Saturday, November 05, 2005

 

Seduced, Abandoned, But Still Getting . . .

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More charges (you should pardon the expression) are flying between the Discovery Institute and the Thomas More Law Center about who did the most damage to the Intelligent Design cause in Judge John E. Jones III’s courtroom. The President and Chief Counsel of the Thomas More Center, Richard Thompson, has already complained about the Discovery Institute’s "Intelligent Design in Public School Science Curricula" leading the Dover School Board down the primrose path , only to have the DI leave the Board twisting in the wind when the DI expert witnesses "withdrew" when it was too late to get new ones.

Now the DI has fired back [replacement link], claiming that the DI’s legal guidebook "focused on supporting teachers who wanted to teach about intelligent design, not on the defensibility of requiring teachers to teach about intelligent design". It is certainly true that "Intelligent Design in Public School Science Curricula" makes the rather bizarre argument that individual teachers can teach ID based on their First Amendment guarantee of free speech and argues that "the safest course is one in which a school board permits a biology teacher to teach the full range of scientific theories about origins". But the guide also says:

The freedom of school boards to determine what can be included in their curricula is a long-established prerogative. No Supreme Court decision about biological origins has questioned this freedom. In fact, the Court has upheld the principle that a school board has the right to decide what subjects will be taught in its schools, and within broad limits, how those subjects are to be taught.
So the DI’s rather strange advice was for school boards to abrogate their duty to control the curriculum and to insure the quality of instruction by "encouraging" individual teachers to exercise their political right of speech inside the classrooms. One can only assume that the DI is angry that people like William Buckingham aren’t bright enough to get the "Nudge, nudge, wink, wink, know what I mean?" The More Center, on the other hand, may have a different agenda altogether.
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As to the non-participation of Stephen Meyer, William Dembski, and John Angus Campbell as expert witnesses for the Board, the DI insists they were "dismissed" because they "refused to proceed without legal counsel to protect them". Frankly, in over 25 years of practicing law, I have never before heard of an expert witness wanting representation apart from the attorney that hired him and I cannot think of any (reasonable) reason that an expert would need to be legally "protected" with the possible exception of fear of perjury charges.

Maybe there is design in the universe. After all, I was praying that this would get uglier . . .
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