Judges learn about science, no side trips to The Creation Museum

Read about the seminar here and go if you like:

Media are invited to observe ASTAR training sessions, which include a session at 10 a.m. Thursday called “Genes and Human Behavior: Is There a Link between Genetics and Crime?” with Lynn B. Jorde, Ph.D., professor of Genetics at the University of Utah School of Medicine, and “Fingerprints” at 10 a.m. on Friday with Stephen B. Meagher from the FBI Lab in Quantico, Va. For a complete seminar schedule, contact the Office of Public Information at 614.387.9250.

Here’s more about ASTAR, which, according to this info, has its roots in a Congressionally-mandated program:

Mandated by Congress in 2006 to ramp up its proof of concept to a national scale, ASTAR added the entire scope of science, technology and forensics likely to be introduced as evidence or issues in the trial and appeals of complex cases.

In January 2007, ASTAR began operation of a Congressionally mandated project administered by the U. S. Department of Justice to ramp up science and technology training from consortium States to all U. S. Jurisdictions. This program will provide to all electing courts the certified Language of the Sciences programs ASTAR collectively terms “Platform A.”

Look at all the folks affiliated/overseeing the program. Hooya – that’s a long list.

I have to beleive that judges need training. But does anyone know anything else about this Congressionally-mandated and, I assume, federally-funded program? When I read the site, it sounded like only three states are involved. I’d love to know more. For example, in the mission statement, what exactly does this mean:

ASTAR’s leadership oversees the effort to identify, recruit, train and deploy science and technology resource judges.

Huh? They’re talking about judges in courts of law? Check out the link to ASTAR fellows – they are only from three states, including Ohio.

Is this a for-profit or nonprofit?

Sigh. I’m confused, again.

4 thoughts on “Judges learn about science, no side trips to The Creation Museum

  1. Jill:I think that in just about any grouping of humans one tries to create, one finds some kind of bell curve distribution, with lots of folks in the middle of the group and a few on the fringes. And a key source of friction between groups is when outsiders generalize the actions and beliefs of the folks on the fringe to the whole group.One of the key reasons I don’t like the Democrat/Republican or the conservative/liberal labels — at least I don’t want anyone to hang one of those on me — is because it’s the lunatic fringe of both that seem to get all the attention, and I don’t want anyone to think they represent me. I cheer Michael Bloomberg’s remark that he’s going independent because he doesn’t want to carry all the baggage of the two major parties.I saw an article recently, in Time I believe, in which a map was constructed that showed, on a very small gradularity (counties?) and using typical red/blue shading, which party held the majority in each unit. What it showed was that unless you looked pretty closely, the map was mostly purple, not red or blue.I think this might be true in religions as well. I once led a discussion group at our church, and asked this question: If you create a continuum in which one end point is the view that the Bible is the inerrant, verbatim word of God, and the other endpoint that the Bible is one of mankind’s greatest pieces of literature, and nothing more, where do you put your own beliefs on that spectrum?Guess what? We got a bell curve. Since this is a Baptist congregation, the bell was skewed a little to the first endpoint, but only a few went all the way there. In fact, it was interesting to see several folks react with surprise when a long-time friend picked a point left or right of their own.I think a powerful way to narrow one of those bell curves is to attack a group from the outside. Look what happened in this country following 9/11. Everyone hung out American flags and said we should go kick some Muslim ass. We got into this stupid war because the politicians in Congress who should know better and show more backbone sensed that narrowing of the bell curve and wanted to get in the narrowed zone and not be perceived as a weakling away from the center of this deformed hawkish curve.Of course it didn’t last — it rarely does it our country. Eventually the narrowed curve reshaped to a broad bell, with a few saying we should pull out tomorrow (if not this afternoon as one candidate said), and a few others saying we should stay until complete victory is achieved (whatever that means). I believe most Americans are thinking that we should get out honorably but not leave a big sucking wound in the Middle East like we did in Vietnam. Tough job.And so all I’m saying is that as a Christian, I’m feeling a sustained attack from those who seem to want to press past the establishment restrictions of the First Amendment to the point of suppression. The result of those attacks is not to make me ultra-conservative all of a sudden, but it does induce me to stand up against those attackers with the whole spectrum of my Christian bretheren (okay, not the KKK types).And for what it’s worth, I think very little in politics is really about philosophy or even public service. I’m pretty sure the real game is now and has always been about money, and who gets to control where it goes. The rest is fluff to get elected. As I’ve said before, the votes that count are those cast in the legislative chambers, and those are for sale.I’d like to see Bloomberg run his campaign without a dime of anyone else’s money. That would scare the crap out of the lobbyists and the big money behind them.Jill, I read your blog almost every day because I appreciate the passion and integrity of your writing. Although I sometimes disagree with your conclusions (as you do mine), I learn and grow by listening and trying to understand perspectives different than my own.I’ve seen you develop as a journalist over the past months, and have come to count on you as an important information source. I encourage you to find ways to fill the void left by the MSM by digging in and doing analysis in a way they seem to have forgotten. Your voice will become ever more powerful if you leave cynacism and hyperbole to Matthews, Limbaugh, et al, and stick the role of a people’s advocate. Tell me what the MSM isn’t saying.Shalom.PL

  2. They’re talking about judges in courts of law?“[T]he ASTA* resource judge movement [is intended] to prepare scientifically and technologically grounded jurists for State and Federal courts. Resource Judges preside in complex cases featuring novel scientific evidence and issues.” (here) Check out the link to ASTAR fellows – they are only from three states, including Ohio.“ASTAR is a consortium of the Supreme Court of Ohio, the Court of Appeals of Maryland and the Supreme Court of Illinois, and the Supreme Court of Washington. 39 jurisdictions are ASTAR Members. […] In January 2007, ASTAR began operation of a Congressionally mandated project administered by the U. S. Department of Justice to ramp up science and technology training from consortium States to all U. S. Jurisdictions. ” (here)Is this a for-profit or nonprofit?“Organized as a non-profit corporation in the District of Columbia.” (here)

  3. Paul – when you are right, you are right. Yes, the zinger. It says more about me than about anything else: when I see science and federal government programs created during the Bush administration to fund judicial education programs about science, yes – I get cynical. I want to know, what’s the motivation, what’s going on.It’s a zootz as we say. My hyperbole.I’m far from perfect and my writing is one way I channel my cynicism.However, HOWEVER – if you are also letting me know, through a comment like this, that doing that disappoints as much as is derogatory, I will try, TRY (because I can’t make a promise – that imperfect thing) to not do such things.Thanks for bringing it to my attention.

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