Grey Thoughts
Judge Jones Dover Decision Shocking Revelation
The main ID sites have released details of a study by Discovery Institute scholars which outlines how Judge Jones, the judge who ruled against Intelligent Design in the 2005 case in Dover, lifted over 90% of the 6000 word section on whether ID was science from the 139 page 'ruling' straight from the ACLU's submissions.

This is shocking. The judge, who is now clearly not an expert or even informed and objective observer, simply accepted the authority of the ACLU in making his decision. Some choice comments
Dr. John West, Vice President for Public Policy and Legal Affairs at Discovery Institute's Center for Science and Culture.

"Ironically, Judge Jones has been hailed as 'an outstanding thinker' for his 'masterful' ruling, and even honored by Time magazine as one of the world's 'most influential people' in the category of 'scientists and thinkers,'" said West. "But Jones' analysis of the scientific status of intelligent design contains virtually nothing written by Jones himself. This finding seriously undercuts the credibility of a central part of the ruling."

So a judge who said he was not an activist judge essentially used an activist organisation's legal decision, not his own. If this is the best they can do, the Darwian machine really is having trouble with the survival of the fittest.

Update: Fixed an error about how much of the document relates to the 90% decision.

Update: Joe Carter has also commented on this and raises some good points.
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.

Incorporating findings of fact from the prevailing party in US court cases is common practice. The Discovery Institute analysis dealt with 21 pages of the decision regarding whether ID was science or not. You must be easily shocked.
Lol. As Dembski said in the link I provided
Outside the legal system this is called plagiarism. But since judges are allowed to draw on briefs of the parties, this is called legal scholarship. Even so, courts frown on decisions in which judges extensively copy and paste from other briefs
or Crowther said in the other link I provided
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."

So it isn't that he just incorporated some findings of fact. It is the ridiculous scope of what he copied uncritically. it is quite clear that his 'outstanding thinking' on the topic was merely parroting the ACLU.
Alan, as I stated on Joe Carter's blog, I think it makes more sense to concentrate on the fact that the judge incorporated findings of fact that were obviously false, than that he somehow plagiarized his findings. The plagiarism angle doesn't seem to be that big of a deal in legal circles. Saying that the judge didn't do much thinking in the case is much more obvious. I guess that puts me in the middle here.
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