Richard Sternberg, Casey Luskin, and Gross Dishonesty

Apr 17 2008 Published by under Anti-Evolutionism

Casey Luskin is currently in the middle of a multi-part "rebuttal" to Michael Shermer's review of Expelled. In the latest installment of his whine, Casey (again) brings up the case of Richard Sternberg. Sternberg, some of you might remember, orchestrated the publication of a pro-Intelligent Design paper near the end of his term as editor of Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington.

As punishment for this heinous crime, Sternberg suffered the indignity of not getting fired from the unpaid editorship that he had quit months before the paper actually appeared. His punishment further included the cruel and unusual steps of not dismissing him from his unpaid position as a Smithsonian Research Associate, not declining to renew the unpaid position when the term expired, and not firing him from his paid job at NIH. The draconian nature of the consequences that he ultimately suffered - some of his colleagues said bad things about him - obviously makes him the ideal example of an open-thinking scientist railroaded by the Darwinian Inquisition.

I'm not going to deal with the vast majority of Casey's attempt to obfuscate the real events that surrounded the whole Sternberg affair. He raises absolutely no new points, and all of the points that he does raise have been rebutted before. Instead, I'm going to focus on two points in Luskin's post where he massively misrepresents things that other people wrote.

The first example comes very early on in the post. Casey wrote:

The editor who oversaw the publication of that film was Dr. Richard Sternberg, who subsequently was harassed, intimidated, and demoted because he broke ranks with the unwritten (or sometimes written) rule among Darwinists that you must keep ID out of the journals.

The link in the quote does not take you to a page where a journal explicitly says that pro-ID papers will not be accepted. For that matter, it does not take you to a page that implicitly says that a journal won't take any pro-ID papers. The link does not actually have anything to do with journal articles at all. It's a link to a page that contains an AAAS resolution on Intelligent Design that talks about why it's not appropriate for ID to be taught in the schools. As Casey is well aware, there are substantial differences between a scientific journal and a secondary school. (For starters, one of them usually consists of words that are printed on paper and bound in some form or another, while the other is typically some sort of building.) There is simply no way that the statement can remotely be construed as a "written rule" that "you must keep ID out of the journals."

The second example comes not long after that point. Casey quotes from a Biological Society of Washington statement that was issued shortly after the publication of the Meyer paper. For clarity, I'll highlight Casey's selective quoting with boldface.

To attack Meyer's article, Shermer cites the NCSE-inspired statement from the BSW stating that, "Contrary to typical editorial practices, the paper was published without review by any associate editor; Sternberg handled the entire review process. The council, which includes officers, elected councilors and past presidents, and the associate editors would have deemed the paper inappropriate for the pages of the Proceedings." Shermer should have applied some of his famous skepticism here, because that statement is in fact a falsehood: Eugenie Scott herself admitted that "other editors have not always referred all articles to the Associate Editors, and because editors justifiably have discretion," and therefore the BSW should not "come down too hard on Dr. Sternberg for errors in the procedure followed in accepting this article." (See Report, pages 25-26.) Shermer conveniently spares the BSW from skepticism over Eugenie Scott's behind-closed-doors concession, which contradicts the BSW's public statement.

There are actually multiple problems with what Casey said. The first is that Casey somehow managed to miss a fairly basic point: saying that other editors sometimes also failed to have an associate editor review a paper does not contradict a claim that this was the usual ("typical") practice. I'm not going to be too hard on Casey for that one, though. He might not have tried to claim that the statement was a "falsehood" simply because he's a pathetic little twit who would deny the identity of his own mother if he thought it would advance the anti-evolution cause. He could merely have a such a massive reading comprehension deficit that he is unable to recognize the difference between the words "typically" and "always".

The second problem with Casey's statement is more substantial. Casey truncated the quote at a point that makes it appear that the council was claiming that it would have ruled the paper out because Sternberg did not have an associate editor review the paper. He accomplishes this feat by adding a period to the quote where one does not exist in the original:

Contrary to typical editorial practices, the paper was published without review by any associate editor; Sternberg handled the entire review process. The Council, which includes officers, elected councilors, and past presidents, and the associate editors would have deemed the paper inappropriate for the pages of the Proceedings because the subject matter represents such a significant departure from the nearly purely systematic content for which this journal has been known throughout its 122-year history. For the same reason, the journal will not publish a rebuttal to the thesis of the paper, the superiority of intelligent design (ID) over evolution as an explanation of the emergence of Cambrian body-plan diversity.

As it turns out, the council actually said that they would have turned down the paper because it dealt with a subject that was far outside what the journal normally publishes. Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington is a journal that publishes systematics papers. These are papers that basically deal with how organisms get sorted. The vast majority of the papers published in this journal consist of the description of new species of organisms - usually living, but occasionally fossil. The issue of the journal that the Meyer paper appeared in is (with that one glaring exception) typical for the journal. As you can see from just a list of the titles, his paper stands out like a sore thumb:

  • Pseudopaguristes shidarai, a new species of hermit crab (Crustacea: Decapoda: Diogenidae) from Japan, the fourth species of the genus
  • A new species of Procambarus (Crustacea: Decapoda: Cambaridae) from Veracruz, Mexico
  • Brackenridgia ashleyi, a new species of terrestrial isopod from Tumbling Creek Cave, Missouri (Isopoda: Oniscidea: Trichoniscidae)
  • New species and records of Bopyridae (Crustacea: Isopoda) infesting species of the genus Upogebia (Crustacea: Decapoda: Upogebiidae): the genera Orthione Markham, 1988, and Gyge Cornalia & Panceri, 1861
  • Three new species and a new genus of Farreidae (Porifera: Hexactinellida: Hexactinosida)
  • The origin of biological information and the higher taxonomic categories

If you look at the table of contents for the issue before, the issue after, the current issue, or (as far as I can tell) any other issue, you're going to see a lot of papers that deal with things like describing new species and genera, and absolutely nothing that has to deal with anything that bears even the faintest resemblance to the things Meyer was writing about. Simply put, this is not a journal that you would expect to find the Meyer paper in.

That, of course, brings us to the very obvious question: why did Meyer submit his paper to a journal that had never, ever published anything remotely like it? Casey, Ben Stein and the rest of the Expelled propagandists, Meyer, and Sternberg have been avoiding this question like the plague, probably because they are painfully aware that there is no good answer to that question.

81 responses so far

  • John Lynch says:

    As Casey is well aware, there are substantial differences between a scientific journal and a secondary school. (For starters, one of them usually consists of words that are printed on paper and bound in some form or another, while the other is typically some sort of building.)

    Not while I'm drinking hot coffee Mike!

  • Opisthokont says:

    I beg to differ with the answer you give to that last question: there is a good answer to why the Meyer paper got published in PBSW. It involves a massive subversion of the scientific process, publication of which does not look good for its perpetrators, but inasmuch as truth is good, it is still a good answer.
    Sorry, I could not resist picking the nit. I really really liked your summary of the consequences of Sternberg's actions.

  • Flint says:

    probably because they are painfully aware that there is no good answer to that question.

    More accurately, it's probably because there IS in fact an excellent answer to this question, but it's an answer they don't wish to make explicit. Surely it's stone obvious to everyone that Sternberg, having nothing to lose and strong religious motivations, took the opportunity to Witness For His Faith. What a fabulous opportunity to insert a "peer reviewed" pro-ID article into a fairly well respected science journal. It didn't need to be peer reviewed because this was in fact an editorial option, it didn't need to be on topic, it didn't need to include any science. It needed only to be published.
    And so Sternberg played the same role as the creationists on Leonard's thesis committee at Ohio State - ready, willing, and able to trash the hard-earned reputations of their employers, circumvent the responsibilities they had been entrusted with, and connive off the record to achieve a PR Coup For Jesus. This seems to be what creationism DOES to people.
    And this is why these questions are avoided. If you are a Believer, you already understand. If you are not, no answer can satisfy you.

  • Reginald Selkirk says:

    He accomplishes this feat by adding a period to the quote where one does not exist in the original:

    While i agree about truncation of the quote, I wouldn't make too big a deal about the period. The usage guides (e.g. Strunk & White) say to put the comma or period inside the quotation marks; so it would be proper to do so even if the period were Luskin's, in indication of the end of Luskin's sentence. Certainly an ellipsis to indicate truncation would have been helpful and honest.

  • Reginald Selkirk says:

    That, of course, brings us to the very obvious question: why did Meyer submit his paper to a journal that had never, ever published anything remotely like it?

    Probably for the same reason Michael Behe published an article on population genetics in a journal which typically handles protein structure and chemistry.

  • Bob O'H says:

    That, of course, brings us to the very obvious question: why did Meyer submit his paper to a journal that had never, ever published anything remotely like it?

    I thought we knew the answer to that - because Sternberg suggested that he submit it. I don't see anything wrong in this - I've had an editor suggest I submit papers to his journal, and it makes sense that an editor should be allowed to try and get papers they consider to be good published in their journals.
    But given this, and given the controversial nature of the paper (which should have been obvious to Sternberg), he really should have given it to an associate editor to handle. If nothing else, to protect himself from accusations of underhand dealing.

  • RBH says:

    Reginald Selkirk wrote

    Certainly an ellipsis to indicate truncation would have been helpful and honest.

    "Helpful"? No, required, because truncating the sentence to delete the reason the Society gave when Luskin is arguing for a different reason is deceptive and misleading.

  • DavidK says:

    All of this is moot because it never makes the pages of the media! For example, I refer you to the 4/17/08 Seattle Times guest editorial crap by Bruce Chapman (DI):
    http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/opinion/2004353967_chapman17.html

  • keith says:

    Maybe the evo ratheads can read english.
    http://www.rsternberg.net/OSC_ltr.htm

  • NJ says:

    ...and unlike the trolls, we can understand English.

  • Jason F. says:

    Mike,
    You quote C. Luskin as stating:

    Dr. Richard Sternberg, who subsequently was harassed, intimidated, and demoted

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't the claim that Sternberg was demoted false as well? If so, I think saying something that's demonstrably false is far worse than adding periods or intentionally confusing editorial practices. IOW, Luskin is simply a flat-out liar.

  • PvM says:

    In fact you can read the official majority party document AND the appendix which contains the actual emails on which the document relies.Ironically the investigation does not seem to be much correlated to the actual emails as it makes clearly erroneous assertions. But that of course requires one to have actually read the full report and not the

  • PvM says:

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't the claim that Sternberg was demoted false as well?

    Luskin probably refers to the fact that Sternberg's sponsor had died and thus his title was appropriately changed to take this into consideration. He went from "Research Associate" to "Research Collaborator" for the simple reason that he did not have a sponsor anymore.
    From the website

    Research Associate: Research Associates are professional scholars who formally and actively collaborate with NMNH scientific staff through collaborative projects, proposal submission, co-authored publications, etc. including regular use of the NMNH research and collection facilities. Research Associates have achieved a degree, usually a doctorate, and have professional status within their academic community; they are generally affiliated with a recognized academic institution as active (sometimes retired) staff and have an active publication record, including at least one scholarly publication within the past two years. Most appointments are for three years and may be renewed.
    Collaborator: Collaborators (aka Research Collaborators) are those professionals working independently within the National Museum of Natural History research and collection facilities or informally collaborating with members from the NMNH community on scientific endeavors. Collaborators have achieved an academic degree and hold professional status within the scientific community. Collaborators must contribute to the professional community through regular scholarly publication and presentation at professional meetings. Most appointments are for three years and may be renewed.

    Of course if the DI can call ignorance "information" then they surely can use the term demotion would you not agree?

  • James F says:

    The Biological Society of Washington's statement is on line for all to see:
    http://www.biolsocwash.org/id_statement.html
    Don't forget, as well, that this was a literature review. No new data was presented.

  • Jason F. says:

    PVM,
    Even though I followed the case closely and have debated it online countless times, this is the first I've heard of Sternberg going from "Research Associate" to "Research Collaborator". Thanks for posting that.
    Exactly when was his title changed?

  • ck1 says:

    Where is Sternberg employed these days? He does not seem to be at NIH.

  • DavidK says:

    I believe he used to be listed as a fellow on the DI site. However, it appears he's no longer listed because a) he couldn't make muster as a creationist, b) his martyrdumb (sic) required he not be directly associated with those who were martyrdumbing him, c) it's to hide these people so there's no explicit association with the DI and ID, which he clearly supports (both).
    His personal web site only tells of his martyrdumb, but there doesn't appear to be any indication of where he currently is. Liberty college?

  • g says:

    Curiously, Michael Shermer's review contains the exact same truncated quotation about the Meyers paper. I don't know where Shermer got it from -- maybe he truncated it himself for some reason? -- but if Luskin was just copying Shermer (which seems pretty likely) then his only sin here is failing to check his references.
    The old saw about not assuming malice when stupidity is a sufficient explanation is pretty unreliable when dealing with creationists, but I'm inclined to think Luskin hasn't been quite as sleazy here as you suggest. For once.

  • Ginger Yellow says:

    That list of articles sums up the difference between science and ID perfectly.
    Science: data, new knowledge
    ID: waffle

  • Jim Thomerson says:

    At one time, I considered joining the Biological Society of Washington so as to have a timely outlet for descriptions of new species, genera, etc. That is is, in fact, the purpose of the journal, as shown above. The journal has page charges. So if I had submitted a paper and had it accepted for publication, I would have paid page charges, and had an expectation of timely publication. If my paper had been delayed so the ID paper could be published, and I had, as a result, been scooped by someone publishing in a German monthly aquarium magazine (it has happened, not to me), I would have been irritated and might have, because I paid money and thus had a contract, considered legal action. All hypothetical, but interesting to consider, I think.

  • Coin says:

    As Casey is well aware, there are substantial differences between a scientific journal and a secondary school.
    Are you certain that Casey understands this difference?

  • PvM says:

    Exactly when was his title changed?

    From Wikipedia: In 2004 he was given a 3 year appointment as an unpaid research associate.[3] On 15 November 2006, he received a further three year appointment as an unpaid 'research collaborator' at the NMNH
    His sponsor had died although the email thread shows that others were willing to volunteer for a sponsorship
    Anyway, the core point, I obviously am not going to be able to find a sponsor for Sternberg, yet his official status is as a research associate for the next three years. If you don

  • PvM says:

    A while ago Coddington who was Sternberg's supervisor after his original supervisor died, left the following comments at Pandastumb

    Although I do not wish to debate the merits of intelligent design, this forum seems an apt place to correct several factual inaccuracies in the Wall Street Journal

  • Mike Dunford said,

    Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington is a journal that publishes systematics papers.

    So why isn't "systematics" or a synonym in the title of the journal? Does the journal contain a notice that it is just about systematics? Is there a long-established official statement anywhere that says that the journal is just about systematics?

    If you look at the table of contents for the issue before, the issue after, the current issue, or (as far as I can tell) any other issue, you're going to see a lot of papers that deal with things like describing new species and genera . . . .

    The articles are mostly about newly-discovered species or genuses. Is there any reason to believe that the contents of all of these articles are solely or even mainly about systematics? And why aren't there more articles that discuss systematics without introducing new species or genuses?

    . . . and absolutely nothing that has to deal with anything that bears even the faintest resemblance to the things Meyer was writing about.

    You are looking at only three issues here. How can you be sure that none of the other issues in the 122-year history of the journal contain "anything that bears even the faintest resemblance to the things Meyer was writing about"? You are not sure -- all you can say is "as far as I can tell." And why can't the Meyer paper be unique? Why does it have to have a precedent?

    Simply put, this is not a journal that you would expect to find the Meyer paper in.

    According to the title of the journal, I would expect to find anything related to biology. And finding the Meyer paper would be easy by searching a journal article index.
    James F said,

    Don't forget, as well, that this was a literature review. No new data was presented.

    So a literature review can never be useful? And even if ID is false, does that make a literature review of it bad?
    Keith said (April 17, 2008 12:51 PM) --

    Maybe the evo ratheads can read english (with link to letter from US Office of Special Counsel)

    NJ said (April 17, 2008 1:00 PM) --

    ...and unlike the trolls, we can understand English (with link to article by Ed Brayton)

    Unlike unscrupulous BVD-clad blogger Fatheaded Ed Brayton, who arbitrarily censors visitors' comments on his blogs, the Office of Special Counsel has no ax to grind.

  • W. Kevin Vicklund says:

    So why isn't "systematics" or a synonym in the title of the journal?

    The Society started out as a general biology society, but over time "evolved" into a society on systematics, made official in the 1970 revision to the Society's constitution.

    Does the journal contain a notice that it is just about systematics?

    From the journal's official website:
    "CONTRIBUTOR INFORMATION: Authors wishing to submit a manuscript should consult Information for Contributors (also available on the inside back cover of each issue of the Proceedings)."
    "INFORMATION FOR CONTRIBUTORS
    Content.-The Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington contains papers bearing on systematics in the biological sciences (botany, zoology, and paleontology), and notices of business transacted at meetings of the Society. Except at the direction of the Council, only manuscripts by Society members will be accepted. Papers are published in English (except for Latin diagnoses/descriptions of plant taxa), with an Abstract in an alternate language when appropriate."

    Is there a long-established official statement anywhere that says that the journal is just about systematics?

    From the Society's official website:
    "THE BIOLOGICAL SOCIETY OF WASHINGTON
    CONSTITUTION AND BYLAWS
    Adopted 3 December 1884
    (As amended August 2004)
    Article 1. Name. The name of this Society shall be the Biological Society of Washington.
    Article 2. Purpose. The purpose of this Society shall be for the furtherance of taxonomic study of organisms and for the increase and diffusion of biological knowledge among interested persons.
    Article 3. Membership. Membership in this Society shall be open to persons and organizations interested in the promotion of systematic biology."

    The articles are mostly about newly-discovered species or genuses. Is there any reason to believe that the contents of all of these articles are solely or even mainly about systematics? And why aren't there more articles that discuss systematics without introducing new species or genuses?

    The description of new species and genera are the core of systematics, Larry. That would be the point of publishing a paper in the Proceedings.

    You are looking at only three issues here. How can you be sure that none of the other issues in the 122-year history of the journal contain "anything that bears even the faintest resemblance to the things Meyer was writing about"? You are not sure -- all you can say is "as far as I can tell." And why can't the Meyer paper be unique? Why does it have to have a precedent?

    The Society specialized on systematics. It was the official position for almost 35 years before Meyer's paper was published, and the de facto position for about 50 years before that. In the dim depths of time, it wasn't, but that is not of much import.
    Smaller publications survive on offering niche markets. They can't compete with the larger general journals.

  • Mike Dunford says:

    The articles are mostly about newly-discovered species or genuses. Is there any reason to believe that the contents of all of these articles are solely or even mainly about systematics?

    Two things:
    1: The plural of "genus" is "genera" not "genuses".
    2: Any paper that describes a newly-discovered species, genus, family, or any other taxonomic grouping is, by definition a paper that is describing work in the field of systematics.

  • Voice in the Urbanness says:

    So a literature review can never be useful?
    As Mike said. it does not contain any new data. Nothing new is presented. It only attempts to put a spin on what has already been presented.
    Unlike unscrupulous BVD-clad blogger Fatheaded Ed Brayton, who arbitrarily censors visitors' comments on his blogs
    You have been challenged, and have always failed, to show where Ed Brayton has arbitrarily censored anything. At the same time, you continue to practice arbitrary censorship on your own blog.
    Please don't blow your credibility further by claiming that you only censor "personal gossip".

  • Shirakawasuna says:

    It's the famous Fafarman! I didn't know someone could nitpick so poorly, but there it is right on my screen (I'm a charmer).
    The point of describing the journal's usual papers was to establish that this is outside of the paper's norm. That's it. Not every small snippet of an article must be a full refutation of ID or its merits... although I really shouldn't need to say that.

  • Jason F. says:

    Mucho thanks PVM!!

  • (http:// prefixes have been removed to prevent the comment from hanging up -- links must be copied and pasted. Limiting comments to a maximum of one link each is stupid, but what is to be expected of ScienceBlogs?)
    Kevin Vicklund said,

    The Society started out as a general biology society, but over time "evolved" into a society on systematics, made official in the 1970 revision to the Society's constitution.

    So why weren't the names of the society and the journal changed to reflect the specialization in systematics?

    The description of new species and genera are the core of systematics

    Not necessarily. The classification of a new species/genera could be obvious and the rest of a paper about a new species/genera could be about other things. Also, cladistic taxonomy involves a lot of classification of known organisms, not just classification of newly discovered organisms. So why doesn't the journal have more papers that discuss systematics without introducing a new species or genus? And someone could present a paper proposing, for example, that cetaceans be reclassified as fish because cetaceans are aquatic, are shaped like fish, have fins or flippers instead of legs and/or arms, and have no hair or fur. BTW, cetaceans were classified as mammals before introduction of the idea that they are descended from land animals, showing that evolution is not "the fundamental concept underlying all of biology" after all.

    The Society specialized on systematics. It was the official position for almost 35 years before Meyer's paper was published, and the de facto position for about 50 years before that.

    The society's statement about Meyer's paper does not talk about just a 35-year or 50-year history of specializing in systematics -- the statement speaks of "the nearly purely systematic content for which this journal has been known throughout its 122-year history."
    -- from http://www.biolsocwash.org/id_statement.html

    Smaller publications survive on offering niche markets. They can't compete with the larger general journals.

    Then why weren't the names of the society and the journal changed in order to help attract people who have a special interest in systematics?
    BTW, I noticed the following provision in "INFORMATION FOR CONTRIBUTORS": "Except at the direction of the Council, only manuscripts by Society members will be accepted." Was Meyer a member of the society? If not, then accepting his paper without the approval of the Council was a real violation of the rules. Anyway, anyone can join the society, even Ed Brayton: "Membership in this Society shall be open to persons and organizations interested in the promotion of systematic biology."
    Mike Dunford said,

    The plural of "genus" is "genera" not "genuses".

    My printed Webster's New World Dictionary -- Third College Edition -- but not the Merriam-Webster online dictionary -- says that "genuses" is an acceptable alternate spelling. Thanks for pointing out the preferred spelling.

    Any paper that describes a newly-discovered species, genus, family, or any other taxonomic grouping is, by definition a paper that is describing work in the field of systematics.

    See my response to Kevin above.
    ViU said,

    So a literature review can never be useful?
    As Mike said. it does not contain any new data.

    It was James F -- not Mike -- who said that.

    Nothing new is presented. It only attempts to put a spin on what has already been presented.

    Nothing new is presented in your statement. You don't even attempt to put a spin on what has already been presented.

    You have been challenged, and have always failed, to show where Ed Brayton has arbitrarily censored anything.

    This is getting old. Here is a description of where Fatheaded Ed banned me -- it is the first comment under the following post --
    im-from-missouri.blogspot.com/2007/03/comments-censored-elsewhere-new-feature.html
    -- and here is where Brandon Haughty banned discussion of co-evolution on the blog of the so-called Florida Citizens for Science:
    im-from-missouri.blogspot.com/2008/04/co-evolution-theory-censored-by-florida.html
    Shirakawasuna driveled,

    It's the famous Fafarman! I didn't know someone could nitpick so poorly, but there it is right on my screen (I'm a charmer).

    "I'm always kicking their butts -- that's why they don't like me."
    -- Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger

    The point of describing the journal's usual papers was to establish that this is outside of the paper's norm. That's it.

    I didn't read any of the papers, so I don't know whether Meyer's paper deviates from systematics to a greater extent than any of the other papers.

  • Voice in the Urbanness says:

    Larry Brayed,
    Nothing new is presented in your statement. You don't even attempt to put a spin on what has already been presented.
    I was just correcting your misstatement, which attempted to spin what has already been presented.
    Here is a description of where Fatheaded Ed banned me
    It is your spin on why Ed, and many others, have banned you. Always for cause, never arbitrarily. While I am sure that arbitrary censorship does occur on the net, the only example that stands out is your own blog.
    Of course you have set up the "Association of Non-Censoring Bloggers" of which you are the only member and don't practice what is supposed to be the purpose of that one man "association".
    "I'm always kicking their butts -- that's why they don't like me."
    -- Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger

    Has anyone seen where Larry has ever won an argument here or on any blog? I have been following his bleatings on his own blog for two years and all I see is him losing every case, like he does here and in his legal career.
    I didn't read any of the papers
    It is obvious that your rarely, if ever read any of the papers and other documents on which you present an opinion.

  • Foggg says:

    the Office of Special Counsel has no ax to grind.

    Hilarious Farfamania.
    Scott Bloch is the infamous Bush appointee who runs the place. Right-wing Catholic, ex-fellow of the Claremont Institute, made some legal bones crusading against "religious persecution", promptly hired fleets of graduates from the reactionary Ava Maria Law School (see Tom Monaghan). See stunts like:
    http://www.peer.org/news/news_id.php?row_id=458
    Meanwhile the OSC has become a joke in most other areas of its mission: whistleblower protection. Check out the cases of Sibel Edmonds, Adam Finkel, Bogdan Dzakovic, Sandalio Gonzalez, Richard Levernier, Russ Tice, and Joe Darby.

  • Shirakawasuna says:

    Larry Fafarman:
    "I didn't read any of the papers, so I don't know whether Meyer's paper deviates from systematics to a greater extent than any of the other papers."
    --- Of course you don't. You seem to only seek abuse - surely you recognize how inane your points are. If you weren't, you know, exceedingly lazy, you could find the last four years' worth of extremely obvious paper articles here.

  • Jim Thomerson says:

    My older second edition of Websters has in small print, "sometimes genuses". If the third edition gives more credibility to the term, then we have an excellent example of the ongoing deterioration of western culture. In any case, I can't picture a taxonomist using any thing but genus and genera, even after many beers.

  • W. Kevin Vicklund says:

    "Genuses" does not appear in the 7th or 9th editions of Webster's. As usual, Larry is relying on old, outdated sources (when he actually relies on sources at all).

  • Hilarious PettiFogggermania said,

    Scott Bloch is the infamous Bush appointee who runs the place.

    A Congressman's office also issued a report. And the government reports are thoroughly substantiated with references -- Fatheaded Ed Brayton's report in Skeptic magazine has a lot of material that is not substantiated with references -- see http://www.skeptic.com/eskeptic/08-04-17.html#part2
    Fatheaded Ed Brayton is an unscrupulous BVD-clad blogger who pulls many of his "facts" out of thin air and who arbitrarily censors comments and commenters on his blogs. Here is an example of his lies -- this concerns the question of whether the Dover School Board could have mooted the Kitzmiller v. Dover case by repealing the ID policy prior to judgment:

    Board president Reinking noted that legal counsel advised the board that the trial is over and can not change the outcome of any vote.
    This is the same position, by the way, that was taken by everyone involved in the case, including the attorneys for both sides. It's the same position taken by the Judge in the case. It's the same position taken by every legal scholar who addressed the issue. There was virtually no chance that the case would be mooted.

    -- from
    scienceblogs.com/dispatches/2006/04/francisco_discovers_weasel_wor.php
    Ed is just plain lying here. Only the Dover defendants' lead attorney said that repealing the ID policy immediately could not moot the case, and he was biased because he wanted the case to be appealed, which the new school board was unwilling to do. The judge -- improperly giving legal advice -- only said that the school board election results would not affect his decision. An attorney hired by a former board member wrote a report advising the new board that repealing the ID policy immediately could moot the case. Other attorneys opined that immediate repeal of the ID policy could have mooted the case.
    Anyway, Fatheaded Ed's arbitrary censorship of comments and commenters means that he has no credibility. That's all there is to it.
    Jim Thomerson said,

    My older second edition of Websters has in small print, "sometimes genuses". If the third edition gives more credibility to the term, then we have an excellent example of the ongoing deterioration of western culture.

    My edition does not say "sometimes" and the "genuses" form is not in small print, and I guess that could be interpreted as meaning that my edition gives more credibility to the term. I personally prefer "genuses" because I think it is more recognizable to laypeople -- "genera" is reminiscent of "generate," "general," etc.. In contrast, "octopi" and "cacti" are readily recognizable to everyone (my dictionary actually gives "octopuses" and "cactuses" as the preferred spellings). However, in the interest of uniformity, I will use the high-falutin spelling "genera" in the future. But if you see "genuses" in print, it is not a misspelling and won't be for at least a few decades if ever (Kevin Vicklund reported that the "genuses" spelling is not in the latest dictionaries and I am assuming that this spelling will stay out of dictionaries).

  • Voice in the Urbanness says:

    Shirakawasuna said:
    "You seem to only seek abuse - surely you recognize how inane your points are."
    No he doesn't. He actually believes that he is winning these points with his brilliant debating skills. After having his ass kicked over the goal posts time after time, he will walk off with the belief that he has won yet again. On another blog he got the name "Scary Larry" which he interpreted to be a complement. He thought people were in awe of his brilliance. The atmosphere may be toxic on his planet.
    Larry bleated:
    "The judge -- improperly giving legal advice -- only said that the school board election results would not affect his decision."
    You see! The dolt thinks that is giving legal advice!
    "Anyway, Fatheaded Ed's arbitrary censorship of comments and commenters means that he has no credibility. That's all there is to it."
    As we have seen, Larry believes that Ed's blocking him due to endless ad hominem attacks and repeated sock puppetry is "arbitrary censorship". The only arbitrary censorship that I have seen is on Larry's own blog.
    The header of Larry's blog begins:
    "My biggest motivation for creating my own blogs was to avoid the arbitrary censorship practiced by other blogs and various other Internet forums. Censorship will be avoided in my blogs -- there will be no deletion of comments..."
    Yet he often censors arbitrarily when he has no answer or his lies have been exposed. He excuses this by claiming that he is deleting "gossip about his personal affairs". One thing he has considered to be such gossip was mention of his unbroken record of failures in his legal cases.
    He further says:
    "Comments containing nothing but insults and/or ad hominem attacks are discouraged."
    Yet, as here, his own comments often have little else.
    "Anyway, Fatheaded Ed's arbitrary censorship of comments and commenters means that he has no credibility. That's all there is to it."
    Says it all about Larry's credibility, doesn't it?

  • Shirakawasuna drivels,

    "I didn't read any of the papers, so I don't know whether Meyer's paper deviates from systematics to a greater extent than any of the other papers."
    --- Of course you don't. You seem to only seek abuse - surely you recognize how inane your points are. If you weren't, you know, exceedingly lazy, you could find the last four years' worth of extremely obvious paper articles here.

    My point is that the titles of the papers do not show how closely the papers concentrate on systematics. Has the blogger or any commenter in this thread read all of the papers in several editions? And if once in a while there is a paper that doesn't really belong, is that the end of the world? Meyer's paper was not, after all, about underwater basketweaving.
    Also, Sternberg apparently had the authority to do what he did -- otherwise, how did he do it? I don't see anyone saying that he didn't have the authority to do what he did.
    ViU driveled,

    Larry bleated:
    "The judge -- improperly giving legal advice -- only said that the school board election results would not affect his decision."
    You see! The dolt thinks that is giving legal advice!

    You stupid fathead, that is giving them legal advice -- he was insinuating that it would not do them any good to repeal the ID policy prior to release of the decision. And Ed Brayton claimed that the judge expressly told them that it would not do them any good.

  • Voice in the Urbanness says:

    The Cretin said...
    "My point is that the titles of the papers do not show how closely the papers concentrate on systematics."
    In other words, you have not read them but felt qualified to comment anyway.
    "You stupid fathead, that is giving them legal advice -- he was insinuating that it would not do them any good to repeal the ID policy prior to release of the decision. And Ed Brayton claimed that the judge expressly told them that it would not do them any good."
    No, Cretin. He was not insinuating anything. Stating the fact that he would follow the law, rather than election results, is not giving legal advice by any stretch of the term. If they base their decision not to have a picnic in twelve hours because someone has told them that the Sun will be down by then, that doesn't mean that they have been advised not to have a picnic at that time. They are making their own decisions based on a statement of fact.
    You should stay off of matters of law. You are particularly inept in that subject.

  • No, Cretin. He was not insinuating anything.

    You mentally challenged beetlebrain, he was insinuating that it would not do them any good to repeal the ID policy prior to judgment. Judges are not allowed to give any legal advice, regardless of whether that advice is good or bad, or right or wrong. It was not just a question of how he was going to decide -- there was also the question of how judges in higher courts might decide, and he could not speak for other judges. If the new school board had repealed the ID policy prior to judgment and Judge Jones then ruled against them anyway, they might have appealed the judgment.

    If they base their decision not to have a picnic in twelve hours because someone has told them that the Sun will be down by then, that doesn't mean that they have been advised not to have a picnic at that time. They are making their own decisions based on a statement of fact.

    Except that no one knew whether the picnic area had lighting for night-time picnics.
    The correct analogy is this: they must either (1) decide to hold their picnic in twelve hours and hope that the picnic area has night lighting or (2) lose their picnic food.
    Under the Social Darwinism that you love so much, you would be among the first to be euthanized for the purpose of vastly improving the overall intelligence of the human race.

  • Larry Fafarman says:

    Sorry -- I missed this one in my last comment.
    ViU driveled,

    "My point is that the titles of the papers do not show how closely the papers concentrate on systematics."
    In other words, you have not read them but felt qualified to comment anyway.

    Just like you, the blogger, and the other commenters here.

  • Voice in the Urbanness says:

    The Cretin said:
    "he was insinuating that it would not do them any good to repeal the ID policy prior to judgment."
    Mindless repetition as always. He was insinuating nothing of the kind. He was only stating that he would be deciding the case according to the lawm as it was his job to do.
    "The correct analogy is this: they must either (1) decide to hold their picnic in twelve hours and hope that the picnic area has night lighting or (2) lose their picnic food."
    What people decide to do based on their recently revealed new discovery that the Sun will rise and set over the period of a day cannot be blamed on an astronomer.
    "Under the Social Darwinism that you love so much"
    You would have lost on two counts. In addition to murdering every Jew they could find, they also did in the mental defectives. You would have gone up the chimney with your relatives.

  • Jim Thomerson says:

    My experience is that we taxonomists make our titles as representative of the paper content as we can. Editors demand it. The literature is huge, and much literature search is just scanning titles, so a misleading title could mean that your very important publication might not be as widely read and appreciated as it deserves.

  • Foggg says:

    A Congressman's office also issued a report.

    A similar slanted story from Mark Souder, the far-right christianist congressman. Why didn't Souder hold hearings, Mr. Farfromsane? He ran the committee, the R's controlled the House.
    Because there was nothing there for the sane Republicans to support. Thus a propaganda "report" for witless saps like you to wave around was Souder's only alternative.
    Meanwhile... the statement from the Council of Biological Society of Washington which publishes the Proceedings:
    http://www.biolsocwash.org/id_statement.html

    The Council... would have deemed the [Meyer] paper inappropriate for the pages of the Proceedings because the subject matter represents such a significant departure from the nearly purely systematic content for which this journal has been known throughout its 122-year history.

    But Larry, who has not read the Proceedings, doubts its 122 years of "nearly purely systemtic content" and thinks the Society is clueless or lying about its own journal's contents.

  • ViU groaned,

    He was only stating that he would be deciding the case according to the lawm as it was his job to do.

    I don't understand why Mike Dunford doesn't kick you off for cluttering up his blog with frivolous comments and obliging others to waste even more space by answering them. For the umpteenth time, Judge Jones told a newspaper that the election results would not affect his decision. Fatheaded Ed Brayton even went beyond that by falsely claiming that Judge Jones expressly said that repeal of the ID policy would not affect his decision.
    Your tactic is to bury my refutations of your arguments by endlessly repeating those arguments. So here again is my refutation of your argument, and I will repeat this refutation as many times as necessary:

    Judges are not allowed to give any legal advice, regardless of whether that advice is good or bad, or right or wrong. It was not just a question of how he was going to decide -- there was also the question of how judges in higher courts might decide, and he could not speak for other judges. If the new school board had repealed the ID policy prior to judgment and Judge Jones then ruled against them anyway, they might have appealed the judgment.

    What people decide to do based on their recently revealed new discovery that the Sun will rise and set over the period of a day cannot be blamed on an astronomer.

    And if people are given a choice between (1) scheduling their picnic for nighttime and hoping that the picnic area has night lighting and (2) losing their picnic food, rational people will choose the former option.
    Jim Thomerson said,

    My experience is that we taxonomists make our titles as representative of the paper content as we can.

    The titles of the papers have no indication that the papers are primarily about systematics.

    much literature search is just scanning titles

    A lot of literature searches scan contents as well -- even a Google search scans contents.
    PettiFoggger said,

    A similar slanted story from Mark Souder, the far-right christianist congressman.

    I know nothing about Rep. Souder or the Office of Special Counsel. What I do know from unpleasant personal experience is that Fatheaded Ed Brayton is an unscrupulous BVD-clad blogger who arbitrarily censors comments and commenters on his blogs. Fatheaded Ed has no credibility -- so why should I believe his report of the Sternberg affair?
    I am glad that the "Expelled" movie is giving the Smithsonian fascists more than they bargained for.

    But Larry, who has not read the Proceedings, doubts its 122 years of "nearly purely systemtic content" and thinks the Society is clueless or lying about its own journal's contents.

    The Society is either clueless or lying! Kevin Vicklund showed that the focus on systematics papers officially began in 1970.
    Also, note the statement "nearly purely systematic content" -- so it's not "absolutely purely systematic content."
    And as I said, all or most of the folks here have not read the proceedings. Physician, heal thyself.

  • Jim Thomerson says:

    I will admit that I have not looked at the journal since retirement, other than to do a scan of several year's titles when this first came to my attention. Previous to that I looked at the journal and read some of the papers on a regular basis. Several of the members publish papers that are of professional interest to me. I did not join the society because a new journal which fit my interests much better came into being. I would also confess that the bulk of my literature searches were done before I ever heard of google. I've been working in systematics since the late '50's.

  • Voice in the Urbanness says:

    "So here again is my refutation of your argument, and I will repeat this refutation as many times as necessary:"
    As I said and Larry has proven, he believes that if he repeats a lie or a failed argument often enough it will become true.
    "For the umpteenth time, Judge Jones told a newspaper that the election results would not affect his decision."
    Yes, Cretin. And telling a newspaper that he would follow the law and do his job the way he is supposed to is not giving legal advice no matter how many times you repeat it.

  • ViU, I'll make this easy for you. I am only asking you to answer yes or no to the following questions.
    (1) Did a newspaper report that Judge Jones said that the election would not affect his decision, or not?
    (2) Did that statement by Jones imply that repeal of the ID policy would not affect his decision, or not?
    (3) Did Ed Brayton claim that Jones expressly said that repeal of the ID policy would not affect the decision, or not?
    (4) Is it considered appropriate for judges to give legal advice to litigants, or not?
    (5) Does Jones have the right to speak for other judges, or not? If the board had repealed the ID policy prior to judgment and Jones ruled against them anyway, the decision probably would have been appealed and other judges would have ruled on the effect of the repeal.
    (6) So far as attorney fee awards are concerned, the school board had nothing to lose by repealing the ID policy prior to judgment. Is that statement true or not?
    (7) By not repealing the ID policy prior to judgment, the school board forever lost an opportunity to try to moot the case by repealing the ID policy. Is that statement true or not?
    (8) Not that it matters, but did the Supreme Court say the following, or not?

    Numerous federal statutes allow courts to award attorney's fees and costs to the "prevailing party." The question presented here is whether this term includes a party that has failed to secure a judgment on the merits or a court-ordered consent decree, but has nonetheless achieved the desired result because the lawsuit brought about a voluntary change in the defendant's conduct. We hold that it does not. (emphasis added)
    From Buckhannon Board & Care Home, Inc. v. West Virginia Department of Health & Human Resources, 532 U.S. 598 (2001)

    -- from
    http://im-from-missouri.blogspot.com/2006/05/two-timing-new-members-of-dover-school.html
    (9) Not that it matters, but in Buckhannon, did the state legislature promise to never again re-enact the challenged statute, or not?
    Remember, ViU, I am only asking you to answer yes or no. No other response is requested or expected.
    Thank you.

  • W. Kevin Vicklund says:

    Barely a week after throwing a conniption fit over a snide comment over an off-topic conversation started by himself, Larry again injects an off-topic discussion for the purpose of making personal attacks. If it weren't what Larry always does, it'd be ironic - here it's just hypocritical. But I'll indulge Larry.

    (1) Did a newspaper report that Judge Jones said that the election would not affect his decision, or not?

    Yes. This has already been answered numerous times.

    (2) Did that statement by Jones imply that repeal of the ID policy would not affect his decision, or not?

    No. This has also been answered numerous times, and defeats the remainder of your questions. However, an "unscrupulous BVD-clad" reporter made that insinuation in a poorly written article.

    (3) Did Ed Brayton claim that Jones expressly said that repeal of the ID policy would not affect the decision, or not?

    Yes. Like everyone else involved, including Larry and myself, he was fooled by the false implication of the reporter.

    (4) Is it considered appropriate for judges to give legal advice to litigants, or not?

    The answer is situationally dependent. For example, the Circuit panel in Selman gave a number of suggestions to the litigants on what it would like to see in the event of a re-trial. However, you are begging the question. You are insinuating that the judge in fact gave legal advice, when that conclusionhas net been reached. You failed to ask certain other questions which are directly relevant to the discussion (answers in bold):
    4a) Is it considered appropriate for judges to answer a reporter's question about court procedure? Yes. According to Canon 3(A)(6) of the Code of Conduct for United States Judges, "A judge should avoid public comment on the merits of a pending or impending action, requiring similar restraint by court personnel subject to the judge's direction and control. This proscription does not extend to public statements made in the course of the judge's official duties, to the explanation of court procedures, or to a scholarly presentation made for purposes of legal education."
    4b) Was Judge Jones explaining court procedure? Yes. According to Rule 25(d)(1) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, "When a public officer is a party to an action in his official capacity and during its pendency dies, resigns, or otherwise ceases to hold office, the action does not abate and the officer

  • W. Kevin Vicklund says:

    I apologize for the formatting error in my previous post.

  • Voice in the Urbanness says:

    As usual Larry asks questions that have already been answered and Kevink, as usual, exposes Larry's ignorance.
    The bottom line is that saying that you will decide a case according to the law is not giving advice to those who would wish that the decision would be based on an upcoming popularity contest.
    I will make this easy for you, Larry. I have one yes or no question: Are you so stupid that you can't understand that saying you will go by the law is not giving legal advice? It appears that the answer is yes.

  • Jim Thomerson says:

    Systematics is one of those slippery terms which people use with different definition which can only be divined by context. The broadest definition is "comparative biology". A narrower definition is "study of phylogenetic (evolutionary) relationships". Taxonomy is the naming of organisms, and is often considered a part of systematics. I tend to think of systematics as the process and taxonomy as the product. The Washington journal is more about the taxonomic end of systematics than anything else: new species definitions, revision of genera, etc.
    There is a journal "Systematic Biology" which consideres more the cosmic theoretical aspects of systematics. I was a member of that association for some 30 years and never submitted a paper, because most of my work has been more toward the taxonomic end of systematics. In spite of journal names, the Washington Journal would have been appropriate for my systematics work; Systematic biology would not have been. If the ID paper in contention had been published in Systematic Biology, I think it would have been OK in that it discussed systematic theory on a cosmic level. Actually a paper of such cosmic concern should have been submitted to Science or Nature, where it would have gotten maximum readership.

  • W. Kevin Vicklund says:
    But Larry, who has not read the Proceedings, doubts its 122 years of "nearly purely systemtic content" and thinks the Society is clueless or lying about its own journal's contents.

    The Society is either clueless or lying! Kevin Vicklund showed that the focus on systematics papers officially began in 1970.
    Also, note the statement "nearly purely systematic content" -- so it's not "absolutely purely systematic content."

    I also showed that for the super-majority of their existence, the focus on systematics and the related fields of taxonomy and biogeography (as Jim would put it, process, product and location) was the de facto position. In fact, the official centennial history of the BSW, published Dec 1, 1980, stated:

    It became increasingly apparent over the years that the central interest of the Biological Society of Washington was in systematic biology and taxonomy. Practically all of the papers published in the Proceedings, especially in later years, were of that nature or in the related field of biogeography.

    -John W. Aldrich, "The Biological Society of Washington: A Centennial History 1880-1980" Bulletin #4 BSW (p. 29)
    If "[p]ractically all of the papers published in the Proceedings" were of that nature only 10 years after the position was made official, 24 additional years of exclusively publishing systematics should certianly qualify as "nearly purely systematic content."
    Larry's claim that the BSW is either clueless or lying has absolutely no basis in fact. It's just something he pulled out of thin air.

  • Pettifogger Kevin Vicklund strikes again.
    Kevin Vicklund said,

    (1) Did a newspaper report that Judge Jones said that the election would not affect his decision, or not?
    Yes. This has already been answered numerous times.

    The question has not been answered by ViU, and the question was directed at him, not you. He still won't answer it.

    (2) Did that statement by Jones imply that repeal of the ID policy would not affect his decision, or not?
    No. This has also been answered numerous times, and defeats the remainder of your questions.

    Wrong. The election results were an issue here because of the question of whether the new school board members -- who had campaigned on promises to repeal the ID policy and try to save the school district money on the lawsuit -- would repeal the ID policy prior to judgment in the hope that the case would thus be mooted. That question was a big topic of discussion at the lame-duck meeting of the old Dover school board. The question was raised again -- but not discussed -- at the first meeting of the new school board. As for Judge Jones, there are only two possibilities -- either he was aware of that question (whether the new school board would repeal the ID policy prior to the decision) or he is even dumber than I showed him to be.
    Here is the news article about the meeting:
    http://ydr.inyork.com/doverbiology/ci_3223198
    The article said, "Judge John E. Jones III said the election results don't figure into his ruling." The only way the election results could possibly have affected his ruling would have been by a repeal of the ID policy by the new school board. So by saying that the election results would not figure into his ruling, he was essentially saying that a repeal of the ID policy would not figure into his ruling.

    However, an "unscrupulous BVD-clad" reporter made that insinuation in a poorly written article.

    Fatheaded Ed Brayton has a habit of writing poorly written articles containing wild claims that he just pulls out of the air. He also censors comments that correct him.

    (3) Did Ed Brayton claim that Jones expressly said that repeal of the ID policy would not affect the decision, or not?
    Yes. Like everyone else involved, including Larry and myself, he was fooled by the false implication of the reporter.

    What false implication? And I wasn't fooled.

    4) Is it considered appropriate for judges to give legal advice to litigants, or not?
    The answer is situationally dependent. For example, the Circuit panel in Selman gave a number of suggestions to the litigants on what it would like to see in the event of a re-trial.

    I have not been able to retrieve a copy of the appeals' court ruling that vacated and remanded Selman, but as I remember, that ruling only instructed the district court judge about his choices: either find the missing evidence or hold a new trial from scratch.

    4b) Was Judge Jones explaining court procedure? Yes. According to Rule 25(d)(1) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, "When a public officer is a party to an action in his official capacity and during its pendency dies, resigns, or otherwise ceases to hold office, the action does not abate and the officer?s successor is automatically substituted as a party."

    No, he was not explaining court procedure. Rule 25(d)(1) has nothing to do with what effect a repeal of the ID policy prior to judgment might have had.

    Since Jones's statement was neutral with regard to repealing the policy

    No, it was not neutral with regard to repealing the policy. He was insinuating that it would do them no good to repeal the policy.

    It should be noted that prior to the election, the new board members announced that they would wait until the judge ruled and that they would not appeal.

    You have shown no evidence that they made such an announcement prior to the election, and it is doubtful that there was such an announcement because voter concern about the costs of the lawsuit was supposed to have been a big factor in the election, and the way to try and save on those costs would have been to repeal the ID policy immediately if not sooner.
    Here is what the above news article said:

    Several incoming board members, including Patricia Dapp, Terry Emig and Judy McIlvaine, said they want to hear what the judge has to say in the case. Some believe it will help bring closure and healing to the community.

    They didn't say they would not appeal, but because they opposed the ID policy, it was doubtful that they would appeal. Anyway, they could have changed their minds about wanting to hear what the judge had to say. A former school board member used written advice from an attorney to try to persuade them to repeal the ID policy immediately. His effort to persuade them was undermined by Jones' statement that the election results would not affect his decision.
    "Closure and healing to the community" -- haha -- what bullshit.

    And they would have been going back on their campaign promise to let the case run its course.

    As I noted above, you have shown no evidence that there was such a campaign promise, and such a campaign promise was doubtful.

    Thank you for pointing out that the scheme proposed by the outgoing board member and his pet real estate attorney would have still resulted in attorney fees being paid, since the scheme involved getting a consent decree

    You're not welcome. No attorney fees were paid in Buckhannon and there was no consent decree in Buckhannon.
    As for "his pet real estate attorney" -- the legal question was of a general nature and no kind of specialized knowledge of a particular area of the law would have been of any benefit. And the attorney wrote a report -- it wasn't just off-the-cuff advice. And how are you better qualified to give legal opinions than he was?

    It should also be noted that Buckhannon unequivocally stated that mootness is not available for voluntary cessation when damages are claimed ("And petitioners? fear of mischievous defendants only materializes in claims for equitable relief, for so long as the plaintiff has a cause of action for damages, a defendant?s change in conduct will not moot the case.") The Supreme Court had previously ruled that nominal damages are still considered damages, and Third Circuit precedence is that voluntary cessation does not induce mootness when nominal damages are claimed.

    Kevin, you are so full of living crap that it is coming out of your ears. According to your line of reasoning, any plaintiff could prevent any case from being declared moot just by requesting nominal damages. That's absurd. Nominal damages are just a symbolic token of vindication -- they are like declaratory relief. Nominal damages are not intended to be a loophole for preventing cases from being mooted. And the defendant could end the claim to nominal damages just by paying them out of court.

    However, the courts ruled that there was no indication that they would ever re-enact the challenged statute.

    There was no such ruling. The courts don't have crystal balls.

    [cue temper tantrum by Larry]

    There is no need for a temper tantrum when your own statements show that you are just a stupid sack of ^%#$#@*.

    I also showed that for the super-majority of their existence, the focus on systematics and the related fields of taxonomy and biogeography (as Jim would put it, process, product and location) was the de facto position.

    You showed nothing of the kind. And you continue to show nothing of the kind.
    Kevin, your arguments are almost always ridiculous and the only reason I answer you at all is for the benefit of readers who are unfamiliar with the facts.

  • Voice in the Urbanness says:

    Larry eructs:
    "The question has not been answered by ViU, and the question was directed at him, not you. He still won't answer it.
    I have answered it many times as those on this blog, other than you, can easily see. You still seem to have a reading comprehension problem.
    "Fatheaded Ed Brayton has a habit of writing poorly written articles containing wild claims that he just pulls out of the air. He also censors comments that correct him."
    No. Ed Brayton only blocks continued ad hominem attacks and sock puppetry, as in your case. He has never blocked your posts for other reasons since, as here, you make a perfect foil.
    "Is it considered appropriate for judges to give legal advice to litigants, or not?"
    A moot question since Judge Jones did not give legal advice. Please don't pretend that he did. When you find yourself in a hole, stop digging.
    "He was insinuating that it would do them no good to repeal the policy."
    More mindless repetition in the hopes that a false statement will become true.
    "His effort to persuade them was undermined by Jones' statement that the election results would not affect his decision."
    Reading the date from a calendar is not advice that we are no longer in the nineteenth century.
    [cue temper tantrum by Larry]
    :There is no need for a temper tantrum when your own statements show that you are just a stupid sack of ^%#$#@*."
    That looks like a temper tantrum.
    "Kevin, your arguments are almost always ridiculous"
    They look pretty good to the sane.
    "and the only reason I answer you at all is"
    The hope that readers are unfamiliar with the facts.

  • ViU driveled,

    I have answered it many times as those on this blog, other than you, can easily see.

    If you answered the question, your answer is far back in this comment thread and I am not going to go on a wild goose chase trying to find it, so I am asking you to answer it again here.

    "Is it considered appropriate for judges to give legal advice to litigants, or not?"
    A moot question since Judge Jones did not give legal advice.

    It is not a moot question. Fatheaded Ed Brayton said that Judge "Jackass" Jones gave legal advice to the new school board members, i.e., Fatheaded Ed said that Jones told them that repealing the ID policy prior to judgment would not do them any good. So either Fatheaded Ed lied or Jackass Jones did something wrong -- take your pick.
    I'm always kicking ViU's butt -- that's why he doesn't like me.

  • Regarding Kevin Vicklund's crazy notion that nominal damages alone prevent a case from being mooted, the opinion in Alpha Iota Omega Christian Fraternity v. Hamm said on page 29,

    "...... the court in its discretion will not allow the continuation of a lawsuit merely to allow Plaintiffs to seek nominal damages, which, even if proven, would be limited to one dollar."

    -- from http://im-from-missouri.blogspot.com/2006/05/ed-brayton-wrong-again-on-dover.html

  • Voice in the Urbanness says:

    Try to read this time, Larry. I know that you generally comment without reading.
    (1) Did a newspaper report that Judge Jones said that the election would not affect his decision, or not?
    Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes.
    Judge Jones said properly that the election would not affect his decision. What you fail to realize is that saying that he would make his decision according to the law and not from a popularity contest, is not giving legal advice.
    Now prove as always that you don't understand this.
    "I am asking you to answer it again here."
    I just did again and you will still not understand it.
    "Fatheaded Ed Brayton said that Judge "Jackass" Jones gave legal advice to the new school board members"
    Another Fafarmanism - repeating a falsehood in hopes that it will become true.
    "i.e., Fatheaded Ed said that Jones told them that repealing the ID policy prior to judgment would not do them any good."
    That is not what Ed said. You are paraphrasing incorrectly, as always.
    "So either Fatheaded Ed lied or Jackass Jones did something wrong -- take your pick.
    No. Fatheaded Larry lied and Judge Jones did nothing wrong.
    "I'm always kicking ViU's butt -- that's why he doesn't like me."
    I have never seen you win an argument with anyone on the net. You are living in a dream world as all can see.

  • ViU driveled,

    Judge Jones said properly that the election would not affect his decision. What you fail to realize is that saying that he would make his decision according to the law

    And what you fail to realize is that the only way in which the election might have affected his decision would have been by a repeal of the ID policy by the new school board. In what other way might the election have affected his decision? So by saying that the election would not affect his decision, he was essentially saying that repeal of the ID policy would not affect his decision. That's improperly giving legal advice to the defendants.

    "i.e., Fatheaded Ed said that Jones told them that repealing the ID policy prior to judgment would not do them any good."
    That is not what Ed said. You are paraphrasing incorrectly, as always.

    Sigh. Here again is what Fatheaded Ed said:

    Board president Reinking noted that legal counsel advised the board that the trial is over and can not change the outcome of any vote.
    This is the same position, by the way, that was taken by everyone involved in the case, including the attorneys for both sides. It's the same position taken by the Judge in the case. It's the same position taken by every legal scholar who addressed the issue. There was virtually no chance that the case would be mooted.

    from --
    http://scienceblogs.com/dispatches/2006/04/francisco_discovers_weasel_wor.php
    I am not responsible for the poor, inaccurate wording of Fatheaded Ed's statement, "Board president Reinking noted that legal counsel advised the board that the trial is over and can not change the outcome of any vote," but in the context of that statement, it is obvious that Fatheaded Ed meant what I said he meant.
    ViU, you are just wasting my time and cluttering up this blog with needless discussion of issues that have long been settled in my favor.
    I have really kicked ViU's and Kevin Vicklund's pettifogging butts through the goalposts this time. Field goal.

  • Voice in the Urbanness says:

    "So by saying that the election would not affect his decision, he was essentially saying that repeal of the ID policy would not affect his decision."
    What a twisted amount of illogic. Let's try again Cretin. What he was saying was that he would go by the law in making his decision. If the law goes against your people, no amount of mindless repetition would make his statement giving legal advice.
    "That is not what Ed said. You are paraphrasing incorrectly, as always."
    "Sigh. Here again is what Fatheaded Ed said:
    Board president Reinking noted that legal counsel advised the board that the trial is over and can not change the outcome of any vote."

    Thank you for proving my point.
    "it is obvious that Fatheaded Ed meant what I said he meant."
    Sorry. Ed said what he said, not what you misinterpreted.
    "ViU, you are just wasting my time and cluttering up this blog with needless discussion of issues that have long been settled in my favor."
    Have you ever won an argument? Even a stopped clock is right twice a day. You don't seem to meet even that standard.
    "I have really kicked ViU's and Kevin Vicklund's pettifogging butts through the goalposts this time. Field goal."
    The idiot actually believes that his mindless repetition and ignoring the conclusive arguments against his position means that he has won his argument. Does anyone wonder why he has an unbroken record of failure in the courts?

  • ViU, how many times do I have to kick your lousy butt through the goalposts before you give up? Kevin Vicklund surrendered a long time ago. Probably most readers -- including the blogger -- have just gotten bored with your mindless repetition of frivolous comments and left this comment thread a long time ago.

    What he was saying was that he would go by the law in making his decision.

    You keep repeating that mantra over and over again like a broken record. Of course a judge should follow the law or what he thinks is the law -- that goes without saying. What Jones actually said, according to the newspaper article, was that the election results would not affect his decision. Also, you didn't answer my following question:

    . . .the only way in which the election might have affected his decision would have been by a repeal of the ID policy by the new school board. In what other way might the election have affected his decision?

    "it is obvious that Fatheaded Ed meant what I said he meant."
    Ed said what he said, not what you misinterpreted.

    You stupid fathead, Fatheaded Ed meant to say that a vote (of the board) could not affect the outcome of the trial, not that the trial "cannot change the outcome of any vote." Anyway, according to Ed, Judge Jones agreed with what Ed meant to say and therefore Ed indicated that Judge Jones improperly gave legal advice to the defendants.

    Have you ever won an argument?

    I have won this argument several times over and have won every other argument against you Darwinist trolls.

    The idiot actually believes that his mindless repetition

    Who is making "mindless repetition" here? Who is repeating over and over again like a broken record, The judge said that he would go by the law in making his decision -- The judge said that he would go by the law in making his decision -- The judge said that he would go by the law in making his decision -- The judge said that he would go by the law in making his decision -- click - click -- this is a recording -- even though that is not what the newspaper reported that he said?

    Does anyone wonder why he has an unbroken record of failure in the courts?

    I lost my cases because judges are as stupid and dishonest as you are -- see
    http://im-from-missouri.blogspot.com/2008/04/why-i-lost-my-smog-fee-lawsuits-judges.html
    ViU, there is no more reason for me to waste my time answering you here, because all sensible readers have left this discussion after getting tired of your drivel.

  • Larry Fafarman says:

    ViU is just a sore loser -- that's what he is.

  • Bill Carter says:

    "ViU, how many times do I have to kick your lousy butt through the goalposts before you give up?"
    Perhaps if you ever did it once we might find out. All we see is them showing you to be a fool.
    "Kevin Vicklund surrendered a long time ago."
    I certainly didn't see that. He left after he had shot your arguments to rags and realized that you would never learn. ViU has shown that he likes to pick the wings off of flies, so he continues.
    "Of course a judge should follow the law or what he thinks is the law -- that goes without saying."
    Yet you still believe that saying that he will do so is "giving legal advice"?
    "Also, you didn't answer my following question:"
    He has answered it repeatedly. The answer seems to go over your head, simple as it is.
    "Fatheaded Ed meant to say..."
    Exactly what he said. You seem to be particularly inept at determining what anyone meant to say.
    "I lost my cases because judges are as stupid and dishonest as you are"
    No. You lost your cases because you are incompetent. Kevin has shown that repeatedly.

  • Larry Fafarman says:

    As the saying goes, don't feed the trolls. I have fed the trolls here for too long already. Trolls are sore losers who just keep repeating the same refuted arguments over and over again.
    All I need to do now is just refer the readers to my previous comments where I completely demolish the trolls' arguments.

  • Hector says:

    Here we see the usual antics from Larry Farfromsane. After having every argument demolished, he repeats them a few more times and then declares victory and runs away.
    If there is a point anywhere where you have ever won an argument about anything, pleasse post it here for our enlightenment.

  • Larry Fafarman says:

    Hectoring Hector drivels,

    Here we see the usual antics from Larry Farfromsane. After having every argument demolished, he repeats them a few more times and then declares victory and runs away.

    You lousy disgusting sack of *(+%#, I didn't "run away" -- I left my comments here to do the job for me. Those comments are going to keep kicking your lousy butts through the goalposts until the end of time.
    The other trolls couldn't even get their facts straight after I repeatedly corrected them. Some trolls just kept droning, "The judge said that he would go by the law in making his decision."
    That lousy jerk Judge "Jackass" Jones showed extreme prejudice by saying in his Dickinson College commencement speech that his Dover decision was based on his notion that the Founders based the establishment clause upon a belief that organized religions are not "true" religions. Court precedent required him to show neutrality towards organized religions. But did I keep repeating over and over again that he actually said that he "did not go by the law in making his decision"? No, I only quoted or paraphrased what he actually said.
    Under the Social Darwinism that you trolls love so much, you trolls would be among the first to be euthanized for the purpose of making a tremendous improvement in the overall intelligence of the human race.

  • Voice in the Urbanness says:

    "I left my comments here to do the job for me."
    Yes those comments will be showing your failure until the end of time.
    "The other trolls couldn't even get their facts straight after I repeatedly corrected them."
    Your mindless repetition was not "correction". You still are imagining that Judge Jones gave legal advice despite the fact that your misinterpretation has been shown to be due to your demonstrated problem with reading comprehension.

  • You still are imagining that Judge Jones gave legal advice

    I said that I wouldn't comment any more here but the temptation to kick Darwinist troll butt is irresistible.
    It's not just a matter of whether Judge Jones gave legal advice, jackass, it's also a matter of whether you trolls got your facts straight. You can't even get straight what the newspaper actually reported as Judge Jones' statement. It's like me saying that Jones literally said in his Dickinson College commencement speech that his Dover decision did not follow judicial precedent. In denouncing his speech, I started with what he actually said and then proceeded from there.
    The trolls' comments here are so asinine that I am afraid readers suspect that they are planted by myself or a straight man.

  • Voice in the Urbanness says:

    "I said that I wouldn't comment any more here but the temptation to kick Darwinist troll butt is irresistible."
    So far you have only been able to do that in your dreams.
    "It's not just a matter of whether Judge Jones gave legal advice"
    So you finally admit that he didn't.
    "You can't even get straight what the newspaper actually reported as Judge Jones' statement.
    You rarely cite anything verbatim. You give your insane interpretation of what was said.
    "I started with what he actually said"
    And then pulled an outrageous misinterpretation out of your ass.

  • Larry Fafarman says:

    As I said, kicking Darwinist troll butt is just too much fun.

    "It's not just a matter of whether Judge Jones gave legal advice"
    So you finally admit that he didn't.

    You stupid fathead -- stating a question is not the same as answering it.

    "You can't even get straight what the newspaper actually reported as Judge Jones' statement.
    You rarely cite anything verbatim. You give your insane interpretation of what was said.

    What a brazen-faced varlet thou art to accuse me of doing the exact dishonest thing that you do. You stupid sack of &%*$@, here is the newspaper article --
    http://ydr.inyork.com/doverbiology/ci_3223198
    The article said, verbatim, "Judge John E. Jones III said the election results don't figure into his ruling." The newspaper did not say, "Judge John E. Jones III said that he would go by the law in making his ruling."
    So, if we start with his true statement that the election would not figure into his ruling, the next question is how the election results could possibly affect his ruling. The answer is that the only way the election results could have possibly affected his ruling would have been by repeal of the ID policy prior to judgment. So by saying that the election would not figure into his ruling, Jones was implicitly saying that a repeal of the ID policy would not figure into his ruling. That was improperly giving legal advice to the Dover school board. It doesn't matter if the advice was good or bad, it was still legal advice, and judges are not supposed to give legal advice to litigants. The "best" legal advice from a judge is like the "best butter" story about the March Hare who put butter in his watch in Alice in Wonderland (Lewis Carroll certainly had jerks like you in mind when he wrote that story). That is the only conclusion a sane person could reach. All of your crap dodging what the newspaper actually said is just an attempt to avoid that line of reasoning.

    "I started with what he actually said"
    And then pulled an outrageous misinterpretation out of your ass.

    You can't get the right answer if you don't start with the facts -- and you don't start with the facts.
    ViU, you are just a sore loser -- that's all there is to it.

  • Larry Fafarman says:

    I think I finally did it -- ViU has finally shut up. I think it was the "best butter" argument that did it.

  • Jim Thomerson says:

    I have perhaps been a bit dogmatic about scientific journals following their editorial guidelines. Here is a counter example. At the time, Copeia, the publication of the American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists, had, and still has, a prohibition on accepting papers which only report range extentions. However, the editors thought this paper of sufficient general interest to justify suspension of editorial policy in this one instance.
    "The Bull Shark, Carcharhinus leucas, from the Upper Mississippi River near Alton, Illinois. Jamie E. Thomerson, Thomas B. Thorson, and Ronald L. Hempel. Copeia 1977, No. 1, 166-168.

  • Voice in the Urbanness says:

    I observed "You rarely cite anything verbatim. You give your insane interpretation of what was said."
    To which the Cretin ranted:
    "...verbatim, "Judge John E. Jones III said the election results don't figure into his ruling."
    Following this he went on to prove my point:
    "So, if we start with his true statement that the election would not figure into his ruling,..."
    After which he pulls his insane interpretation out of his ass.
    "That is the only conclusion a sane person could reach."
    Unfortunately for Larry, he has no way of knowing what a sane person would think.
    He further brays:
    "You can't get the right answer if you don't start with the facts"
    Yet he has just given an example of where he takes Jones' actual statement and then gives his wild misinterpretation. Usually he doesn't even begin with the acutal statement, just his misinterpretation.
    Then he crows:
    "I think I finally did it -- ViU has finally shut up."
    Actually my absense of three days was due to a business trip. Larry wouldn't know about such things since he was fired from his last job more than a decade (or has it been two) ago.

  • W. Kevin Vicklund says:

    I drifted away from the thread, because Larry was devolving into his usual mindless off-topic repetition. I saw Jim made a post, and then saw that Larry brought up a point that I feel should be addressed, as it has some general implications that could be harmful to readers that may be involved in litigation in the future.

    Regarding Kevin Vicklund's crazy notion that nominal damages alone prevent a case from being mooted, the opinion in Alpha Iota Omega Christian Fraternity v. Hamm said on page 29,

    "...... the court in its discretion will not allow the continuation of a lawsuit merely to allow Plaintiffs to seek nominal damages, which, even if proven, would be limited to one dollar."

    What Larry isn't telling the reader is that the Plaintiffs were seeking to amend the complaint after the potentially mooting action had already occurred. The threshold for amending a complaint is higher than the one for making an original complaint, for good reason. If it weren't, mendacious litigants could continuously throw amendments at a defendant, tying the courts up for years and costing the defendants millions in excess attorney fees that wouldn't have been needed had the amendments been included in the original complaint (of course, there are times when an amendment is appropriate, so there are rules allowing for them). In the case at hand, the District Court in its discretion decided that the attempt to amend a claim for nominal damages was merely a ploy to extend the litigation, not an attempt to gain the real benefit normally conveyed by the award of nominal damages (in other words, why didn't they ask for it in the first place?)
    Oh, and it should be noted that it isn't just my "crazy notion" - all of the numbered Circuit Courts have precedents stating the nominal damages normally preclude mootness. More in a moment...

    Kevin, you are so full of living crap that it is coming out of your ears. According to your line of reasoning, any plaintiff could prevent any case from being declared moot just by requesting nominal damages. That's absurd. Nominal damages are just a symbolic token of vindication -- they are like declaratory relief. Nominal damages are not intended to be a loophole for preventing cases from being mooted.

    It is just as absurd as the line of reasoning that "any plaintiff could prevent any case from being declared moot just by requesting" compensatory "damages." Nominal damages are indeed analogous in some ways to declaratory judgment, they also have important differences, and the Supreme Court has acknowledge the importance of the vindication conveyed by an award of nominal damages. That they are underutilized because some people disparage their importance does not mean that they aren't important to the people who do ask for them. Just like healing and closure, where Larry's disdain does not lessen the actual relief felt by many of the citizens of Dover at having a coherent resolution to the case. This disdain merely demonstrates the character of the person, not the value of the relief.
    Larry does make a good point - nominal damages should not be used as a loophole. And the courts agree. As in the case Larry noted, the courts are reluctant to permit plaintiffs from amending nominal damages after it appears the case would be mooted, including the Supreme Court.
    An astute opserver will have noticed that I didn't directly refute Larry's absurdity claim and that I said nominal damages normally precludes mootness. If said observer were to believe those two to be related, that observer would indeed be correct. In order for nominal damages to preclude mootness, the plaintiff has to be able to establish that he is in fact entitled to request nominal damages (this is known as standing). Some defendants, such as States and their officers, are immune to damage claims. Sometimes damages are barred by statute. Then there's the case of Chapin Furniture:

    Chapin contends, however, that even if its claims for declaratory and injunctive relief have been mooted by the Revised Ordinance, its claim for nominal damages yet presents a live controversy.5 Chapin posits that "for so long as the plaintiff has a cause of action for damages, a defendant's change in conduct will not moot the case." Buckhannon Bd. & Care Home, Inc v. W. Va. Dep't of Health & Human Res., 532 U.S. 598, 608-09 (2001). This proposition is normally valid, and it has been applied where a plaintiff is only pursuing a claim for nominal damages. See Henson v. Honor Comm. of the Univ. of Va., 719 F.2d 69, 72 n.5 (4th Cir. 1983) (observing that withdrawal of disciplinary charges did not moot claim because plaintiff also sought nominal damages); see also KH Outdoor, LLC v. Clay County, 482 F.3d 1299, 1303 (11th Cir. 2007) (noting that, because nominal damages were requested, changes made to ordinance did not moot claim).
    Chapin's assertion of a nominal damages claim alone is insufficient to preserve a live controversy, however, as the Ordinance was never enforced against it and it has not suffered any constitutional deprivation. See Tanner Adver. Group, LLC v. Fayette County, 451 F.3d 777, 786 (11th Cir. 2006) (concluding that "request for damages that is barred as a matter of law cannot save a case from mootness")(citing Arizonans for Official English v. Arizona, 520 U.S. 43, 69 (1997)). The Supreme Court's decision in Carey v. Piphus, 435 U.S. 247, 254 (1978), "obligates a court to award nominal damages when a plaintiff establishes the violation of [a constitutional right] but cannot prove actual injury." Farrar v. Hobby, 506 U.S. 103, 112 (1992). As the Supreme Court has observed, "[w]hatever the constitutional basis for

  • W. Kevin Vicklund says:

    In response to Jim's post, rather than being dogmatic, you have demonstrated that it is very rare for a journal to deviate, and when it does, it does so only after careful consideration by the entire staff. Once in 30 years!
    To bring Larry back on-topic (I am done with the off-topic stuff for this thread - unlike Larry, I understand that debates are won by the best argument, not the last word), I would ask him to elaborate on the following statement he made:

    The description of new species and genera are the core of systematics

    Not necessarily. The classification of a new species/genera could be obvious and the rest of a paper about a new species/genera could be about other things.

    I am truly curious as to what Larry thinks would go into a paper describing a new species that wouldn't be considered taxonomy or systematics. In a train wreck sort of way, of course.

    Also, cladistic taxonomy involves a lot of classification of known organisms, not just classification of newly discovered organisms. So why doesn't the journal have more papers that discuss systematics without introducing a new species or genus?

    Probably because new species and genera are discovered at a higher rate than known organisms need to be reclassified.

  • Jim Thomerson says:

    I don't have my bibliography at hand. I've done mostly alpha taxonomy, description of new species and revision of genera, some 20+ examples. When describing a new species one has to show how the species is diferent from similar species. This may lead to a generic level revision, and likely include a key for identification of the different species of the genus. I've been involved in description of two new genera. In one case a new species would not fit into any existing genera. In another, a species previously assigned to a genus, on additional information, clearly did not belong there, so a new genus was created. The second case was a generic level revision also involving the description of new species and the synonomizing of old species. Another generic level revision involved the recognition of new species based, in part, on DNA information.
    I've been a co-author on only one higher level study; a DNA phylogeny of the killifish family Rivulidae. In scientific work, I use my real first name, Jamie. So you can google me if you care to find some examples of how I do things.

  • W. Kevin Vicklund says:

    My apologies, Jim. I didn't look closely at the author list, so I misinterpreted your post to mean that you had to look way back to 1977 in that journal to find a counter example. I certainly did not mean to impugn your credentials!
    Anyway, the point I was driving at stands, regardless of my faux pas - while going outside of the normal guidelines is permissible, it should be uncommon and undertaken only with due consideration of the whole editorial staff. The reason, of course, is that a journal that deviates too often loses its niche market and will find itself in a losing competition with the big journals.

  • Pettifogger Kevin strikes again.

    What Larry isn't telling the reader is that the Plaintiffs were seeking to amend the complaint after the potentially mooting action had already occurred.

    Of course I didn't tell the reader that, because it's irrelevant -- that was not the reason the judge gave for dismissing the case. The reason he gave was, "...... the court in its discretion will not allow the continuation of a lawsuit merely to allow Plaintiffs to seek nominal damages, which, even if proven, would be limited to one dollar."

    It is just as absurd as the line of reasoning that "any plaintiff could prevent any case from being declared moot just by requesting" compensatory "damages."

    No it's not, because compensatory damages are "real." Nominal damages are not real.

    As in the case Larry noted, the courts are reluctant to permit plaintiffs from amending nominal damages after it appears the case would be mooted, including the Supreme Court.

    You have not shown that it makes any difference to the courts whether the nominal damages claim is in the original complaint or in an amended complaint.

    In order for nominal damages to preclude mootness, the plaintiff has to be able to establish that he is in fact entitled to request nominal damages

    The plaintiff is always entitled to "request" nominal damages -- whether the plaintiff is entitled to nominal damages is another issue. The only way the plaintiff would be entitled to nominal damages would be by an award of declaratory relief, injunctive relief, or some other kind of relief. If all other claims -- e.g., claims for declaratory and injunctive relief -- are dismissed, then any claim for nominal damages is moot.
    Kevin, your own quotation from Chapin contradicts your theory:

    In the absence of a constitutional deprivation, Chapin's nominal damages claim does not save this case from mootness. Moreover, the fact that Chapin could have suffered some constitutional deprivation if the Town had enforced the Ordinance does not save its claim for nominal damages - such damages are reserved for constitutional deprivations that have occurred, not those that are merely speculative.

    ======================================

    The opinion continues on to contrast a similar case in which it did determine that the nominal damage claim precluded mootness and explained the differences between the cases.

    You have not cited a single case where a case was continued when nominal damages was the sole surviving claim and there was not some other surviving claim such as a claim for declaratory or injunctive relief. A nominal damage claim is very easy to satisfy -- all the defendant has to do is give the plaintiff $1 out of court.

    And the defendant could end the claim to nominal damages just by paying them out of court.
    This is a claim Larry invented out of thin air. He has never been able to cite any caselaw that actually supports his absurd claim.

    Of course I have not been able to cite any caselaw, because no sane judge (and many are not) would make dismissal of a case conditional upon the defendant's payment of $1 to the plaintiff.

    If the plaintiff turns the Rule 68 offer down, the case proceeds to trial, and if the relief awarded does not exceed the offer, the plaintiff is charged with the defendant's costs accrued after the offer was made.

    In Buckhannon Bd. & Care Home, Inc v. W. Va. Dep't of Health & Human Res., 532 U.S. 598 (2001), the Supreme Court denied attorney fees, even though the lawsuit caused the change in the defendant's behavior (the idea that the plaintiff is entitled to attorney fees when the lawsuit is dismissed because the lawsuit caused voluntary cessation is called the "catalyst rule" or "catalyst theory").

    A party can not force another party to accept an out-of-court settlement, and the courts can't punish a party for turning down a settlement offer.

    I assert that when a plaintiff turns down a settlement offer that equals or exceeds the maximum relief that could possibly be granted by the court, then the judge may dismiss the lawsuit for "not stating a claim upon which relief can be granted," FRCP 12(b)(6), because the court could not grant more relief than what is offered by the defendant. BTW, unscrupulous BVD-clad blogger Fatheaded Ed Brayton kicked me off his blog permanently because of that statement.

    The closest thing to an exception to this is FRCP Rule 68, in which a defendant may make an Offer of Judgment.

    The issue in the Dover case was "voluntary cessation" -- whether the new Dover school board would repeal the ID policy prior to judgment. FRCP Rule 68 does not apply to "voluntary cessation" because there is not necessarily any offer, acceptance, or agreed-upon judgment in a "voluntary cessation" -- the defendant could just cease the challenged activity without negotiating with the plaintiff. FRCP Rule 68 says,

    Rule 68. Offer of Judgment
    (a) Making an Offer; Judgment on an Accepted Offer.
    More than 10 days before the trial begins, a party defending against a claim may serve on an opposing party an offer to allow judgment on specified terms, with the costs then accrued. If, within 10 days after being served, the opposing party serves written notice accepting the offer, either party may then file the offer and notice of acceptance, plus proof of service. The clerk must then enter judgment.

    =============================

    I have confidence that the courts actually do work the way I claim they do.

    And I have confidence that the courts do not work the way you claim they do.

  • Kevin,

    I am truly curious as to what Larry thinks would go into a paper describing a new species that wouldn't be considered taxonomy or systematics.

    That is a really stupid, stupid question. There can be any number of traits, features, or parts of an organism that have nothing to do with that organism's taxonomic classifications. For example, humans are mammals because we have mammary glands, sexual reproduction, spines, etc., but there is a lot more to us than just the features and traits that make us mammals and primates.

  • Voice in the Urbanness says:

    Larry brays:
    "Of course I didn't tell the reader that, because it's irrelevant"
    As usual you didn't understand what Kevin said. There is no use on elaborating on this because, as with everything else, it would go over your bald head.
    "compensatory damages are "real." Nominal damages are not real."
    Nominal damages may not be large expenses but they are definitely real.
    Kevin stated:
    "As in the case Larry noted, the courts are reluctant to permit plaintiffs from amending nominal damages after it appears the case would be mooted, including the Supreme Court."
    Which, like the rising of the Sun, was misinterpreted by Larry:
    "You have not shown that it makes any difference to the courts whether the nominal damages claim is in the original complaint or in an amended complaint."
    Good grief, Larry. Have one of your attendants explain this simple concept to you.
    Kevin said:
    "In order for nominal damages to preclude mootness, the plaintiff has to be able to establish that he is in fact entitled to request nominal damages"
    To which the idiot replied.
    "The plaintiff is always entitled to "request" nominal damages -- whether the plaintiff is entitled to nominal damages is another issue."
    Yes. People can make any foolish motion that they want. They can even file frivolous lawsuits, like you have done. If they do so, their credibility with the court will go through the floor, as yours has, and they could even be charged with abuse of process. You have not been because nobody has ever taken you seriously.
    "Kevin, your own quotation from Chapin contradicts your theory:"
    Only if you "interpret" it incorrectly.
    "BTW, unscrupulous BVD-clad blogger Fatheaded Ed Brayton kicked me off his blog permanently because of that statement."
    Larry, as always, repeats this lie. We all know why you were kicked off of Ed's and many other blogs.
    Kevin says:
    "I have confidence that the courts actually do work the way I claim they do."
    Larry brays:
    "And I have confidence that the courts do not work the way you claim they do."
    Let's see. Who should we believe? Should we believe Larry, who has had every case he ever filed laughed out of court? My money is on Kevin.
    Kevin wisely asks:"I am truly curious as to what Larry thinks would go into a paper describing a new species that wouldn't be considered taxonomy or systematics."
    We would all like to know the answer, but Larry has no answer so he says:
    "That is a really stupid, stupid question."
    Larry. If you don't have a good answer for a question, don't call attention to your ignorance. Don't point out your weaknesses. If you are in a hole, stop digging.
    "but there is a lot more to us than just the features and traits that make us mammals and primates.
    Us? Well the rest of us are primates. I don't know about you.

  • Jim Thomerson says:

    Larry is somewhat correct in saying any organism might have traits not useful in taxonomic classification. However any trait is fair game. It is just that some are not useful at a particular level of classification. Because mammals have four-chambered hearts, this is useful in distinguishing them from amphibians. On the other hand, because both humans and chimps are mammals, we already know they have four chambered hearts, so that would probably go unmentioned in a comparison of humans and chimps.
    The job of editors and reviewers is to determine if a paper is appropriate for publication in the particular journal, and, if so, the paper is of appropriate quality for the journal. Generally there are two or more experts asked to review the manuscript. Editors ask reviewers to comment on the appropriateness of the paper. Reviewers are also specifically asked if the title is appropriate; and then asked to rank the paper as (1) publishable as is, (2) publishable with minor revision, (3) in need of major revision, or (4) not acceptable for publication. Reviewers suggest revisions, etc. The goal is to provide the journal with the best possible papers, and to help authors submit the best possible papers.
    The first paper I was given to review by an editor was an description of a new subspecies of killifish. The description was based on an arithmetic mistake, and the paper never saw the light of day. I was asked to review the paper because I had done a lot of the kind of figuring involved, so the mistake just jumped out at me.