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Response to Barbara Forrest’s Kitzmiller Account Part I: Eating Forrest’s “Legal Mincemeat”

[Editor’s Note: A single article combining all ten installments of this response to Barbara Forrest can be found here, at “Response to Barbara Forrest’s Kitzmiller Account.” The individual installments may be seen here: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, Part 9, Part 10.]

Barbara Forrest is a philosopher and was an expert witness against intelligent design in the Kitzmiller v. Dover trial. Since she has recently posted her take on the Kitzmiller trial here, I have had the pleasure of responding by constructing a ten-part response. The pleasure is mine because of the interesting comments from Forrest, including affirmatively calling ID-proponents labels such as “creationists,” “legal mincemeat,” “jaw-droppingly stupid,” “evangelical scholars,” “part of the Religious Right,” and “mean-spirited.” Forrest says they have “contempt for the judicial system,” promote “warmed-over creationism,” have “cocksure confidence,” and use “nastiness” and “long-discredited pro-ID arguments” because “they make things up and/or slander their opposition.” She claims that ID supporters are reduced to “peddling ID” and “riding the coattails of conservative pundit Ann Coulter,” while arguing using “standard creationist canards,” which “highlight the bankruptcy of ID and the blustering cowardice of its leaders, who must capture support with brazen deceit and sarcastic punditry.” I’d like to briefly highlight a couple of these expanded quotes, which further show her argumentation style:

(1) A harsh attack by Dr. Forrest upon ID-proponents:

These tactics by DeWolf and Dembski highlight the bankruptcy of ID and the blustering cowardice of its leaders, who must capture support with brazen deceit and sarcastic punditry.

(2) Some Self-Praising by Dr. Forrest:

It probably wasn’t difficult for DI and TMLC to figure out that, armed with my work and that of the other witnesses for the plaintiffs, halfway decent attorneys would make legal mincemeat of them. (emphasis added)

Her piece is going to be an entertaining read at the very least, one that deserves a response, which I will present over the course of of a series of 10 posts.
In the first series of 4 posts, I will assess the arguments she describes, which she made in the courtroom.

  • Part 2: I will assess Forrest’s usage of quotations from ID proponents supposedly talking about intelligent design in religious terms;
  • Part 3: I will assess Forrest’s usage of quotations from ID proponents describing their own Christian or creationist religious beliefs;
  • Part 4: I will discuss Forrest’s allegations of religious motives of ID proponents as stated in the “wedge document”;
  • Part 5: I will analyze Forrest’s history of ID that involves Phillip Johnson and the usage of creationist language in pre-publication drafts of Of Pandas and People.

Then I will assess Forrest’s style of argumentation:

  • Part 6: I will assess Forrest’s three contradictory conspiracy theories about why some ID proponents didn’t testify;
  • Part 7: I will discuss the logical fallacy of Forrest’s ubiquitous “correlation implies causation” argumentation style;
  • Part 8: I will assess important facts left out of Forrest’s article, especially regarding research and testing of ID;
  • In Part 9, I will respond to Forrest’s discussion of the Kitzmiller decision’s treatment of issues of intelligent design and peer reviewed publications.
  • In Part 10, I discuss Forrest’s misplaced praise of Judge Jones.

Stay tuned for the rest of the series!

Casey Luskin

Associate Director and Senior Fellow, Center for Science and Culture
Casey Luskin is a geologist and an attorney with graduate degrees in science and law, giving him expertise in both the scientific and legal dimensions of the debate over evolution. He earned his PhD in Geology from the University of Johannesburg, and BS and MS degrees in Earth Sciences from the University of California, San Diego, where he studied evolution extensively at both the graduate and undergraduate levels. His law degree is from the University of San Diego, where he focused his studies on First Amendment law, education law, and environmental law.



__editedBarbara ForrestKitzmiller v. Dover Area School District