NOVA “Judgment Day” Airs Tonight

Your local PBS station, 8-10PM Eastern Standard Time… either you or your video recorder should make a date with “Judgment Day”, NOVA’s exploration of the Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District case. It features interviews with many of the people involved, and reenactments of courtroom encounters based on the transcripts.

This is “must-see” TV.

Update: Rob Pennock and I drove to York Haven and got to view the NOVA show in the company of all but one of the KvD plaintiffs, Eric Rothschild, Steven Harvey, Richard Katskee, Vic Walczak, Genie Scott, Kevin Padian, Barbara Forrest, Laurie Lebo, and Burt Humburg.

I’ll post some photos later.

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Kevin Padian hands out “Friend of Darwin” awards to the plaintiffs.

This is a picture during the “Judgment Day” broadcast. Note Prof. Steve Steve in the middle.

Rob Pennock signs Burt Humburg’s copy of “Tower of Babel”.

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It’s 2:24 AM, and the party is breaking up.

Update: Last week, I got an email forwarded from WGBH asking for a high-resolution photo of Paul Nelson. I provided several for consideration, and during the program I thought I recognized one of them. I’ve just put up the recorded show and, yes, the picture they displayed of Paul Nelson is one that I took back in 2002, at the public opening event for the Research and Progress in Intelligent Design (RAPID) conference at Biola. The blocky thing in the background is the Biola gynmasium scoreboard.

Another published photo credit for the curriculum vitae…

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Wesley R. Elsberry

Falconer. Interdisciplinary researcher: biology and computer science. Photographer. Husband. Christian. Activist.

26 thoughts on “NOVA “Judgment Day” Airs Tonight

  • 2007/11/13 at 8:55 am

    I havn’t seen this yet – but by what I have been reading Behe & Co have been vindicated by evidence that was not acknowledged by the Judge.

  • 2007/11/13 at 12:59 pm

    I’m really looking forward to this. Everyone, please note that NOVA is usually repeated later in the week. Also, the entire episode will be viewable from their website starting November 16.
    Here’s the link:

  • 2007/11/14 at 1:58 am

    Nope, Behe hasn’t been vindicated. In fact, Behe’s further book is taking an enormous and well-deserved drubbing over on PT and in a variety of reviews.

  • 2007/11/14 at 3:14 am

    But did the programme do anything to justify Behe v’s the judges pronouncements – I’m trying to find NOVA programme on internet. You mention his book getting a drubbing – but that is not relavent to the issue re Dover.(PS If you’d like to put a face to our correspondence see my channel for my insane dance video)

  • 2007/11/14 at 8:47 am

    Tremendous show. I could nitpick here and there, but overall very well put together. The animations were fantastic, especially the flagellum. I’m jealous you got to watch with the principles. Hopefully you’ll give us a detailed report.

    And yeah, Behe hasn’t been vindicated. If anything, the exact opposite is the case. His new book is even worse than Darwin’s Black Box, the errors in many cases incredibly naive. But yes Tina, we know you “like the guy” and apparently that’s all the evidence you need, since you’ve never put forth anything else.

  • 2007/11/14 at 10:30 am

    Tremendous program. Engaging topic not to mention so well done I was glued to it like a drama and on the edge of my seat at the end. I hadn’t followed the story before and happened upon the program unplanned, so didn’t know the conclusion beforehand. I felt for Laurie Lebo.

  • 2007/11/14 at 11:16 am

    Tina –

    Did Behe do anything to justify Behe?

    Behe had ample opportunity during the trial to justify his views. Unfortunately, he was unable. Of course he thought he did hunky-dorey. Turns out, not so much.

  • 2007/11/14 at 2:20 pm

    Not correct Dave – you just have been deaf to what I was saying…but let that all be put to rest now.

  • 2007/11/14 at 7:16 pm

    Tina, what, precisely, was it Dave supposedly missed?

    Your original claim is entirely without foundation and without merit.

    If you have a case to make, it is time to actually provide it.

    The trial transcripts are here. If Judge Jones missed something, you should be able to back that up with links.

    Ready, set, go!

  • 2007/11/15 at 6:52 am

    Its a mystery to me how Judge Jones was supposed to take into account a press kit put out by the DI after his decision was released. Behe certainly had ample oportunity to make whatever case he could during the trial itself. That’s the thing about courts…only the evidence admitted at court counts. And witnesses are put under oath and must answer questions challenging them truthfully. They don’t have to do that when publishing PR tracts like Traipsing.

    Anyway Tina. Tell us what the judge missed and where specifically Behe had a case. Be specific, as I’m not interested in sifting through an entire website with many links trying to guess what you’re talking about.

  • 2007/11/15 at 2:41 pm

    Austringer – I’ve had trouble creating links. So if that one is OK read it.

  • 2007/11/16 at 1:08 am

    Tina, I have already commented on false claims made by the DI in Traipsing.. The link I provided before itself links to a number of posts on PT taking the Traipsing material apart.

    Though I fail to see how Traipsing is relevant to your claim in any case. You earlier said,

    You mention his book getting a drubbing – but that is not relavent to the issue re Dover.

    If that means that anything not brought up at trial is, in your view, irrelevant, then that includes all the DI post-Dover whining, too. So which is it: your claim deals only with KvD material, or your claim deals with material outside of and more recent than the KvD material? With the former, you still have taken no steps to substantiate any part of your claim, and with the latter, you are using a double standard to allow yourself to reference post-Dover material while claiming that anyone else who does that is dealing in irrelevant points.

  • 2007/11/16 at 12:07 pm

    I attended Behe’s lecture of the University of Minnesota in 2005, and when I read the transcript of his testimony at Dover I was, frankly, stunned to see him back off under cross-examination of so much that he had stated in his arguments as evidence for ID at the U of M. Moreover, I remember Behe stating at one point, “There is no evidence for evolution,” whereas other attendees do not. It could be that I have a false memory; however I audiotaped that presentation. Perhaps over the Thanksgiving holiday (if I’m a good girl and get my research papers done) I’ll transcribe Behe’s remarks and post it at my website.

    Tina, read the Dover transcripts. They reveal a lot.

  • 2007/11/16 at 3:47 pm

    That’s the thing Kristine. Its one thing for him to reply to someone (like ERV or Ian Musgrave over his brutal treatment of HIV and evolving function) over the Net, where he can prevaricate, dodge and weave as he likes…and in court, where you have to answer the questions asked directly and under oath. They don’t tolerate obfuscation and handwaving there.

    Off topic: I see the DI is continuing on with the latest change of tactics with their “teach the controversy” mantra and pretending that their arguments are just another legitimate part of evolutionary theory.

    Hey, it can’t be religion if they call it “evolution”, right?

  • 2007/11/16 at 6:54 pm

    “Tina, read the Dover transcripts. They reveal a lot.”

    Will do Kristine!

  • 2007/11/17 at 5:45 am

    Tina, be sure to read all the transcripts. I notice on the site you link they only have ‘their side’ of the story represented.

  • 2007/11/17 at 9:35 pm


    Your use of the spelling “programme,” which is not usual in the US, suggests to me that you may not have wide experience of the practice of law in the US. Forgive me if I make an unwarranted assumption. Further note the usual disclaimer: IANAL.

    Your statement “…vindicated by evidence that was not acknowledged by the Judge…” contains two words that are hard to relate to the mechanics of a trial in the US: “evidence” and “acknowledged.”

    As Dave S. said above, a trial in the US is quite encapsulated: the only evidence a Judge (or a Jury) may consider is that which is presented *at the trial.* That evidence is typically, as it was in Dover, (a) exhibits, which are writings and pictures and objects submitted by one side or the other, and (b) testimony by plaintiffs, defendants, and experts. A judge may refuse, for various reasons, to admit evidence of either kind, but once it *is* admitted, it becomes part of the trial record that the Judge is duty bound to consider.

    If by “acknowledged,” you mean evidence Judge Jones refused to admit, then you need to be specific here. I think the “traipsing” site does not offer specific instances of evidence that should have been admitted and wasn’t, but I haven’t combed that site with that question in mind. The trial transcripts contain some discussion about admitting “testimony* by William Dembski as part of an amicus brief when Dembski had himself refused to present that testimony as an expert witness, but I think the traipsing site doesn’t make much of this incident, nor should it, IMHO.

    If, by “acknowledged,” you mean evidence to which the Judge gave (or seemed to give) less weight than he gave other evidence, then you’re saying that Judge Jones didn’t do his job — to judge! But in the US, his opinion is taken to be dispositive, and to be the result of his judgment. However much you or the folks at “traipsing” might have a different judgment about the same evidence, there’s no practical way for you or they to get your judgment or theirs put into the place of Judge Jones’s judgment.

    Unless/until the case is appealed and unless and until Judge Jones is overruled by the appeals court, his opinion will stand. Appeal apparently is not going to happen: The Dover School Board has decided not to appeal, the Kitzmillers et al. have decided not to appeal, and the people who blog at “traipsing” do not have “standing” to appeal. (I may be missing a legal technicality or two here, but I think my summary is pretty accurate.)

    No amount of “evidence” adduced someplace other than at the trial, whether before, after, or during the trial, can change the result of the trial. Whether that’s fair or not is something for each of us to decide, but it is probably in Winston Churchill’s category of “better than all other alternatives.”

    Thus, it seems hard to understand your use of the word “vindicated.” On the evidence Judge Jones had before him, including a couple of days of testimony by Michael Behe, Behe was *not* “vindicated.” That is, his view did *not* prevail when the judge came to decide the case. If you think that there is evidence the judge should have had before him but didn’t, then please be specific here, but also be specific about why, at least in your opinion, Michael Behe did not present that evidence when he had the chance.

    Two other minor notes: First, Behe was reported as saying right after his testimony in court that he did extremely well, that “they” had thrown nothing new at him, and that he had given excellent answers. (I paraphrase from memory of a report.) IOW, he thought as soon as he had finished giving his evidence that he had been “vindicated.” Second, Behe (and all other witnesses) testified under an oath to tell the truth. The folks at “traipsing” are under no such oath.


  • 2007/11/18 at 6:40 am

    The trial transcripts contain some discussion about admitting “testimony* by William Dembski as part of an amicus brief when Dembski had himself refused to present that testimony as an expert witness, but I think the traipsing site doesn’t make much of this incident, nor should it, IMHO.

    Naturally not. That was one of the many less than shining moments for the ID side. Trying to slip Dembski’s ‘expert report’ into the bottom of the pile as an amicus brief would allow it to stand without rebuttle. The judge saw right through that little ploy. Dembski was too gutless to testify. Sadly so, as that debacle would have made Behe’s look like a picnic.

    No amount of “evidence” adduced someplace other than at the trial, whether before, after, or during the trial, can change the result of the trial.

    One example is the list of so-called peer reviewed papers that the DI claims vindicates ID as a science with support in the literature. When asked about his peer reviewed output for ID, Behe could point to nothing. There was the moment when he claimed his book was peer-reviewed, and more rigorous than a scientific journal would review. But that moment was short lived when it was shown that some of the reviewers trashed the book, and at least one never even read it. A book publisher is only interested in selling books, not in scientific integrity.

    Sort of like Behe himself.

    Behe has the chance to bring up the supposed list during trial, but instead we are treated to the following exchange:

    Rothschild: Now you have never argued for intelligent design in a peer reviewed scientific journal, correct?

    Behe: No, I argued for it in my book.

    Rothschild: Not in a peer reviewed scientific journal?

    Behe: That’s correct.

    Rothschild: And, in fact, there are no peer reviewed articles by anyone advocating for intelligent design supported by pertinent experiments or calculations which provide detailed rigorous accounts of how intelligent design of any biological system occurred, is that correct?

    Behe: That is correct, yes.

    They did discuss the Behe and Snoke (2004) paper, which was published in the peer reviewed literature and is part of the DI list, but turns out that paper had nothing to do with ID or IC…and in fact is powerful evidence for evolution.

  • 2007/11/18 at 9:41 am

    The trial transcripts contain some discussion about admitting “testimony* by William Dembski as part of an amicus brief when Dembski had himself refused to present that testimony as an expert witness, but I think the traipsing site doesn’t make much of this incident, nor should it, IMHO.

    But the commentary during the trial about the Discovery Institute’s legal prowess should be required reading.

    [500]THE COURT: But I’m just not going to receive it. I understand what you’re saying, Mr. Muise, sometimes you do, but not having had the dispute about Mr. Dembski —

    [501]MR. GILLEN: Yes, I want nothing to do with that. I want nothing to do with not showing up here when he was an expert, and then trying to sneak something?

    [502]THE COURT: All right.

    [503]MR. ROTHSCHILD: Your Honor, just to make it clear, I mean it’s not just any expert report. It’s actually the expert report filed as rebuttal by Dr. Meyer in this case.

    [504]THE COURT: Oh, I understand.

    [505]MR. ROTHSCHILD: It sounds to me like, you know, it sounds like there’s a basis to strike that doesn’t need to deal with the opportunity you gave them.

    [506]THE COURT: There’s no question about that. You know, it’s no harm, no foul. But the fact that I was too charitable and they gained without a motion doesn’t mean that I can’t summarily strike it. I might have done it sua sponte even absent your motion. Think about it. If you change your position, let me know at the outset tomorrow. Otherwise I think that what I’ll do is, I don’t know what I’ll do as to the first submission. That does not contain any expert report. I think — is that the 85 scientists —

    [507]MR. ROTHSCHILD: Yes, Your Honor.

    [508]THE COURT: — submission? You may have other grounds, we’ll let that be briefed and we’ll go from there, I’m not going to pre-judge that, but I’m vexed by the fact that I’ve got, you know, another massive submission, and in the meantime their counsel has been e-mailing Liz, and as a judge told me and co-counsel years ago, “We’re not running a law school here,” and the substance of the question is how do we do this, and you know, we’re not going to get into that.

    [509]MR. GILLEN: It’s plain from the first brief they don’t know.

    [510]THE COURT: Yes. I had Liz e-mail back and say get a copy of the local rules and we got a non sequitur e-mail back which basically said again how do we do this.

    [511]MR. MUISE: Your Honor, I just want to be clear. We’ve had nothing to do with the filing of these.

    [512]THE COURT: Oh, I’m not —

    [513]MR. MUISE: We’re not trying to back-door anything. Understand, I just want to make it clear.

    [514]THE COURT: I’m not saying you did, and that’s why I don’t want to blow this around the courtroom and imply that you did. I don’t believe that you did, I certainly understand that, but at the same time, you know, I’m not going to have, you know, some rogue cavalry come riding in here at the last instant. We’re not going to have that.

    [515]MR. GILLEN: Agreed, Your Honor.

    Sounds like neither Dembski nor the DI were held in high respect by TMLC, the lawyers for the defense.

  • 2007/11/19 at 9:56 am

    It’s just a second-hand retelling of propaganda from the Discovery Institute, so far as I can tell. Why is that notable?

  • 2007/11/19 at 10:57 am

    Tina –

    Third hand nonsense that was refuted months ago. It sure looks convincing when you only bother to look at one side, doesn’t it?

    First, as Wes has already shown in great detail, the judge only “copied” less than 40% of the plaintiffs findings of fact. The DI quote you provided was cherry picked to one section make it look more impressive than it is. Second, that is exactly what judges are suppoed to do…accept one or the others finds of facts (despite the author of the post you linked breathless exclamations as if the judge did something wrong)! That’s why they call them proposed findings of fact. I’ll bet your readings didn’t tell you that the ID side also wrote their proposed findings of fact with the intent of the judge accepting them if not verbatum, then largely so. The only problem for the DI and the rest of the ID side was that they failed to convince the judge…and that’s because they didn’t have a convincing case.

    And yes, the T3SS does falsify the flagella as IC, since it shows parts can be removed from the flagellum and yet it can still function, albeit in a different job. Since Behe’s argument is only a just-so story, it is easily refuted by another just so story. That fact that evolution has much more than just that, it has the evidence too, says volumes about that theory. Michael Behe has nothing useful to tell science.

  • 2007/12/02 at 2:33 am

    Gad, my tape of Behe is practically unintelligible! Good thing I used a digital camera to video John West’s presentation (Rev. Barky is uploading that video at right now). However, I did catch this toward the end:

    “There are structural obstacles to the main theory, Darwinian evolution, in accounting for the design that we see. Claims that in fact Darwinian processes have been shown to explain it are urban legends, and that one of mine is that in fact we do have strong evidence for design where people infer Darwinism. Now, I’ve shown you a number of criticisms for the design argument in this talk, and besides these there have been many, many, many, many, many other criticisms of the design argument, and I’ve responded to a number of criticisms, and I’ve written a couple of papers in philoso—in academic books, and a couple of articles in philosophy of science journals, but most excessively I’ve written replies and responses which can be found at this website,” blah, blah.

    These same “urban myths” comprise the big stack of academic papers that Behe requested be “set aside” during his cross-examination at the Dover trial.

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