Saturday, September 12, 2015

York Daily Record: Ten Years Since Kitzmiller

The York Daily Record has an issue on the ten year anniversary of the Kitzmiller decision that devastated the intelligent design movement.  Among the articles, an interview with Judge Jones, the fate of the book that started the problem, Of Pandas and People, and the social and legal consequences of the decision. About Pandas:
In a deposition, school board member Bill Buckingham said he did not know how they were donated to the high school. Another member of the board, Alan Bonsell, denied that he knew anyone, except his father, who was involved in giving copies of the books.

During the trial, Buckingham said members of his church felt there was a need to give money, but that he did not consider that a collection. Bonsell said that he got an $850 check from Buckingham.

U.S. District Judge John E. Jones III wrote in his decision that the "inescapable truth" is that both Buckingham and Bonsell lied during their depositions.

Today, only one "Of Pandas and People" book remains, in the Dover Area School District's administration building, according to the library catalog. The catalog also reports there's one copy of the book that's listed as "lost."

So, what happened to the other 48 books? With the exception of three copies, nobody seems to know.
Hopefully, into the circular file. That is certainly where it belongs.

Judge Jones, when asked about the misconceptions that the Intelligent Design community derived from the case:
I would say the main one is the role of precedent.

In the Kitzmiller case, there's a very clear line of cases from higher courts, including the Supreme Court of the United States, that set out tests that we use in deciding whether a particular policy violates the Establishment Clause in the First Amendment. Those are etched in stone.

Now, people may disagree with those tests, but I have to, had to, as a federal judge, apply them. I have frequently said since the Kitzmiller case that I think any federal judge in the United States would have decided it exactly the same way that I did by applying those tests.

Now, they may have written the opinion a little bit differently, but the result would have been the same. That is, that the board, at that time, had a clear religious motivation, and violated the Establishment Clause in the First Amendment by its policy introducing intelligent design into the curriculum. The misconception arises because, frankly, people either deliberately — or from a lack of understanding — think that we make this stuff up as we go along, and that we're not bound to apply these precedents, these mandates, from higher courts. And that's exactly what I did in deciding the case.
All of the articles are fascinating examinations of the make up of the ID movement and its aftermath.

Hat tip to the NCSE.

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