Dover Intelligent-Design Case
RJLipkin at aol.com
RJLipkin at aol.com
Tue Dec 20 11:47:48 PST 2005
Unfortunately, Ed Darrell distorts my post. I never said or implied that
Kuhn's theory of science favors intelligent design in any way at all. " What I
said was "I do not see any likelihood of intelligent design providing the
thrust for a paradigm shift concerning what is or what is not science." Further,
I never said Judge Jones imposed "his views over the experts in science
who were called to testify." My point is directed at capacity, and the
indefensible contention, in my view, that somehow a legal education provides the
necessary ingredients for assessing expert testimony in a wide range of domains
of human inquiry.
When it comes to science (if not everything else) the distinction
between not deciding what is or is not science and "following accepted legal
procedures in use of expert testimony" is, in my view unhelpful. It is
entirely circular to suppose that because there are "accepted legal procedures of
expert testimony," that these procedures are anything more than "accepted."
There is little more than hubris in the view that the fact that courts use these
procedures means that these procedures count as legitimate evaluations of
What gives judges the requisite background to decide whether experts
are correct about defining science as naturalistic, testable, and so forth?
In other words, what prepares judges to assess such abstract debates?
I agree with the experts (and the court) about what science is. But
my agreement is irrelevant to the question of whether judges have the
ability to sift through conceptually difficult testimony about the nature of
science, religion, and a host of other issues. What in a legal education (or in
practicing law) provides the required background?
As for the gratuitous remark about philosophy, well I'll leave it at
Robert Justin Lipkin
Professor of Law
Widener University School of Law
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