Monday, March 27, 2006


Buckinham Spills the Beans: Discovery Encouraged Dover Board

Bill Buckingham, the creationist Dover school board member who quit the board and moved to North Carolina just before the trial, is back in town, and he's talking.

Spotted at the lecture given by creationist Kent Hovind last week, Buckingham talked about about the trial, the legal strategy pursued by the Thomas More Law Center, and the behind-the-scenes role played by the Discovery Institute.

Buckingham is bitter about being painted as an Oxycontin addict by defense attorney's from the Thomas More Law Center.

In ruling on the Dover case, Judge John Jones said it was “ironic” that individuals who “proudly touted their religious convictions in public” would “lie” under oath. Shortly after the decision, U.S. Middle District Attorney Thomas A. Marino announced that he would investigate charges that Buckingham and fellow school board member Alan Bonsell lied under oath at the trial.

Buckingham still denies talking about creationism at public school board meetings -- although those remarks were reported by two separate reporters from two different newspapers. He calls those reporters liars, but has a harder time denying similar remarks caught on video tape by Fox News.

"We never got a fair shake," he says.

What's really interesting though, is what Buckingham now has to say about the role of the Discovery Institute in L'Affair Dover.

RSR readers will remember that not long before the case went to trial, the Discovery Institute backed away from the the Dover school board intelligent design policy calling it "incoherent" and "misguided." They now maintain that they opposed the policy from the beginning:
"When we first read about the Dover policy, we publicly criticized it because according to published reports the intent was to mandate the teaching of intelligent design,” explained West. “Although we think discussion of intelligent design should not be prohibited, we don't think intelligent design should be required in public schools.
That's not, however, what Buckingham says.

Here's what he told the York Daily Record in an article published yesterday:

At one point - he doesn't remember when - he was contacted by Seth Cooper, an attorney with the pro-intelligent design Discovery Institute.

While the Discovery Institute's opposition to Dover's curriculum policy has been widely reported, Buckingham said at first Cooper was enthusiastic and supportive. Cooper offered to send him materials about intelligent design.

"He'd call me to see if we were going to go forward," Buckingham said.

But gradually, as the publicity continued, the attorney began to suggest that the board should not move forward on the curriculum change because it could lead to a lawsuit.

"He was afraid we were going to lose the case," Buckingham said. "And he thought, if we did lose the case, it was going to set intelligent design back for years.

"He just didn't think we were the proper people to be pushing this at this time," Buckingham said.

The day after the school board voted in October 2004 to include intelligent design in its biology curriculum, Discovery Institute posted a news release saying it didn't support the school board.

Discovery now says it never believed, nor advocated, teaching ID in public schools. Notice also, that Discovery suggests that it was not in contact with the Dover board -- it criticized the board's intelligent design policy immediately after reading "published reports." It also says now, rather unconvincingly, that the Dover decision wasn't a big setback. It's just a decision by an activist judge, likely to be overturned, that applies only to Pennsylvania. But, that's not what they told Buckingham way back when.

Should we take what Discovery says now at face value? Perhaps, if we number ourselves among those patriots who believe Ann Coulter knows what's best for the institution of marriage. Certainly, if we are among that small band of loyal Americans who totally understand that Tinky Winky and SpongeBob SquarePants are part of the liberal plot to lure kids into the gay lifestyle.

RSR will grant that Bill Buckingham may not be the most reliable witness in the world, but he's in a position to know, what he says fits the facts as we know them, and it has the ring of truth. What we see here is the ID equivalent of a falling out among thieves.


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