 2005 (UTC)
You misunderstand my point, 6SJ7. To do as the newspapers and talk radio do, glossing the report of every decided case by identifying the judge by the president who appointed him, fosters the popular misconception that a federal judge is a mirror of the politics of the president who appointed him. This in turn feeds the belief that the judge should mirror those political positions. In fact, contrary to that popular view, in the vast majority of cases, federal judges get it right. Unlike all the other yahoos in the rest of the government, they decide cases according to the law, not according to politics. That sounds like a pious bromide but it is true. The Kitzmiller case was legally not a difficult one. To have decided it the opposite way, the judge would have had to be unmoored from legal reality. That is why it really adds nothing to this article to say that the judge was a Bush appointee. I'd venture to guess that more than 9 out of 10 appointees of any president would have decided this case the same way. -EDM 21:14, 24 December 2005 (UTC)
Good point, EDM. However, since people are going to want the info, it's appropriate to include it. I've put in the infobox (see my comment below), which is a nice neutral place for it. JHCC (talk) 00:41, 25 December 2005 (UTC)
All of you, Breathe! Even if that is the reasoning stated, it's irrelevant. Is the average passerby going to find it useful to know when and who appointed the judge that heard the case? I would say the average passerby is intrested in the assumed biases.--Tznkai 07:23, 24 December 2005 (UTC)
It should be our mission to educate the average passerby out of his ignorant assumptions. -EDM 07:28, 24 December 2005 (UTC)
I agree, and thus we provide the data they're looking for.--Tznkai 18:45, 24 December 2005 (UTC)
Perhaps change to the data of his appointment? How long the judge has been in the position may be relevant depending on the information people are searching for, and the fact that he was a Bush appoinment is implicit in the date. --Davril2020 17:15, 24 December 2005 (UTC)
I've seen some reactions in blogs and so forth decrying this as a case of judicial activism, and implying that this was a liberal ruling. However, as I noted in a post above, the judge in this case is a "churchgoing Republican", which is an important factor in weighing whether this judgment is a deviation from the legal mainstream view. BD2412 T 21:28, 24 December 2005 (UTC)
I agree that it should be included to provide further context. I'm not interested in the pathos involved. The Jade Knight 22:03, 24 December 2005 (UTC)
I've moved the "appointed in 2002 by GWB" from the "reaction" paragraph to the infobox. If someone is looking for this info, it is clearly available, while the editorializing implied by including it with the "churchgoing Republican" is eliminated. This should tone down the sensationalism a bit. JHCC (talk) 00:32, 25 December 2005 (UTC)

Was Eugenie Scott a witness?

Was Eugenie Scott a witness? She was there, but I don't have any information that she was called as a witness. Bubba73 (talk), 15:47, 13 January 2006 (UTC)

No. She was not. All the witnesses are listed in the article. MichaelSH 02:22, 25 February 2006 (UTC)
Right. But she was a "consultant for the plantiffs". Bubba73 (talk), 02:23, 2 March 2006 (UTC)


I only found out about this important decision on a documentary on BBC2 tonight. Refreshing change from all the stuff we see in Britain that's increasingly giving us the impression the US is now a fundamentalist christian nation. Sanity prevailed this time. --bodnotbod 04:40, 27 January 2006 (UTC)

Presumably this Horizon programme, and you've been staying up too late. Jolly good show, Dawkins' "yapping terriers of ignorance" seems to be the favourite comment from it, . ....dave souza, talk 15:29, 22 February 2006 (UTC)

Settlement of the legal fees

Should that the new school boards' setting with the plantiffs with an agreement that the school district pay $1,000,011 be mentioned in the main article? [11] This is a non-trivial sum of money for such a small district. And it has real consequences in that that will be pointed out to other school boards as a possible consequence for trying to teach ID. MichaelSH 02:28, 25 February 2006 (UTC)

Reversion by FeloniousMonk

FM, you (apparently) used the "revert" function to undo some changes I made which you - in your editorial judgment disagreed with. This is against the rules. You are not supposed to use "revert" except for Wikipedia:Simple vandalism.

Please discuss your changes. Refusing to discuss changes is, as everyone knows you aware of, Not A Good Thing here. Ironic that you keep accusing me of doing something you yourself are guilty of: refusing to discuss. Well, I'm asking for discussion. Will you defend your changes, or do you think you own the page? --Uncle Ed 18:43, 19 June 2006 (UTC)

Saying the case was successfully argued is not POV, it is fact. If the case was UNsuccessfully argued, it would have been lost, but it wasn't. While he proabaly shouldn't have used rollback, I endorse his version of the article. It is much easier to have a summary at the beginning so one can know the bare facts before reading the details. pschemp | talk 18:48, 19 June 2006 (UTC)
No problem, thanks for putting a reason into the Edit Summary. --Uncle Ed 18:49, 19 June 2006 (UTC)
I've removed the personal attack in your section heading here and documented it at your RFC. Using the rollback function is not necessarily an abuse of my position, but your personal attack is an abuse of yours, such as it is. Considering your actions and here (and at the ID article) were unilateral and are disruptive (apparently in bad faith over your pet new policy Wikipedia:Text move being scuttled) rolling it back falls under reverting simple vandalism as far as I'm concerned. When you stop being petty and disruptive you'll find that you and your edits get more respect. FeloniousMonk 19:00, 19 June 2006 (UTC)

Equity case

FeloniousMonk put the following in the article:

The suit was brought in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania seeking injunctive relief. Since it sought an equitable remedy there was no right to a jury trial; the Seventh Amendment did not apply.

This really does not belong in the article. This is usually the case when someone sues to declare some government policy and/or law unconstitutional. Wikipedia articles almost never mention this. Now I realize why FM wants this in the article. Some creationists have made a false argument that the case should have been tried by a jury citing the Seventh Amendment. Wikipedia is probably not the best location for such debunking. Now there is a way it could go in: that would require a section over post-decision controversies which can cover the many ways the creationists have tried to discredit the trial and how those who support the decision say to try refute it. Now that would make it a long article since the creationists, IMHO, have been petty, desperate, and dishonest in their reactions. (This is talk after all. I would not have the article imply that.) Frankly, I suspect the best solution is to simply remove the reference unless such a not is to be put the article for all equity cases. That is almost certainly will not happen. MichaelSH 20:31, 2 July 2006 (UTC)

The fact that the argument is made is evidence for it's mentioning here. Which for simplicity's sake is best done up front as a simple statement of two sentences. FeloniousMonk 03:27, 3 July 2006 (UTC)
If I had not known the nonsense the creationists had pulled, I would been on this talk page asking why it was needed. And if two sentences are added every time some creationist made a false claim, the article would get long really quick. Besides, is debunking NPOV? I am not going to revert this or anything, but it does warrent my expressing some concern. MichaelSH 04:27, 3 July 2006 (UTC)
I understand your point and concern. The passage simply states an uncontroversial and uncontested fact and makes a distinction. A fact and distinction that seem necessary considering the discussion and confusion (intentionally sown of course) in various corners over why there wasn't a jury trial. This passage simply states up front why there wasn't. If it happens debunks a certain bit of nonsense, I consider that an unintended consequence. Your point about adding two sentences is a valid one. But if we left out every simple statement of fact that debunked somebody somewhere, we'd have a mighty thin encyclopedia. BTW, thanks for all your contributions to this article in the early days of the trial. FeloniousMonk 05:04, 3 July 2006 (UTC)

"Dubious honor of being" - NPOV

Late in the witnesses, it mentions that one Fuller had the quote dubious honor end of quote of being referred to in the closing arguments by both plaintiffs' and defense lawyers.

As a lawyer, I'd like to call shenanigans.

Do we have a neutral cite to back up that the honor is dubious, rather than not being neutral? Experts who are non-partisan often have something for everyone.

For that matter, I would assume that Dembski's testimony was at least used, if not used in the closing, by both sides, quite heavily in their briefing.

For that matter, closing arguments in a bench trials are summations, rather than persuasive arguments as in a jury trial. The judge takes it all back to her or his chambers and goes over the briefing, which runs to hundreds and hundreds of pages.

In completely tangential news, I have a firsthand report of Judge Jones's speech at the Philadelphia Bar Professional Responsibility Committee Meeting, yesterday, here at my blawg. There's nothing there that needs to be here (or even at his bio page) but it's interesting anyway. Eh Nonymous 11:06, 20 July 2006 (UTC)

Dembski withdrew, his evidence was not considered in the ruling. The 'dubious' bit should go. In fact, that Fuller's testimony was cited by lawyers for both sides in their closing statements is not such a big deal... Does it even warrant mention here? FeloniousMonk 17:08, 20 July 2006 (UTC)

Why are there no categories?

This article should be part of some categories. It certainly used to. MichaelSH 17:56, 20 August 2006 (UTC)