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Talk:Kitzmiller vs. Dover Area School District

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Judge Jones, in this case, also found in his opinion that many of the creationists put on the stand egregiously lied to further their own cause. This seemed shocking to me, but you can confirm it yourself. At RationalWiki we have a page under construction about the case; perhaps in the interest of accuracy, you might include this quote? It follows.

"One consistency among the Dover School Board members' testimony, which was marked by selective memories and outright lies under oath, as will be discussed in more detail below, is that they did not think they needed to be knowledgeable about ID.... We disagree."

-Judge John E. Jones III, Republican, in Kitzmiller, 400 F. Supp. 2d 707, n.7 727.

This was one of a few similar instances. In one case, the judge had to actively call a halt to a cross-examination, so blatant was the lying on the stand by ID-policy proponent Alan Bonsell. Just something to note?-αmεσg (visit me at RationalWiki!) 02:05, 15 October 2007 (EDT)

Can you go into detail on the lying? I hear a lot of darwinists claiming we are liars, but when you look at the example it doesn't hold up. Can you go into detail? Simply saying that someone is a liar means nothing if you can't back it up.--Nlawrence 17:37, 15 October 2007 (EDT)

Will answer soon; currently on iphone so limited typing ability...:-/-αmεσg (visit me at RationalWiki!) 22:55, 15 October 2007 (EDT)

Here's an example from the trial transcripts.
Day 18, cross examination of Alex Bonsell. Roy 06:55, 17 October 2007 (EDT)
THE COURT: I want to exercise my prerogative, and I have some questions before we break today. I would like, Mr. Harvey, if you would hand up to me the witness's deposition testimony, specifically as it related to the question of the $850.00 check. I believe it's the deposition as taken by Mr. Rothschild in January of 2005.
MR. HARVEY: Yes, Your Honor. My copy is marked up. Do we have an unmarked copy? Or if you want, I could just have it delivered to your chambers in a few minutes.
THE COURT: I want it now, if you have it. Hand it up. And can you direct me to the pages, and specifically the pages, Mr. Harvey, that you referred to in your questions?
MR. HARVEY: Yes, Your Honor. I read from page 13, line 6, through page 16, line 20.
THE COURT: All right. Give me a moment, please. That's fine. I see where you were. All right. Let me ask you.
Q. When did you first become aware of the fact that your father was in possession of the $850.00 that was being donated to buy Of Pandas and People?
A. Well, Mr. Buckingham gave the check to me to pass to my father. He said this was money that he collected for donations to the book. So I gave it to him.
Q. So you were the conduit --
A. Yeah.
Q. -- by which your father received the $850.00?
A. Yes.
Q. Tell me why, in January of 2005, you didn't tell Mr. Rothschild on his repeated questioning that your -- that Mr. Buckingham was involved in that exchange?
A. Basically because I understood the question to be, who donated the books? Do you know anybody that donated? I only knew my father was the one that donated the books. I am still to this day convinced, you know, that Mr. Buckingham didn't give any money towards the books.
He said to me, this is money that he collected towards the books. And I didn't ask him. You know, he didn't say -- if he would have said, some of this money is mine, or I put 50 bucks in the pot, or I did this, I would have told Mr. Rothschild at that time.
Q. The specific question was asked to you, sir: You have never spoken to anyone -- anybody else who was involved with the donation? And your answer was, I don't know the other people. That didn't say, who donated? That said, who was involved with the donation?
A. Okay. I'm sorry. What --
Q. Why did you -- I'm on page 16.
A. Okay.
Q. Line 9. That didn't say, who donated? That said, who was involved in the donation? Now you tell me why you didn't say Mr. Buckingham's name.
A. Then I misspoke. Because I was still under -- from behind -- wait a second. I -- well, I'm going back here -- and so, yeah, that's my fault, Your Honor, because that's not -- in that case, I would have -- I should have said, Mr. Buckingham.
Q. Tell me again why you gave the money to your father. Why did you utilize your father as the ultimate recipient -- not the ultimate recipient, but as a conduit for this money?
A. Why he was the conduit?
Q. You took the money from Mr. Buckingham, if I understand it. You turn it over to your father. Is that correct?
A. Yes. Yes, sir.
Q. Because the check was made specifically to your father. Why was your father involved?
A. He agreed to -- he said that he would take it, I guess, off the table or whatever, because of seeing what was going on, and with Mrs. Callahan complaining at the board meetings not using funds or whatever.
Q. Why couldn't you use Mr. Buckingham's check? What was the difference?
A. My father was the one that agreed to do the books.
Q. I understand that.
A. And that basically anybody, you know, if somebody wanted to give money, they could give money to him. He just passed, you know --
Q. Now the way I understand it from Mr. Buckingham's testimony, Mr. Buckingham stood up in front of his church. Mr. Buckingham, despite testimony which was somewhat confusing, obviously, apparently made a plea for funds for this book. Mr. Buckingham received in addition to, apparently, his own contribution funds, which totaled $850.00. Why couldn't Mr. Buckingham's check be used? Why did your father have to be involved?
A. I guess it could have been used, but put the thing is, the money was going to him, and he was purchasing the books. And I think it was basically, if somebody gave money, fine. If not, he was going to buy the books. He was going to do it himself.
Q. You don't know why Mr. -- in other words, you don't know why Mr. Buckingham couldn't just purchase the books directly? Is that what you're telling me? Because I still haven't heard an answer as to why your father -- why the funds had to be paid first to Mr. Buckingham, why Mr. Buckingham couldn't write a check. Why did he have to give the funds to your father? I still haven't heard an answer.
A. I guess he wouldn't have had to give the funds to my father. It's just that he was -- he had made -- he had made the --
Q. Who's he?
A. My father. He had made the -- oh, I don't know what word I'm looking for. He said that he would get -- donate the books, you know. So basically, I guess, he asked -- I guess you're saying, Mr. Buckingham went before his church. He collected money --
Q. You were here. You heard Mr. Buckingham.
A. He collected the money. And just -- because -- he had the check, gave me the money, I gave it to my father.
Q. I still haven't heard an answer from you as to why your father was the recipient of this money. Tell me why.
A. Because he's the one that said he would donate the books.
Q. It wasn't -- the money did not belong to your father. It came from Mr. Buckingham. He didn't donate the books. He received money from Mr. Buckingham that Mr. Buckingham received through donations from his church. Your father, unless I'm missing something, did not donate the books. He was the recipient of donated money and purchased the books.
A. No, but my father donated money towards the books. It's just that people had given money, and if -- basically, if no one had given a penny, my father would have bought all the books. So he must have went out and said, you know, if you want to give money, Mr. Bonsell is -- and so that's why the check is in his name, because the money was going to him. He was buying the books. So he did put money towards the books, and he would have bought all the books.
Q. Now you were under oath. You know you were under oath on January the 3rd of 2005, is that correct?
A. Yes.
Q. And your reason that you didn't mention Mr. Buckingham's name on January 3rd of 2005 is because you said you misspoke?
A. I was under the impression, Your Honor -- I was under the impression -- they were asking me who -- do you know anybody else? I mean, because I'm the one that brought my father forward in the testimony. I said, it was my father. He was the only one that I knew that put money towards the books. Because, to be honest -- I mean, truthfully, I did not know that Mr. Buckingham gave any money towards those books. I would have said that. I would have said that. Now like I said --
Q. You knew on January 3rd that Mr. Buckingham had possession of funds that he received from his church, didn't you?
A. Not from his church, no.
Q. You knew that Mr. Buckingham had received funds, which he turned over to your father, from someplace?
A. Oh, yes.
Q. Do you have any explanation for why Mr. Buckingham in this same series of depositions in January of 2005 also failed to admit that he was involved in soliciting money for the purchasing of this book? Do you have any explanation for that?
A. Why he said he wouldn't solicit money? I don't know.
Q. Were you here for Mr. Buckingham's testimony?
A. I heard part of it.
Q. Well, let me represent to you that Mr. Buckingham testified in June of 2005 in his deposition that he didn't know where the money came from. Do you have any explanation for why that is?
A. I don't have any explanation for that.

Deceitful, Part 2

That's exactly right. The above testimony is one example of a witness lying to cover for Bill Buckingham's mistakes. When Buckingham finally took the stand, towards the end of the trial, he was so obviously telling the same lie that the judge actually called a stop to the cross, exclaiming, "I've seen enough," disgusted with the lies spilling from the pro-ID side. There's an example of the deceit I was talking about. Tell me if you want more, sorry, I was banned for 3 days for no reason & couldn't reply.-αmεσg (visit me at RationalWiki!) 17:47, 19 October 2007 (EDT)

More detail on this topic (based on my reading of the decision; beware, IANAL, but maybe Ames can help out if there are legal issues :-)):
  • The defendants (the ID/School Board side) claimed that their ID proposal was secular, despite extensive evidence of the religious motivations of the parties involved, and the apparent understanding of the Board members that ID is considered a form of creationism.
  • William Buckingham and Alan Bonsell attempted to hide the source of the donations used to purchase the Of Pandas and People ID textbooks because the money came from church donations raised for that purpose--further evidence of religious motivation. Judge Jones wrote that "the inescapable truth is that both Bonsell and Buckingham lied at their January 3, 2005 depositions about their knowledge of the source of the donation...This mendacity was a clear and deliberate attempt to hide the source of the donations by the Board President and the Chair of the Curriculum Committee to further ensure that Dover students received a creationist alternative to Darwin’s theory of evolution. We are accordingly presented with further compelling evidence that Bonsell and Buckingham sought to conceal the blatantly religious purpose behind the ID Policy." (p. 115 of the decision). That's the issue relevant to the testimony above.
Christianity Today and The York Daily Record also have some interesting perspectives and may be useful as references in the article.--Bayes 03:07, 20 October 2007 (EDT)
And I still take exception to the judge's ruling in that case. The source of the monies, or the motivations of the donors or the proponents, were incompetent, irrelevant, and immaterial. All that ought to have mattered was the content ot the textbooks themselves.
And furthermore: "establishment of religion" pertains only to establishing one denomination over another--say, Baptist versus Foursquare. Recognizing that God exists is not "establishment of religion."--TemlakosTalk 10:23, 20 October 2007 (EDT)

I think Bayes has it all right. There's more to this story - like, more examples of the ID side outright lying to advance their case - but the evidence here is sufficient to establish that it happened, and that creationists are apparently willing to lie to advance their agenda. Now, Terry, we weren't talking about the case itself (which I'm sure you do take exception to!), but...

The Case itself

The books themselves were mere substitutions of an earlier textbook of creation science, which has already been deemed to be religion, and not competent science, by the federal judiciary. The fact that the word "God" was changed to "designer" - and I'm serious here, that's one of the only changes that was made to the textbook - does not transform the books from unteachable creation "science" to intelligent design. So, there's the content, Terry, the money & source thereof being probative of (in addition) an intention to create a religious program in violation of SCOTUS' Lemon test.

As for the "establishment clause refers to denominations, not God himself" argument, well, I don't know where you're getting that from. Textually, the first amendment states:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.

That seems to countenance more than just "denomination" on first blush. And second, let's assume that you're right, for the sake of argument, and that a non-denominational God may be taught. What would that look like? I think it'd mean that God's name could be spoken of, but, still, no religion-specific doctrine (Ten Commandments, Koran, etc.) could be taught. And sufficient evidence was adduced at trial that ID/creation science is a fundamentalist Christian screed.-αmεσg (visit me at RationalWiki!) 11:15, 20 October 2007 (EDT)

The above user is now gone. Accordingly, I feel free to reply to the content of this section.

The author of the above, labors under a misapprehension quite common among liberals, and especially among liberal activist lawyers. He thinks that precedents of the United States Supreme Court are inviolate and inviolable--much like King Ahasuerus' directives in the Book of Esther.

Ladies and gentlemen, they can't be. They just flat-out can't be inviolate and inviolable. And here are a number of reasons.

First, let me share with you a precedent that, I'm sure, most of us (at least in America) would not care to think still stood, merely because of the doctrine of stare decisis (let stand decided). That precedent is Scott v. Sandford, better known as "The Dred Scott Case." In that dreadfully ill-considered decision, the Supreme Court actually held that a man, once born a slave, would remain a slave to the end of his days, even if he once set foot in territory where slavery was not permitted. In so doing, the Supreme Court set at naught the Missouri Compromise, and arguably plunged America into a bloody Civil War.

Happily, it doesn't take a Civil War to invalidate a bad precedent. All it takes is another decision.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Plessy v. Ferguson, in which the Court held that "separate but equal" facilities did not "deny to any person...the equal protection of the laws."

And then I give you Brown v. Topeka Board of Education, which invalidated that precedent.

That means that the Court's precedent in Enmons, which the author cited, is one changed-majority and one grant of certiorari away from invalidation.

Now I don't know all about how the judiciary works in any country other than the United States--say, in the Commonwealth of Nations, or in Germany. But I am not aware of any country whose national judiciary refuses to invalidate a prior precedent on any grounds.

And if that's not enough, then I remind you that the United States has set two other relevant precedents:

  1. The explicit amendment of the Constitution to invalidate a prior decision of the Court. See the Sixteenth Amendment, granting to Congress the authority "to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without regard to...any census or enumeration."
  2. The amendment of the Constitution to prohibit the manufacture, importation, sale, and distribution of alcoholic beverages--and the subsequent re-amendment of the Constitution to repeal that prohibition.

Therefore: let no man say that the laws of men are not subject to amendment or repeal!

Now whether those laws will be repealed any time soon, is beyond scope here. If any user wants to know exactly what I mean, then see here.--TemlakosTalk 14:53, 22 October 2007 (EDT)

First, let me say that blocking a user (or "waiting" for him to be blocked) and only then replying to him, without offering him the chance to reply again, is a quite dubious and underhanded way of advancing one's argument.
Secondly, Temlakos, you are correct when you say that laws can be amended or repealed. As I said earlier, I am not an expert in constitutional law. Ames apparently has some study in this area, but is no longer welcome here. But I'll try to express my admittedly amateurish take on the merits of this particular case, and of the Lemon v. Kurtzman decision. Essentially, Lemon held that the government's actions ought to be secular, neither advancing or inhibiting religion, in accordance with the first amendment to the constitution (those man-made laws, by the way, ought to be celebrated because they prevent the government from instituting, for example, required teaching about Xenu or Muhammad or Vishnu in public schools. American citizens are predominantly Christian at the moment, but there's no reason that will be the case in the future; those laws protect us from domination by ANY religion).
So, in this case, Judge Jones had to decide whether the actions of the Dover School Board were religious in nature. Therefore, the degree to which religion played a role in ID and in the Board's actions was indeed relevant--something obviously recognized by both sides in the Kitzmiller case. Having found that the Board's actions were religious in nature, Jones still had the option of overturning the Lemon decision and allowing ID to be taught as science. Some prominent members of the judiciary, notably Justices Thomas and Scalia, believe that Lemon's days may be numbered. In this case though, Jones would have had to overrule Lemon based on a case in which the defendants had clearly attempted to insert religious instruction into a public school district; had attempted to conceal their religious motivations, in some cases by outright lying; and attempted to pass off ID as scientific, a claim that Jones also found dubious, especially since, as Ames pointed out earlier, the textbooks in question had simply changed the word "God" to "designer" in many cases. Given such blatant violation of Lemon and the first amendment, it would have been hard for Jones to rule any other way. Even if he had done so, he'd have been reversed on appeal. Indeed, without some pretty drastic changes to the first amendment, it's hard to see how the outcome of this case would have changed.
Thirdly, you hint that the return of Christ could render the ruling moot. You are certainly correct on this point, as that event would certainly preclude any human rules. Unfortunately, until that day comes, we humans have to do the best we can. The Establishment Clause, along with decisions like Lemon and Kitzmiller, are some of the mechanisms that allow us to worship as we choose, without government intervention--something that I, and others, are very appreciative of.--Bayes 21:56, 23 October 2007 (EDT)
If, as the above user says, Judge Jones would be faced with challenging a Supreme Court precedent to advance a case in which the defendants had (arguably) committed perjury--well, it wouldn't be the first time, would it? I give you Roe v. Wade as an example of a body of jurists--in this case, the Supreme Court itself--overlooking the perjury.
In any case, I repeat: the point at issue in the perjury that my learned opponents allege was and remains incompetent, irrelevant, and immaterial. I fault the defense counsel for not objecting, and most strenuously so, to any questions as to "who provided the moneys for the books" on that ground.
And furthermore, I cite Morris, Benjamin F., The Christian Life and Character of the Civil Institutions of the United States, 1864, in rebuttal to my opponents' claims that the civil government historically has been, and ought to be, secular.--TemlakosTalk 22:06, 23 October 2007 (EDT)
I suppose we are just going to have to disagree about whether the government ought to be secular. However, whatever Morris believes, the current constitution, as evidenced by the establishment clause, suggests that the government is secular, at least insofar as it can neither impede nor advance religious causes. Based on that logic, I reiterate that the alleged perjury in the case was, indeed, material and relevant; it pertained to the religious motivations of the Board members. If the Board members were attempting to insert religious instruction into public school science classrooms, then they were in violation the establishment clause. A church being the source of monies for public school textbooks is evidence of religious involvement in government-run schools. Hence, the defendants, realizing that the source of the monies would be relevant to whether their actions were constitutional, sought to conceal it.
Again, I am no expert, but my understanding is that overturning this ruling would require a constitutional amendment striking or changing the establishment clause. Whether such an amendment should pass is another matter, beyond the scope of this article.--Bayes 23:19, 23 October 2007 (EDT)

My opponent has admitted that he is not an expert. And it shows. The Framers of the Constitution would have been greatly surprised to learn that the import of their words was that the government have no place in it for recognition of the existence of God. Nothing could have been further from the mind of James Madison. I urge everyone having any doubt on this score to bone up on some rock-solid American history.

The Establishment Clause never meant what our opponents said it meant, until Earl H. Warren became CJOTUS. Now perhaps a few Constitutional clarifications are in order. Or maybe all that is in order is to get a class of persons in the national judiciary who know their history better than Earl H. Warren knew his, or JJ Ruth Bader Ginsburg, John Paul Stevens, and a few others I could name, know theirs.

And for everyone's information, Benjamin Morris wrote his tome back in 1864. That is more than one hundred fifty years closer to the lives and careers of the Framers than any scholarship or opinions that anyone is writing today. I cite that to show that the character of United States civil institutions has changed, and changed only because certain people, having a certain mind-set and agenda, have gained control over them.

The task and mission of CreationWiki is to combat that mind-set and agenda. That is the purpose of articles like the one under discussion.--TemlakosTalk 11:02, 24 October 2007 (EDT)

Obvious Errors

Please examine the linked diff to see if you agree with my changes. Most are cosmetic - some ghastly spelling/grammar errors - and one legal mis-characterization. The original author suggests that the judge co-opted the ACLU's court order... as you may or may not know, parties at trial don't have their own court orders, but they do have their own briefs, which is what Judge Jones allegedly "copied". So I would change that. I would also change that the brief is "biased." I can't imagine what kind of God-awful attorney would submit a non-biased trial brief. If you don't "zealously advocate" for your client, and spin your story within reason, you're just a poor attorney, so it's kind of a tautology to refer to a "biased trial brief." Just one soon-attorney's perspective.

Also, you might be interested to know that if Jones copied at all, he copied largely from the ACLU's "findings of fact," not conclusions of law, and co-opting the victor's findings of fact is actually quite common at the federal district level. Can you show otherwise? If not, it seems to me to be misleading to say that Jones copied, since it's kind of standard...-αmεσg (visit me at RationalWiki!) 16:39, 15 October 2007 (EDT)