Cribbing in the Courts:
The Toleration of Legal Plagiarism

Intelligent Design — By on December 14, 2006 at 1:46 am

What do you call someone who implies original authorship of material which he has not actually created and incorporates material from someone else’s work into his own work without attributing it?
His honor.
Consider, for example, U.S. District Judge John Jones III. The man Time magazine hailed as one of the world’s “most influential people” in the category of “scientists and thinkers” may need to be re-categorized as one of the most influential “cutters-and-pasters.” According to a new report by the Discovery Institute (DI), a significant section of the judge’s ruling in last year’s controversial intelligent design decision appears to be copied-and-pasted from an ACLU document:

Judge John Jones copied verbatim or virtually verbatim 90.9% of his 6,004-word section on whether intelligent design is science from the ACLU’s proposed ‘Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law’ submitted to him nearly a month before his ruling,” said Dr. John West, Vice President for Public Policy and Legal Affairs at Discovery Institutes’s Center for Science and Culture.
[…]
The study notes that, while judges routinely make use of proposed findings of fact, “the extent to which Judge Jones simply copied the language submitted to him by the ACLU is stunning. For all practical purposes, Jones allowed ACLU attorneys to write nearly the entire section of his opinion analyzing whether intelligent design is science. As a result, this central part of Judge Jones’ ruling reflected essentially no original deliberative activity or independent examination of the record on Jones’ part.

The fact that Jones copied verbatim—even including factual errors made by the ACLU attorneys—is certainly troubling. But the bigger issue is that such blatant plagiarism isn’t considered plagiarism within legal circles. True, the legal scholars are quick to note that the practice is “highly disapproved of” and as Bright v. Westmoreland County makes clear,

Judicial opinions are the core work-product of judges. They are much more than findings of fact and conclusions of law; they constitute the logical and analytical explanations of why a judge arrived at a specific decision. They are tangible proof to the litigants that the judge actively wrestled with their claims and arguments and made a scholarly decision based on his or her own reason and logic. When a court adopts a party’s proposed opinion as its own, the court vitiates the vital purposes served by judicial opinions. We, therefore, cannot condone the practice used by the District Court in this case.

Still, the fact that such dishonesty is tolerated at all impugns the entire legal process. No matter what the lawyers may claim or how they parse the terms, it’s plagiarism. Are law students allowed to cut-and-paste “findings of fact” into their papers without attribution? If not, then why does the standard change when they put on judicial robes? Contrary to what Judge Jones and his fellow members of the bar might think, having a J.D. behind your name does not provide an exemption from ethics.
Addendum: Some critics of intelligent design are falling all over themselves to dismiss Jones’ lapse in judgement. Ed Darrell claims that “This is not at all unusual in such cases…” And Tim Sandefur of Panda’s Thumb claims that “adopting the plaintiffs’ proposed findings as his own” is “just what a judge does when he finds that the party has proven its case.” Apparently, Ed and Tim missed the AP story where a legal scholar acknowledged that it is “not typical for judges to adopt one side’s proposed findings verbatim.”
Ed, Tim, and their defenders are embarrassing themselves. They should have condemned Jones breach of ethics and rightly pointed out that science is not decided by judicial decision. Instead, they’ve provided evidence for those who claim that since Darwinists can’t win in the court of public opinion, they are willing to lie, cheat, or steal to defend their beliefs. It’s shameful but, unfortunately, not particularly surprising.



  • Cheesehead

    Prediction: Boonton, ex-preacher, and Raven will not be able to resist coming to tell us that you have this all wrong, Joe, and that, BTW all of us who agree with you are drooling idiots.
    Now just suppose if the judge had lifted, verbatim, 91% of DI’s amicus brief and ruled the other way. Then the fecal matter would really hit the air-moving device.

  • Joe McFaul

    Joe,
    I’m sorry. You have sold your integrity to the devil. This is sad that you bear false witness like this.
    You have utterly lost my personal respect and admiration.
    Did you run this by Hugh Hewitt before running it?

  • Joe McFaul

    Joe Carter:
    ” But the bigger issue is that such blatant plagiarism isn’t considered plagiarism within legal circles.”
    The Discovery Institute:
    “Are you accusing Judge Jones of plagiarism or any other violation of judicial ethics?
    No. As the report reads, “Proposed ‘findings of fact’ are prepared to assist judges in writing their opinions, and judges are certainly allowed to draw on them. Indeed, judges routinely invite lawyers to propose findings of fact in order to verify what the lawyers believe to be the key factual issues in the case. Thus, in legal circles Judge Jones’ use of the ACLU’s proposed ‘Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law’ would not be considered ‘plagiarism’ nor a violation of judicial ethics.”
    Joe, I’m a lawyer. Each side to a case presents “Proposed Findings of Fact and Law” for the judge to sign. Each side writes those in the voice of the judge. The Thomas More Law Society did this in their losing sumbission. It is routine for the judge to accept most or all of the winning sided’s proposals, and incorprate those, more or less, into the Judge’s own written decision.
    Judge Jones acknowledged reyingonthe parties’ proposed findigns of fact and conclusions of law in the introduction to his opinion:
    “This Memorandum Opinion constitutes the Court’s findings of fact and conclusions of law which are based upon the Court’s review of the evidence presented at trial, the testimony of the witnesses at trial, the parties’ proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law with supporting briefs, other documents and evidence in the record, and applicable law.”
    Judge Jones is an honest man, and you have defamed him.
    Sad. Again…fly this past Hugh Hewitt.

  • http://mysticchords.blogspot.com/ John Salmon

    Joe McFaul-Define your terms-“incorporate.”

  • http://dererumnatura.us/ Reed A. Cartwright

    Joe wrote, “Apparently, Ed and Tim missed the AP story where a legal scholar acknowledged that it is ‘not typical for judges to adopt one side’s proposed findings verbatim.'”
    And guess what the Court didn’t do in the Kitzmiller case. That’s right, adopt one side’s proposal verbatim. Even the DI hasn’t claimed that the Court used all of the plaintiffs findings verbatim. Furthermore, the DI came up with their ~90% calculation by using a very loose defination of “virtually”. Don’t believe me? The Talk Origins Archive has copies of both the PFOF and the decision. You can go compare the texts yourself.

  • LudVanB

    “The Talk Origins Archive has copies of both the PFOF and the decision. You can go compare the texts yourself.”
    Dont expect them to do any such thing…from the perpective of creationist/idists,the mere suggestion that their beloved cause might have been treated unfairly by the courts is proof that they were right all along and that the TOE has just been knocked to the floor…and they wont be messing with that delusion.

  • http://thebronxblogger.blogspot.com Matthew Goggins

    Joe Carter,
    I am shocked and outraged … I can barely put digit to keyboard, my hands are shaking so!
    I just ran a sophisticated proprietary statistical analysis of this post of yours… well read the results for yourself:
    A) Approximately 40.009% of this alleged “article” was directly cribbed from anti-Darwinist pro-I.D. propogandizing websites.
    B) Approximately 97.8862% of the analysis and conceptualization of your “commentary” is substantially identical to the analysis and conceptualization available from and predominating on the same two source propogandizing websites referenced above in result A.
    It’s all I can do to force myself to squeeze these words out of my keyboard — I’ve never been so scandalized by the shameful “standards” of weblogging in my entire life. I have to sign off now, I hope you understand.

  • http://kevinjmiller.blogspot.com/ Kevin

    I’m shocked, totally shocked, that a judge who put so much thought and effort into considering the evidence presented, the merits of the arguments, and then to formulating his decision would put so little effort into writing his opinion.
    ;/

  • http://www.evangelicaloutpost.com Joe Carter

    Joe M. Joe, I’m a lawyer. Each side to a case presents “Proposed Findings of Fact and Law” for the judge to sign. Each side writes those in the voice of the judge. The Thomas More Law Society did this in their losing sumbission. It is routine for the judge to accept most or all of the winning sided’s proposals, and incorprate those, more or less, into the Judge’s own written decision.
    You obviously didn’t read what I wrote. As I said, I don’t care how many lawyers accept the practice, its plagiarism. I don’t care if it is “routine”, its plagiarism. I don’t’ care if groups that I tend to agree with also engage in the practice, its plagiarism.
    Judge Jones acknowledged reying on the parties’ proposed findigns of fact and conclusions of law in the introduction to his opinion:
    You are not seriously trying to claim that “relying on the parties’ proposed findings of fact” means that you can cut and paste entire sections verbatim without attribution are you?
    Judge Jones is an honest man, and you have defamed him.
    Judge Jones is a plagiarist who got caught. Your defense of him is embarrassing.
    Even the DI hasn’t claimed that the Court used all of the plaintiffs findings verbatim.
    No one is saying that Jones used the entire Findings of Fact verbatim. But he did cut and past entire sections verbabtim.
    Reed A. Cartwright Talk Origins Archive has copies of both the PFOF and the decision. You can go compare the texts yourself.
    Um, did you read what they have to say at Talk Origins? They are claiming that it is only about 60% to 70% copied rather than the 90% that DI claims.
    Matthew I am shocked and outraged … I can barely put digit to keyboard, my hands are shaking so!
    Et tu, Matthew? Though you might disagree with ID I thought you’d definitely stand for integrity. I’m disappointed.

  • Nick

    What do you call someone who implies original authorship of material which he has not actually created
    Is this actually correct? Does the incorporation of factual findings in a decision really imply original authorship of that material?

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    Prediction: Boonton, ex-preacher, and Raven will not be able to resist coming to tell us that you have this all wrong, Joe, and that, BTW all of us who agree with you are drooling idiots.
    On the contrary, the judge should have either put the findings into his own words or used quotation marks and references to indicate that he was using the ACLU brief.
    But Joe exhibits his usual scumbag qualities when he writes:
    Instead, they’ve provided evidence for those who claim that since Darwinists can’t win in the court of public opinion, they are willing to lie, cheat, or steal to defend their beliefs.
    I’m not sure why Joe seems to go insane whenever evolution comes up. It’s not even a character flaw…at this point it feels like a borderline mental problem.
    Anyway just because a portion of a decision is plagerized has nothing to do with the validity of the decision. If I plagiarized my book report on For Whom the Bell Tolls off of its original NY Times book review that doesn’t mean what I report is factually incorrect. It most likely is factually correct, my ‘crime’ of plagiarism is a personal one. You’re free to fire me as a writer or give me an F but my report would be accurate.
    Now just suppose if the judge had lifted, verbatim, 91% of DI’s amicus brief and ruled the other way. Then the fecal matter would really hit the air-moving device.
    Indeed, if the judge did that he would have picked the wrong brief to crib from. That would be like plagerizing your world history report from the Mell Brooks movie A History of the World Part I.
    I’ll let Joe McFaul comment on whether or not this is the standard in law. I’m not a lawyer so I don’t know what the customs are for quoting sources in decisions. My instincts are to say that if the judge isn’t going to custom write his own findings of fact he should use quotation marks or some other reference to say he is taking them from one of the briefs.
    Reed
    Joe wrote, “Apparently, Ed and Tim missed the AP story where a legal scholar acknowledged that it is ‘not typical for judges to adopt one side’s proposed findings verbatim.'”
    Errr get your facts straight. Unusual things happen all the time. If the charge is plagerism then the only relevant question is whether the legal standards are to cite the specific source. There is no requirement that a judge give a little bit to each side when he is making findings of fact.
    Joe:
    You obviously didn’t read what I wrote. As I said, I don’t care how many lawyers accept the practice, its plagiarism. I don’t care if it is “routine”, its plagiarism. I don’t’ care if groups that I tend to agree with also engage in the practice, its plagiarism.
    No its plagiarism if it violates the professions rules for citing sources. Different disciplines have different rules. Academia has very strict rules while journalism has very loose ones. If this is the practice what you should be saying is that you feel the rules should be tighter in judicial decisions.

  • http://www.neumatikos.org Kyle

    Wow.
    Also: Joe, it’s amazing that so many of your commenters are the people who start out predisposed to disagree vehemently with you.

  • JohnW

    It all kind of reminds me of when Bush got the Oil Companies to write his Energy Policy…

  • ucfengr

    It all kind of reminds me of when Bush got the Oil Companies to write his Energy Policy…

    In a prior topic you claimed you didn’t hate Bush, and yet in a topic completely unrelated to the President you go out of your way to get in a cheap shot. You claim to be a Christian, but it’s rather obvious that you are a lot more obsessed with hating Bush than you are with loving God. Seriously, what specifically do you have against Bush that you hate him so. Did he dump your sister or something?

  • http://thebronxblogger.blogspot.com Matthew Goggins

    Joe Carter,
    Matthew: “I am shocked and outraged … I can barely put digit to keyboard, my hands are shaking so!”
    Et tu, Matthew? Though you might disagree with ID I thought you’d definitely stand for integrity. I’m disappointed.
    Wow, I think this is the nicest thing, or at least tied for nicest thing, that you’ve said about me, Joe. Thanks!
    I was making a few points with my satirical statistical analysis:
    1) Your own post was actually 40% “verbatim” lifted from two other sources. It certainly wasn’t plagiarism, of course, since you clearly indicated by formatting and context that you were using block quotes.
    However, the idea that someone could not have conducted a valid analysis of the facts and the issues in Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District if that person relies extensively on other sources is clearly specious: if you couldn’t do it for a simple blog post, how could a judge do it when ruling on any matter outside his own areas of personal expertise.
    2) You relied on certain conventions (namely clear attribution, providing easy links) that allowed you to quote verbatim without opening yourself up to charges of plagiarism, and without opening yourself up to charges of misappropriating someone else’s material.
    If Judge Jones followed the established and approved conventions of his forum (namely listing his sources in his prefatory remarks, and working the verbatim portions into the normal context of a judicial ruling), then he is not guilty of anything either. If he followed the rules for normal verbatim usage, then your argument is not with Judge Jones, but with the rules themselves.
    So the real question is, what are the rules governing verbatim usage of findings of fact in a judicial opinion?
    Unfortunately, you and I are not lawyers, and we probably don’t have enough experience with the law to give an authoritative answer. But it shouldn’t be that hard to uncover the rules if you are really so disgusted with the alleged ethical transgressions of Judge Jones.
    If it turns out that you are right, then I will agree with you that Judge Jones should be ashamed of himself. But if you are wrong, then you owe him a big, fat sincere apology.
    Of course, as Boonton points out, none of this has any bearing as to whether or not Judge Jones happened to have decided his case correctly. If it turns out that Judge Jones did in fact violate the letter or the spirit of judicial norms, then your side has some moral claim to a do-over, but it does not have a moral (or intellectual) claim to a decision in its favor.
    Thanks again, Joe, for noticing that I stand up for integrity. Every time you make complimentary comments about me, I know my appraisal of you as being a excellent writer has been confirmed yet again ;)
    Kyle,
    Joe, it’s amazing that so many of your commenters are the people who start out predisposed to disagree vehemently with you.
    I am just as likely to leave a comment when Joe writes something I agree with as when he writes something I disagree with.
    Nonetheless, it is not as amazing as you seem to think that so many of Joe’s commenters disagree with him. I think most people don’t normally feel very motivated to leave a comment unless they have strong feelings. I think such feelings are more likely to be provoked in a comment thread by disagreement rather than agreement.

  • http://parableman.net Jeremy Pierce

    But it is already clear that this particular judge in this particular case twisted facts and accepted blatantly fallacious arguments simply to get the result he wanted. He confuses and conflates several distinctions relevant to the issue at hand. I’ll give one crucial example. He confuses religious motivations for wanting something taught in a school from religious content taught in a school. The former is not constitutionally prohibited, since we don’t have any problem teaching kids that it’s wrong to steal or that it’s wrong to be intolerant. Many people believe such things on religious grounds. Some object that you could also believe those on non-religious grounds, but the same is true of the classic philosophical teleological argument that ID really is. It simply is not religion, and anyone who thinks it is is just philosophically ignorant or intellectually dishonest.
    It’s also true that it’s not, strictly speaking, science. Depending on the particular argument in question, one of its premises is usually something that is a conclusion of scientific work, e.g. the narrow range of constants required for life or the complexity of various living cells or organs. But the fact that the argument is philosophical in nature (as many arguments in science are (e.g. the preference for simpler explanations) simply does not make it religion. This judge showed his inability or unwillingness to pay attention to such important issues in his blanket description of all ID as flat-out being religion.

  • JohnW

    ucfengr,
    Lighten up man! What about our Christmas truce?
    I seriously hate the direction Bush is taking the country and I’m very passionate about it. You are right though, that was kind of a smart ass comment, but you’ve made some too, right?
    Over on the other topic, I’ve asked Cheesehead, if I should continue commenting on this blog, and if so, any advice on communicating better. What do you think? Any advice? I’m serious-I think I’ve got a communication problem.
    JohnW

  • http://mysticchords.blogspot.com/ John Salmon

    The “offended party” got the ruling it wanted, so the legal point is moot. The ethical one isn’t.
    A far more interesting question is, why are judges deciding what’s taught in schools in the first place? Isn’t that something school boards, which have at least some degree of accountability, should do?
    Why are some people (a tiny minority, since most Americans rightfully are skeptical of Darwin) so upset by the notion that ID also be presented to kids? Don’t they think Darwin can withstand the scrutiny of a bunch of 16 year olds? Is the theory that weak? Well, yes it is, but that’s besides the point.
    Let parents decide. This is, at least in some respects, still a representative democracy.

  • http://thebronxblogger.blogspot.com Matthew Goggins

    JohnW,
    I may be the one person who comments at the E.O. who is a bigger supporter of President Bush than Ucfengr.
    However, your comment that,
    It all kind of reminds me of when Bush got the Oil Companies to write his Energy Policy…
    did not offend me in the least.
    There was no reason for me to take offense, since the drafting of energy policy under President Bush is a perfectly valid analogy to judicial reliance on briefs submitted by plaintiffs and defendants.
    The fact that Ucfengr did take offense is not a bad thing either. Your casual jab could not have annoyed him if it didn’t make some kind of an interesting point, valid or not.
    You were asking for some advice, though, on what you should avoid doing. Here’s my advice: For the purposes of your own thought processes, don’t assume that people like John Dean and Bob Woodward know and speak the truth about President Bush and others in his administration.
    Why not? Because while they do know and speak the truth up to a point, they are only looking at one version of the reality that they are investigating, their own personal version of reality.
    There are other points of view about President Bush that are just as valid. If you learned more about those other points of view, you would come away with a more balanced and thorough understanding of the president and the issues he grapples with.
    Sometimes it is hard to appreciate, or even understand a point of view that you disagree strongly with. But if you make the effort to appreciate those points of view, you will find it was worth it.

  • http://thebronxblogger.blogspot.com Matthew Goggins

    John Salmon,
    You raise a very good question: why should a court be ruling on a school curriculum? School curricula are in the province of school boards.
    You give a partial answer to your own question: the courts give rulings when parents raise certain kinds of complaints. So the underlying question becomes, are complaints about Intelligent Design valid?
    I would say, not only are they valid, they are entirely justified.
    If some school board wanted to teach that one race is inferior to another race, few people would have a problem with a court putting a stop to that. In the instance of I.D. theory, the basis of the complaint is not that the content of I.D. theory is immoral, but that I.D. is not science and to present it as science is inappropriate and perhaps even fraudulent.
    There are lots of things that parents will object to in any school district’s curriculum. You can’t please (or not offend) everyone. But pseudo-science in the science classroom shouldn’t be something parents should have to tolerate. In the school district wants pseudo-science so badly, have them create a special assembly or put on a street fair — anything would be better than sneaking it into a science class.

  • ucfengr

    JohnW–I don’t recall a truce being declared and I’m not sure what one would entail.
    I seriously hate the direction Bush is taking the country and I’m very passionate about it.
    There is nothing wrong with disagreeing with the President, I do it all the time, but your obsession borders on the irrational. It reminds me of the stuff you see about Jews in many Arab countries. You know, Jews use the blood of Muslim children in their Passover matzohs, etc. Lot’s of folks have this obsession, but I find it troubling in a Christian. Anyway, we’ve probably followed this rabbit trail far enough.

  • Joe McFaul

    Good question:
    “So the real question is, what are the rules governing verbatim usage of findings of fact in a judicial opinion?”
    The Discovery Institute is not the first loser to complain about the judge accepting the winning side’s proposed findings.
    Here are some typical earlier appeals and their results:
    Technique to be utilized by trial judge in complex cases–which accommodates requirement of specialized assistance in preparation of findings of fact to rule that such findings are to be his and his alone–is for counsel for party who is due to prevail in tentative opinion of trial court to submit proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law to court with copy to adverse counsel, and thereafter at hearing attended by counsel for all interested parties, court will enter findings and conclusions as proposed or as appropriately modified.
    Keystone Plastics, Inc. v C & P Plastics, Inc. (1975, CA5 Fla) 506 F2d 960
    As matter of general practice, prior to reaching and announcing any decision, District Court should request proposed findings from both parties as to all disputed factual and legal issues, preferably with references to record supporting fact requested to be found, then prepare its decision based upon its analysis of these proposed findings and evidence of record; however, District Court did not fail to meet its obligation under Rule 52(a) to find facts specially and state separately its conclusions of law thereon when it adopted essentially verbatim proposed opinion prepared by plaintiffs’ counsel…” Lilly v Harris-Teeter Supermarket (1983, CA4 NC) 720 F2d 326
    By having prevailing party submit proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law, trial judge followed practical and wise custom in which prevailing party has obligation to busy court to assist it in performance of its duty under Rule 52(a). In re Woodmar Realty Co. (1962, CA7 Ind) 307 F2d 591
    That’s the law. And that’s pretty much how this cae was handled. All the courts and all the lawyers realize that the proposed findings are subject to being lifted verbatim into the court’s opinion. It doens’t happen every case, but it’s not uncommon or unexpected at all. Since the propsoed findigns from both sideds are matters fo publci record and the opinion is,too, anybody who wants to compare how the opinion tracks with a party’s prosed findigns can do it.
    One final thing. Soemtimes, one party is so wired–the facts ans law are on their side, and the other party is so off base, the judge will sign the prevailignparty;s propsoed findings without change as an implicit rebuke to the losers.
    I have at least 5 federal bench trials and a couple of federal appeals. The attribution that Joe Carter is so concerneed about isn’t anissue at all because all concerned have access to the only docuemtns the court can draw from.
    Furthermore, the judge routinely acknwoledges that he relied in the Propsed findings, as Judge Jones did so in this case. That’s not plagiarism at all. Joe Carter’s complaint is based on raw ignorance about the law. What are his thought on attribution of medical diagnoses in surgical post-op reports prepared by brain surgeons? Not enough? Too much?

  • http://thebronxblogger.blogspot.com Matthew Goggins

    John Salmon,
    One more thing, sir.
    Why are some people (a tiny minority, since most Americans rightfully are skeptical of Darwin) so upset by the notion that ID also be presented to kids?
    Science is often taught as a vast and comprehensive compendium of facts and results. That is a shame, though, because the business of science is skepticism.
    Science is a very particular and rigorous and systematic application of skepticism to the world around us. So you are right, that any scientific theory that is afraid of skepticism is scientific in name only.
    However, the champions of I.D. are most decidedly not the champions of skepticism. They are the champions of faith masquerading as skepticism (although they may or may not be aware that that is what they are championing).
    Why is that? Because I.D. is not experimental, it is philosophical or theological. It has never proposed any testable or experimentally verifiable hypotheses. If it were experimental, then I.D. would deserve its skeptical seat in the science classroom.
    If we present the non-scientific as scientific, we would be committing an offense against learning and truth.

  • http://thebronxblogger.blogspot.com Matthew Goggins

    Joe Carter,
    Thanks to Joe McFaul for doing the legwork on my question.
    So Joe (Carter), are you willing to stipulate that Mr. McFaul is correct? If you are, when can we see that big, fat sincere apology that you owe Judge Jones? ;)

  • http://www.gryphmon.com Patrick (gryph)

    Joe’s real problem with Judge Jones is: A) He didn’t like the decision. B) The fact that Judge Jones adopted the proposed findings of fact means that the ACLU case was utterly compelling.
    He would not be complaining in the slightest if the decision had gone the other way.
    As far as Joe’s new persona as media whore for the Religious Right, well….
    “I think one of the things that Dr. Dobson is realizing is, frankly, when you whore yourself to politics, you shouldn’t be surprised if you’re treated like a whore.”
    -David Kuo, former deputy director of the Bush White House Office of Faith — Faith-Based Initiatives.

  • ex-preacher

    “What do you call someone who implies original authorship of material which he has not actually created and incorporates material from someone else’s work into his own work without attributing it?”
    Gospel writers

  • http://thebronxblogger.blogspot.com Matthew Goggins

    Patrick,
    Joe would be complaining if the case had gone the other way — provided he had heard about the verbatim usage of the defendant’s briefs, which is not something he would be likely to learn about from the Discovery Institute.
    Go easy on Joe, he raised a very interesting point about judicial rulings. He just reacted a little hysterically. If he apologizes to Judge Jones, then he deserves forgiveness.
    Ex-preacher,
    Excellent point.

  • http://mumonno.blogspot.com Mumon

    I don’t go to this site much anymore, because it’s mashed up in Firefox, but I had to open ol’ IE to respond to this bit of abject nonsense.
    Apparently, Ed and Tim missed the AP story where a legal scholar acknowledged that it is “not typical for judges to adopt one side’s proposed findings verbatim.”
    Not typical, but evidently not unheard of, and nobody’s found any specific law or ethical canon that was actually violated here.
    The judge adopted the plaintiff’s lawyer’s proposed ruling’s text.
    So what?
    You guys still lost, and lost on the merits.
    They should have condemned Jones breach of ethics and rightly pointed out that science is not decided by judicial decision. Instead, they’ve provided evidence for those who claim that since Darwinists can’t win in the court of public opinion, they are willing to lie, cheat, or steal to defend their beliefs. It’s shameful but, unfortunately, not particularly surprising.

    It is your side that is being dishonest: given that all the documents are publicly available, the judge in his ruling is merely putting his authority behind the side that prevailed, and rightly so.
    It’s been a year, now, and the DI has not been able to gain any traction whatsoever with the stunning loss they incurred in Dover, and this is the best they can do.
    You don’t want to argue the case on the merrits, because when that happened you lost, and lost big, so you attempt to gin up these teapot tempests that mean nothing whatsoever.
    Creationism – er… “intelligent” “design” is as dead as political and religious conservatism. Like Communism, these ideologies have been tried and have been rejected by most people.
    Get used to it.

  • http://mumonno.blogspot.com Mumon

    I don’t go to this site much anymore, because it’s mashed up in Firefox, but I had to open ol’ IE to respond to this bit of abject nonsense.
    Apparently, Ed and Tim missed the AP story where a legal scholar acknowledged that it is “not typical for judges to adopt one side’s proposed findings verbatim.”
    Not typical, but evidently not unheard of, and nobody’s found any specific law or ethical canon that was actually violated here.
    The judge adopted the plaintiff’s lawyer’s proposed ruling’s text.
    So what?
    You guys still lost, and lost on the merits.
    They should have condemned Jones breach of ethics and rightly pointed out that science is not decided by judicial decision. Instead, they’ve provided evidence for those who claim that since Darwinists can’t win in the court of public opinion, they are willing to lie, cheat, or steal to defend their beliefs. It’s shameful but, unfortunately, not particularly surprising.

    It is your side that is being dishonest: given that all the documents are publicly available, the judge in his ruling is merely putting his authority behind the side that prevailed, and rightly so.
    It’s been a year, now, and the DI has not been able to gain any traction whatsoever with the stunning loss they incurred in Dover, and this is the best they can do.
    You don’t want to argue the case on the merrits, because when that happened you lost, and lost big, so you attempt to gin up these teapot tempests that mean nothing whatsoever.
    Creationism – er… “intelligent” “design” is as dead as political and religious conservatism. Like Communism, these ideologies have been tried and have been rejected by most people.
    Get used to it.

  • Chris Lutz

    Joe, I have to agree with some other’s here. This really isn’t plagiarism as such. In a sense, the lawyers are offering the judge the right to use their words without attribution. I also think it’s a really stupid point over which to get upset. It reeks of being a sore loser. I think the judge was wrong in his ruling and the fact that he pretty much used the ACLU findings of fact (errors and all) was intellectually lazy. Beyond pointing out where the judge is wrong and highlighting the fact that he appears to not have really done much judging of the facts, I think it is not justified to claim that he did something ethically wrong in using the ACLU findings of fact.

  • http://dererumnatura.us/ Reed A. Cartwright

    Joe: “Um, did you read what they have to say at Talk Origins? They are claiming that it is only about 60% to 70% copied rather than the 90% that DI claims.”
    And how does this support your argument that the Court copied 100%? And yes that is the argument that is made when you attempt to criticize the Court by quoting that it is “not typical for judges to adopt one side’s proposed findings verbatim.”

  • jfs

    So, let me get this straight. This case is a year old. Almost everything you need to know about this case is publicly available. There isn’t anything weird, apparently, about judges adopting language in findings of fact, and it isn’t unheard of for a judge to simply sign off entirely on one side’s findings. So, JUST NOW some DI flack gets around to launching this wild tangent on a non-issue?
    You’d think they’d be busy at work with all that ID research. Oh yeah…

  • Rob Ryan

    “You’d think they’d be busy at work with all that ID research. Oh yeah…”
    Maybe they are helping O.J. find the “real killers”.
    Those who would push the pseudo-science of I.D. on impressionable youths to prop up their faltering worldview are unscrupulous to the point of discrediting that worldview themselves.

  • http://mumonno.blogspot.com Mumon

    I think this post, illuminated by its comments, highlights the sewer of moral depravity and dishonesty we have seen from the religious right; this bit by the “Discovery Institute” is just the latest absurdist nonsense.
    But it’s the same kind of nonsense we’ve seen from Dobson’s bizarre theories of sexuality.
    It’s the same nonsense that somehow allows them to overlook a Ted Haggard.
    It’s the same nonsense that says that “soy makes you gay.”
    It’s the same nonsense that led lots of people on the religious right to claim a brain dead woman’s eyes followed a balloon.
    It’s the same nonsense that overlooks the real murderous actions being committed in Iraq.
    Really if anybody at this stage thinks that the religious right, and conservatives have any kind of credibility, they are either insane or deliberately dishonest or willfully ignorant.
    And it’s time they publicly apologized for their lies and slanders and statements like this post.

  • http://www.evangelicaloutpost.com Joe Carter

    Judge Jones’ Commencement Address at Dickinson College (2006):

    “…our Founding Fathers… possessed a great confidence in an individual’s ability to understand the world and its most fundamental laws through the exercise of his or her reason… The Founders believed that true religion was not something handed down by a church or contained in a Bible, but was to be found through free, rational inquiry… this core set of beliefs led the Founders… to secure their idea of religious freedom by barring any alliance between church and state.”

    Compare that to Frank Lambert’s, The Founding Fathers and the Place of Religion in America (Princeton University Press, 2003):

    “The Founding Fathers… had great confidence in the individual’s ability to understand the world and its most fundamental laws through the exercise of his or her reason. To them, true religion was not something handed down by a church or contained in the Bible but rather was to be found through free rational inquiry…the framers sought to secure their idea of religious freedom by barring any alliance between church and state.”
    (Frank Lambert, The Founding Fathers and the Place of Religion in
    America, pg. 3 (2003). You can also find this material online at http://press.princeton.edu/chapters/i7500.html)

    (HT: Discovery Institute)

  • Joe McFaul

    Joe, this is so beneath you.
    QUOTE THE WHOLE DAMN sentence!
    Here’s the judge’s sentence:
    As has been often written, our Founding Fathers were children of The Enlightenment.
    He attributed it and did not claim it as his own thought.
    You are so wretched.
    Have you no shame, sir?

  • http://hereisangela.com angela

    I’m a lawyer. I clerked for a federal judge. It is not considered unethical for a judge to adopt one party’s recitation of facts as his own. It’s in fact considered an honor, a triumph, for a litigator’s recitation to be adopted in whole or in large part. It is highly unusual for such a long recitation of facts to be adopted verbatim, however. In this case, the worst I’d say is that he was kind of lazy.
    I would like to know what Discovery Institute’s methodology was.
    The sad thing here is that Judge Jones ranted a bit, and I thought it was just him carrying things too far, but I am dismayed that it was plaintiff that did that. I’d rather attribute poor reasoning to one judge than a whole movement.
    I also don’t think it’s better to stick to the substantive argument. The decision was poor enough to attack on the merits, forget whether or not he drafted it.

  • http://hereisangela.com angela

    Oops, I mean I think it is better to stick to the merits.
    Also Joe is free to call it plagiarism. It doesn’t mean he’s right. The legal profession has its own accepted standards. Everybody involved in litigation knows that judges do sometimes adopt entire sections of litigants’ proposed findings of facts as their own. I don’t see why, if a judge adopts one side’s factual recitations instead of another’s it would be bad, considering that he is after all choosing sides. Particularly where the public will be able to judge the merits of his judgment no matter what the writing (which is what I suggest we do here).
    Judges do not claim to be original. In fact, in some cases, they are not permitted to be original.

  • http://scienceblogs.com/dispatches/ Ed Brayton

    Joe, this is really beneath your usual standards (and I mean that sincerely). You have swallowed whole a bunch of nonsense from Casey Luskin and his pals at the DI. We aren’t “falling all over ourselves” to debunk this, we have made numerous substantive arguments, not a single one of which you actually reply to (nor have they, I might add), as to why their accusations are false.
    The quote you took from the Bright is completely out of context. One paragraph before the section you quote (which I suspect you just cribbed from Luskin, and this should tell you something important about trusting his honesty in situations like this), the court clearly distinguished the facts of that case from the facts of this one. Yes, the court said they could not condone what the judge did in that case. And if what the judge did in that case was what the judge did in this case, you would have a point. But one paragraph before the quote you use, the ruling says this:

    Here, however, we are not dealing with findings of fact. Instead, we are confronted with a District Court opinion that is essentially a verbatim copy of the appellees’ proposed opinion. This fact, even standing alone, would be enough for us to distinguish the holdings in Anderson and Lansford-Coaldale. (emphasis in original)

    In Bright, the judge copied the entire opinion from the proposed opinion filed by one side in the case (not just the findings of fact, which the ruling makes clear is okay, but the conclusions of law and everything else as well) before receiving any response briefs from the other side. It is immensely different than what Judge Jones did here. Luskin is being highly dishonest about the nature of that ruling, dishonest enough that if he tried that in a law school paper he might well find himself in serious hot water for it. And you should know better than to credulously accept his cites.
    As for the rest of it, all you’re really saying is that you don’t think it should be normal and routine for judges to use proposed findings of fact without rewording them. But it is normal and routine. The reason why no one has raised this issue before now is because no one with any experience in reading briefs and court rulings is the least bit surprised by it. This is absolutely what one would expect.

  • http://mysticchords.blogspot.com/ John Salmon

    Mathew Goggins-
    “You raise a very good question: why should a court be ruling on a school curriculum? School curricula are in the province of school boards.
    “You give a partial answer to your own question: the courts give rulings when parents raise certain kinds of complaints. So the underlying question becomes, are complaints about Intelligent Design valid?”
    No. First of all, the courts are hardly competent to determine what is or isn’t good science.
    The important question is whether the small group of public school parents who object to ID being taught can use the courts to prevent the rest from having their kids educated the way they prefer.
    The minority always has rights, but certainly not GREATER rights than the majority. Of course that’s why the Left wants these questions settled in the courts in the first place, since the public so rarely agrees with their views.

  • giggling

    Joe McFaul:
    “That’s the law. And that’s pretty much how this cae was handled. All the courts and all the lawyers realize that the proposed findings are subject to being lifted verbatim into the court’s opinion. It doens’t happen every case, but it’s not uncommon or unexpected at all. Since the propsoed findigns from both sideds are matters fo publci record and the opinion is,too, anybody who wants to compare how the opinion tracks with a party’s prosed findigns can do it.”
    Uh. First of all, no one’s saying that plagiarism occurs when person A uses person B’s materials verbatim. Let’s get that clear…
    The question is whether it’s plagiarism if A uses B’s material verbatim AND doesn’t cite it specifically.
    In normal academia, it does no use to simply preface at the beginning of a paper: “I relied on William Shakespeare” or “I relied on the writings of Robert Nozick” and then not cite the specific elements of writing when they are used, even if they are public record (like Shakespeare)…
    So it seems Jones’ use of the ACLU findings of fact would quality under an academic’s definition of plagiarism.
    I take it you are saying that not citing verbatim is legitimate in the legal field with respect to (at least) complex findings of fact (and I believe you).
    To which Joe Carter would say he thinks it’s still plagiarism, even if the legal field doesn’t think so, which is a completely reasonable opinion to have.
    Stop cutting each other down and maybe you’ll actually understand what people mean.

  • giggling

    Whoops: I forgot to write [sic] after Joe McFaul’s quote, and the 4th line from the bottom should read:
    “So it seems Jones’ use of the ACLU findings of fact would qualify under an academic’s definition of plagiarism.”

  • LudVanB

    “The important question is whether the small group of public school parents who object to ID being taught can use the courts to prevent the rest from having their kids educated the way they prefer. ”
    I m personally all for setting up a class to “teach” (a very generous term but i ll let you have it for now) ID but ID is 100% philosophical and relies on no facts whatsoever and as such,does not belong in a biology class and thats the reason why it was challenged in courts. There is no biological groundwork for ID because IDist are incapable of answering a simple question such as “What differenciate an intelligently designed lifeform from a non Intelligently designed one” other then to take the faith based position that non-intelligently designed lifeforms dont exist. I am also curious about one thing…you IDist type are always harping on the demand that the arguments against evolutions be also taught in evolution courses. But are you also prepared to sipulate that classes teaching ID would also be required to review the arguments against ID? because i ve not seen that so far…

  • Ed Brayton

    giggling wrote:

    The question is whether it’s plagiarism if A uses B’s material verbatim AND doesn’t cite it specifically.
    In normal academia, it does no use to simply preface at the beginning of a paper: “I relied on William Shakespeare” or “I relied on the writings of Robert Nozick” and then not cite the specific elements of writing when they are used, even if they are public record (like Shakespeare)…

    What you’re missing is context. Would this be considered plagiarism in literature? Yes. The difference is that in a court case, both sides are asked to provide proposed findings of facts for the specific purpose of having them taken, either verbatim or slightly rephrased, and used in the ruling. They are written expressly for that purpose, and they’re even worded in the voice of the judge. That’s why the ID side’s proposed findings included phrases like “This Court finds…”, because that’s exactly why they’re writing them, so that if the court agrees with a particular statement of fact, it will then get transferred into the ruling. Yes, the context actually does matter here. What is plagiarism in literature is not plagiarism in the law because such briefs are written precisely to BE plagiarized.

  • ex-preacher

    You’re looking to a commencement address for originality, Joe? Probably the only place you could find a higher level of unattributed “borrowing” is in the pulpit. In fact, I was taught in my homiletics classes in seminary not to give attributions as it seriously interrupts the flow of the sermon. We weren’t to copy entire sermons but were encouraged to use quotes from others without stopping to give a verbal footnote. We were taught that we could always give the original sources to anyone who asked.
    Today, however, it is fairly common practice for preachers to use entire sermons of others without attribution. Indeed, Rick Warren and others sell and send their sermons on tape, CD, or podcast (complete with fill-in-the-blank outlines) across the globe for preachers to use verbatim. Warren even tells them not to give him any credit.
    My dad, also a preacher, tells a story of a church that decided to honor their beloved preacher by having a series of his sermons printed in book form. They surprised him at a service by announcing that they had printed 10,000 copies. The preacher was momentary speechless as he realized that someone would soon discover that they were actually Charles Swindoll’s sermons. He quickly recovered and said, “I am so honored by your generosity. I don’t feel it would be right to sell these for a profit, so I propose that they all be bundled up immediately and sent to Africa for use on the mission field.” The congregation gave him a standing ovation.

  • JohnW

    Matthew Goggins,
    I appreciate your thought comments at post number 19, especially the last paragraph.
    It is not likely that I’ll change anyone’s deeply held viewpoints. I should learn to communicate better and listen more closely to opposing viewpoints. Myself, up until a few years ago, I always voted republican and supported republican politics. In fact, my best friend always reminds me that I initially supported the Iraq war and told him they were going to find all kinds of WMD’s and Bush had to go to Iraq to protect our country. Anyways, my thinking has changed after doing a lot of reading from a variety of sources (including christian authors), and weighing the plausibility of what they said.
    Anyhow, your comments gave me an idea I’d like to run past you. Perhaps you could suggest things for me to read that express your viewpoints on politics and faith and I could do the same? I have something in mind that expresses my viewpoints on those issues and it available on the internet.
    Try googling: “evangelicals and the political gospel” “richard v. pierard”. Pierard is a recently retired professor at Gordon College in Massachusetts. It’s a 10 page article.
    I would be interested in hearing your opinion on this article and if you suggest something for me to read, I’ll be sure to read it and share my thoughts.

  • ex-preacher

    I was taught, Mr. Salmon, that the Bill of Rights and the courts exist to protect the rights of the minority (even if that minority is one person) against the will of the majority. The majority control the legislature and executive branches.
    In this case, the rights of parents and children to have actual science taught in the science classroom outweighs the will of the majority to have religion taught as science. It is true, as Joe says, that “science is not decided by judicial decision.” Thankfully, though, neither is science decided by majority vote.

  • http://www.evangelicaloutpost.com Joe Carter

    Joe M QUOTE THE WHOLE DAMN sentence!
    Although we strongly disagree on many issues, I think you are a honest and thoughtful guy, Joe. Dead wrong sometimes, but you are principled. So I encourage you to take a deep breath and take another long, careful look at the passages I cited.
    Say what you will about the DI, they are savvy PR guys. For the past two days they’ve laid the groundwork, implying that Jones does not think for himself but merely cuts-and-paste from the work of others. Laymen like me get in a tizzy but the lawyers all shrug.
    So then they just happen to come across a clear case of plagiarism by the judge? Coincidence? Uh, no. Part of their scheme to trap the people who’ve been defending Judge Jones in a conundrum.
    They can admit that, yes, there is evidence that he has plagiarized in the past and then argue that it doesn’t cast doubt on the credibility of his judgment (a losing strategy). Or, since they are already carried along by the momentum, attempt to dismiss or deny this clear cut case of plagiarism (which makes them appear to condone dishonesty).
    It’s a rope-a-dope tactic, Joe. Don’t fall for it.
    He attributed it and did not claim it as his own thought.
    Slow down and let’s take a closer look. The areas that are in bold are the sections where Jones speech matches Frank Lambert’s text verbatim:
    As has been often written, our Founding Fathers were children of The Enlightenment. So influenced, they possessed a great confidence in an individual’s ability to understand the world and its most fundamental laws through the exercise of his or her reason.
    [snip]
    The Founders believed that true religion was not something handed down by a church or contained in a Bible, but was to be found through free, rational inquiry. At bottom then, this core set of beliefs led the Founders, who constantly engaged and questioned things, to secure their idea of religious freedom by barring any alliance between church and state.
    Let’s begin by noting that when I quote the “whole damn thing” that it just makes Jones look worse. The addition of “As has often been written” refers only to the commonly held belief that the “Founding Fathers were children of The Enlightenment.” It doesn’t refer to any of the other passages. Besides, if you are going to quote extensively from one author you don’t say “As has often been written.” I seriously doubt that those passages by Frank Lambert were “often written” verbatim by others.
    Of course there is always the chance that Jones thought Lambert was a lawyer and had free reign to quote from him without giving credit. But I doubt it.
    The fact is, Joe, that Jones got caught. Don’t make the mistake of trying to defend his actions.
    Angela The legal profession has its own accepted standards. Everybody involved in litigation knows that judges do sometimes adopt entire sections of litigants’ proposed findings of facts as their own.
    Thanks, Angela. I see now that the legal profession does indeed have their own accepted standards and that Jones has not violated the accepted practice of his colleagues. What is disturbing, though, is that since this is common knowledge among lawyers, why did nobody mention it when Jones’s brilliant understanding of the complex arguments was being hailed? Why didn’t anyone say, “You know that he copied that from the ACLU’s documents, right?”
    It’s a bit disconcerting to find out that a widely touted legal opinion is an extensive cut-and-paste job. But it’s downright depressing to hear that this is a standard practice within the legal community.
    Ed Joe, this is really beneath your usual standards (and I mean that sincerely). You have swallowed whole a bunch of nonsense from Casey Luskin and his pals at the DI.
    When I heard that the courts frowned upon cutting-and-pasting partisan party findings verbatim into a court’s ruling, I naively jumped to the conclusion, “Well, of course.” I admit that I am rather naïve sometimes and this is a prime example. I assumed that anything that would have got me kicked out of school for an ethics violation must surely be discouraged in the legal realm. I will concede that I appear to have been wrong. Mea culpa.
    As for the rest of it, all you’re really saying is that you don’t think it should be normal and routine for judges to use proposed findings of fact without rewording them. But it is normal and routine.
    Normal and routine. Okay, I accept that as a fact. It lowers my opinion of the bar, but if that’s the way the game is played then so be it. I still think it is unethical but I will no longer say that it is unusual.
    ex-preacher You’re looking to a commencement address for originality, Joe?
    I have to admit, ex, that my head is about to explode. I just can’t keep track of when and where it’s okay to plagiarize and when it isn’t. For some reason I was under the impression that taking other peoples words and using them verbatim as if they were your original thoughts was dishonest. Who knew there were so many exceptions to ethics? ; )
    Warren even tells them not to give him any credit.
    Funny you should mention that because I found out about that just yesterday. A buddy at work and I were talking about that and I was (not surprisingly) surprised to find that sort of thing was condoned. (I’m starting to wonder how I made so long while being so naïve.)

  • http://mysticchords.blogspot.com/ John Salmon

    Ex-preacher-
    “In this case, the rights of parents and children to have actual science taught in the science classroom outweighs the will of the majority to have religion taught as science. It is true, as Joe says, that ‘science is not decided by judicial decision.’ Thankfully, though, neither is science decided by majority vote.”
    When you “sciencer taught as religion”, I assume you mean ID, though the charge is at least as valid for Darwinism.
    But to the point of contention at hand…if parents want to take their kids out of a class because ID is being taught, or compared with Darwinism, that’s their right. Or if they don’t want their kid to say the Pledge, that’s their right.
    But to say that the views of the infintesimal percentage of parents who believe as you do should prevent such a comparison from even being made, isn’t protecting the rights of the minority, it’s tyranny-effected by judicial fiat.
    Joe Carter-I know your post was about plagairism, but is this really an important issue? I know this is a tool Dobson et al would like to beat up Jones over, but the question should be, why is Jones the arbiter in the first place? Better to have lined up the facts before having done the post in the first place, also.
    This was sloppy work, in all honesty. You’re now at the point of doing more harm than good on this issue, sad to say.

  • http://www.evangelicaloutpost.com/archives/003253.html Joe Carter

    John Salmon Joe Carter-I know your post was about plagairism, but is this really an important issue?
    Hmm, is honesty an “important issue?” I’d say yes. Do you disagree?
    Better to have lined up the facts before having done the post in the first place, also.
    The fact are rather clear: Jones copied extensively and verbatim from the ACLU’s document. That’s not in dispute.
    This was sloppy work, in all honesty. You’re now at the point of doing more harm than good on this issue, sad to say.
    I’m not sure what you are referring to? What was sloppy? The fact that the lawyers don’t see a problem with what everyone else in the world would consider plagiarism isn’t really relevant to my point. I guess you could say it was “sloppy” of me to think that the judiciary would frown upon such an unethical practice, but I’d just call that naiveté.

  • Baggi

    After reading through the comments and going to various other sites looking through all the information (And not just what Joe wrote) Ive come to the conclusion that what Judge Jones did (And those who belong to the Darwin movement) was very dishonest and they ought to come clean with an apology.
    The Discovery Institute points out that many people referred to Judge Jones after having read his ruling as a, “Clear thinker”, that he wrote a “Masterful decision”, that he is a, “Top notch thinker”, “is deserving of the title great thinker”, and on and on and on like this.
    This to me is very dishonest and misleading. Let’s turn the tables to illustrate my point as best I can.
    Let’s suppose for a moment that Judge Jones had ruled in favor of the Discovery Institute in a seperate case (The DI offered witnesses but wasn’t a defendent in the case). And let’s suppose for a moment that out of the 6000 word piece that Judge Jones wrote about ID, 5000 of those words were unattributed by still quoted from the fellows at the Discovery Institute. After Judge Jones wrote the piece, supporters of the Discovery Institute and the fellows that he cribbed from praised him as a great thinker, one of the greatest of our time, a brilliant man, and continued to heap praise on him without acknowledging that he merely stole their words.
    Obviously these sorts of argument, by analogy, are the worst sort of arguments. Perhaps you see my point though? There are two opposing movements in this country, one i’ll label Darwin and the other ID. Judge Jones ruled in favor of Darwin, using the words of those who belong to the Darwin movement, and then those who belong to the Darwin movement praised him without acknowledging that they are the ones who put the words into his mouth.
    Call it whatever you want to call it. It’s dishonest and meant to trick the uninformed. Goebbels couldn’t have done better.
    (Eric of Eric and Lisa)

  • http://thebronxblogger.blogspot.com Matthew Goggins

    Hello all,
    I don’t have time to respond to everyone right now.
    But briefly,
    JohnW,
    Thank you very much for your response. I will get to your article as soon as I can, but probably not before Sunday. I’ll post a comment with my reaction.
    Joe Carter,
    This has been a very interesting comment thread.
    Like I said to Patrick, you have raised a very interesting point about judicial opinions. While I still feel you are very wrong to describe Judge Jones’ decision as plagiarism, I find your “naive” position to be more appealing in its rigorous stand on honesty than the rather expedient standards of the bench. But it’s not fair to judge the judge by your standards when adhering to your standards could very well interfere with a judge’s ability to manage his caseload.
    This whole accusation that Judge Jones plagiarized his commencement speech is rather unfair. It’s like you’re throwing mud against the wall and seeing what will stick.
    It’s true the Discovery folks have caught the judge red-handed, but at worst, this is nothing more than a relatively small misdemeanor. It’s not Christian to try to besmirch the judge like this, especially when he’s not in a position to defend himself. When push comes to shove, even if the plagiarism in the commencement speech is unjustified, it doesn’t actually speak to the appropriateness of the judge’s verbatim usage in the court decision.
    But in my view, extremism in defense of honesty is probably the best kind of extremism to pick if you feel you have to be an extremist. But it’s just very sad, if not unfair, to condemn a man for lifting a brief passage in a commencement speech.
    Cheers,
    Matthew

  • http://mysticchords.blogspot.com/ John Salmon

    Joe Carter-My phrasing above was a little harsh, and for that I apologize. But if this practice, (ethically dubious as it is) is commonplace among judges, I’m not sure what’s gained by the whole discussion.
    I’m far more concerned, myself, with what, say, John Paul Stevens puts in a published opinion, than whether he wrote it all himself. Now, his clerks might feel otherwise!

  • ex-preacher

    I thought I had seen a headline recently about the extent of sermon plagiarizing. I found it. It was originally in the Wall Street Journal.
    http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/06319/738514-96.stm
    It even includes a quote from Rick Warren where he encourages his subscribers to not give an attribution.
    BTW, I’m not at all condoning this. I just find the criticism of Jones’ unattributed use of a quote in a single paragraph of a commencement address ironic in view of the vast plagiarism every Sunday (and probably some Wednesdays!) in the evangelical church.

  • Joe McFaul

    Giggling makes this fair observation:
    “So it seems Jones’ use of the ACLU findings of fact would quality under an academic’s definition of plagiarism.
    I take it you are saying that not citing verbatim is legitimate in the legal field with respect to (at least) complex findings of fact (and I believe you).
    To which Joe Carter would say he thinks it’s still plagiarism, even if the legal field doesn’t think so, which is a completely reasonable opinion to have.
    Stop cutting each other down and maybe you’ll actually understand what people mean.”
    Here’s where Joe C is morally wrong. Let’s take it as a given that “Jones’ use of the ACLU findings of fact would quality under an academic’s definition of plagiarism.”
    But his opinion wasn’t in academia–it was in a differnet circumstnace with differnet rules of conduct. Joe Carter might not have known that there was a different circumstance–where the originator is begging to be borrowed from (vicotry may ride on it)–dramatically unlike academia-where the originator craves attribution (tenure may ride on it). That whole circumstance changes the morality.
    For the last three days, there’s been a couch in very good condition sitting in our neighbor’s side yard. I could take it but that would be stealing. Today, there’s a sign on it: “free counch.” Now I can take it without stealing it. But Joe C saw me take it and told everybody I stole it. Soembody filled Joe C in and told him there was a “free couch” sign on it. Joe first denied that there was a sign and still called me a thief. Later, faced with a number of people assuring him there was in fact a sign, he still obstinately insists I am still a thief because people just don’t give away couches like that where he comes from.
    That position is morally wrong. It is OK to say,”hey I don;t comprehend that–it doesn’t make sense to me. It is not OK to accuse someone of dishonesty where he clearly wasn’t by the applcable standards of that situation.
    Joe, did you talk to Hugh Hewitt on this?
    If you haven’t I change my advice. It’s too late. See your pastor. You are bearing false witness.
    Oh, should I have attributed the source of that last sentence? Is it standard practice to attribute bibical quotes in sppech among Christians? That’s quite a telling exception to your “always attribute” requirement.
    John Salmon:
    “I’m far more concerned, myself, with what, say, John Paul Stevens puts in a published opinion, than whether he wrote it all himself.”
    You have your eye on the target–well done.

  • Joe McFaul

    Eric as ususal is wrong.
    he offers this analogy [I shortened it for dramatic effect]:
    “Assume Judge Jones rules in favor of ID. His opinion is a verbatim duplicate of the ID proposed findings. After Judge Jones wrote the piece, supporters of the Discovery Institute praised him as a great thinker, one of the greatest of our time, a brilliant man, and continued to heap praise on him.” Any objections from evolutionists?”
    Nope. The DI won. If I object to the ruling then I can appeal and write artilces criticizing its analysis. I have no gripe that the Judge signed the other guy’s order verbatim.
    Proof? I’ve told you I’m a lawyer. This exact situation happened to me in September. I was on the losing side of a case. If you ask, I’ll send you the other side’s proposed judgment, the judges verbatim opinion, and my objections to the final judgment. I object not that the judge signed the proposed judgment verbatim, but that it was the wrong order to sign. The judge denied my motion, signed the other side’s proposed judgment with no changes anyway, and the case is over. I have no grounds to appeal. Certainly, no court would give me the time of day if I appealed becasue the other side’s proposed judgment was signed with no changes. I lost. Finito.
    There are two sides to most cases. Half of all litigants lose. They get over it. Life goes on.
    Intelligent Design lost. The judge did nothing wrong. The Thomas More Law Center (defending ID) has not ever accused the judge of any impropriety in this case, because they know what the judge did was expected. He was very likely to sign one
    or the other side’s proposed judgment. That side would be the winner and would praise the judge’s wisdom. There would have been no change if ID had won.

  • Baggi

    We all know that he sided with Darwin’s proponents on this one and there is nothing wrong with that.
    Here is the problem, and it is a mighty big problem.
    Writing for Real Climate.org, Ray Pierre writes;
    Judge Jones (a George W. Bush appointee, by the way)
    Notice how he points out that Judge Jones is a George W. Bush appointee? The point of this is to say, “Hey look, Judge Jones is a totally neutral third party in this dispute. Let’s see what he has to say”. It continues…
    His decision that teaching ID in public school science classes would be an unconstitutional establishment of religion, is a masterpiece of wit, scholarship and clear thinking.
    He also writes;
    These make fascinating reading, and show Judge Jones’ wide ranging intellect, but they are not of concern to me here. What’s relevant to the point at hand is the rather extensive part of the decision devoted to the question “How do we know whether something is science?” This question wasn’t entirely central to the basis of the Judge’s decision, but he devoted a lot of attention to it because, in his words,
    Anyone reading this is lead to believe that A: Judge Jones is a neutral party here and B: The opinion is in his words and that is why the guy is such a brilliant man!
    And yet all of that is misleading at best, a lie at worst.
    One of the main witnesses for the defense and probably the loudest critic of Intelligent Design was Barbara Forrest. She writes about Judge Jones;
    If they were hoping Judge Jones would see and be influenced by this silliness, it was just another sign of the disrespect for his intelligence and integrity that began before the trial and continues today
    and in another part writes
    On December 20, 2005, Judge Jones delivered a powerful opinion —a marvel of clarity and forthrightness— giving no quarter to either the school board or ID.
    A marvel of clarity and forthrightness! She’s basically praising herself here and not even acknowledging it, but instead pretending that a neutral third party, and a brilliant one at that, just so happens to agree with her, instead of playing for her team. So deceptive and disengenious.
    This is how Time Magazine covers the story
    Judge John Jones must have seemed like the answer to creationists’ prayers: a Bush-appointed Republican federal judge, and a Lutheran to boot,
    This is the very first sentence. Get it? Here’s a guy who will probably side with those creationist. Only overwhelming evidence to the contrary could sway such a man to the other side. And then, the article goes on to imput to Judge Jones, without mentioning that it is the words of the ACLU copied and pasted into an opinion, words like
    In a rebuke to the proponents of intelligent design, Jones called the phrase “a mere relabeling of creationism,” intended to get around the 1987 judicial ban on teaching creationism as science in public schools, and a “breathtaking inanity” that fails the test as science. He castigated its proponents and said Dover’s students, parents and teachers “deserved better than to be dragged into this legal maelstrom.”
    Yes, let’s mention that Judge Jones is a Bush appointee, but let’s not mention that the words of his opinion were written by Darwinists.
    Again, at the very best this is misguided, at the worst it is an out and out attempt at deception.
    Finally, this is what Time has to say…
    Had Jones been a Democrat or an atheist, his judgment might have had less impact. He displayed not only a quick wit in the courtroom but also an easy grasp of complex arguments about such things as the molecular motor that drives the bacterial flagellum—which the creationists believe has “irreducible complexity” and therefore could not have been designed except by a designer.
    How can we know about his grasp of these things if he didn’t write the words of his own opinion? We can’t, but since we are on his team, let’s pretend like he’s brilliant.
    The Panda’s thumb Andrew McClure was the worst of these, writing stuff like
    Jones came into the case with (apparently) only superficial knowledge of the issues at hand, and was able to
    absorb and assess them all very well. that makes him seem like a top-notch thinker to me.

    And
    when Judge Jones demonstrated clear thinking in abundance in his writing of a decision that seems to have
    put the ID movement on the run, much as Gen. Jackson’s forces did to the British at the Battle of New Orleans, it
    qualifies him as an outstanding thinker.

    These are meant to leave the reader thinking that Judge Jones wrote his opinion, was the mind behind his opinion, and should be honored for his ability to think clearly on these weighty subjects.
    Come to find out, we really don’t know at all if Judge Jones is a brilliant thinker or not. Who can say? All he did was copy someone elses words and then those people who wrote those words decided to praise him for the words they wrote, pretending he wrote them.
    This really is a scandal and i’m surprised by some of the folks here who don’t agree.
    My guess is that Judge Jones did not willing participate in this sort of propaganda. If indeed it is normal for Judges to simply copy and paste arguments from one side or the other into their opinion and then to write a few words of their own to top it off. However, all of those after the fact who pretended like Judge Jones Opinion was anything other than a copy/paste job were attempting to deceive.
    This goes back to something Joe has said before, I think. Darwinists cannot win on the merits, so they have to resort to these sorts of tactics.

  • Baggi

    Also, contrary to what Joe M. has written, here is what some other lawyers have had to say,
    “Discovery Institute is on solid ground in pointing out Judge Jones’ highly questionable practice in this case,” said Bruce Green, an attorney with the Center for Law and Policy. “While having no legal bearing at this stage, it is highly frowned upon by the federal judiciary for a judge to adopt wholesale the findings and conclusions of a party without making a case for independent investigation demonstrated in the record.”
    And this is what the third circuit wrote in Bright v Westmoreland
    Judicial opinions are the core work-product of judges. They are much more than findings of fact and conclusions of law; they constitute the logical and analytical explanations of why a judge arrived at a specific decision. They are tangible proof to the litigants that the judge actively wrestled with their claims and arguments and made a scholarly decision based on his or her own reason and logic. When a court adopts a party’s proposed opinion as its own, the court vitiates the vital purposes served by judicial opinions. We, therefore, cannot condone the practice used by the District Court in this case.
    Also
    “A 1964 U.S. Supreme Court case called a judge who adopted a party’s findings of facts verbatim ‘not the product of the workings of the district judge’s mind’4 and noted the findings of fact had been ‘mechanically adopted’5 by the district court.”
    And yet, as shown above, we keep hearing praise for the mind of Judge Jones. Finally…
    According to the Associated Press, a legal scholar at the Louis Stein Center for Law and Ethics at Fordham Law School acknowledged that it is “not typical for judges to adopt one side’s proposed findings verbatim.”
    I’m not sure what Judge Jones did here was ethical for a Judge to do. I’d be interested to hear what other judges think about what Judge Jones did. Hopefully the media will pick up on this story and we’ll find out.

  • http://kairosfocus.blogspot.com/ kairosfocus

    This thread — as CH noted — is ever so predictable.
    Baggi has brought attention back to the key point, but did not sufficiently emphasise the key point: Judge Jones did not simply take a solid finding of fact and use it — he took up essentially verbatim [the DI 34 pp document has devastating parallel columns, folks, this is not a matter of dispute] a set of findings full of misrepresentations, distortions and objectively false claims regarding design theory and the facts in the case. [Cf my discussion here — and the reactions of Boonton and ilk from a year ago track right on target today.]
    For instance the ACLU-supplied “definition” of Design Theory and “evaluation” of its scientific status is plainly wrong. For, we routinely infer to intelligence as a cause in many pure and applied scientific endeavours: communication theory, SETI, pharmacology, archaeology, cryptanalysis etc. We need a field that studies “[empirical] signs of intelligence” and gives us useful statistical/probabilistic constructs for moving beyond intuition in deciding what PLATO trichotomised as nature, art and chance in Book 10 of his The Laws, some 2500 years ago.
    Similarly, it is simply blatantly false and misleading to claim that there does not exist a peer-reviewed ID-supportive scientific literature in the relevant fields. To go with the ACLU deception on this one, Judge Jones ignored accurate testimony in open court and submitted lists of actual published peer-reviewed ID-supportive literature in biologically-linked areas. [The ID supportive, peer-reviewed literature in Cosmology is much more established than that, too.]
    In short, not only was this a case of copying wholesale, but the copying was of misrepresentations and falsehoods, in the teeth of open testimony and objective evidence submitted that showed otherwise.
    Finally, I think that the actual statement struck down is itself highly revealing as to the agenda at work:
    _______________
    The Pennsylvania Academic Standards require students to learn about Darwin’s Theory of Evolution and eventually to take a standardized test of which evolution is a part.
    Because Darwin’s Theory is a theory, it continues to be tested as new evidence is discovered. The Theory is not a fact. Gaps in the Theory exist for which there is no evidence. A theory is defined as a well-tested explanation that unifies a broad range of observations.
    Intelligent Design is an explanation of the origin of life that differs from Darwin’s view. The reference book, Of Pandas and People, is available for students who might be interested in gaining an understanding of what Intelligent Design actually involves.
    With respect to any theory, students are encouraged to keep an open mind. The school leaves the discussion of the Origins of Life to individual students and their families. As a Standards-driven district, class instruction focuses upon preparing students to achieve proficiency on Standards-based assessments.
    _____________
    I think it is objectively obvious that:
    a] Darwinism is theory, not fact; that that means that is is an open-ended exercise, and that it seeks to summarise a vast body of empirical data, in which effort there are indeed key, persistent explanatory gaps.
    b] Design Theory is an emerging challenger as an explanation — and BTW, Pandas and People as published [which is what is material to the intent of authors and publishers — the game of looking at pre-publication drafts and rejected phrases too was plainly an appeal to prejudice] specifically notes that “Today we recognize that appeals to intelligent design may be considered in science, as illustrated by current NASA search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI). Archaeology has pioneered the development of methods for distinguishing the effects of natural and intelligent causes. We should recognize, however, that if we go further, and conclude that the intelligence responsible for biological origins is outside the universe (supernatural) or within it, we do so without the help of science.” (1993, pg. 126-127)
    c] The call to an OPEN [but critically aware] mind in light of knowing the dominant theory and its gaps and that alternatives exist [note that ID was not to be expounded int he classroom!] is not a closing off of options but an opening of minds. (Notice how actual censor ship is being praised when it serves the agenda of the secularist elites here.)
    d] Given the persistent absence of a credible, robust account of the origin of the functionally specific, complex information [FSCI] and associated tightly integrated information systems at the heart of the molecular technology of life, the origin of life is the first gap in the broader evolutionary materialist account of origins. Further to this, the issue Loennig raises in his peer reviewed article on the challenge of viable macro-level spontaneous [“chance”] changes in DNA that express themselves embryologically early bring this gap issue not only to chemical evolution, but to the macro-evolution that NDT is supposed to explain, but does not — starting with the Cambrian life explosion as Meyer noted in another peer-reviewed article. [Both of these were of course brought to Judge Jones’ attention, and both were obviously ignored. No prizes for guessing why.]
    e] So, while as DI argues, ID is too pioneering to be a part of the classroom exposition, the cluster of persistent issues that NDT and wider evolutionary materialism cannot account for, definitely should be. The ongoing censorship of this scientific, philosophical, and cultural controversy is therefore telling.
    +++++++
    Okay, back to lurking . . .
    Grace, open our eyes
    Gordon

  • ex-preacher

    Regarding widespread plagiarism in the pulpit:
    http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/06319/738514-96.stm
    The article originally appeared on the front page of the Wall Street Journal.
    Money quote from Rick Warren: “They are preaching a sermon, not footnoting a term paper.”
    It’s a little ironic that evangelicals criticize Jones for the unattributed use of a quote in a commencement address, while thousands of evangelical preachers plagiarize entire sermons every Sunday. Log, speck, eye.

  • http://mumonno.blogspot.com Mumon

    Gordon wrote:

    I think it is objectively obvious that…

    IOW, he has a subjective view about what is objective.
    So what?
    What is everyone who happens to have more information, chopped liver?

  • Casey Luskin

    Hi all and thanks for this interesting discussion. I am not going to have time for more than one post, so here go a few responses:
    Response to Ed Brayton:
    It’s saddening that Ed Brayton had to descend to so much namecalling against me in his post in order to make his points. I’m not going to respond back to Ed by calling him names, but I think it’s legitimate for me to defend my arguments.
    I think Ed has misunderstood our point. We do NOT cite cases like Bright v. Westmoreland or In re: Community Bank of Northern Virginia in order to claim that Judge Jones ruling perfectly and identically fits the facts from those cases identically and should therefore should be overturned. But much dicta from those cases do establish a principle: courts disapprove of copying a party’s brief verbatim. That’s our point: what Judge Jones did is not generally approved of by courts.
    Thus, regarding the case Bright v. Westmoreland, Ed is correct that the case dealt with a proposed opinion rather than findings of fact and that the judge in that case made other errors. That does not make it irrelevant to our point. Like I said, we’re not arguing that Kitzmiller should be overruled like the Bright court did to a different judge. We’re simply establishing the principle that courts generally disapprove of judges who copy party’s documents in a verbatim or near-verbatim fashion into their rulings. The cases I cited are useful for establishing this point.
    Moreover, in In re: Community Bank of Northern Virginia–a case dealing with (among other things) copying of findings of fact–the Third Circuit itself cited Bright v. Westmoreland to bolster their claim that such a practice was inappropriate, even though Bright clearly dealt with a party’s proposed opinion. So apparently the difference in the type of document doesn’t necessarily distinguish things. Here’s what the Third Circuit says in a case where it lamented that it could not overrule a judge simply because he copied the findings of fact:

    We are bound by the Supreme Court’s decision in Anderson v. Bessemer City, 470 U.S. 564, 572, 105 S.Ct. 1504, 84 L.Ed.2d 518 (1985), holding that a district court’s verbatim adoption of a party’s proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law, although highly disapproved of, is not per se grounds for reversal. Lansford Coaldale Joint Water Auth. v. Tonolli Corp., 4 F.3d 1209, 1215 16 (3d Cir.1993). However, there must be evidence in the record demonstrating that the district court exercised “independent judgment” in adopting a party’s proposed findings. Bright v. Westmoreland County, 380 F.3d 729, 731 32 (3d Cir.2004); see also Pa. Envtl. Def. Found. v. Canon McMillan Sch. Dist., 152 F.3d 228, 233 (3d Cir.1998) (“The central issue is whether the district court has made an independent judgment.”).
    In re: Community Bank of Northern Virginia, 418 F.3d 277, 300 (3rd Cir. 2005). (emphasis added)

    2 points I make here:
    (a) If the Third Circuit Court of Appeals can cite to Bright v. Westmoreland when discussing the inappropriateness of copying a party’s “proposed findings” in a verbatim or near verbatim fashion without showing independent judgment, then so can I.
    (b) The point of this passage goes much deeper: here the Third Circuit said it is “highly disapproved of” (even according to the Supreme Court) for a party to adopt “a party’s proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law” in a “verbatim” fashion. Given that they cite Bright here on this issue, it’s clear that precise type of brief, motion, proposed opinion, or other party-produced document is immaterial to the clear point from the Third Circuit’s dicta that verbatim or near-verbatim copying is “highly disapproved of.” That’s my point, and it’s legitimate.
    Brayton tries to overstate my argument as if I am claiming that the Kitzmiller ruling perfectly fits the facts of Bright such that it should be overturned. That is NOT what I am arguing, but Bright and In re: Community Bank of Northern Virginia both contain relevant dicta which establish the principle that the practice of blanket copying a party’s brief—while not always prohibited—is clearly disapproved of by courts. That’s my point, and I think it’s legitimate.
    The passage which Joe Carter cites is entirely relevant–as dicta–to the central point that the practice of verbatim copying briefs is not favored by courts (even if it is sometimes allowed).
    Response to Joe McFaul:
    Joe notes that in Judge Jones speech, he says, “As has been often written” in connection with the phrase, “our Founding Fathers were children of The Enlightenment.” That latter phrase does not appear in the Lambert book (http://press.princeton.edu/chapters/i7500.html) so it’s not clear that Judge Jones is referring specifically to that book when he’s talking about something that has been written elsewhere. Moreover, Judge Jones says it has been “often written” implying he’s talking about more than one author-not citing to one author. What’s Judge Jones doing here then? He’s clearly not just talking about one author (i.e. Lambert). Most likely, he’s talking about the fact that innumerable scholars have recognized that the founding fathers were highly influenced by enlightenment thought. That’s it. Given that other sections of Judge Jones’ speech which come later, where there’s no reference to Lambert or any other writing, are identical to passages of the Lambert book, I think Joe’s explanation of the situation here is weak. There’s a verbatim similarity between many of Judge Jones’s statements and the Lambert book throughout the speech—I think readers should decide for themselves but Joe McFaul’s defense does not adequately explain the data.
    Response to Reed Cartwright:
    Of course Reed is correct that other portions of the Kitzmiller ruling were not taken essentially entirely from the Plaintiffs Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law. That might make Reed feel better about this, but it doesn’t negate the fact that 90.9% of the most celebrated and expansive portion of the ruling on whether ID is science–which Judge Jones hoped would have an impact upon other courts–was taken verbatim or near-verbatim from the ACLU’s brief. Our report looks at that section, and it is obvious that the entire section precisely fits the criteria of the “verbatim or near verbatim” criteria which is “highly disapproved of” by the Third Circuit. Perhaps Judge Jones copied to a lesser degree in other portions (I don’t actually know, as I haven’t done a quantitative analysis on those sections). But when the ‘copying is disapproved of’ principle is applied to the most celebrated portion of the ruling, our argument sticks. Again, keep in mind that we’re not arguing that the ruling should be overruled, but making the much more modest and justifiableclaim that that what Judge Jones did is not generally looked upon favorably by courts. I think our argument sticks just fine.
    Thanks all for reading and take care.
    Sincerely,
    Casey Luskin
    cluskin@discovery.org

  • Chris Lutz

    I think a similar situation is to look at business. Let’s say my boss tells me to write a memo to him about the reasons to purchase product X. I put five reasons in my memo. My boss takes my memo, uses my five points virtually verbatim with some additional discussion in his memo to his boss. He doesn’t provide attribution to my five points and I don’t assume that he would. Now, if one of the five points is patently false, then it shows up on my boss as being somewhat incompetent.

  • http://hereisangela.com angela

    Joe wrote: Thanks, Angela. I see now that the legal profession does indeed have their own accepted standards and that Jones has not violated the accepted practice of his colleagues. What is disturbing, though, is that since this is common knowledge among lawyers, why did nobody mention it when Jones’s brilliant understanding of the complex arguments was being hailed? Why didn’t anyone say, “You know that he copied that from the ACLU’s documents, right?” It’s a bit disconcerting to find out that a widely touted legal opinion is an extensive cut-and-paste job. But it’s downright depressing to hear that this is a standard practice within the legal community.
    Probably nobody really knew until now–except the people who filed the brief. Most people don’t do checks except the litigants, which is what happened here. If it was really such an extensive cut-and-paste, you would think DI’s lawyers would have noticed it straight off and tooted that horn sooner. That’s why I was a bit doubtful of the methodology.
    It is also true that the legal community’s practice is so accepted that when I read it, I just thought, “Wow, 96% (or whatever DI alleged was copied) is pretty lazy,” instead of “Wow, he plagiarized.”
    But mainly the decision was so poorly reasoned (though pandering to the anti-ID evolutionist crowd) that I thought, Good, let the court know the anti-ID evolutionist crowd can write poorly, too. I must live under a rock, or maybe I just tune out stupidity, because it didn’t register with me that people thought it was brilliantly done.
    As I said, sad to attribute poor reasoning to a movement instead of just an individual, but if it exposes the fault lines of the movement, fine. (And I don’t even think ID is good science yet. See post Give Science a Chance.)
    As for Judge Jones taking credit for something he didn’t write, a judge will pretty much never discuss cut-and-paste. I’m more surprised the ACLU didn’t discuss it more widely–“We were so right the judge adopted our recitations in substantial part.” I don’t know, maybe the substantial cut-and-paste in an extraordinarily long opinion crossed even the legal community’s line and they were embarrassed.
    Can someone please tell me about DI’s methodology?

  • http://hereisangela.com angela

    Chris Lutz,
    The analogy doesn’t quite work because in the legal world, both litigants’ submissions are made known to one another, to the judge, and to the public.
    In your analogy, that means the Big Boss has access to your memo and not just your boss’s memo. Add in a culture where all the memo-writers are in a competition to have your boss use their exact language. Then think of it in terms of the whole company reading both memos and your boss’s memo. Chances are if there is extensive “cribbing,” someone will go to the Big Boss and tell him, Hey, Chris’s memo was the best one and then come and cogratulate you. Of course, outside the company, maybe people think your boss did it alone and are using normal plagiarism standards and are going up to him congratulating him for his brilliant writing. If he were a normal guy maybe he would say, Uh, Chris deserves all the credit, what a guy! But instead, few people outside the company know about this practice, and it would be weird for him constantly to say, “Actually my employee wrote that.” To friends and family he might say it self-deprecatingly, but if he said it publicly, it would kind of undermine the company’s image.
    It’s easy for people to misunderstand this process of judges adopting a litigants’ language. This whole discussion proves that point.

  • http://decorabilia.blogspot.com Jim Anderson

    Sez Joe C:

    What is disturbing, though, is that since this is common knowledge among lawyers, why did nobody mention it when Jones’s brilliant understanding of the complex arguments was being hailed? Why didn’t anyone say, “You know that he copied that from the ACLU’s documents, right?”

    The irony here is astounding: a blogger, who has just uncritically cited an AP story (which will be copied, redisseminated in papers all over the country, sometimes modified, sometimes not–alert the Plagiarism Police!), and who has admitted his own “naivete,” is “disturbed” that the press might not understand something that he clearly doesn’t, either.

  • Joe McFaul

    Casey Luskin as a lawyer attempts to refer to “relevant dicta.”
    Ther is no such thing.
    It osunds like a cool legal phrase, but “dicta” is a legal term of art for what is more commonly known as “irrelevant.”
    So, “relevant dicta” is a contradiction in terms, an oxymoron. Here’s the ‘lectronic law library short definition:
    DICTA – The part of a judicial opinion which is merely a judge’s editorializing and does not directly address the specifics of the case at bar; extraneous material which is merely informative or explanatory.
    Dicta are judicial opinions expressed by the judges on points that do not necessarily arise in the case.
    Dicta are regarded as of little authority, on account of the manner in which they are delivered; it frequently happening that they are given without much reflection, at the bar, without previous examination.

    Notice the part about Dicta regarded “as of little authority.” That’s why lawyers don’t cite to dicta. Infact, a citation to “dicta” to a judge will get you chewed out–at a minimmum. It’s a sure sign of inexperience, incompetence or a weak argument, or a combination of the three.
    That’s why Mr. Luskin’s authorities aren’t considered. The vast majority of relvant cases get to the opposite conclusion than the one he is suggesting.
    As the commencement sppech address, Mr Luskin observes,
    “That latter phrase does not appear in the Lambert book so it’s not clear that Judge Jones is referring specifically to that book when he’s talking about something that has been written elsewhere. Moreover, Judge Jones says it has been “often written” implying he’s talking about more than one author-not citing to one author. What’s Judge Jones doing here then?”
    We do know he’s not claiming the thoughts as original, and therefore he’s not plagiarizing. ex-Preacher and his linked article nailed it trice. You don’t footnote “speeches.” A general acknowledgment of non-originality is sufficent.
    As to the media’s reliance on teh judge’s ruling, he charactrized the Dover polic as one of “breathtaking inanity.” This was seized upon by the media:
    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/10545387/
    Does anybody want to see if that term appears in the ACLU brief?
    How about this paragraph:
    “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.”
    Sure, the judge very liberally used the proposed findings and briefs of the winning side. That’s what happens especially when the winning side wins so convincingly. The losing side’s arguments were so bad, there’s no need to waste time reinventing the wheel.
    The judge delivered the message that the law and the underlying science supporting Intelligent Design’s introduction into primary schools are dreck.
    ID proponents have two choices:
    1. Kill the messenger.
    2. Improve the underlying science.
    Sadly, they’ve chosen #1.

  • Casey Luskin

    If all Joe McFaul can do is attack me for citing dicta then his case is weak indeed. “Relevant dicta” is not a meaningless term. Courts often cite to dicta of other cases to bolster points which are relevant to their own holding. That’s because dicta usually makes factually accurate characterizations of the law. Thus the authoritative Black’s Law Dictionary (7th edition, 1999) has a wonderful quote from an early 20th century legal scholar explaining the importance of dicta in the “dictum” entry:

    “As a dictum is by definition no part of the doctrine of the decision, and as the citing of it as a part of the doctrine is almost certainly to bring upon a brief maker adverse comment, lawyers are accustomed to speak of a dictum rather slightingly, and sometimes they go so far as to intimate a belief that the pronouncing of a dictum is the doing of a wrong. Yet it must not be forgotten that dicta are frequently, and indeed usually, correct, and that to give an occasional illustration, or to say that some the doctrine of a case would not apply to some case of an hypothetical nature, or to trace the history of a doctrine, even though it be conceded, as it must, that such passages are not essential to deciding of the very case, is often extremely useful to the profession.
    (William M. Lile et al., Brief Making and the Use of Law Books, 307 (3d ed. 1914).

    Paraphrased: Lawyers often call other lawyers names when they cite dicta, but dicta is usually correct and thus it can provide useful insight into legal doctrines. Mr. McFaul’s arguments here fit Lile et al.’s critique of lawyer’s misperceptions of dicta perfectly.
    And keep in mind that the Third Circuit interpreted a Supreme Court ruling as directly “holding,” in part, that judicial copying is “highly disapproved of”:

    We are bound by the Supreme Court’s decision in Anderson v. Bessemer City, 470 U.S. 564, 572, 105 S.Ct. 1504, 84 L.Ed.2d 518 (1985), holding that a district court’s verbatim adoption of a party’s proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law, although highly disapproved of, is not per se grounds for reversal. (emphasis added)

    If the question is “do courts generally disapprove of judicial copying” the answer is clearly “yes.” That’s all I’m saying here.
    Mr. McFaul levels an ad hominem attack upon my motives, saying I want to “Kill the messenger.” That’s not true. I’ve co-authored an entire book, Traipsing Into Evolution giving extensive scientific and legal arguments, backed by scholarly citations, showing why Judge Jones’ arguments against ID were wrong. Today I’m working all day on a forthcoming law review article in a mainstream legal journal which does the same thing by making scholarly arguments about why Judge Jones was wrong to rule ID is not science. Discovery’s latest study shows that Judge Jones’ ruling employed a practice which is looked down upon by courts. This is all scholarly critique which is relevant to how future jurists should perceive the section of Judge Jones’s ruling on whether ID is science–not killing the messenger.
    Thank you for reading,
    Sincerely
    Casey
    p.s. Mr. McFaul quotes the passage from Kitzmiller where Judge Jones was clearly angry because he believed some of the Dover Board members lied in his courtroom. That doesn’t bother me! I’m not defending everything the Dover Board did! Discovery Institute strongly urged them NOT to pass their ill-worded and ill-conceived policy which mandated ID. And if board members did lie in Judge Jones’s courtroom, then Judge Jones had every right to be angry at them. But see here for a statement where Discovery critiqued Dover’s policy before they passed it, and here for a place where we critiqued Dover’s ID-policy heavily on the very day the Kitzmiller lawsuit was filed.
    p.p.s. Discovery Institute is supporting quite a bit of scientific research, which Mr. McFaul suggests we are not doing. Take a look at at this New Scientist article for some recent documentation of pro-ID scientific research Discovery is supporting.

  • Baggi

    Joe M wrote;
    The judge delivered the message that the law and the underlying science supporting Intelligent Design’s introduction into primary schools are dreck.
    After we’ve just discovered that this isn’t true, thanks to the research of the DI, how can you repeat this falsehood? The ACLU delivered the message and the judge uncritically rubber stamped it.
    I’m thankful to the DI for informing us.

  • Chris Lutz

    Angela, my point wasn’t to say it works that way legal profession, but to point out that in business there are situations where plagiarism is perfectly acceptable. And as Joe has admitted, he didn’t realize it worked that way in judicial decision and actually neither did I, but it makes sense.

  • giggling

    Ed Brayton:
    What you’re missing is context.
    Actually, no I’m not missing the context. If you read my post again (all of the meager few lines), you’ll find that I believe Joe McFaul when he says that the current scenario does not count as plagiarism in context.
    I’ll quote myself to save you the work…
    “I take it you [Joe McFaul] are saying that not citing verbatim is legitimate in the legal field with respect to (at least) complex findings of fact (and I believe you).”
    It’s there for you to see if you just scroll up.
    Not only did you take my words out of context, but you missed my point about what Joe Carter‘s real point is. Joe Carter isn’t saying he believes the legal field considers Jones’ copying an example of plagiarism. He’s saying they SHOULD consider it plagiarism.
    I’m not sure how you could have missed this:
    Joe Carter: You obviously didn’t read what I wrote. As I said, I don’t care how many lawyers accept the practice, its plagiarism. I don’t care if it is “routine”, its plagiarism. I don’t’ care if groups that I tend to agree with also engage in the practice, its plagiarism.
    Later, Joe Carter admits that the legal field does have different standards regarding what constitutes plagiarism–although he still believes it should be counted as plagiarism.
    Yes, Ed Brayton, I know “the context does matter.” So please read my comments in context.

    After reading the rest of the comments, it seems many of the issues with respect to the actual post have been resolved, although issues regarding the actual legal decision are alive and kicking.

  • http://thebronxlbogger.blogspot.com Matthew Goggins

    JohnW,
    I read “Evangelicals and the Political Gospel” by Professor Pierard.
    Professor Pierard is a smart, knowledgeable person. He knows a lot about politics, and he knows a lot about evangelicals. Unfortunately, some of what he knows about politics is stuff I would file away under the description “stuff he knows that just ain’t so”.
    But even where I’m convinced Professor Pierard has made some big mistakes, he makes mistakes that are very interesting. He makes mistakes that contain a nugget of truth wrapped in a shell of over-generalization or a shell constituted by some other species of sloppy reasoning.
    Unfortunately I don’t have time right now to get into specifics, and I don’t anticipate having access to my computer later today.
    However, to provide you with something that reflects my own thinking about some of the things the good professor writes about, I refer you to the following blog post: “Bronx Blog Backs Bush, says Bush Beats Bad Bozos’ Butts”. I’ll get back to you again at some point with better feedback about Professor Pierard’s piece.

  • JohnW

    Matthew Goggins,
    Thanks for writing back to me about the article. I read the posting on your blog and it helped me know where you’re coming from with your politics.
    Like I mention previously, I voted for Bush in 2000. I liked many of the things he said during his campaign and his debates with Al Gore. Especially, how he wanted to unite people and not be a divider. Also, he didn’t want to be a nation builder. However, following 911, I thought Bush’s was correct-there was going to be long generation long struggle to defeat terrorism and didn’t question his approach to it.
    I agree with you-the idea of spreading democracy in the Middle East to prevent terrorism is a good idea and a bold move. However, Bush did not implement this idea very well. In the war on terror, Bush focuses mainly on “hard power” or military strength. He does not utilize “soft power” or “the ability to get what you want through attraction rather than coercion or payments” (I am quoting Joseph S. Nye, Jr. in his book “Soft Power: The Means to Success in World Politics”).
    According to Nye, “soft power arises from the attractiveness of a country’s culture, political ideals, and policies. When our policies are seen as legitimate in the eyes of others, our soft power is enhanced”. To fight terrorism and achieve other national objectives, we need the assistance of other countries. Yes, we had the “coalition of the willing” in Iraq, but Bush really didn’t seek the assistance of other countries for reconstruction and security following our initial military success. Also, it clear that the planning for what was going to happen after we overthrew Saddam was inadequate. Nye recognizes the importance of “hard power” too, but says Bush’s rhetoric about promoting democracy is less convincing than pictures of Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo.
    Joseph S. Nye, Jr. is a Harvard professor and is a democrat, so given the comments I have read on this blog, I anticipate some negative comments. I’ll go ahead and ask this question in advance: Tell me how Bush has effectively used Soft Power during his pursuit of the war on terror? And if you think “Soft Power” is a joke and not necessary please let me know why you think this. Can American really re-shape the world with military might alone?

  • Cheesehead

    John W: As to whether you should continue to comment here, by all means please do. Hopefully iron will sharpen iron and everyone will come out the better for it. Meanwhile, your comments add a lot of comic relief to the situation.
    I’m glad Matthew was ambitious enough to look up your friend and provide a link. I confess I was not that interested. I read Matthew’s link, and I must say I have a much less charitable view of his writing than Matthew does. It was one prolonged screech-fest, and certainly contained nothing new. For decades now we have seen theological liberals insisting they are actually conservatives and then trying to upbraid those who accept the authority of Scripture for not hewing to their liberal politics. This guy really lost it near the end where he was ululating about Christians talking about just wars but never about just abortions. He had another howler with the Just Abortion theory but I’m too darn lazy to go back and look it up. I think it was something about the environment. Oh, and, of course, we evangelicals are just too darn bound to what the Bible says.
    John, if your theology really meshes with this guy’s theology, there are some really beautiful church buildings you may want to consider frequenting. They have signs in front that say things like ECUSA or UMC or PCA. And the great thing about it is that they all have LOTS of empty pews, so you won’t have to arrive early to get a good seat. Be careful, though, even in those churches you may run into a few stray fundies, although they are usually quite elderly and probably won’t put up much of an argument for you; they are kind of beaten down and discouraged. I know many of them personally, being a refugee of the ECUSA.

  • JohnW

    Cheesehead,
    I was about to give up on posting here, after getting disgusted with the tone of some the commenting. I think there might be a purpose for me to continue though. It might be important for the non-christians that visit the site to see that not all christians are the same and share the same political outlooks.
    Glad you took the time to read the article by Richard V. Pierard. I found your assessment of it interesting. I would encourage others to read the article too.
    Cheesehead, I’d like to point out that Mr. Pierard is a past president of the Evangelical Theological Society, an organization formed in 1949, “To foster conservative Biblical scholarship by providing a medium for the oral exchange and written expression of thought and research in the general field of the theological disciplines as centered in the Scriptures.” It’s purpose is to “encourage biblical and theological research, the Society also encourages the publication of significant monographs”.
    While you may disagree with Pierard, to dismiss him as being some sort of crazy “liberal” who is not a true believer, is simply incorrect. He is an evangelical, as I am.
    I would like to close by responding to the general tone of many of the writers on this blog, by quoting from the last paragraph of the Pierard article where he discusses the implications of Bush’s re-election in 2004:
    “I do not believe these people have any interest in reconciliation and compromise. Their issues are undoubtedly false ones, their politics are irresponsbile, and they certainly do not reflect the and witness of the historic Christian church, but they think they are now in the driver’s seat. We who advocate proclaiming the ‘whole counsel of God” have our work cut out for us”.

  • Cheesehead

    John W: “Mr. Pierard is a past president of the Evangelical Theological Society…”
    Well, John, sometimes people “grow” and “progress” in their understanding over the years. As CS Lewis had Caspian say in the Narnia Chronicles,[quoting from memory–may not be verbatim]”I’ve seen ‘growth’ and ‘progress’ both happen in an egg. In Narnia we call it ‘going bad.'”
    I do not know where Mr. Pierard stands on anything other than what I gleaned from reading that article, but since you seem to wholeheartedly endorse what he said, I would like you to defend the following statement: “Thus evangelicals readily speak of a ‘just war,’ but I have never heard any of them mention a ‘just abortion’…”
    After that, please parse this concept: “Their dependence on the Bible further complicates matters…”
    At the very least the second quote seems to have Mr. Pierard placing himself outside the circle of evangelicalism, however defined. Anyway I would be very glad to read your interpretation and defense of these two ideas.
    Meanwhile, getting to the question of why your communication style is so ineffective here, your quotation from his paper at the end of your post is Exhibit A in why people interpret your comments as truculent, acrimonious, and lacking in content. Read it again. It is strongly accusatory, totally lacking in any factual support, and strident to the point of being shrill. If there is factual support for his claims you do not call attention to them, but instead go for most truculent and polemical bit of screeching you can find.
    Perhaps if you focus more on convincing argument and less on sweeping, judgemental harangues you would find a more receptive climate for your arguments.

  • JohnW

    My quote was slightly off, here it is again:
    [Regarding the implications of Bush’s re-election in 2004]“I do not believe these people have any interest in reconciliation and compromise. Their issues are undoubtedly false ones, their politics are irresponsbile, and they certainly do not reflect the faith and witness of the historic Christian church, but they think they are now in the driver’s seat. We who advocate proclaiming the ‘whole counsel of God” have our work cut out for us”.
    Also, for some context, in the article, Pierard’s main idea is that the new christian right’s current emphasis on the “political gospel”, is just as much of a departure from the whole gospel of Jesus Christ, as the “social gospel” pursued by liberal christians. Also, he finds a lack of a profound sense of empathy for the human condition amongst the proponents of the “political gospel”, who are the key elements behind the evangelical support for George W. Bush.

  • JohnW

    Cheesehead,
    Here is my response to your questions:
    (RE: the last paragraph on page 9 of Pierard’s article).
    Pierard is talking about proponents of the “political gospel” being conservative ideologues, who say they are committed to biblical absolutes, which sounds good, but their absolutes are based on their conservative ideologies and not the overall message of the bible. For example, there is next to nothing in the bible about abortion and homosexuality, but they make this the most important issues of our time.
    The reference to never hearing about a “just abortion” or “just environmental concerns” is given in the context of Pierard’s discussion of how proponents of the “political gospel” support their militarism and nationalistic idolatry by the use of the “just war” theory, but turn a blind eye to the vastly larger body of teaching dealing with matters about concern for the poor and peace.
    Cheesehead, you use a lot of fancy adjectives to insult me, that seems to be what you guys like to do around here, but what’s your main objection to what I’m saying?

  • http://thebronxblogger.blogspot.com Matthew Goggins

    JohnW,
    Hello again.
    First, some more reaction to Professor Pierard.
    The first four pages of his piece, “Evangelicals and the Political Gospel”, is a useful and balanced summary of the history of evangelicals in the U.S. from the nineteenth century through the 1970’s.
    On page five, he starts a list of five beliefs that he labels the “Evangelical Political Gospel”. He claims that these beliefs are the agenda of the New Christian Right.
    Since he never gets around to describing in detail who is in the New Christian Right and who isn’t, it is never very clear whom he is talking about and how widespread or influential the “Evangelical Political Gospel” really is. Moreover, the untethered nature of these beliefs (untethered to any specific individuals, or even any specific groups) allows Professor Pierard to paint in very broad strokes.
    For example, he says that the emphasis placed on individualism causes a lack of concern for a host of social problems that he feels are caused by the structure of society. But this is the kind of criticism that I find hard to take seriously without at least one example. Who believes this? What exactly did they say or do?
    Isn’t his point about individualism simply more of a policy difference between Professor Pierard and conservatives/libertarians than any kind of geniune apathy by Christian conservatives towards large-scale social problems? It’s hard to tell, because Professor Pierard doesn’t provide flesh-and-blood scrooge for us to examine, or even provide a citation/reference to explore these ideas further.
    The very same problem is part of each the four other alleged doctrines of the “Evangelical Political Gospel”. The portrait Professor Pierard paints might in fact be a very accurate summary of some person or group, but I don’t know of any that fits the bill.
    And then there is Professor Pierard’s dismissal of “compassionate conservatism”. His dismissal seems way off the mark to me.
    He might not like President Bush, and he might disagree with his policies, but he is not at all justified in dismissing those policies as “pure nonsense”. And he doesn’t even try to justify his dismissal — he just throws it out there, unsupported.
    To summarize then: “Evangelicals and the Political Gospel” — 40% very good history; 60% interesting, yet poorly argued polemic.
    Now for your question:
    Tell me how Bush has effectively used Soft Power during his pursuit of the war on terror? And if you think “Soft Power” is a joke and not necessary please let me know why you think this. Can American really re-shape the world with military might alone?
    Abu Ghraib was a disaster, for precisely the reasons you mention. Guantanomo, on the other hand, has been a great success, precisely because we have bent over backwards to be civilized with our detainees there.
    It’s true that Guantanomo has had bad P.R., but that has been the result of sensationalistic, and sometimes anti-American, reporting.
    I don’t know what we should be doing that we are not already doing to promote our “soft power”.
    American ideals are very popular around the world. The problem we are having with islamo-fascism is not that our ideals are unknown or that we are judged to be militaristic bullies. It is that the islamo-fascists are themselves militaristic bullies and fanatics, and they want to reject and destroy the best ideals we have to offer.
    There may be a lot more we could be doing to integrate our hard power with our soft power, but there isn’t a lot we should do to make our ideals more “attractive”. They are much more than sufficiently attractive.
    Perhaps the single most important thing we can do right now to ensure that our ideals are attractive is to stick strongly by the side of our democratic allies in Iraq. If we bug out of Iraq and leave our democratic friends to the wolves, that would be very unattractive indeed.
    All the best,
    Matthew

  • Cheesehead

    John W: Once again I will have to diverge from Matthew’s analysis where he says that the article starts with a useful and balanced summary of the history of evangelicalism. History is written by the winners of wars, they say. But since neither side was exterminated in the “war” between the orthodox and the liberals in the 20th Century, both sides have been allowed to write their history. This is definitely a polemic skewed against those who stood for Biblical authority.
    “For example, there is next to nothing in the bible about abortion and homosexuality…” Really? Who added those verses into the Bible I read?
    Mr. Pierard implied that there is such a thing as a “just abortion.” Do you think there are times when abortion is justified? Just askin’…
    “…but turn a blind eye to the vastly larger body of teaching dealing with matters about concern for the poor and peace.”
    Now this is an interesting point. The commonly held assumption among liberals is that conservatives are not compassionate toward those less fortunate than themselves…they just don’t care. Since you have been good enough to recommend reading materials, I have one for you to read. It’s called “Who Really Cares?” by Arthur C. Brooks (who is no conservative shill). http://www.amazon.com/dp/0465008216/?tag=evangeoutpos-20
    In this book he documents the fact that conservatives give more of their substance to helping the poor and charities of all sorts than liberals. And this correlation is especially strong when it comes to religious conservatives. The average religious conservative gives 100 times greater a share of his income to charity than the average nonreligious liberal. IOW this is yet another example of a judgemental statement with no factual basis being put forward by you.
    “Cheesehead, you use a lot of fancy adjectives to insult me, that seems to be what you guys like to do around here, but what’s your main objection to what I’m saying?”
    Sorry if I haven’t made myself clear on this. My main objection to what you are saying is that you come with conclusions not supported by facts. Rather than developing arguments supported by data and sound reasoning, you have judgemental pronouncements that you seem to expect people to accept because you say so.
    My question for you in response is, do you object to the fancy adjectives I use, or to the message which contains those fancy adjectives? (BTW, thank you confering the status of “fancy” on my adjectives. That’s the nicest thing anyone has said to me today.)

  • JohnW

    Thanks for your reply-you are a good writer.
    I am going to answer honestly, but please understand I’m not trying to insult or belittle you. Also, I won’t be providing extensive footnotes/sources in my response, but there will be some things you could check out. I had a hard time seeing how you believed some of the things you wrote.
    While Pierard does not provide of list of names and organizations, he clearly states he is talking about evangelicals responsible for transforming white evangelicals into a voting block for the republican party. This is currently the prevalent voice of American evangelicals visible on television and Christian radio today and has been for the past 25 years, so he didn’t really need to provide a list of names. I can give you some examples though-James Dobson, Tony Perkins of the Family Research Counsel, American Family Association, and the members of the Council for National Policy. Pierard is a recently retired history professor, so I am sure that many of his other writings will have extensive footnotes and sources available.
    In his discussion about individualism, Pierard is saying “political evangelicals” think of sin mainly in terms of personal behavior like sexual behavior and don’t recognize the importance of how social systems can be sinful too.
    Guantanomo is not a success, it’s a failure. It’s something that should be shut down immediately if our country wants to have any credibility when talking about the rule of law and human rights. Did you realize that if our government declares someone an unlawful enemy combatant, they have no right to challenge their detention or any right to due process? Don’t we as freedom loving Americans, think there should be some mechanism for insuring that the people being detained are actually guilty of something? We don’t have that now.
    I truly amazed that you think the Bush administration is doing all it can to utilize “Soft Power” and I don’t know how to respond. We had sympathy and support following 911, but this goodwill is pretty much gone now. When I grew up, I was always told that America was considered the greatest country in the world too, but this is no longer true. The Pew Research Center put out a report about world opinion of the United States earlier this year. Much of the world distrusts us and things we are threat to global security, peace, and the environment. This distrust is not limited to their opinions about our government’s policies either.
    Who exactly are our democratic allies in Iraq? Iraq is a chaotic mess and is in a civil war. It was a huge mistake and it’s too late to try to fix it. We don’t try to work with other countries, so guess what? They will probably not be willing to assist us in Iraq.
    Also, Islamo-fascism is not a very accurate or useful term. The Islamist movements that Bush lumped together under the term do not meet the criteria for fascism as traditionally defined, it is an over-simplification used to present the so-called “war on terror” as some sort of epic struggle against totalitarianism like World War II.

  • Cheesehead

    I wrote a response to JW, but I think perhaps the link I provided ran afoul of Joe’s spam filter. If it doesn’t post by tomorrow I’ll try again.

  • http://im-from-missouri.blogspot.com/ Larry Fafarman

    It looks like this thread has been hijacked for off-topic discussions, but I will add my comments concerning the original topic anyway.
    To some extent I could excuse Jones’ extensive copying, considering the great complexity of the case, with hundreds of pages of documents and hundreds of hours of testimony. I am much more disturbed by his one-sidedness than by his extensive copying. Almost all of his ID-as-science opinion came from just the plaintiffs’ opening post-trial brief, so little or nothing came from the other post-trial briefs: the defendants’ opening post-trial brief and the answering post-trial briefs from both the plaintiffs and defendants. An opening brief is obviously going to be very one-sided. If the defendants’ arguments were really lousy, then Jones had all the more reason to put them in the opinion in order to attack them. I am also disturbed that Jones mindlessly copied the ACLU’s opening post-trial brief into his conclusion section — in fact, one copied prohibition in the conclusion section, prohibiting the Dover school board from “requiring teachers to denigrate or disparage the scientific theory of evolution,” never made it into the opinion’s final order — see
    http://im-from-missouri.blogspot.com/2006/12/important-conclusions-of-law-in-dover.html
    Also, I think that Jones should not have judged the scientific merits of ID or irreducible complexity.

  • http://thebronxblogger.blogspot.com Matthew Goggins

    JohnW,
    Thanks for the reply. I have a few comments to make in turn :)
    While Pierard does not provide of list of names and organizations, he clearly states he is talking about evangelicals responsible for transforming white evangelicals into a voting block for the republican party.
    Well, we all know who he is talking about in general.
    But the beliefs he ascribes to those groups and people are rather tendentious summaries that no one is very likely to admit saying or believing, for the very good reason that none of the people you mention actually says or believes those things, with the exception of some marginal kook like Pat Robertson or Jerry Falwell.
    It seems to me that Professor Pierard has been doing some reading between the lines, some extrapolating, some interpreting of code-words, rather than simply taking people at their word. Since he is a historian, after all, it wouldn’t be hard for him to back up his “Evangelical Political Gospel” with at least one example if such examples existed.
    Who, for example, believes “When Americans engage in military action, they can do no wrong, because they only fight for righteous causes. We must ‘support the troops’, regardless of where they are or what they are doing”[page 9, paragraph 10]? Nobody does.
    In his discussion about individualism, Pierard is saying “political evangelicals” think of sin mainly in terms of personal behavior like sexual behavior and don’t recognize the importance of how social systems can be sinful too.
    I’m sure some evangelicals tend to think in those terms, but there are many others who don’t. And even if some evangelicals do think in those terms, and that leads to policy you and Professor Pierard don’t like, you and Professor Pierard can engage their proposals on the policy level regardless of what the inspiration for the policy might or might not be. Their theological views on individualism are not necessarily very relevant, even if it’s more convenient to grab that as a club to whack them over the head with.
    Did you realize that if our government declares someone an unlawful enemy combatant, they have no right to challenge their detention or any right to due process? Don’t we as freedom loving Americans, think there should be some mechanism for insuring that the people being detained are actually guilty of something? We don’t have that now.
    Each prisoner at Guantanamo gets an annual hearing before a military panel to review their status. It is kind of like a parole-board review. Many prisoners have already been released as a result of these hearings, including some who have gone back to the battlefield in Afghanistan and picked up weapons again against our soldiers.
    What is remarkable about these hearings, and all the other privileges and protections we grant the internees at Guantamomo, is that the prisoners there are not U.S. citizens charged with crimes, but prisoners-of-war taken on a battlefield. No nation in the heat of battle has ever been more respectful of its enemy combatants.
    I truly amazed that you think the Bush administration is doing all it can to utilize “Soft Power” and I don’t know how to respond. We had sympathy and support following 911, but this goodwill is pretty much gone now. When I grew up, I was always told that America was considered the greatest country in the world too, but this is no longer true.
    Maybe we should tell our children the U.S. is the greatest country in the world, maybe we shouldn’t. But the U.S. is certainly a better country now in many ways than when you grew up. And it will be an even better country, barring some unforeseen catastrophe, when our own children have grown up.
    I truly amazed that you think the Bush administration is doing all it can to utilize “Soft Power” and I don’t know how to respond. We had sympathy and support following 911, but this goodwill is pretty much gone now. [ … ] The Pew Research Center put out a report about world opinion of the United States earlier this year. Much of the world distrusts us and things we are threat to global security, peace, and the environment. This distrust is not limited to their opinions about our government’s policies either.
    I strongly disagree with your analysis of popularity trends here and abroad.
    But even if you are correct, consider the views of the citizens of the Soviet Union during the cold war. They were inculcated with a hatred of the West by their communist masters, and many of them succumbed to these propaganda campaigns and hated the U.S.
    According to the logic of your argument, the cold war should have been abandoned as too provocative to the sensibilities of our Soviet rivals.
    Who exactly are our democratic allies in Iraq? Iraq is a chaotic mess and is in a civil war. It was a huge mistake and it’s too late to try to fix it.
    It’s hard to say exactly who our allies are and who are not our allies. But there are millions and millions of Iraqis who don’t belong to militias or death squads and just want peace, security, and freedom. Many of these people risk their lives by working for the coalition forces or for the Iraqi government. Are you saying the country would have been better off if Saddam’s regime had not been terminated? Don’t go to Iraqi Kurdistan and try making that argument!
    We don’t try to work with other countries, so guess what? They will probably not be willing to assist us in Iraq.
    We don’t try to work with countries who are our enemies, like Syria and Iran, although we do try to get them to change their ways. Other countries, like France and Russia, have interests that diverge from ours, and are unwilling to always help us when we need it.
    Also, Islamo-fascism is not a very accurate or useful term. The Islamist movements that Bush lumped together under the term do not meet the criteria for fascism as traditionally defined, it is an over-simplification used to present the so-called “war on terror” as some sort of epic struggle against totalitarianism like World War II.
    Actually, islamo-fascist is a highly descriptive term, which highlights the intellectual debt that modern Islamist movements owe both to Nazism and Soviet totalitarianism. Nonetheless, there is no point in getting hung up over semantics. Call it what you like, islamo-fascism, islamism, radical or militant islam, jihadi-ism, it doesn’t really matter. It’s an enemy that is just as formidable (and evil) in some ways as Hitler or Stalin was.
    Thank you very much for the ongoing discussion. I don’t feel the least bit insulted by your disagreement — I appreciate your willingness to hear me out and challenge my views.

  • http://thebronxblogger.blogspot.com Matthew Goggins

    The quote I gave from Pierard was not page 9, paragraph 10, but page 9, paragraph 2.

  • JohnW

    Matthew Goggins,
    Thanks for your reply, I found it interesting. It really seems like you and I look at the same set of facts and situations and come to dramatically different conclusions. You sound like you are a member of the group of diehard supporters who will support Bush no matter what happens.
    Pierard is correct in his description of the group of evangelicals that are a republican voting block. Thankfully not all evangelicals are members of this group. However, when these individuals are discussed here they are always dismissed as being “liberal” “far-left” , or even “socialist” (see the “know your evangelicals” postings on this blog).
    FYI, more than half of the people detained in Guantanamo are not terrorists or soldiers. The Military Commissions act will eventually be struck down as unconstitutional-all Bush has done has bought himself a little time to continue doing what he wants.
    The analysis of world opinion of the United States that I discussed comes from the Pew Center’s report earlier this year. You disagree with their findings? Why are there findings wrong?

  • Marian Neudel

    I’m a lawyer and a teacher of legal writing. I am not the least surprised to hear of a judge cribbing his opinion from some other published source. The whole point of the judicial process, from the point of view of lawyers and their clerks, is to write a sufficiently good and convincing brief that most of it will end up in the judge’s opinion.
    Judges copy briefs into their opinions. Executives copy their subordinates’ memos into their reports. Politicians give speeches every day that everyone knows were written by somebody else. Clergy often do the same with sermons.
    What’s wrong with plagiarism is not the lack of original thought, but the failure to give credit where credit is due. But in the context of judicial opinions, the practice of copying from the most persuasive brief is so widespread that fellow professionals have no trouble figuring it out, so the judge is arguably not stealing any credit among those whose opinion matters.

  • Marian Neudel

    I’m a lawyer and a teacher of legal writing. I am not the least surprised to hear of a judge cribbing his opinion from some other published source. The whole point of the judicial process, from the point of view of lawyers and their clerks, is to write a sufficiently good and convincing brief that most of it will end up in the judge’s opinion.
    Judges copy briefs into their opinions. Executives copy their subordinates’ memos into their reports. Politicians give speeches every day that everyone knows were written by somebody else. Clergy often do the same with sermons.
    What’s wrong with plagiarism is not the lack of original thought, but the failure to give credit where credit is due. But in the context of judicial opinions, the practice of copying from the most persuasive brief is so widespread that fellow professionals have no trouble figuring it out, so the judge is arguably not stealing any credit among those whose opinion matters.

  • Marian Neudel

    I’m a lawyer and a teacher of legal writing. I am not the least surprised to hear of a judge cribbing his opinion from some other published source. The whole point of the judicial process, from the point of view of lawyers and their clerks, is to write a sufficiently good and convincing brief that most of it will end up in the judge’s opinion.
    Judges copy briefs into their opinions. Executives copy their subordinates’ memos into their reports. Politicians give speeches every day that everyone knows were written by somebody else. Clergy often do the same with sermons.
    What’s wrong with plagiarism is not the lack of original thought, but the failure to give credit where credit is due. But in the context of judicial opinions, the practice of copying from the most persuasive brief is so widespread that fellow professionals have no trouble figuring it out, so the judge is arguably not stealing any credit among those whose opinion matters.

  • Cheesehead

    John W: My response to your questions for me did eventually post. It is comment #80, so it fell into the line chronologically rather than in the order the comments were actually posted.
    I won’t take the time to respond to your later posts as I think Matthew has done an admirable smackdown on most of what you have written.

  • Rob Ryan

    Cheesehead:
    “‘For example, there is next to nothing in the bible about abortion and homosexuality…’ Really? Who added those verses into the Bible I read?”
    If you shared these verses instead of merely alluding to them, wouldn’t that make your point much better?

  • http://thebronxblogger.blogspot.com Matthew Goggins

    JohnW,
    Thanks for the latest. My turn, again:
    It really seems like you and I look at the same set of facts and situations and come to dramatically different conclusions.
    Some of the alleged facts we use are the same, but some are radically different.
    One important example of where we use different alleged facts is our discussion of the detention camps at Guantanamo Bay. You rely on certain reports of abuse, I rely on other reports which deny the abuse. You rely on legal briefs which claim the detainees are not enemy combatants, I rely on legal briefs that allege the opposite.
    There are ways to resolve our differences here, but that involves getting into the nitty gritty of what has gone on there and the nitty gritty of the law. A good place to start is to read (or at least to skim) the United Nations report on Guantanamo Bay: [report link].
    The conclusions of the report would seem to support your position and refute mine. However, on pages 53 and 54 of the report one can read a letter written by Kevin Moley, the U.S. Ambassador to the committee which wrote the report. Mr. Moley’s letter summarizes why the U.S. government disagrees with almost everything the U.N. report has to say about Guantanamo.
    FYI, more than half of the people detained in Guantanamo are not terrorists or soldiers.
    Not true. Everyone detained is a soldier or a terrorist. If someone can demonstrate that he is neither, then the detainee is released.
    The Military Commissions act will eventually be struck down as unconstitutional-all Bush has done has bought himself a little time to continue doing what he wants.
    Maybe, maybe not. But why do you refer to Bush as Bush, he’s our president after all? Why do you refer to his “[continuing] doing what he wants” as if you consider him to be a closet sadist or an incompetent boob? Even if President Bush is wrong on the merits (I don’t think he is), his position is eminently reasonable and is obviously driven by his duty to protect you and me from bloodthirsty evil-doers. Why don’t you appreciate what he is doing for all of us, even if you disagree with it?
    I thought President Clinton’s policy of legalistic counter-terrorism was misguided (especially in retrospect), but I understand and respect that it was a very reasonable position to choose.
    Pierard is correct in his description of the group of evangelicals that are a republican voting block. Thankfully not all evangelicals are members of this group.
    This sounds like a convenient circular definition — if someone Republican or evangelical or Republican evangelical doesn’t meet Pierard’s criteria, then he can claim he wasn’t talking about that particular person.
    But the circular definition doesn’t even work on your terms. I gave you an example of a doctrine from the “Evangelical Political Gospel” that no one at all believes: “We must ‘support the troops’, regardless of where they are or what they are doing.” Nobody believes that.
    Professor Pierard lists several other tendentious characterizations of doctrine that are likewise so faulty and beknighted that neither you nor I nor Professor Pierard could find someone to believe them. Professor Pierard’s criticism of the New Christian Right would be much stronger if he simply tethered his criticisms to specific things that specific people have actually said or done.
    Thankfully not all evangelicals are members of [evangelical Republican voting-bloc]. However, when these individuals are discussed here they are always dismissed as being “liberal” “far-left” , or even “socialist” (see the “know your evangelicals” postings on this blog).
    I think you have a good point here, although it would be sharper if you were willing to commit to one or two examples.
    The analysis of world opinion of the United States that I discussed comes from the Pew Center’s report earlier this year. You disagree with their findings? Why are there findings wrong?
    The Pew Center’s poll results, assuming they were done correctly, are a useful indicator of how our “soft power” is faring at a particular moment, and of how the perceptions of our “soft power” might be trending. But they are just one indicator.
    Even if this particular indicator happens to right on the money, what is it telling us? It seems to be telling us that superpowers who throw their weight around create something of a backlash in global opinion.
    This is useful information, although not very unexpected. The question then becomes, what should we do about it? Should we change our ways to placate our critics? Maybe so, but could you imagine conducting opinion polls during World War II in order to see how world opinion was divided on the question of our campaigns against the Nazis and the Japanese?
    We can’t let concern over the fleeting margins of opinion polls drive our strategy. There are many variables involved in managing our hard power and our soft power, and opinion polls are not the most important ones.
    You sound like you are a member of the group of diehard supporters who will support Bush no matter what happens.
    In comment 79, I said,
    I don’t know what we should be doing that we are not already doing to promote our “soft power”.
    Let me explain what I meant by that.
    I don’t mean that President Bush is perfect, and is doing everything we can to promote our soft power (or our hard power, either, for that matter).
    What I do mean is that I don’t know what we should be doing. And the truth is, of course, is neither do you, or anyone else on this comment thread. Perhaps President Bush himself doesn’t know.
    But President Bush is the person we have entrusted to make those kinds of decisions on our behalf. Even if I strongly disagreed with what he is or is not doing to project American soft power, I acknowledge that he knows more about it than I do. I acknowledge that his judgement is more likely to be correct than mine is, at least most of the time.
    I’m not a Bush robot, but I have tremendous respect and admiration for him. I am also very grateful for his leadership these past six years. I am very happy to come to his defense — he deserves my little bit of support, and much more.
    Now if everyone loved President Bush as much as I did, I would probably feel very differently about him, because I’m also a bit of a contrarian. But I would still be loyal to him, because I believe he has earned my loyalty.
    Thanks again for your respectful and thoughtful comments.
    Bye for now,
    Matthew

  • http://thebronxblogger.blogspot.com Matthew Goggins

    JohnW,
    Just a heads-up to let you know that I’ve submitted another comment in your direction. It’s being held temporarily pending moderation by Joe Carter because it has a link in it.
    It will probably end up being comment number 92.
    Cheesehead,
    Thanks for your support. I hope the discussion turns out to be more like a dinner party than a professional wrestling match, though.

  • http://thebronxblogger.blogspot.com Matthew Goggins

    Rob Ryan,
    I was sarcastic with you the last time I left you a comment. I hope I didn’t overdo it, since you never came back to that comment thread.
    Please forgive me if I was rude.
    Merry X-Mas,
    Matthew

  • Cheesehead

    Rob Ryan: Sure it would, but then that would then bring on the hecklers complaining about lengthy cut-and-paste posts like you guys always did to Gordon when he posted here regularly. Honestly, anyone who is familiar with the Bible knows that the sancitity of life and the sinfulness of sexual relations of any kind outside the boundaries of mutually monogamous heterosexual marriage are both regular themes throughout Scripture.

  • JohnW

    Cheesehead,
    Arthur C. Brooks, why should I believe him-he’s just a conservative who wrote a book. Sure what, he says is true, up to a point, but c’mon, I’ll never read this book…and what about his methodology. It’s no good. Why? Just cause I say so, that’s why.
    hehehhehehh

  • http://im-from-missouri.blogspot.com/ Larry Fafarman

    Marian Neudel writes: (comment #88 and duplicate comment #89) —
    –“I’m a lawyer and a teacher of legal writing. I am not the least surprised to hear of a judge cribbing his opinion from some other published source.”–
    As I said, I am much more disturbed by Jones’ one-sidedness than by the extent of his cribbing — see comment #83.
    –“Politicians give speeches every day that everyone knows were written by somebody else.”–
    Al Gore and Senator Joe Biden got into deep trouble because of plagiarism in their speeches.

  • Rob Ryan

    Cheesehead said: “Sure it would, but then that would then bring on the hecklers complaining about lengthy cut-and-paste posts like you guys always did to Gordon when he posted here regularly.”
    I think you could support your statement more than adequately without even approaching Gordon’s formidable voluminousness. I promise to leap to your defense in the unlikely event that you are heckled.
    Matthew said: “I was sarcastic with you the last time I left you a comment.”
    I do not recall; perhaps I never saw your comment. Forget about it. Merry Christmas to you, Sir.

  • JohnW

    Matthew Goggins,
    Maybe we can take this discussion in another direction? What are some things on which we might stipulate we agree.
    what about:
    1. Freedom of Speech
    2. Freedom to Worship
    3. Freedom to own firearms
    4. Freedom to Protest against our government
    What do you think. Any you might add?

  • Cheesehead

    John W: “hehehhehehh” Don’t quit the day job.
    Rob Ryan: Sorry, you will have to find someone else to play Watch the Dummy Run with.
    Merry Christmas to all.

  • JohnW

    CheeseHead, Happy Leftivus!

  • http://thebronxblogger.blogspot.com Matthew Goggins

    JohnW,
    We agree on your list of freedoms.
    Perhaps the most important clause in the Bill of Rights is Amendment X, which states,
    The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.
    In other words, our rights are not a laundry list of privileges granted to us by the government. They are natural law liberties that the government cannot infringe unless it has our express prior consent.
    Here’s another point about Guantanamo.
    As you and Joseph Nye point out, our soft power is what will make or break our efforts in Iraq and elsewhere. President Bush has stressed this point many, many times himself. He has given many speeches, going back to 2001, asserting that we are in a decades-long contest with a dark ideology that detests the liberties and success (that is to say, the soft power) of the U.S. and the West.
    Since this is so clearly true, one might ask, why not bend over backwards and give the most lenient and humane treatment imaginable to our enemy combatants and our captured terrorists? Wouldn’t that enhance our soft power, our reputation in the world for taking the high moral ground?
    The answer is no.
    The problem is that unless we restrain those who are out to get us, and do what we can to neutralize them and get useful intelligence from them, then we are not projecting an image of kind restraint to our enemies. Our enemies have no use for kind restraint in battle.
    What we are projecting is not kind restraint but foolish weakness. And we have no chance of earning anyone’s respect or support by projecting an image of foolish weakness. Just a shot at earning their scorn or their active emnity.
    Moreover, what is just as important is the incentive structure we set up in this war. Are we going to reward terrorist behavior by granting the terrorist all the rights and privileges of a uniformed soldier who obeys the international rules of war? Are we going to reward irregular guerillas who are willing to commit war crimes such as hiding behind civilians while shooting us or by using ambulances as vehicle bombs? We have to be very careful that blindly safeguarding all the rights of all prisoners, no matter what they have done, does not turn into a perverse and unnecessary encouragement of very bad behavior.
    Commission of various war crimes leads to a forfeiture of rights, whether we like it or not. To treat the detainees at Guantanamo as if they were signatories to the Geneva Conventions would be the equivalent of paying the invoice of a merchant who had delivered an empty box to our doorstep. I don’t think we can afford to do that.

  • JohnW

    Matthew Goggins,
    When Bush uses the “they hate us because of over freedoms” rhetoric in his speeches, he is not using soft power. Soft power means using incentives other than military power to achieve our objectives (or spread freedom/democracy).
    Documents released by our government summarizing the hearings for the Guantanamo detainees (the hearings reviewing their status as enemy combatants) show that 92 % were not fighters and only 5% were picked up by United States forces. We need some sort of system with checks and balances to insure the right people are locked up.
    (see http://www.dod.mil/pubs/foi/detainees/index )
    I never gave my consent to having habeas corpus revoked and our country has not been invaded and we are not experiencing a insurrection (these are the only two situations were it is lawful to revoke habeaus corpus). It’s not giving special privileges to allow people the opportunity to have a court decide if they are being detained legally or atleast on some reasonable basis. Within the next few years, these issues will be addressed by the Supreme Court and Bush’s actions will be seen as unconstitutional.

  • http://thebronxblogger.blogspot.com Matthew Goggins

    JohnW,
    Thank you for your latest reply.
    It’s not giving special privileges to allow people the opportunity to have a court decide if they are being detained legally or at least on some reasonable basis.
    Consider my analogy of the merchant who delivers me an empty box and demands payment for what should have been in the box.
    The merchant could say, “I’m not demanding special privileges, everyone ought to pay their bills.” And he would, in one sense, be right — it’s not a special privilege to demand payment for services rendered — but the problem is that his demand needs to be predicated on his doing his part of the deal.
    Likewise, a terrorist or an enemy combatant at Guantanamo could state that he is not demanding special privileges. But the privileges or the rights that he is demanding are predicated on his following the rules for warfare that are enumerated by several international treaties. He is asking for something for which he is not entitled.
    Saying habeus corpus has been revoked is a non-sequitur, because the people in Guantanamo forfeited such legal protections when they took up arms against our troops or when they committed acts of terrorism against us.
    Perhaps you are right and some aspects of our detention system will be ruled illegal or even unconstitutional. But not because habeus corpus has been revoked — habeus corpus never applied to Guantanamo in the first place.
    When Bush uses the “they hate us because of over freedoms” rhetoric in his speeches, he is not using soft power. Soft power means using incentives other than military power to achieve our objectives (or spread freedom/democracy).
    Actually, soft power is exactly what he is using. He is painting the War on Terror (the war on global jihadi-ism) as a conflict between two fundamentally opposed idealogies: the liberal democracy of the West versus the totalitarian Sharia of islamism.
    Soft power most emphatically does not mean using incentives other than military power to achieve our goals of freedom and democracy. It means using incentives in conjunction with the appeal of our democratic ideology and in conjunction with the judicious application of military force and other coercive measures.
    The incentives are not a substitute for the other two components of our strategy. Relying on incentives alone would very quickly lead to disaster.
    We need some sort of system with checks and balances to insure the right people are locked up.
    I agree very strongly with this. We can’t just pick up people around the globe and lock them away. Checks and balances are very important.
    But the nature of those checks and balances will be different depending on the status of the detainee. A soldier in a standing army who becomes a POW will have many more rights and protections than a terrorist nabbed by special forces or a Taliban fighter rounded up on the battlefield.
    Documents released by our government summarizing the hearings for the Guantanamo detainees (the hearings reviewing their status as enemy combatants) show that 92% were not fighters and only 5% were picked up by United States forces.
    I’m not sure what you mean by “fighters” and I would like to know where you get the 92% figure from. Do you have a reference?
    Thanks again for your comment. As always, I appreciate your views and your willingness to debate.

  • Rob Ryan

    “Sorry, you will have to find someone else to play Watch the Dummy Run with.”
    I’m sorry that’s what you think I’m doing. I only sought a modicum of support for your statement. In lieu of it, I will weight it accordingly.
    I suspect that if abortion were addressed at all in the Bible in a manner consistent with your opinion of it you would have jumped at the opportunity to point that out.

  • JohnW

    Matthew Goggins,
    I think rather than me just going on and on about habeaus corpus, I should just answer your question about what I mean by “fighters” and where I get the 92% figure from. That’s what I’ll do below.
    In early 2005, the dept. of defense released “combatant status review board letters” for the 517 detainees that where in Guantanomo at the time in response to a freedom of information request. These letters were actually just memos that summarized information about the detainees (with names or any classified or sensitive information black out). The memos were all in the same format, so it was possible for various groups to analyze the information and come up with the percentages I mentioned. The Seton Hall law school did an analysis of the documents and cbs news has a report discussing their analysis
    (see law.shu.edu/news/guantanamo_report_final_2_08_06.pdf
    and
    http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2006/07/16/opinion/courtwatch/main1807212.shtml)
    I would also recommend doing some reading about the Hamdan case in the Supreme Court. Read the documents and arguements filed in the case for yourself and make up your own mind.

  • http://thebronxblogger.blogspot.com Matthew Goggins

    JohnW,
    Thanks for the info.
    I’ll update you when I have something to say.
    If I don’t post before then, Merry X-Mas to you.
    Matthew

  • http://thebronxblogger.blogspot.com Matthew Goggins

    P.S. I was the one mispelling “habeas corpus“. You had it right the first time.

  • http://thebronxblogger.blogspot.com Matthew Goggins

    Oops, I just misspelled “misspelling” — d’oh!

  • JohnW

    Matthew Goggins,
    I can’t spell habeaus corpus either-the only way for me to ever get it right is if I’ve used a spell checker. I should stay off this thing for a while. It’s christimas after all.
    Merry Christmas to you too.

  • http://www.timpanogos.wordpress.com Ed Darrell

    Since the real figures have been revealed, and it turns out that the Discovery Institute inflated their figures grossly, and that they used an unrepeatable methodology — have you apologized to Judge Jones, Joe?
    Why not?

  • http://www.timpanogos.wordpress.com Ed Darrell

    As I said, I don’t care how many lawyers accept the practice, its plagiarism.

    It’s in the rules of civil procedure — it’s not a question of “how many lawyers accept the practice.” It’s a question of justice and getting the stuff right.
    If you are opposed to the justice system, just say so. If you think, without evidence to back your claim, that the case was decided incorrectly, give us your ill-informed (and legally incorrect) opinion.
    But don’t accuse good Christians of plagiarism when the difficulty is your own ignorance of the law and the court systems. Slandering Judge Jones is no mark of honor for you in that case.

  • Kairosfocus

    Hi All:
    See that the version with the URL eventually did pass into the blog . . .
    I see Mumon is up to his usual:
    >>he has a subjective view about what is objective.
    So what?
    What is everyone who happens to have more information, chopped liver?>>
    1] M evidently has not appreciated the implications of the first person perspective: that we subjectively experience objective reality.
    2] He then implies that he has more “information”: so can dismiss the issues raised above in no 59 and onward link.
    3] In so doing, he misses the gap between information and knowledge (a gap that BTW is addressed in my online overview discussion on information, design and science). We KNOW that Judge Jones copied the ACLU wholesale, errors, misrepresentations and all — that is what discredits his opinion. [And to state the plain facts and make fair comment based on their implications and best explanation is not “slander,” Mr Darrell.]
    –> Further to this, the points on NDT cited in 59 and/or the blog post linked there are easily confirmed facts:
    >>a] Darwinism is theory, not fact; that that means that is is an open-ended exercise, and that it seeks to summarise a vast body of empirical data, in which effort there are indeed key, persistent explanatory gaps. [Start with the Cambrian life revolution and the issue of macroevolution by random mutations that affect the core of a tightly coupled, complex integrated system. See Meyer’s peer-reviewed discussion — which the OSC letter and the Congressional report affirm, passed proper peer review by “renowned scientists” — for details. Lonnig on Dynamic Genomes is another useful, peer reviewed discussion. And of course, the recently revealed papers by Trevors and Abel are also relevant to this. Of course it is a bonus to note that these are examples of the peer-reviewed ID-supportive literature that Judge Jones blindly copied the ACLU to assert do not exist. Despite having had accurate submissions and testimony on the point.]
    b] Design Theory is a [re-]emerging challenger as an explanation . . .
    c] The call to an OPEN [but critically aware] mind in light of knowing the dominant theory and its gaps and that alternatives exist . . . is not a closing off of options but an opening of minds . . .
    d] Given the persistent absence of a credible, robust account of the origin of the functionally specific, complex information [FSCI] and associated tightly integrated information systems at the heart of the molecular technology of life, the origin of life is the first gap in the broader evolutionary materialist account of origins. Further to this, the issue Loennig raises in his peer reviewed article on the challenge of viable macro-level spontaneous [“chance”] changes in DNA that express themselves embryologically early bring this gap issue not only to chemical evolution, but to the macro-evolution that NDT is supposed to explain, but does not — starting with the Cambrian life explosion as Meyer noted in another peer-reviewed article. [Both of these were of course brought to Judge Jones’ attention, and both were obviously ignored. No prizes for guessing why.]
    e] So, while as DI argues, ID is too pioneering to be a part of the classroom exposition, the cluster of persistent issues that NDT and wider evolutionary materialism cannot account for, definitely should be. The ongoing censorship of this scientific, philosophical, and cultural controversy is therefore telling.>>
    4] So, M and others may well have additional, contrary “information” to the just cited, but such information is, sadly but plainly, incorrect.
    5] He also exhibits a first person self-referential inconsistency discussed in the online overview. Namely, he infers that the dots on the screen in front of him are the product of intentional agency, not lucky noise, precisely in the context that they function in an informational context and system, and are complex beyond the plausible reach of random processes and/or natural regulatities. So, why should he infer that even more blatant cases of FSCI are lucky noise leading to the origin of a finetuned cosmos, and life in it and its diversification across time at macro-level? [For details see the online note.]
    _____________
    So, a year on, it is plain that the Dover decision is utterly discredited. Time to face facts and address implications and challenges, especially in light of the persecution ands censorship that are now being exposed in the Congressional report.
    For, while we cannot change the past, we can learn from it and do better next time,
    Grace at Christmas and for the new year
    Gordon

  • http://thebronxblogger.blogspot.com Matthew Goggins

    JohnW,
    I’m not done reading the Seton Hall Law School report, and I’m not done researching the Supreme Court case Hamdan v. Rumsfeld.
    But it’s been a while since I promised you an update, so here are some brief comments.
    First, here are some links for anyone who wants to read the Seton Hall Law School report himself:
    1) The raw data that the report is based upon are a series of document releases by the U.S. Department of Defense. The document releases consist of “Combatant Status Review Board letters”. These letters are simple form letters that are filled in with descriptions of why each detainee at Guantanamo is being held as a detainee at Guantanamo.
    Here’s the link: “Documents concerning Combatant Status Review Tribunal (CSRT) Procedures for Enemy Combatants Detained at Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, Cuba.”
    2) Here’s the Seton Hall report: “Report on Guantanamo Detainees, A Profile of 517 Detainees through Analysis of Department of Defense Data” (2006) by Professor Mark Denbeaux of the Seton Hall University School of Law (with Joshua Denbeaux, David Gratz, John Gregorek, Matthew Darby, Shana Edwards, Shane Hartman, Daniel Mann, and Helen Skinner).
    My opinion of Hamdan v. Rumsfeld is that it is a very interesting case, that it supports what you are saying to a certain extent, and that it also supports what I am saying to a certain extent.
    I don’t want to go into specifics until I have time to read more on it and understand it better.
    Now for the Seton Hall report.
    The Seton Hall report fails to support even the factual assertions you have made about 92% of the detainees not being “fighters”. And the report does support my assertion that all of the detainees are “enemy combatants” or one sort or another.
    The report itself is actually quite a jumble of very loose arguments. I wouldn’t dignify it with calling it a “report” — I consider it more of an exercise in confused hand-waving that is dressed up as a longish legal memorandum.
    I wish I had more time to go into it right now, but I don’t, so my broad characterization will have to do for now.
    Happy New Year, my friend.
    Matthew

  • Matthew Goggins

    I had to take out the links from my last comment in order to get it past the spam filter.
    If someone wants to use the two following links, just go to “www.google.com” and cut and past the web addresses into the search engine without the quotation marks.
    Link for “Combatant Status Review Board letters”: “www.dod.mil/pubs/foi/detainees/index.html”.
    Link for Seton Hall report: “law.shu.edu/news/guantanamo_report_final_2_08_06.pdf”.

  • JohnW

    Matthew Goggins,
    Regarding the Seton Hall report: they reviewed the documents which consisted of a summary of information regarding each detainee. The documents indicated how each detainee was picked up and only 6% were picked up by United States forces. Most of the rest were picked up by Afgans and Pakistanis wanting reward money. Now I suppose you could print the department of defense documents out, make an excel spreadsheet, look at all 517 memos, and tally up the information yourself. That way you could verify the percentages yourself, but myself, I don’t feel a need to do that.
    Ask yourself: if most of these people are unlawful enemy combatants wouldn’t atleast half of them be picked up by United States authorities? Also, it’s my understanding that the administration doesn’t consider these “unlawful enemy combatants” to be prisoner’s of war, so don’t you think that some kind of system with accountability be afforded these people? Most of them haven’t been charged with anything. Basically, the administration seems to believe it’s ok to recieve people who are turned over to them for money, detain them indefinitely up, and not call them prisoners of war and also, not charge them with any thing.
    It sound very unamerican to me. What if people start deciding that they shouldn’t speak out against our government because they might be labeled some kind of threat? How do you feel about that?

  • JohnW

    Matthew Goggins,
    My new year’s resolution is to stop making so many comments about Bush on this blog. I can’t change anyone’s mind here, so I should try to tone down the Bush comments.
    I believe Bush is a bad president for a variety of reasons: Iraq, Global Warming, policies favoring corporate interests over the common working man, unconstitutional enlargement of executive power, treatment of detainees, and lack of transparancy. He has overblown/exaggerated the terrorist threat either for the advancement of his executive power or financial reasons, or maybe he is just sincere, but misguided.
    Anyhow, I’ve got faith in our political system-things will change for the better following the 2008 election (even though it will take a long time to repair the damage Bush has done).
    I believe the next few years will reveal a lot to the american public, now that democrats have the ability to do some oversight and hold hearings. Also, more moderate republicans will feel more free to speak out. I just hope Bush will not escalate/surge in Iraq or do some thing crazy in Iran.
    Hope you will pay attention to the hearings that will like start early next year.

  • http://thebronxblogger.blogspot.com Matthew Goggins

    JohnW,
    He has overblown/exaggerated the terrorist threat …
    You know, some Bush critics say that President Bush has neglected the terrorist threat. They think he is not sufficiently engaged against the threat, and has even played it down too much.
    How can we tell if President Bush is doing too much or too little? How do we determine the scope or the magnitude of the terrorist threat?
    What in your opinion should the president have done differently over the past five years or so? What should the president being doing right now about the terrorist threat?
    I personally have not been attacked by terrorists since Sept. 11, 2001. But I wouldn’t say President Bush has been overblowing the terrorist threat.
    Do you believe a jihadi would like to take an atom bomb and blow up part of a major American city? Do you think a jihadi would like to inflict mass casualties against just about any civilian target in the U.S.?
    I think a jihadi would love to do something like that.
    I think the reason a jihadi hasn’t done something like that lately is because we’ve been infinitely more vigilant lately. And possibly also because a lot of jihadis are fearful of provoking the U.S. again while President Bush is still president.
    I don’t think either of those two reasons would tend to support your claim that the terror threat has been exaggerated.
    My new year’s resolution is to stop making so many comments about Bush on this blog. I can’t change anyone’s mind here, so I should try to tone down the Bush comments.
    Actually, you could probably improve your powers of persuasion dramatically by modifying the tone of your Bush comments.
    The best way to influence someone’s opinions is to join with them in good faith in a search for the truth. That means engaging in dialogue. And dialogue means making comments, but realizing that those comments are just a starting point, or a jumping-off point towards an uncertain destination.
    Happy New Year!

  • JohnW

    Matthew Goggins,
    Regarding the terrorist threat, I’d recommend a new book by John Mueller (an Ohio State professor). The book is entitled “Overblown” and the author has been on Cspan recently-you might be able to find his discussion with the former governor of Virginia on cspan.org.
    I know it’s heretical to say the terrorist threat is overblown given what the media has been pushing on us that last few years, but where are all those terrorist cells in america? I believe terrorism should be a law enforcement matter, not some sort of epic, multi-generational, never ending war.

  • http://thebronxblogger.blogspot.com Matthew Goggins

    JohnW,
    I took a look at “Overblown”. It looks like a very good book.
    Maybe the terrorist threat is overblown. Even if it’s not, it is certainly a reasonable, responsible position to hold.
    However, most of us don’t have access to enough information to judge how serious the terrorist threat actually is. It seems to me that most people who do have access to information on the terrorist threat don’t think that threat is overblown.
    Now those people, such as anti-terror investigators and prosecutors, might all be engaging in some kind of group-think that creates a substantial bias. But that would just show how hard it is to get a handle on this question.
    I do think the book “Overblown” seems to be missing the point of terrorist attacks. The point is not simply to kill people. If that were the point, the terrorists would be failing miserably, unless they were close to getting some effective weapon of mass destruction.
    The point of terror is to intimidate and to advance their political (Islamist) goals. They have been more successful from that point of view. For example, the Madrid train attacks toppled a pro-coalition Spanish government, and led directly to the withdrawal of Spanish troops from Iraq.
    We can’t be satisfied to treat terrorism as a law-enforcement problem. That didn’t work in the eighties and nineties, and it won’t work now. Why not? Because terror is warfare, and our enemy has not given up yet.

  • http://www.thinklings.org Alan

    Joe, I understand that you may think it better if judges were to write up these judgments and opinions all on their own. But there are a few reasons they don’t, and why nobody in the legal profession is worried by it. In fact, it’s what we want.
    Number one, the case doesn’t “belong” to the judge, in a sense. He’s there to decide the outcome, but it really belongs to the litigants. They’re the ones who have to defend it on appeal. So in order to give the prevailing party the best chance to defend its case on appeal, given that he’s decided they should win, most judges give wide latitude to the prevailing party in how the final decision should be worded. That way, they feel like they’re really defending their case on appeal, and not some abomination created by an overworked judge.
    Number two, judges are too busy. District court judges, in particular, no doubt enjoy taking on these unusual and highly publicized cases. But they’ve still got to deal with thousands of drug cases, criminal trials, big money lawsuits between corporations, and so on. They just don’t have time to write things this complex on their own. And it’s not fair to those who have other disputes to force them to wait on the backburner while this novelty takes up all the judge’s time.
    So it may be fair for to say that the opinion doesn’t reflect any independence of thought on the part of the judge, and that he’s just reciting what he was given by one party. It should therefore be taken for what it is– a partisan piece done in the context of litigation, not a sober and unbiased examination of the overall evidence.