Dale Davenport at the Patriot News is just one example of mainstream journalists who are wearying of the mendacity coming out of an institute supposedly concerned with the truth.
It’s not unusual for the loser in a court battle to criticize the judge who ruled against him.
But attempting to discredit the judge professionally is a more serious matter, especially in a case where the loser hasn’t appealed the judge’s ruling.
Perhaps it’s reflective of the times in which we live, when people who don’t have the facts on their side are quick to turn the attack personal. It’s a staple of today’s politics, where nothing more than a party label becomes, to someone of another label, a presumption of all that is evil.
So we have the Discovery Institute, which backed the losing side in last year’s intelligent design trial in U.S. Middle District Court, now claiming that Judge John E. Jones copied some of his ruling from documents submitted by the winning side.
To which some judges I’ve talked to have said, in essence, “So?”
One would expect that a judge, in siding with one litigant, would sustain that litigant’s arguments. And a judge logically would use words that were before him in documents submitted as evidence by the successful litigant.
The Discovery Institute said “90.9 percent” of the section in Jones’ ruling on whether intelligent design is science was “copied verbatim or virtually verbatim” from “Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law” filed by lawyers for the American Civil Liberties Union. The ACLU was supporting a group of parents who brought suit against the Dover Area School Board to challenge its policy of telling students in science class that some people believe a higher being designed the world.
What’s happening here is that Discovery Institute hopes that by questioning Jones’ integrity, and thus his credibility, it will lend support to the ongoing effort to teach students in public schools that God created the world and that the various species of life did not evolve from simpler organisms. In a press release Tuesday announcing the findings of its study of Judge Jones’ ruling, Discovery Institute referred at least eight times in a confrontational way to “Darwinism” or “Darwinists,” a reference to the Theory of Evolution proposed by Charles Darwin. Supported by mountains of scientific evidence, evolution is the generally accepted basis of science today.
Whatever your beliefs about the origins of species, and of life itself, teaching religious belief as science in public schools pretty clearly violates both the letter and spirit of religious freedom spelled out in the Constitution. Why this is so hard for some folks to accept is troubling, because it is precisely the proscription of government endorsement of religion — telling us, or in this case teaching our children, what to believe — that allows us to believe as we want and to teach our children accordingly.